Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hello Skeptifans. Here’s your Fails and Wins in the media this week.

Don’t build more reactors in Clarington: anti-nuclear activist
Art sent in this link. The merits of nuclear power are worthy of debate. There are risks and benefits. But much of the debate is based on fear more than facts. Look at this quote: “All reactors should be shut down. I don’t understand, in light of the current events, how we can be so rational.” In context, the activist is suggesting rationality is the enemy of human empathy. You hear this argument a lot in woo circles. But if we are to value human life, shouldn’t we be putting our rational side to work to determine the best way to preserve it? This story is reporting on a panel discussion that was called “No radiation is safe”. This is clearly false….we are exposed to all sorts of natural radiation every day without ill effects. Let’s keep the debate on nuclear power in the rational arena.

Won’t Get Fooled Again
Fred sent this in. CBC’s Marketplace did an interesting thing for April Fool’s. Instead of exposing scams as they normally do on the show, they became the scam artists! Then they interviewed their victims to get some insight into why people fall for scams in the first place. You can watch the full episode online. Us skeptics usually feel like we’re less gullible than the average person, but I can see falling for some of the scams they demonstrated. Check it out.

The promise and perils of backyard herbalism
Lorne sent in this link. It seems there’s a trend in herbalism to do it yourself these days. Why buy herbal supplements when you can grow the herbs in your backyard or community garden? On the one hand, at least bogus herbal remedy sellers would lose some of their market share. On the other hand, it’s impossible to regulate what someone is pulling out of their garden….and the dangers are clear. This article isn’t full on woovertising…it does devote some paragraphs to the risks and lack of evidence for herbal remedies. However, it still gives false balance to a side without evidence.

That’s the Fails and Wins for this week folks. Send me your links at links [at] skeptinorth [dot] com.

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  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.