Hello skeptifans. I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. Here are the Fails and Wins in the media last week.
Think you know everything about arthritis?
Lindsey found this fail. My old friend Dr. Gifford-Jones is at it again. This time he’s claiming that ultra high doses of Vitamin C can prevent arthritis. Unlike other mammals, humans don’t synthesize their own Vitamin C. Gifford-Jones then goes on to talk about how guinea pigs produce high doses of Vitamin C compared to the human recommended dose. First of all, from what I understand, guinea pigs are actually one of the other mammals that cannot produce it’s own Vitamin C…so I’m not sure what he is talking about there. Secondly, just because a guinea pig may need a high dose doesn’t mean we do. The whole article jumps from famous quote to random facts without providing solid evidence for the claims he makes. But of course he explains this lack of evidence is due to the lack of profit in the research:
“Can I or anyone else prove that vitamin C is a cheap way to decrease the risk of osteoarthritis? Unfortunately, it’s not possible. A large scientific study is unlikely because no money can be made from doing it. Vitamin C cannot be patented.”
This is ridiculous. Medical research is done all the time for reasons beyond patenting drugs. And you could use data on the prevalence of arthritis and the amount of Vitamin C consumed by different populations to at least establish a correlation without spending money on a trial. You can bet supplement companies would be interested in research like that. But Gifford-Jones can’t even point to preliminary evidence. Fail.
Taking Sasquatch from the tabloids to the science journals
Lorne sent in this fail. A Sasquatch believer is accusing the scientific community of ignoring his work. He says they just won’t listen to the facts he has. Of course, all he has is anecdotal tales. All DNA and photographic evidence ever brought forward has turned out to be hoaxes. What he (and those who published this article) fail to mention is that the scientific community is ignoring his claims because the evidence sucks!
‘Top’ psychics offered $1M to prove powers
You may have heard of James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge. A million dollars is offered up to anyone who can prove they have supernatural abilities under a scientific test. Randi has called out prominent TV psychics to take the challenge, but the big ones have all neglected to do it. It’s nice to see some coverage of the challenge. A Toronto based pyschic, Nikki, said in the article she’d take the challenge. Maybe she can perform better than she did on her 2010 predictions.
That’s the Fails and Wins this week, folks. See you again next week. Send me your links at firstname.lastname@example.org.