Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hey there skeptifans! You may have noticed that the Fails and Wins have not been coming on a weekly basis. I apologize, life has been a bit busy for me lately. Thankfully, this hasn’t stopped you from faithfully sending in your links, and I want to thank all of you for keeping my inbox full! And I’d like to especially call out Fails and Wins regulars Lorne and Art (and many others I’m sure I’m forgetting!) for always having links for me each week.

From the excellent web comic, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Teen Exorcists Give The Devil A Helluva Time In Arizona
This story has a lot of Fail. Three Arizona teen sisters have taken up an unusual hobby…performing exorcisms. They are encouraged by their reverend father, and the media who has been eating this story up. Credulous reporters have been giving the girls TV time and print space, with very little critical thinking going on. At least this article from HuffPo had a win at the end with a quote from CFI member Jim Underdown, “The only people who get possessed by demons — and subsequently cured — are those who believe it’s possible. You never hear about it happening to atheists.”

To Find Out About Food Allergies, First Use The Right Test
Anna sent in this Win from NPR’s food blog, The Salt. It references a recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal which urged doctors to stick to proven allergy tests, and avoid some of the unscientific tests that are out there on the internet. You can read the article here but it requires a paid membership. The Salt article goes on to clarify existing guidelines, point out the difference between an allergy and other sensitivities, and explains some of the uncertainties with current best methods. These uncertainties are fertile soil for alt-med and snake-oil salesmen, so it’s nice to see an article that doesn’t cite popular but unproven treatments of that type.

Quackbuster Joe Schwarcz takes on charlatans
Maclean’s ran this nice piece on noted Canadian skeptic Joe Schwarcz. Schwarz heads up McGill’s Office for Science and Society, which recently received a sizable grant. Recently Schwarcz has been taking on Health Canada for their stance on issuing DIN numbers to homeopathic products — an issue we’ve discussed a lot here at Skeptic North. Let’s hope this grant money helps with the fight!

World Homeopathy Awareness Week
Speaking of homeopathy, April 10th marks the start of World Homeopathy Awareness Week. It’s a week where homeopaths focus their promotion of their magic shaken water. It’s also a week where skeptics unite to educate people about what is actually in homeopathic medicines….nothing but water. Stay tuned to this blog and other skeptic sites to find how how you can get involved.

Did you spot a media Fail or Win? Send it to me at

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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.