Podcast #132 - January 30th, 2008
News Items: UK Homeopathy In Crisis, Creationist Research Journal, Facilitated Communication in the Courtroom, ABC Drama on Vaccines and Autism, Arabian Brain Drain; Your Questions and E-mails: Got Milk, Psychic Cheat; Name that Logical Fallacy; Randi Speaks; Science or Fiction
- UK Homeopathy in Crisis news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7215470.stm
- YEC Research Journal www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=178
- Facilitated Communication in the Courtroom freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080130/NEWS03/801300305/1001/NEWS
- Vaccine and Autism ABC to Air Pseudoscience about Vaccines and Autism
- Arabian Brain Drain www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=arabian-brainpower
Questions and E-mails
- Got Milk Hey Steve & the gang,
I'm worried about a friend who's drank copious amounts of organic Kool-Aid, so to speak.
He gets raw (i.e. unpasteurized) milk from a local farm and claims it's actually healthier than pasteurized milk because it contains beneficial bacteria that get killed off in the pasteurization process. (Of course it also might contain some not-so-nice bacteria... like e. coli, for instance.)
This isn't my area of expertise, so I was wondering if you guys could give some more information on the health effects of drinking raw milk. What can I tell my friend that would get him to quit his habit?
Thanks for the always-excellent podcast.
I've noticed something odd. A few years back I went through a phase were I almost exclusively bought 'Organic' foodstuffs.
Having gotten over that with a little help from my bank statements I have continued to buy Organic Milk, because it seems to me that it lasts longer before spoiling than regular milk. I mentioned this to my family and friends and after having tried it they generally agree with me. It seems that you can count on it lasting about a week longer.
Is there any truth to this? Or are we all suffering from an observational bias? And if it is true, why?
I'd hate to think that I spread BS even unknowingly.
Help me SKU, you're my only hope,
Colorado, United States
- Psychic Cheat After Heath Ledger died, I thought I'd check to see if Nikki, Psychic to the Stars, had predicted his death. I checked her website (http://www.psychicnikki.com/predictions.html) and, amazingly, she had. Given that none of her earlier predictions ever mentioned Heath, and that there was nothing particularly adverse in his background that would suggest an early death, this seemed to me to be a major hit by a psychic.
However, I recently gave a talk at one of my neighborhood clubs about why people believe weird things. I thought it would be fun to end with a reading of some psychic predictions for 2008. So, in my research, I copied Nikki's predictions to a file. This was the day before he died. Guess what - no Heath Ledger. Looks like Nikki 'postdicted' his death. She also added Barrack Obama's name to the 'Death Watch/Health Watch' list.
So, is this a case where she just forgot to put Ledger's name down, and his death happened to remind her to updater her website?
I think not, be cause she also DELETED her prediction that Angelina Jolie would be nominated for an Oscar AFTER the Oscar nominations came out.
Details can be found at my blog.
Thanks for all your great work.
Name That Logical Fallacy
- Logical Fallacies From Calvyn on the boards: skepchick.org/skepticsguide/viewtopic.php?t=8055
Science and Pseudoscience
Why is it that when a bunch of guys go meandering through the wilderness looking for new species that we have no reason at all to believe exist it is considered a valid, worthwhile and commendable scientific pursuit, but when a bunch of guys go out into the wilderness looking for an animal whose physical characteristics are well known, which has hundreds of reported sightings, traces, possible hair samples, photographs, film, and allegedly some DNA collected, it is considered to be the worthless pseudoscientific waste of time that could only be taken serious by idiots and gullible kooks?
- James Randi The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic
James Randi returns to give his skeptical commentary in his own unique style.
This week's topic: Update on Uri Geller
Science or Fiction [ Show Answers ]
- Question #1 Fiction A new analysis of the homology of multiple endogenous retroviruses among primates suggests that humans may be more closely related to orangutans than chimpanzees.
- Question #2 Science Researchers have discovered how to use DNA to guide the creation of 3-D nanoparticles.
- Question #3 Science A new study shows that all humans with blue eyes share a single common ancestor.
Quote of the Week
- Quote 'An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer.'