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Posts Tagged ‘skeptic’

If You’re Going to Seattle…

Posted by dystressed on January 6, 2009

…visit the Discovery Institute!  (if you can)

Skepticality had a fantastic interview with Kate Holden and Tiana Dietz, the skeptic activists who conned their way into the Discovery Institute.  You can download the MP3 of the podcast here.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the visit was the fact that the two have engaged in a lengthy blog discourse with the Discovery Institute, which claims to welcome all people with open arms.

While lying is hardly ever called for, Holden and Dietz maintain that they only did what the producers of Expelled did when they conned their own ways into interviews with Michael Shermer and PZ Myers. They kind of have a point.

The question of morality aside, the chutzpah of Kate and Tiana is admirable. They also urge fellow skeptic activists to go to the Discovery Institute and take the tour… that is, if the Discovery people will let you in.

Posted in Humor, Religion, Science | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Placebo Effect

Posted by Skeptigator on September 23, 2008

I’ve just finished listening to Dr. Ben Goldacre’s 2 part series on The Placebo Effect that originally aired on BBC Radio 4. (Part I, Part II) You can subscribe to Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science podcast through iTunes as well.

There are 2 things that I enjoyed about these episodes and it was not that many alternative medicines get their curative effects primarily due to the Placebo Effect. This is a well established fact, with reams of evidence to support (see below for additional citations).

It is that many of our “traditional” medicines (particularly painkillers and anti-depressants) also get a significant boost from the Placebo Effect. In fact, many anti-depressants have nearly the same effect as a placebo for those with mild depression.

The other thing is that it is often the context in which the placebo is given that informs how pronounced it’s effect will be. Simply being administered “sham” acupuncture with no interaction between the acupuncturist and the patient produces a greater response than nothing but performing “sham” acupuncture with an optimal “doctor-patient” interaction has a profound effect on the efficacy of the “sham” acupuncture.

If you’ve got the time (each episode is about 30 minutes long) they are well worth the listen. For further reading I would suggest the following articles:

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Posted in Skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Who says skeptics are cynical and don’t believe in anything…

Posted by Andy D. on April 23, 2008

Go Stephen Hawking and Mythbusters!  I saw this on TV and then googled it.  It is a hit.

Posted in Philosophy, Science, Skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »