Skeptical activism

The Saga of Psychic Sally and the Persistent Skeptics

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Sally Morgan calls herself “the original 21st Century medium.” Her Facebook page has over 93K “likes”. Her bio reads: Sally’s sell out theatre shows have been seen by a staggering half a million people, her hit television shows are watched by millions and her books are best-sellers! With her unique personality, refreshing approach and uncanny…

Skeptical activists still asking questions of Psychic Sally (Updated)

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Dear Psychic Sally: If you are speaking with the dead, why haven’t you won a major scientific prize or accolades? Why aren’t you helping to find terrorists who murdered people? Why are you using your talent just in theatre shows for money? Just wondering… A skeptical campaign surrounding Sally Morgan continues despite the legal threats…

It’s not magically harmonized water – just snake oil

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From the company who brought you nonsensical “drinkable sunscreen” comes more pseudoscience: “harmonized water”. They claim it is done with newfangled technology and mystery waves that people didn’t learn about in school and that their products are able to produce beneficial effects. Firm denies quackery claims. A New Zealand company selling bottles of water it claims…

DN content on the JREF: First post – Critical thinking about a panther sighting

Black leopard

As I announced back in July, Doubtful News content would be coming to a bigger audience. Today was the first post on the reboot of the James Randi Educational Foundation website (JREF). Doubtful News: Was it a black panther? – JREF. Today, we examine a piece that appeared in Harborough Mail in the U.K.: Another…

Universal Medicine group gets more bad press and parliamentary hearing

Quackery

Woman files a complaint after overspending for questionable treatments in Australia. Doctor sent woman for two years of new age healing in a galaxy far, far away for a cough — costing her $35,000 | dailytelegraph.com.au. When a doctor referred Ira McClure for further treatment she had no idea the health facility was supportive of…

Science-based medicine writer sued by threatened doctor

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It is not rare for purveyors of woo to resort to legal threats against skeptical advocates. They don’t have the facts in their favor so they use baseless threats. Well, not so baseless. Several cases have resulted in financial worries for those who are attempting to inform the public about dubious products, people or nonsense.…

Anti-vaxxers in Australia get their info into hospitals and hire new prez

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Australia’s anti-vax network continues their underhanded deeds by sneaking their propaganda into info packs given to mothers of newborns. Low? No, not really, par for the course for this propaganda group. Queensland Health pulls Australian Vaccination-Skeptics leaflet from pregnancy pack | Gold Coast Bulletin. A LEAFLET promoting the Australian Vaccination-Sceptics Network (AVN) has been pulled…

Skeptics in Vegas: The Amazing Meeting 2014 brought cheers, smiles and a call for education

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The premier gathering for advocates of evidence-based skepticism and critical thinking, THE AMAZING MEETING (TAM), the annual conference run by the James Randi Education Foundation, took place from July 10-13 in Las Vegas. James (The Amazing) Randi, aged 85, one of the world’s greatest living magicians and conjurers, was very accessible throughout the several days, taking photos…

Coffey brushes off those annoying skeptics and concentrates on his fan$

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You know what? I’ve always thought Chip Coffey was yucky. No change now. He’s also a coward to continually dodge calls for him to show actual evidence for the ridiculous claims he makes. Why should he? He’ll just continue to enjoy the 300K people on his Facebook fan page and the many guest appearances he makes. Skeptics don’t…

U.K. woo-woo mag slams skeptics causing them trouble. Hilarity ensues.

Photo credit: garwboy (Dean Burnett) on Yfrog

The notoriously bad rag What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You has gone bonkers on their Facebook page. Nothing unusual there. Guy Chapman gives us an update of the nonsense going on as they decry skeptical activists who are making a difference (and causing WDDTY heartburn). WDDTY goes “the full Errol” @ Guy Chapman’s Blahg. The fake health…

Skeptics give FDA a smack upside the head about Burzynski

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The Center for Inquiry has requested in a letter to the head of the Food and Drug Administration requesting a reversal on its decision to green-light clinical trials of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. Stop Burzynski’s Dangerous Cancer Treatments, Science Advocates tell FDA | Center for Inquiry. The letter can be read here [PDF]. It states: It is our understanding…

The Saatchi bill, or “Quack’s charter”, puts “innovation” over patient safety

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In an update to this piece: A quacktastic piece of legislation in England and Wales (UPDATE: Revision), the debate about the Saatchi bill heated up last Friday in the U.K. The legislation to allow a “get out of jail free” pass to cancer quacks gained support from some reputable doctors. Others vehemently oppose this as misconceived…

New skeptical society in New Zealand succeeds in advertising complaint

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A New Zealand skeptical activism group succeeds at getting a faith healing claim chastised and the advertisement removed. It may not be the most dramatic way to do activism but the law is the law, these claims were seen to be misleading. Your belief that God heals has no evidence to back it up, so…

2.5 million views of two minutes and eighteen seconds of stupid

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What? More conspiracy nonsense making the rounds? I’m shocked! No I’m not. I’m tired of this s**t and that’s exactly what it is. It’s making people paranoid and STUPID. Conspiracy videos of 9/11 on Facebook: People should be responsible for what they share on social media. It’s 2:18 long, and it makes basically one claim:…

Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti? A DN Exclusive

The tent found destroyed.

Doubtful News is pleased to present this EXCLUSIVE piece by author and researcher, Benjamin Radford, on the Discovery Channel’s presentation airing TONIGHT! [Warning: Spoilers] Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti? A Closer Look at Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives A new two-hour Discovery Channel “documentary,” Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, revisits the curious case of…

“At first I was skeptical” is a convincing ploy, unless you are wise to it

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A new paper was just published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology that is further confirmation of something skeptics of the paranormal and alt med treatments have noticed for a long time. It’s called the “avowal of prior skepticism”. This is a narrative device used by a person telling a story in which…

When is a “support” group not a good thing – when it reinforces a dangerous belief

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A support group for alien abductees is meeting in the U.K. to provide mutual support for each other. Not only do they have a troublesome relationship with a society that might call them “crazy”, but they may be causing more harm to each other even with good intentions. Doubtful News contacted a volunteer who helps UFO…

Gallipoli ‘ghost’ solved: A lesson in non-paranormal persistence

Notice figures in the background. Photo: Joe Armao

Here is a great lesson for paranormalists: Make sure you exhaust all the avenues of “normal” before you conclude “paranormal”. In almost all cases, you CAN get to a sound explanation. Gallipoli ‘ghost’ an open and shutter case. Fairfax photographer Joe Armao spent an entire night studying the strange, hair-raising blur on one of his pictures…

Evidence-based skepticism in the spotlight thanks to Bill Nye’s debate

Screen capture from the video where Bill Nye talks about evolution

It’s so very exciting to see the reverberation of the Creation-Evolution debate continuing. And I am very happy to see Skeptical Inquirer play a role in it. This current issue of SI has an exclusive piece written by Bill Nye, The Science Guy himself, discussing the behind-the-scenes goings on that took place before and during…