Posted by mattusmaximus on January 17, 2013
Sometimes pseudoscience is stupid, sometimes it is annoying, sometimes it hurts our educational institutions… and sometimes it is outright frakking deadly. Case in point, medical frauds who perpetuate nonsense to vulnerable, desperate people; such as when quacks push supposed “cures for cancer” which are anything but or have yet to be proven, such as in the case of Stanislaw Burzynski and his “cancer clinic”. In such situations, it is literally a matter of life and death because when cancer patients delay reliable medical treatments in favor of pseudoscientific B.S. the delay can cost them their lives. Skeptic James Randi helps to break it down in more detail here:
But rather than curse the darkness, let us instead light a candle…
I am happy to announce that the Skeptical Teacher will be joining a coalition of skeptical activists called the Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients (SPCP). The Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients is a grassroots group devoted to the promotion of promising, ethical, and transparent cancer research. For more about this project and the group sponsoring it, visit thehoustoncancerquack.com or visit their Facebook page. Also, please consider donating either some of your time by promoting the cause (if you have a blog or media contacts) and/or your money to the legitimate scientific research of cancer.
Some more background and info on Burzynski:
*Dr. David Gorski has a new Science-Based Medicine post out as of this past Monday on Burzynski’s antineoplastons treatment. Science-Based Medicine » Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons versus patients.
*Burzynski gets warning from FDA: Stop promoting your treatment as “safe” and “effective”
The U.S. FDA has sent a letter to the Burzynski Research Institute to cease claiming that their brain tumor treatment, antineoplastons, are safe and/or effective for the purposed for which they are being investigated. In other words, Burzynski’s claims on websites and promotional materials that this treatment WORKS is a violation because supposed to be testing that!
* Supporters often use patient anecdotes to sell his unproven treatments at the Burzynski Patient Group. We have started curating a collection of patient stories at The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, the ones Burzynski would rather you not hear. Also, these stories can be exported to your own website IN THEIR ENTIRETY via the storify site they were created on. Free content, people. Just sayin’.
*Orac, an oncologist, cancer researcher, and patient advocate, has written extensively about Burzynski at Respectful Insolence.
*Learn the whole story at Josephine Jones’s Blog. She has kept a comprehensive list of content about Burzynski, his clinic, and his chemotherapy on the web. An invaluable resource!
*You might be interested that the EMPLOYER of one of our members (of SPCP) was recently contacted by one of Burzynski’s misguided supporters.
Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: antineoplastons, Burzynski, cancer, chemotherapy, clinic, cure, doctor, FDA, fraud, health, Houston, medicine, Orac, patients, pseudoscience, quack, Respectful Insolence, science, science-based, science-based medicine, Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients, SPCP, Stanislaw Burzynski, Texas, The OTHER Burzynski Patient Group, thehoustoncancerquack.com, treatment | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 18, 2010
This coming Saturday, August 21st, Dr. David Gorski – contributor to the Science-Based Medicine blog and author of another popular, yet anonymous, blog – will be coming to Chicago to give a lecture on the anti-vaccination movement and various other topics related to alternative medicine woo. This event is co-presented by the Chicago Skeptics, the Women Thinking Free Foundation (WTFF), and the Center For Inquiry Chicago. Details are at the event’s Facebook page…
Chicago Skeptics, The Women Thinking Free Foundation, and the Center For Inquiry-Chicago, are excited to co-present a talk by and discussion with Dr. David Gorski. A breast cancer surgeon and researcher, Dr. Gorski has been on the front lines of the anti-anti-vaccination movement as well as fighting against pseudoscience disguised as alternative heath care in many realms.
From his Science-Based Medicine bio:
Dr. Gorski first became interested in pseudoscience and “alternative” medicine around 2000, when quite by accident he wandered into the Usenet newsgroup misc.health.alternative and began critically examining the claims there. Since then, he has accumulated considerable experience refuting quackery and pseudoscience online. For the last five years, he has blogged under a pseudonym, producing what is consistently ranked as one of the top ten medical blogs, and is happy to drop his pseudonym in order to join such an accomplished group of skeptical doctors to discuss science- and evidence-based medicine (SEBM) for a broad audience. (Finding Dr. Gorski’s other, far more (in)famous blog persona is left as an exercise for the interested reader.)
Science-Based Medicine Blog: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/
Now, the evening of Dr. Gorski’s talk, there is going to be a fundraiser put on by the Chicago Skeptics and the WTFF. The proceeds from this fundraiser are going to go towards a vaccination clinic at Dragon*Con in Atlanta during Labor Day weekend! So, if you’re in the Chicago area this coming weekend, please click the link above to get a ticket to the fundraiser, but if you’re not and you’d like to contribute to this worthy cause, then I refer you to this excellent post over at Skepchick about it
As part of the Hug Me! I’m Vaccinated launch at Dragon*Con, the Skepchicks are organizing vaccine clinic during Dragon*Con. We are providing FREE vaccines for any Dragon*Con participants who want them. We’ll also be distributing information and education about vaccinations during the event.
Here’s where we need your help. While the vaccines and staffing are being provided completely free to us, because of the late notice, we needed to rent space to actually have the clinic. We are paying for space in the Mall at Peachtree Center, which is connected to the Dragon*Con main hotels and we need to raise some money to cover the rent, plus posters, pamphlets and other materials to help promote this. Our goal is to raise $1,500 which will cover all of that. Elyse and the Women Thinking Free Foundation have already raised $800 for the launch so we need $700 more. Ironically, Elyse can’t come to Dragon*Con. She would have to bring her daughter with her and she can’t risk it because of the pertussis epidemic. So we’re going to be launching this project without her, very sadly.
If you can, please help out by donating a few dollars to this extraordinarily worthy cause. You can donate via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Women Thinking Free Store and donate there.
This is literally an effort that will save lives. And, if you’re at Dragon*Con, come by and get vaccinated!
Posted in medical woo, skeptical community | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, anti-vaccination, anti-vaccination movement, anti-vax, anti-vaxxers, AVM, CAM, complementary medicine, David Gorski, DC, doctor, Dr. David Gorski, Dragon Con, Dragon*Con, health, medicine, Orac, public, Respectful Insolence, sCAM, science-based medicine, Skepchick, vaccination, vaccines, vax, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTFF | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 23, 2010
Welcome students! Now that we’re all gathered we can start this biweekly lesson on all things skeptical, paranormal, pseudoscientific, and just plain nutty. I want to thank you all for allowing me, the Skeptical Teacher, to present these lessons on behalf of my skeptical colleagues. It’s quite a long class, and I know there are other demands upon your time (the weekend is coming, after all), so let’s get started… notebooks & pencils out, please. Pay careful attention, because you never know when or where what you learn in Skeptic’s Class will turn out to be useful
First off, since I am a teacher & I’m into all that education stuff, I want to let everyone know about a new organization dedicated to providing skeptical outreach & education to women, the Women Thinking Free Foundation (or WTF Foundation ). I’m totally promoting this new organization not just because I’m a professional science educator who is interested in seeing more young women become interested in science & skepticism, but also because I happen to be on the WTFF board of directors (so promotion is, like, part of the job description). Here’s more info about the WTFF…
Our goal as an organization is to bring science, skepticism and critical thinking to the women of the Midwest. We’re planning some great events, campaigns and outreach programs to help provide women with the tools to fight pseudoscience.
Our next lesson comes from Phil over at Skeptic Money, where he puts a new, modern twist on The Last Supper – he calls it Last Supper With Scientists, where rather than revering various religious figures from Christianity one can bask in the imagery of famous scientists both past & present who have made arguably greater contributions to humanity than most religious figures. Can you guess who they are without peeking at Phil’s blog for the answers?…
Our next lesson comes from Down Under… Kylie at the well-known Podblack Cat blog has decided to share a few tidbits with us. First, there’s her list of skeptical Podblack Finds For 18th April 2010 – which include, among other things, a controversy over something called “Clitoraid” (sounds sexy), a tutorial on scientific skepticism, and superstitions about the money spider. Her second post is a very interesting take on a subject I’ve never seen addressed before – the issue of Deafness and Skepticism. Check it out!
The 360 Degree Skeptic then follows with a lesson that is of interest to many a skeptic, the question of Biblical fallibility, which is outlined in his post on Biblical Claims and Science. In a post that examines a more contemporary issue, he then goes on to explore the question of self-esteem as related to race and how “we would be wise to heed the quiet” of the neglected null in various forms of psychology research.
Next, Dr. Martin Rundkvist publishes a book review for us on how a U.S. sociologist travels to Denmark to study the Scandinavian view on religion and discovers that they pretty much don’t care about it, displaying a marked contrast to how the issue is often addressed (by both the religious & non-religious) in other parts of the world. The book is by Phil Zuckerman and is titled “Society Without God”, and Dr. Rundkvist’s comments can be read here.
Following that we have a few posts addressing a variety of medical woo, specifically a pair of posts on that skeptics’ favorite – homeopathy (one from Skeptics North and another from Science-Based Pharmacy). The folks at Skeptics North take on a popular homeopathic “remedy” called Traumeel while over at SBP they address the question of Homeopathy and Consumer Protection. In addition, the SBP takes some time to examine some… interesting claims regarding whether or not green tea & chili peppers can burn fat.
Our next guest is new to both blogging and the Skeptic’s Circle! Please welcome the librarian from the Labyrinthine Library, who is talking today about how recent earthquakes, volcanoes, and other assorted natural disasters are not evidence for The End of the World. In addition to referencing some nice earth science, the librarian also does a cool historical analysis on the topic and concludes – surprise! – there is nothing to fear.
Last, but not least, over at the Stuff and Nonsense blog we have a very informative post regarding how some doctors are continuing to push various forms of anti-vaccination woo. Some of these woo-ish arguments are new to me, so if battling anti-vax is something that interests you, head on over to read all about it.
Well, that’s all for now, thanks for attending. I hope you took good notes, because there’s going to be a quiz! Yes, I know I didn’t tell you that ahead of time, but you – as a dedicated student of skepticism – should be prepared to stand up for science & rationality at any time, announced or not.
See you in a couple of weeks, on May 6th, for the next class over at 360 Degree Skeptic!
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: 360 Degree Skeptic, anti-vaccination, Bible, blog carnival, blogs, chili peppers, Circular Reasoning, Clitoraid, deafness, Denmark, diet, doomsday, education, end of the world, fat, green tea, homeopathy, internet, Labyrinthine Library, Last Supper, money spider, neglected null, Orac, Podblack Cat, race, religion, Scandinavia, science, Science Based Pharmacy, self esteem, skeptic, Skeptic Money, skeptical community, Skeptical Teacher, skepticism, Skeptics North, Society Without God, Stuff and Nonsense, teacher, The Skeptics Circle, vaccines, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTFF | 5 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 20, 2010
For those of you who have submitted posts already for the 135th Skeptic’s Circle, thank you! If you haven’t submitted a post yet, please do so within the next 24 hours or so – my goal is to have all posts in by about 6pm Central Standard Time (in the U.S.) on Wednesday evening, so that I have plenty of time to assemble them all into one coherent rant… errr, blog entry
Send submissions to me at this address: marsmattus [at] yahoo [dot] com
Please make the subject title obvious, as I get a lot of spam and I don’t want to delete your post by accident. And if you miss the deadline by a wee bit, go on and submit something anyway – I might be able to work it in.
Cheers – Matt
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, internet, Orac, skeptic, skeptical community, Skeptical Teacher, skepticism, teacher, The Skeptics Circle | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 15, 2010
If you plan to submit a blog post for the upcoming Skeptic’s Circle on Thursday, April 22nd, send them to me at marsmattus [AT] yahoo [DOT] com. Try to get your entries to me by about 6pm Central Standard Time next Wednesday evening, so that I have enough time to get them all assembled into a fine skeptical lesson for our readers. See you then!
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, internet, Orac, skeptic, skeptical community, Skeptical Teacher, skepticism, teacher, The Skeptics Circle | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on April 10, 2010
The latest installment of the biweekly Skeptic’s Circle is now online over at the Divisible By Pi blog. It’s an odd-sounding name for a blog, but the author – Richard – explains: All of the nicest angles are divisible by pi. If you’ve done any first year university maths subjects, this should make immediate sense to you — the rest of you, likely, are going to require a bit more convincing.
Nice. In any case, it is a nice read, so go on and check it out…
Btw, the 135th Skeptic’s Circle is going to be hosted right here on April 22nd! Watch this space!
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, Divisible By Pi, internet, Orac, pi, skeptical community, skepticism, The Skeptics Circle | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 26, 2010
After skipping a beat, the Skeptic’s Circle is back with the 133rd installment. This particular installment is full of the standard skeptical message, but packaged in quite creative poetry & prose by the talented Digital Cuttlefish – in fact, my particular entries were met with a very succinct & complementary poem: “Skeptical Teachers, Are wonderful creatures.”
Go on and check it out!
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, Digital Cuttlefish, internet, Orac, skeptical community, skepticism, The Skeptics Circle | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 26, 2010
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and now it’s time for another round of the biweekly Skeptic’s Circle. This installment is hosted at the Providentia blog – a place where the author takes “A Biased Look at Psychology in the World”. And what’s the theme of the Circle this time around? Let’s just say that court is now in session on the woo-meisters…
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, Dr. Vitelli, internet, Orac, Providentia, psychology, skeptical community, skepticism, The Skeptics Circle | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on February 12, 2010
Time for another bi-weekly visit from the Skeptic’s Circle! This time our host is none other than Martin over at The Lay Scientist blog, a place that advertises “Our articles are cleverer than our slogans.” There’s some pretty interesting reading in this installment, so go on over and get started…
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, internet, Martin, Orac, skeptical community, skepticism, The Lay Scientist, The Skeptics Circle | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 28, 2010
The Skeptic’s Circle comes rolling along for another round of skeptical goodness from all corners of the Interwebs – this round is being hosted by the SkepVet Blog, a place where “A Vet Takes a Science-Based Look at Complementary and Alternative Medicine”. Read on to soak up the awesomeness
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: alt-med, alternative medicine, blog carnival, blogs, Circular Reasoning, complementary medicine, internet, Orac, skeptical community, skepticism, SkepVet, The Skeptics Circle, vet, veterinary | Leave a Comment »