ScienceSkepticism

Skepchick Quickies 6.26

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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41 Comments

  1. Hi, longtime reader, first-time poster.

    Love the CNN article. The headline focuses on the Pill and salon haircuts. But more than half the article talks about chiropractic adjustments, and then clarifies that it’s not salon haircuts, but the sink at the salon where you get your hair washed.

    Way to go, CNN!

  2. Imrryr:“I don’t want to spoil the “surprise” regarding quickie number 2 but Hell is just looking better and better to me.”

    As the saying goes, “Heaven for the weather, hell for the company.”

  3. Agreed, TheCzech. I would also point out that all the best bands would be playing in Hell since I doubt even the likes of Beethoven would escape the wrath of Fred Phelps. Population of Heaven: Jesus and maybe an apostle or two + Fred Phelp’s extended family. Population of Hell: 37 billion and rising.

  4. Well, at least CNN did a more even-handed report on this than the cell-phone brain cancer non-study a couple months ago. It was just meta-analysis of previous studies by some guy from AU or NZ and not even a new study.

    Maybe such a study exists, but I would love to see one where they have a cell phone at max power as allowed by the FCC next to a cadaver with a sensor on the inside of the skull. I wonder what percentage is blocked by the skull and surrounding tissue. Of course, they should do this at the highest allowed frequency, 1900 MHz. I guess unless it is 0% that makes it through, people will still be freaking out.

  5. WFWJP? (What Funeral Would Jesus Picket?)

    From the godhatesfags ‘article’:

    “We will picket George Carlin’s funeral. Amen”

    As one of my old classmates from Catholic high school would say, “Thanks. That’s mighty christian of ya”

    I think Jesus would want people to picket a funeral. I think its somewhere in Corinthians….near the back.

  6. Re: old school vs new school in the lab.

    I think this touches on some of rystefn’s “incorrect form vs bad form” comments in the 6.25 quickie.

    Basically, new school gets you there faster, but you can do more if you have old school experience.

    I worked in navy nuclear power for a few years.

    In that field all the procedures are very strict and deliberately simple (‘kits’ if you will) so you can get operators up and running very quickly (i.e. after a year and a half of training).

    After a few years of hands on, options are available to go back and learn the detail and reasoning behind the procedures (how the ‘kits’ work), so that you can develop better kits and/or do things unanticipated by the original ‘kit’ designers.

  7. Isn’t it just the ulitmate accolade to have the Phelps picket your funeral? It’s a real shame Carlin is’t around to have seen it.

    On a similar vein, when/if Thatcher dies (assuming the old witch is ever going to die) big party at my house the immediatley following Friday. Everyone’s invited, bring your friends, your own booze and your own fireworks

  8. I would love nothing more than to piss off Phelps enough to goad him into protesting at my funeral. For plenty of reasons.

    Not the least of which, because I’m Canadian, and we actually have laws against hate speech that we just might be able to nail him on. Which is probably one of the reasons that Westboro has never, to my knowledge at least, protested a funeral in Canada.

    That, and they probably couldn’t be arced with us anyway.

  9. I’m of two minds about regulating ‘hate speech’; who gets to decided what’s hateful and what isn’t? When is ‘hate’ justifiable criticism?

    I don’t like hateful people, but at the same time I see the same arguments used to ban ‘pornography’ or to prevent criticism of groups like Scientology.

  10. Can you imagine the backlash if they did picket Carlin’s funeral?

    I’m not suggesting that it is more unacceptable that they picket the funerals of fallen soldiers, (since picketing a funeral is about as tasteless as it gets) but more to point out the hilarious and vitrolic counter-attack to come from comedians who owe their careers to Carlin.

  11. This may sound a bit extreme, but I would like to abolish hate speech laws. It is almost as sticky as trying to have someone define “offensive” speech.

    I don’t like Phelps and think he is an asshole. But he can say anything he wants about me, and I’ll say what I want about him. Now he shouldn’t be able to trespass on private property to disturb a funeral, but I don’t see what you can do about him protesting publicly on the streets without endangering free speech.

    And for that matter, why the hell do we need hate crime laws? Does it matter whether some one kills because he is a racist, a thief, or a sociopath? If it is worse because he is a racist and we are criminalizing it more, then aren’t we criminalizing being a racist? Do we really want to criminalize someone’s thoughts, even if they are disgusting?

    I say hate crime is crime, and that is why we should punish it. We don’t need extra penalties for why you committed it.

  12. The hate speech laws in Canada are rather strictly defined. I don’t really know all the details, but from what I recall, they’re limited to advocating violence, and there’s probably a thing or two about advocating hatred on the basis of race, gender, faith, sexual orientation, and so on. There’s even a couple clauses exempting religious institutions under specific circumstances.

    I don’t know that it’s ever been challenged or upheld in court, but from the few instances I can recall, they’re kept pretty securely in the holster until they’re absolutely necessary.

  13. I agree with your stance on hate-speech laws. For my mind, free-speech is a package deal, you don’t get to choose which speech you don’t allow.

    The only exceptions, as far as I’m concerned, are in the cases of fraud and violence. A person can’t pretend to be a doctor or police officer and claim ‘freedom of expression’, nor can a person incite people to violence….so no ‘kill the jews’ talk.

    But other than that, freedom of speech IS the right to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

  14. I would agree with “Some Canadian Skeptic” on the exceptions, I think. Threating someone’s life isn’t covered under freedom of speech in my opinion, nor is defrauding some one. I am more undecided on slander/libel laws.

  15. There’s an interesting example:

    …nor can a person incite people to violence….so no ‘kill the jews’ talk.

    That’s protected under Canadian law, because Some Canadian Skeptic is citing an example, rather than actually advocating violence.

  16. Look, I’m just saying that if a crime isn’t a hate crime, why the Hell is it a crime in the first place? When’s the last you heard of someone getting mugged out of love? Hate crime and hate speech laws are crimes against humanity as far as I’m concerned. We need special clauses about inciting to violence, either – we already have a law about that. It’s called “conspiracy.” If you say to someone “you should go kill Bob,” and he kills Bob, it’s conspiracy to commit murder. How is it different if you say it to or about a group? Well, except that it’s a Hell of a lot harder for you to say “I never suggested that, it’s a lie” when you screamed it into a microphone in front of hundreds of people on the local news.

  17. Slander/Libel laws was mentioned above, so I thought I’d chime in, as I was actually threatened with a slander suit from my university.

    Technically speaking, slander is the “knowingly publishing a misrepresentation of fact”. The professors who threatened me had no case because they simply thought that slander meant “insult”. So they backed off when I dropped some mad-law on them.

    Can’t speak about libel though.

  18. Naw, slander is about misrepresentation of fact. In my case, I wrote an article charactarizing the teaching and discussion style in some of my courses to be “infantile”, and the department more or less threatened the paper with a slander suit. Since my characterization was an opinion and not a declaration of a fact, the department slunk away in embarassment.

    I mean, it’s not like I was saying, “you know what’s bullshit? Babies are teaching the course! and babies shouldn’t teach courses!”

    *sigh*

    I really need to get over it.

  19. In UK our hate-speech laws are almost laughable. Anything deemed offensive is covered, who decides whats offensive? The person making the complaint that they were offended!

    Liberals are so afraid of causing offence they see any critisim of anything as some kind of prejudice and have effectively changed the laws to match. Ah free speech, I used to love that, those were the days.

    Even to say “That Sir, is Humbug” is beyond the pale. The real hypocracy is that Muslim men send their daughter to Bradford to have their clitoris’s cut off (See Hitchens, Dawkins, and BBC) which london liberals have no problem with because “its part of their culture”, but when the non-muslim population speak out against this (especially if like me, you’re actually from the north) you’re a racist!

    I’m not a racist. I am an Islamophobe, Islam scares the sh*t out of me.

  20. I’m not even sure what post-modernism is any more. Isn’t “There are no meta-narratives” a meta-narrative in itself? And isn’t the whole idea of the meta-narrative just a side effect of the end of the european ‘christian’ paradigm rather than a description of reality?

    It won’t be long before the seven words you can’t say on TV will be: Humbug, Balderdash, Piffle, Poppycock, Codswhollop, Hogwash and Lickspittle.

    Good Day to you Sir! :-)

  21. Is ‘Bullocks’ still a curse-word in the UK? I’m 90% sure that if you say it backwards to the Queen she implodes.

    I tried saying ‘aboot’ backwards to our Governor General and the CSIS agents asked me to leave. But they were very polite.

  22. hey all… so I posted the stroke article on my gmail chat status line and I got a bit reprimanded by my med school friend. Just thought I’d pass along what he said to me… He looked up some peer reviewed articles on the issue, here’s one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204390
    He said the risk is almost nil (for chiropractor visits), and that none of the patients’ history was given in the article (i.e. were they obese? smokers?). They also may have been seeking chiropracty attention because of an impending stroke (i.e. the pain in her neck could have been a warning sign).

    I was also a little incredulous that a neurologist would first ask “have you been to a hair salon recently” as well… Don’t know any neurologits, but I would like to ask their opinion on that.

    He also gave me some stats on birth control’s risks for stroke:
    4/100 000 for the general population
    vs
    7/100 000 for those on the pill.
    Just to keep things in perspective: yes, the risk almost doubles – BUT it’s still only a slight risk. I think it also depends on what pill you’re on, some have been known to be a lot more harmful than others. And of course, avoid smoking if you’re on it!
    That’s my preachy-ness for the day. Just being sceptical of sceptical articles. :)

  23. So, does anyone know why Gardisil wasn’t approved other than the fact that women who need to be protected from HPV are dirty, dirty sluts? What happens at your 27th birthday that suddenly makes this vaccine unsafe/useless? I know that doctors avoid giving it to older women because most of them have HPV already, but I had no idea that it was unapproved for use at all. weird.

  24. Ah, but the risk for blood clots is higher than the risk of stroke. Blood clots can cause all sorts of fun problems that aren’t strokes. And the risk of blood clots in women who take the pill and smoke is enough that every gyno I’ve been to has given me the evil death glare while asking, “You don’t smoke, do you?”

    See, highly scientific measuring there. ;)

    And I’d still see a trained osteopath, physical therapist, or therapeutic masseuse before I’d see a chiropractor. It’s reassuring to know that whoever’s messing with my neck really knows the anatomy and how to not paralyze me.

  25. LOLkate, you can receive the Gardasil vaccine if you’re over 26 but it will not be covered by any insurance. Since the series of shots is quite expensive, that’s still a considerable hindrance.

    I’m not sure why 27 is the magic age, it must have something to do with infection rates. But the vaccine covers against multiple strains of HPV, so you’d think they’d offer it even to people who have likely been exposed to HPV previously.

    Good news is, the Gardasil manufacturers do plan to seek approval for using the vaccine on males. I know that’s profit-driven for them, but it’s still worthwhile for public health.

  26. lol @Amanda: I still can’t quite believe I ran to the aid of chiropractors!! I just felt I needed to pass on his info since he made a compelling case for me. Never had good feelings about them tho.
    ooo, did I just pun there?

  27. Here’s my condensed feeling on chiropractors:

    Are there good chiropractors out there? Yes. But they are doing the same thing a physical therapist could do for you. So why risk getting a bad chiropractor, who believes in “energies” and invisible subluxations when you could go to a professional who has to know their shit to keep their job?

    Yes, yes, I know there are reasons like price, availability, insurance coverage, etc. But like I said, this is the condensed version.

    And darwinfan, good for you. I love playing devil’s advocate, myself. It can be *really* hard to keep a straight face while doing so, though.

  28. Amanda,
    I guess I feel I need to chip in on the ‘chiropractors’ topic in light of your post and several others in this thread so far. Especially in light of this comment by you.

    “Are there good chiropractors out there? Yes. But they are doing the same thing a physical therapist could do for you. So why risk getting a bad chiropractor, who believes in “energies” and invisible subluxations when you could go to a professional who has to know their shit to keep their job?”

    I know that there are bad chiropractors out there, however, there are also doctors who think that a shredded ligament can be described as ‘just a soft tissue problem’ and who reckon the way to diagnose my shattered ankle was to say, ‘There is no way you have broken it. If you had broken it you couldn’t be walking on it’. As a matter of fact, I’d have to say that in my life so far, finding a good doctor, (GP or specialist), has been at least as difficult as finding a good, trustworthy, mechanic for my car.

    In other words, attempting to imply that all of chiropracty is sub-standard and dangerous because there are some idiots practicing it who believe in energy manipulation or because sometimes it goes wrong, (like in the case in the article presented), is no more valid than if I were to say, “Modern medicine is complete crap and utterly dangerous. You should stay away from doctors at all cost. Too often they injure or kill people with their incompetence, and yet their jobs are protected by the system anyway. Why else do you think their mal-practice insurance has to cost so much? Besides, there is always the risk, when dealing with doctors, that you will get one who thinks aliens built the pyramids.”

    It just doesn’t fly.

    I’m not saying that they are all perfect or that everyone should go to a chiropractor, but I find it suspicious that everyone is happy to listen to tales of how chiropractors got it wrong when they don’t pay any attention at all to the same tales about doctors. So, here are my stories about the doctors getting it wrong.. and a chiropractor getting it right.

    1) My wife has a deformation of the spine – the exercises that physiotherapist and osteopaths had given her in the past never did anything to fix it, just mitigate it. When she started seeing her chiropractor he not only accurately diagnosed the problem, (same diagnosis as provided by the doctors), but he proceeded to set up a treatment plan to correct it. Her spine is now straight, (she is actually taller than when she started.. not by much, but she noticed it). She only sees him every month or three now to keep it that way in conjunction with some exercises.

    2) Several years ago I slipped a disk and had a vertebra slightly shift position , (hurt like hell, I couldn’t stand up straight and my body actually became ‘crooked’. It’s hard to describe better than that but it was bad). I saw a doctor and he had a plan to fix it. I saw a chiropractor who also had a plan to fix it. The chiropractor was cheaper, didn’t involve surgery, and was successful.

    3) Most recently, my wife and I were in a car accident, (hit by a bus – and yes.. it was as horrifying as it sounds). Very luckily, we came out with nothing but bruises for me and grade 1 whiplash for my wife. We both saw doctors and were both treated appropriately. As follow up, my wife needed to see a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist not only didn’t help my wife’s whiplash, but she was making it worse. My wife ended up seeing a chiropractor who was seriously upset at the description of the treatment she had received from the physiotherapist, (it apparently didn’t follow any of the standard treatment guidelines for whiplash), and he proceeded to treat my wifes whiplash properly, (light stretching and light muscle resistance work aimed at the damaged muscles).

    Look, I could keep going. I used to be a military medic and I have stories from now till next Tuesday all about the times my docs got it wrong in both the civilian and military context. But my point with all of this isn’t to be negative about either doctors, physiotherapist, or anybody else. I just want to bring some balance to this.

    The implication in your comment was that traditional medical practitioners: Doctors, physiotherapist, etc… are in some way inherently more competent just because of the job they hold and that if they weren’t, they couldn’t keep their jobs. According to you, this is completely unlike chiropractors.

    I’m just saying… I would like to see that position backed up with full context before I can accept it.

    I want to be clear though.. I’m not supporting bad chiropractors. But as a developing field of preventative and post-trauma care for the spine I think that it has a lot going for it and is probably helping drive some good developments in the rest of medicine.

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