Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 10.1

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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18 Comments

  1. “In tight funding times, that’s going to get worse,” said Dr. Khalsa of Harvard, who is doing a clinical trial on whether yoga can fight insomnia. “It’s a big problem. These grants are still very hard to get and the emphasis is still on conventional medicine, on the magic pill or procedure that’s going to take away all these diseases.”

    I think I can see Dr. Khalsa’a problem – “conventional” medicine is not “magic,” it is “science”. Simple mistake… could happen to anyone.

  2. Another large study enrolled 570 participants to see if acupuncture provided pain relief and improved function for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. In 2004, it reported positive results. Dr. Brian M. Berman, the study’s director and a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, said the inquiry “establishes that acupuncture is an effective complement to conventional arthritis treatment.”

    Hrm… a study with a decent sample size, conducted by a group that seems to know what they’re doing, found that acupuncture was effective. Did they control for placebo effect? If not… well, then we have a study showing that acupuncture is effective.

  3. Happy birthday, Amanda! :-D Another trip around the sun completed!

    @Zoltan: There isn’t enough information about the study to make a judgment – which may well be the whole point behind the press release. “We’ll tell you just enough to make the average person believe it, but not enough to raise any doubts about the validity of what we’re saying.”

    “The Snows of Mars” sounds like the title of an Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov novel.

  4. we’re not too far off from snow in MN ourselves. i could see my breath this morning when i went outside. funny- now i’m inside at my office and i can still damn near see my breath! seriously doesn’t this place have some heat or something? happy birthday amanda and bill maher that was awesome. i hope the whole world was watching that one

  5. @Amanda – he is a dickwad but at least he is making an effort to stir the pot a little. Another comedian that I alternatively chuckle then cringe at. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)

    @Jen – good articles! I was thinking the same thing about the John Carter series. Michael Moorcock had some stories in a similar vein as well.

  6. Excellent drink choices. And MARS SNOW!!! TOO COOL!!! ASTRONAUT SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!

    Ahem. The inner four year old has been appeased.

    I guess the real question becomes, when a bunch of these alternative treatments turn out to be shams, what does the justification from proponents sound like? We should have a writing contest-see who comes closest to the real post-study handwaving.

  7. Good article about Bill maher’s new movie on CNN. See http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/10/01/film.religulous.ap/index.html

    Love this quote:
    “If I believe that Jesus is God and you believe Mohammed is God, then no matter how tolerant we are, we are never going to meet,” Charles said. “All you have to do is push that one more step, then somebody’s like, ‘You’re in the way of people believing in Jesus,’ and ‘You’re in the way of people believing in Mohammed,’ and the only answer is to kill you.

    “Unfortunately, that sort of thing dominates the religious landscape, not the Mother Teresas of the world. She becomes the aberration. … The altruistic wing of religion has been minimized and this militaristic, warmongering fundamentalism has become the dominant presence.”

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