Skepchick Quickies, 9.21


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

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  1. The study, which investigated the link between men’s penis size, body image and mental health, found that men who indicated a larger-than-average penis size had higher self esteem, better general health functioning and higher overall body satisfaction than those reporting an average or below-average sized penis.

    emphasis added

    It sounds from this bit that it is self-reported size, rather than the researchers getting out the measuring tape. This raises the possibility of false reporting, with higher-self esteem men saying they have a bigger penis. It’s possible that the correlation is going the other way. Those with high self esteem also think they have a bigger penis. Maybe general health functioning, overall body satisfaction, and perceived penis size are all correlated with higher self esteem.

    I may check into the actual study to see if this is just the expected error-prone media report.

    But nobody cares what I think about it, because I’m not really very good at anything, so I probably really shouldn’t bother.

    I am a Hedge

  2. Suzanne Somers gives blondes a bad name.

    And that takes some doing. “Blonde isn’t a hair color. It’s a state of mind…errr…mindlessness…”

  3. Thanks for the link, Jen (in full disclosure, I did send that link in myself….that paper in Vancouver really pisses me off, and the author of the article is the owner’s daughter).

    I just really feel the need to make a joke regarding the picture in the penis-size article…

    “Who watches the Watchmen’s di*k?”

    Okay….I feel better now.

  4. That first link makes me rage.

    First off, ever notice how the “toxins” referred to by people like Suzanne Sommers are never described past being…toxins? *Every*thing is a toxin, lady! *Water* becomes toxic if you drink to much of it! Focus, focus!

    On one hand, sometimes I wonder if there should be regulations against writing an *non*-peer-reviewed book on a scientific/medical subject. Stuff like Sommers’ book on cancer. She has no degree or authority to speak on the subject, and likely doesn’t even have any sort of research to back her up.

    On the other hand, that doesn’t stop people from hitting up degree mills for a diploma to slip past that law.

    On the third hand surgically grafted to my torso, people who have gone through degree mills for a diploma tend to have lest gullible dumbasses willing to listen to their advice. Not to say they *won’t* have gullible dumbasses willing to listen to them (see: Oprah’s guests), but still, it’d at least be somewhat better.

  5. @LtStorm: “On the other hand, that doesn’t stop people from hitting up degree mills for a diploma to slip past that law.”

    Diploma mills seem to be a good way to raise money. I’d be perfectly willing to, say, buy a PhD in Skeptilosophy from Skepchick University.

  6. I have issue with some of the conclusions about men’s health and penis size, specifically overweight men.

    I’m not sure if anyone has taken time to notice, but the penis has a specific base, and then fat covers it up, so, overwieght men would, IMHO, on average, have a shorter penile length than slimmer men. This could in turn, make the slimmer men have more self-confidence.

    Basically, its a correlation, not a causation.

  7. @Steve: That’s a great idea! Of course, I think it would be unethical to charge for a degree, how about some skeptical quiz. Charge for the quiz, and if you pass, you get a Ph.D in skepicism/free thought…

    Amy, Elyse, Sam, Amanda…are you paying attention?

  8. @infinitemonkey:

    Of course, I think it would be unethical to charge for a degree

    Are you accusing every non-free college and university in the world of unethical behavior? Heck, even the ‘free’ ones charge someone.

    I am a Hedge

  9. @Im a Hedge: My apologies for the lack of clarity of my statement. The gist is that any Joe Blow can’t order up a Ph.D. with their name on it. They can take a test-tutition- and get granted the Ph.D. status. Now, you want that on paper, ok, that’s a fee.

    But, Jen isn’t collecting money to sit in some low-lit room with a printer, just cranking out slips of paper that have Ph.D. written on them for people who clicked “add it to my cart”.

  10. @infinitemonkey:

    But, Jen isn’t collecting money to sit in some low-lit room with a printer, just cranking out slips of paper that have Ph.D. written on them for people who clicked “add it to my cart”.

    Uh, of course I’m not. *scurries to hide printing equipment*

  11. Not fancy gold or anything, though. You just get a pdf.

    Still, I am now a fully qualified Doctor of Magnet Therapy. So, if you have a headache, or AIDS, or something else, just get in touch with me and we can get you fixed right up. With magnets.

    I am a Hedge

  12. Hi there!

    Wha? …. 20 comments so far, and they aren’t all men weighing in with: “[cough] Guess that’s why my health is so good, then …. ayup [satisfied sigh]”.

    Wow. I don’t know whether to be shocked or disappointed with my gender.

  13. I’d like to slap Suzanne Somers myself, but I think my currently-on-chemo mother (with the improving blood chemistry numbers) would do it oh so much better.

    And as a bonus, it would be some exercise for her. Which would inspire her to eat some nutritious food and probably void some toxins in the process, so we all win!

  14. @Steve: I think this should be a study submitted to a peer-reviewed journal… because, in order to disprove it, more studies of chemo alone v. chemo+quack slapping would have to be conducted.

    Problem: Keeping those in the control group from joining the experimental group on principle.

  15. Woot! The wi-fi dowsing rod actually works – it “dowses” for wi-fi signals based upon sound signal-detection technology.

    I never thought I’d have “dowsing” and “works” that close to each other. ;-D

  16. @Some Canadian Skeptic:

    Thanks for that. I have a lot of really serious issues/complaints about the Georgia Straight, and this adds more fuel to my fire, so to speak. I’d noticed that the Straight had been running several articles promoting woowoo, and I’d wondered why. This goes some way to clearing that up.

  17. It seems that the has responded to the Skeptic’s cry of foul.

    There response is :Homeopathy doesn’t kill people, medical science does.

    the biggest threat to human health isn’t homeopathy; it’s that trip to your local hospital.

    Some Vancouver skeptics and myself (who is nowhere near Vancouver) are right now working our response…..stay tuned.

    At least we got their attention.

  18. @Some Canadian Skeptic:

    Wow, I would think neither homeopathy nor a trip the hospital ranked very high on the list of biggest threats to human health.

    Malaria? Hunger? Dysentery?

    (I also expect that you didn’t imply to them that homeopathy was the biggest threat to human health. What is it called when your opponent rephrases your argument in the form of a strawman? )

    I am a Hedge

  19. I guess that Suzanne Somers has forgotten that time that they took her to the hospital, anesthesized her, cut her open, removed a tumor and then sewed her back up.

    Which I understand. It was probably pretty traumatic, just like her radiation therapy. Which she also apparently forgot all about.

    Because she didn’t start promoting crap-based medicine until after that other stuff saved her life.

  20. The penis study is definitely flawed. Self reporting is notoriously inaccurate. I think I need help though. I pretty sure I can’t handle of of the phalluses fallacies in this study myself.

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