The skepdick was watching Dr. Oz last week at the gym ( A – the treadmill only gets a few channels and B – sometimes you have to watch shows that mostly spout bullshit in order to identify and correct said bullshit) and what do you suppose he was pushing on the poor unsuspecting audience this time?
If nothing else, hunny is delicious
You guessed it, a show all about poo. No, wait, it was about honey. Damn. Dr. Oz made five claims about the benefits of honey, all five of which I was skeptical as usual (no, I don’t think Dr. Oz works for Big Honey (although that does actually exist and probably paid for some of the studies we discuss below (okay, maybe not, I have no proof))). Let’s take these claims in order and see if he’s pushing his usual bullshit folk “wisdom” or if honey does indeed do what the good ol doctor says it can do.
The skepdick used to wake up at the crack of dawn every Saturday when he was a kid, head into the family room, and sit down in front of the television with a bowl of sugar and Rice Krispies for a marathon session of cartoons. Some of my favorites were SpiderMan and his Amazing Friends, Danger Mouse,Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Transformers, He-Man, and The Super Friends Hour. The phrase, “Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom…” still gives me shivers.
Dude, cool houseboat.
But my favorite cartoon was always Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (at least until it jumped the shark with that pissant Scrappy-Doo). Yeah the show was corny and it had an annoying laugh track (watch any show with a laugh track, listen for the fake laughs, and try not to be annoyed), but it was a lot of fun for a kid. Monsters, funny voices, spooky locations, and every episode it felt like I got to solve the mystery along with the gang. Looking back at the show now with my skeptical sunglasses I’m beginning to see some other reasons why it was so ground-breaking and fantastic. Grab a scooby snack and take a seat on the couch, let’s see why Scooby-Doo was the first, best, and pretty much only subversively skeptical television show ever made.
The skepdick often wonders, “What’s the harm?”. If you take a daily multivitamin, are you wasting money? Yes. Are you doing any real harm to your body? Probably not. There’s no real harm in believing in Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster (neither of which have any evidence of being real), nor is there harm in carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck (bad luck may be real, just ask any casino I’ve been to). My friends and I have a long running argument about how belief in reiki massage may actually be helpful (I say nay, they say yea. I’ve been dying to write that article, soon perhaps). You see where this is going, don’t you?
What’s the harm in allowing pseudoscience (any topic not scientifically proven to be real) to masquerade as real legitimate science?
More often that not we come across a case of how belief in pseudoscience causes actual harm. Whatstheharm.net is a fantastic site with hundreds of such examples. Examples of harm do not in and of themselves constitute a proper argument against the pseudoscientific belief, rather they serve as a warning against believing in the pseudoscience. The proper argument is that pseudoscience is not real. No good evidence, no good studies, no good reason to believe in it. These examples show how the belief in non-reality/fantasy can go horribly wrong.
The harm from pseudoscience is completely avoidable only if people start thinking critically. Let’s look at a very recent example of how belief in a pseudoscience like psychic abilities can be disastrous. Continue reading →
The skepdick heard about a new product claiming to waterproof your cell phone called Liquipel . While the company doesn’t mention nanotechnology in its own website materials, the phrase “watersafe nanotechnology” is mentioned liberally throughout most media reports and if you google waterproof nanotechnology you will find other self-proclaimed nanotech companies like NeverWet. Is this the new frontier in nanotechnology or is the word being used as a gimmick because it sounds sciency? Let’s get out our electron microscope and take a look.
The skepdick saw this news report today about how the parents of the Boston bombing suspects are convinced their sons are innocent and that they have been framed by the United States government which wanted to “eliminate them”.
Clearly the government would never do something as simple as just arresting these men weeks ago, right? No, instead the government chose to embark on a frame up job so complicated and widespread that it must have involved hundreds of people, none of whom is talking, and which must have begun weeks and even months ago. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in this conspiracy, shall we?
The skepdick saw the Book Of Mormon this week at the Bank of America theater in Chicago. Gonna give it 4/5 stars. I hadn’t seen the South Park Mormon episode so I wasn’t sure how they were going to approach the subject, but I assumed they would come at it pretty hard. Which is why I was disappointed when all they threw was a softball.
The skepdick saw the hobbit today and hasn’t looked at my watch more times in a movie since he fell asleep during Team America World Police. It just dragged on and on, like watching Return of the King on a loop. It was just a string of cheesy lame lines of dialogue and some basic action scenes with no suspense whatsoever. The acting was the only thing that saved the movie from being truly terrible.
The supposedly blow your mind away 48 frames per second didn’t seem any different to me. If the human brain can only process so many frames so that still photos become a movie, at what point does this end? If 24 is enough to simulate motion then what the hell is the point of 48? Is this like the 10 blade razor?
As for the movie itself, it was pretty inconsistent, like when the script writers needed something to happen or not to happen, they just wrote it in. For example, the dwarves are all easily captured by the goblins gathered up without a fight, and marched to see the goblin king. But when Gandalf arrives, all of a sudden they are able to pick up their swords and kick some ass. Ah, so now it says ‘fight’ in the script. Too much was contrived. I’m kind of pissed I paid money to see this in the theater. I certainly will wait for the next 2 (2? holy shit.) to come out on cable.