News From Around The Blogosphere 5.4.11

May 4, 2011

1. Mark Geier is stripped of his medical license – For those who don’t know, Mark Geier and his son David have been “treating” autistic children with chemical castration for several years now. As far as I’m concerned, that puts them pretty much write behind Osama bin Laden on the list of worst human beings alive. Oh, that’s right. Osama’s dead. That might possibly bump father and son Geier up to worst people on Earth. So I’m delighted to hear that the Maryland medical board decided to strip Mark Geier of his medical license. You can see the official 48-page decision in .pdf format here. Also, Orac chimes in on the news here.

2. Robots learn to share -This article is deceptively more about the evolution of altruism than robots, but still pretty interesting and worth the read:

Using simple robots to simulate genetic evolution over hundreds of generations, Swiss scientists provide quantitative proof of kin selection and shed light on one of the most enduring puzzles in biology: Why do most social animals, including humans, go out of their way to help each other? In the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, EPFL robotics professor Dario Floreano teams up with University of Lausanne biologist Laurent Keller to weigh in on the oft-debated question of the evolution of altruism genes.

3. Acupuncture needle found in former South Korean president’s lung

Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo was admitted to hospital with a bad cough and ended up on the operating table to remove an acupuncture needle from his right lung.

So let’s look at the cost/benefit ratio. Acupuncture has no benefit, and it can possibly kill you.

“I can’t figure out how the needle got into there,” Dr Sung Myung-whun was quoted as telling reporters at the hospital after the operation. “It is a mystery for me, too.”

Call me crazy, but I suspect the needle “got into there” while you were callously jabbing them into the man’s body. Just a thought. How appropriate that “woo” is in the ex-president’s name. I think comedian Dmitri Martin had the best response to acupuncture.

4. The illusion of being watched can make you a better person – We’re already well past the final nail in the coffin of the Christian view of morality, but here’s just another interesting incite into human behavior. Not only do we tend to act more morally when being watched, but we even do so when we see posters of staring eyes.

5. Facebook finally answers age-old question of who’d win in a fight: Jesus or Batman?

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News From Around The Blogosphere 5.25.10

May 26, 2010

1. Florida teacher attacked by co-workers with holy water – This caused the atheist teacher to instantly renounce her heathen ways, get down on her knees, and suck Jesus’ cock. Okay, actually it had no effect on her whatsoever other than making her all wet. Praise Jesus!

2. Everybody Draw Mohammed Day cause Muslim radicals to retaliate…against the Jews…and against history – Radical Muslims already hated the Jews and already hated history. But now they’re so outraged about EDMD that they’ve decided to conflate atheism with Judaism and respond by denying the Holocaust:

Much of the injustice that takes place in our world stems from ignorance. We reject being emotionally blackmailed by Hollywood tales and holocaust museums which legitimize the war crimes and crimes against humanity of the extremist Atheist regime of Tel-Aviv.

Good job, guys. That’ll show us.

3. Acupuncturist pricks hole in rape conviction – Okay, this is one of the craziest stories I’ve ever heard. Three men who spent a decade in jail on a rape conviction were freed because an acupuncturist claimed to know they were virgins. How you might ask?

She said examination of a pressure point beneath the convict’s ear showed a small capillary was unbroken, which Vietnamese traditional medicine holds to mean that he was a virgin. Hong then examined the other two men.

“I recognised these three men had never had sex with women,” Hong said.

Ohhhhh! That makes sense [rolling eyes] But this managed to be enough to reopen the case, which in turn led to the discovery that the initial investigators had made some mistakes. Wow, so maybe acupuncture has finally succeeded in doing something after thousands of years of doing absolutely nothing.

4. Now it’s Copernicus’ turn – The Catholic Church has pardoned Galileo. It’s pardoned Darwin. And now, after only 450 years, Nicolaus Copernicus was given a hero’s burial. So I guess it’ll be at least that long before the Catholic Church embraces the iPad and Steve Jobs…unless he goes out and starts raping kids. Then they’re likely to make him a saint or something.

Speaking of which:

Child rape you can believe in

5. Obama Administration supports child rapists. Wish he’d mentioned that in the campaign

In a strongly worded brief for the United States Supreme Court, the Obama administration has sided with the Vatican in an Oregon lawsuit that names the Holy See as a defendant for its role in the sexual abuse crisis.

In effect, the brief asserts that the standards for an exception to the immunity that foreign governments enjoy under American law have not been met in the Oregon case.

This is completely unacceptable and I urge everyone to contact the White House to express outrage over this decision.

6. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the verge of repeal:


News From Around The Blogosphere 2.25.10

February 26, 2010

1. A new study suggests acupuncture is good for depression in pregnancy. . .or does it?

In other words, acupuncture specific for depression produced an effect that was not different from that of one of the controls. But by creating a group that combined non-specific acupuncture (ineffective) with massage (effective), they were able to create a composite that was ineffective, and then they compared the experimental group with the composite. But that doesn’t change the fact that acupuncture for depression was no better than massage.

Have the authors shown that acupuncture specific for depression is effective for treating depression in pregnant women? I don’t think so. If it offers no advantage over massage, we can forget about acupuncture and simply offer depressed pregnant women a day at the spa. It is no less effective and probably far more enjoyable.

2. Smile or Die:  How positive thinking fooled America and the world – In her new book, Barbara Ehrenreich presents the evidence of numerous studies demonstrating that positive thinking has no effect on survival rates. She also provides testimonies that suggest that possibly great harm comes from this false hope.

Pity, for example, the woman who wrote to the mind/body medical guru Deepak Chopra: “Even though I follow the treatments, have come a long way in unburdening myself of toxic feelings, have forgiven everyone, changed my lifestyle to include meditation, prayer, proper diet, exercise and supplements, the cancer keeps coming back. Am I missing a lesson here that it keeps re-occurring? I am positive I am going to beat it, yet it does get harder with each diagnosis to keep a positive attitude.”

New Age mysticism may sound harmless enough but here is a great example of how dangerous such irrational beliefs are.

3. A gene mutation is linked to autistic symptoms in mice – Once again, this is research that would not exist if J.B. Handley, Jenny McCarthy, and their anti-vaccine cohorts were making the decisions because they have zero interest in exploring the genetic basis for autism.

4. Stem Cells restore sight to blind mice – I feel like this news story is a rerun. Anyway though, once again this is research that might not have existed if George Bush was president.

An international research team led by Columbia University Medical Center successfully used mouse embryonic stem cells to replace diseased retinal cells and restore sight in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. This strategy could potentially become a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately one in 3,000 to 4,000 people, or 1.5 million people worldwide.


Asheville, NC: The woo capital of the world

April 7, 2009

Asheville, North Carolina has bigger problems than a completely unnecessary “e” in their name:

From massage therapy to acupuncture to chiropractic, Asheville boasts one of the highest concentrations of alternative medicine practitioners in North Carolina and the United States.

But while the city is home to nearly 2 percent of all alternative medical practices in the country, these therapies have remained largely separate from traditional western medicine in the area.

Hmm, I wonder if my favorite North Carolina quack Rashid Buttar is near there.


Parade Magazine–shills for alternative medicine

January 28, 2009

complementary-medicine-for-dummiesParade Magazine’s medical “expert” wants you to know that some alternative therapies really work. Okay, this is the third time since I started this blog in July that Parade Magazine has actually promoted sCAM medicine. To get a real sense of how shoddy “Dr”. Mark Liponis’ arguments for sCAM medicine are, here are his opening 2 paragraphs:

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as many as 62 percent of Americans use some form of alternative medicine. But few of these treatments are covered by the average medical-insurance plan. The NIH estimates that Americans spend between $36 billion and $47 billion out of pocket each year on alternative therapies such as acupuncture or meditation.

So, do they really work? With government funding, science is expanding its study of alternative and complementary treatments. Some, but not all, are showing positive results. And many of the most successful methods involve “mind-body therapies”—techniques that use the power of the mind to help heal the body.

He starts off light with a little ad populum fallacy. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that millions of dollars are spent each year on the same water that you can get for free from your tap. And hey, millions of Americans buy cigarettes, so that MUST mean it’s good for you! Give me a break! In that case, Doc, I’ve got some magic beans I’d like to sell you.

Then he’s flat-out dishonest about the results of the research. Every carefully designed study has shown that even sham acupuncture (as in acupuncture where the needles aren’t put in the right places) worked better than the real thing, while only poorly designed studies have suggested acupuncture is in any way beneficial. It seems that the better the study, the smaller the perceived benefit. Why might that be? Simple. Acupuncture doesn’t work.

For instance, take this study from just a few days ago. Or this study from last month. Or this summary of the history of acupuncture research.


News From Around The Blogosphere 01.21.09

January 21, 2009

Illinois mandatory moment of silence law was “sham,” says judge – The law was passed last year but high school student (and atheist) Dawn Sherman filed a lawsuit. Today, the final ruling (PDF) came in from Judge Robert Gettleman:

“For all of these reasons the court concludes that the amendment has no clear secular purpose, and that the stated purpose is a sham.”

I suspect the Christian Right is already trying to paint him as an evil “activist judge” trying to hijack democracy.

Religion as the ultimate Big Mac – (By the by, this is at Suicide Girls, so might be slightly NSFW.)

Acupuncture works … as a placebo.

UFO declared by the Chinese government.

WHAT’S THE HARM?

groin-kickChild Sacrifice – Last year 11-year0old Kara Neumann of Wisconsin died from a treatable form of juvenile diabetes because her parents foolishly trusted faith healers. And despite the outcome, the parents are not remorseful and still believe in the faith healer. But now they’re going to trial.

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergencyScientists Agree Global Warming Is Real – “While the harsh winter pounding many areas of North America and Europe seemingly contradicts the fact that global warming continues unabated, a new survey finds consensus among scientists about the reality of climate change and its likely cause.”

Smoking Linked To Most Male Cancer Deaths – “The association between tobacco smoke and cancer deaths — beyond lung cancer deaths — has been strengthened by a recent study from a UC Davis researcher, suggesting that increased tobacco control efforts could save more lives than previously estimated.”

Hobbit Is Not Human, Skull Study Finds – “In a an analysis of the size, shape and asymmetry of the cranium of Homo floresiensis, Karen Baab, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Anatomical Scienes at Stony Brook University, and colleagues conclude that the fossil, found in Indonesia in 2003 and known as the “Hobbit,” is not human.”

THE FUNNIES:

Captain Picard responds to Rick Warren:


News From Around The Blogosphere 01.02.09

January 3, 2009

creationism-cartoon-i-will-not-teach-horse-shitDid science crush creationism in Texas – This has been major battle in the school board over the last few months but it looks like it might be yet another victory for science and reason. 2009 is already shaping up to be a bad year for creationists since Kent Hovind appeal was also rejected a few days ago. Good work, Texas scientists and educators!

And ever since the creationists lost the Dover Trial, Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute has been trying to spin their defeat as just part of the evil Leftist scientist conspiracy. Lately he’s been taking aim specifically at one of the chief witnesses at that trial, Biologist Dr. Ken Miller. Here, Miller addresses Luskin’s weak charges and smokes him again.

12 Elegant Examples of Evolution

STATS dubious data awards for 2008 – Awards for “some of the worst abuses for science and statistics in the past year.” Some of the cases presented relate to bisphenol A in plastics, The Physicians Committee for “Responsible” Medicine (quotation marks mine), the alleged rainfall and autism connection, toxic shower curtains, acupuncture and fertility, and of course pixie dust.

Christian Right upset over eco-friendly Bible:


ATHEIST DISCRIMINATION:

foil-hatOld, Senile, and Ignorant – Charlie Daniels gets up on his appropriated named “Soapbox” to bitch and complain about how atheists are responsible for 9/11 while revealing that he knows nothing about atheists and hasn’t bothered to read any of the recent atheist literature. If you replaced all references to atheists and replaced it with women, blacks, Jews, gays, or any other marginalized group, people would be outraged. But it’s atheists, so it’s all okay.

thestupiditburnsA bus matron who was supposed to be assisting a young man with cerebral palsy abandoned him in the bus, still strapped to his seat while it was parked in the bus depot. . .for 17 hours because she didn’t want to be late for church.

The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without Gods – Eric Maisel’s new book tries to answer the question, “How can a person make meaning in a universe that cares nothing about meaning?”

AND NOW FOR A MOMENT OF SCIENCE:

scientist-use-in-case-of-emergency12,900-year-old Nanodiamond-rich Soil Found – “Abundant tiny particles of diamond dust exist in sediments dating to 12,900 years ago at six North American sites, adding strong evidence for Earth’s impact with a rare swarm of carbon-and-water-rich comets or carbonaceous chondrites, reports a nine-member scientific team.” According to Young Earth Creationists, that soil is 6,900 years older than the whole universe.