Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Righteous Indignation: Part 2, QuackCast

Part 2, but it actually happened before part 1 chronologically on the episode.  Confused?  You have every right to be.

This week on R.I. Gavin Schofield of the Greater Manchester Skeptics joined Trystan, Marsh, and Hayley for episode 33.  Schofield is starting a new podcast with GMS in which they plan to mostly interview Skeptical Bloggers as the Indignates, according to Schofield, have locked up all the psychic researchers and scientists.  (I imagine Hayley has the guests sign a ironclad contract with no compete clause, while the poor guest is locked in a cigar smoke filled room.)

This week they read a very touching thank you letter from the parents of Dana McCaffery, she was the little girl who died of whooping cough in an area that had low whooping cough vaccination rates in Australia.  Then I had to hang my head down low as an American because I had to endure the sad but true tale that on Celebrity Big Brother Baldwin brother and actor Stephen Baldwin is a christian fundamentalist nut.  Apparently, he would rather have his daughter shot dead by a machine gun than for her to deny the divinity of Jesus.  (I am not making this up.)  Luckily, I can take heart that older brother Alec is a comic genius on dying NBC's "30 Rock."  Somehow, it all balances out in the end.

The show covered the now well known story of the sniper scope makers who put letters and numbers denoting bible passages on sniper scopes bound for the United States Marine Corp.  I know a lot of people are making a huge deal out this issue.  I agree if and when some local Islamic combatants want to tar Marines as new christian crusaders this sure helps the enemy's cause.  Yet, somehow the entire incident smacks me as childish and inane.  I would probably have mistaken the numbers and letters as parts numbers or something innocuous.  Still, it ought to be stopped.  Although maybe the Royal Marines could compete and have markings on their bayonets or tins of bully beef taken from the Book of Common Prayer.

Then the show covered other idiots bringing to Haiti not needed food, clothing, shelter, water cleaning supplies, etc. but recorded bibles in the native Haitian Creole to comfort those in the midst of a bible sized disaster.  Even worse (and I hang my head low as an American once again) John Travolta will be flying in a plane load of scientologists to do whatever wacky stuff they do.  They covered kooks claiming the excellent 10:23 Campaign is the work of the illuminati, and another nut who is suing for electronic sensitivity due to the neighbor's cell phone and wifi.  (If this is true then I must be frying half of Hershey, and the parts I am not polluting with my electromagnetic devices of doom, my dad covers at the other end of town.)

Then the final part of the show featured Trystan and Marsh's interview Alex Tasakiris which was covered in the Part 1 review posted previously.

QuackCast to make the blood boil.  

Quackcast with Dr. Mark Crislip featured a return to acupuncture, which was triggered by a column by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen on the alleged benefits of acupuncture.  Crislip methodically and entertainingly goes through the medical literature alluded to by Oz and Roizen and shows that acupuncture is still a bunch of magical thinking dressed in ancient Chinese wisdom.  It appears likely that Oz and Roizen either did not read the literature, they twisted it to suit their needs, or perhaps are poor at reading comprehension?  Then, as if that was not enough, Crislip discusses the possible growing use of acupuncture for pain relief right in the field for wounded servicemen, and for the victims of the Haitian earthquake.  It made my blood boil that victims of a terrible trama in this modern day and age might receive hocus pocus treatment.  As always, there is a reason why Crislip won a podcast award because his show is one of the most consistently educational and entertaining.

This is the 101st post on "the Skeptical Review."  The best posts were done by Karl, and my wife, but quantity has a quality all its own right?  No.  Well, it's been a swell time so far, let's see how I am doing at the one year mark.


  1. Congratulations on surpassing the 100-post mark! I've only just stumbled onto this blog, but I like it. ;-)

    Greater Manchester Skeptics

  2. "I imagine Hayley has the guests sign a ironclad contract with no compete clause, while the poor guest is locked in a cigar smoke filled room."

    So... who've you been talking to?

  3. I won't name names, but I will say I have a Toronto connection.

  4. I enjoy your blog. Just a question: why is it "christian" but "Islamic"?


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