Sunday, April 29, 2012

Token Skeptic: A little Kumbaya and Questioning Cosmetics

Why not Kumbaya sometimes?

On the Token Skeptic Podcast Kylie Sturgess interviewed Chris Stedman who is  Interfaith and Community Service Fellow for the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University, and author of Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious.  Stedman shared his tale of being a once born again adolescent turned more moderate Christian complete with theological training to atheist.

Before this episode, I have never heard of Stedman, but I found Stedman's take of working with a number of religious faiths in various positive charitable causes quite interesting and ultimately uplifting.  Apparently, Stedman has caught a lot of flak by more strident non-believers for his policy of not only peace co-existence, but cross faith cooperation.  For the life of me, I find a hard time finding what is so terrible about crossing the faith/no faith barrier to help folks out.  I suppose some find him to be a sell out or he aiding and abetting "the enemy."

Sure people of faith and without faith work and get along everyday, it's just that the lack of religion issue is not brought up.  My experience has been that being a known non-church attendee at work is looked down upon, but living a life without a faith at all . . . forget about it.  Perhaps work such as Stedman's working side by side with the faithful can at least show a few people that the non-religious do not sit around in their free time engaging in orgies and mugging little old ladies when they walk out of the 7-eleven at night.  It might be revealed to the religious majority that people without a faith are actually just people too.  Needless to say, it was an interesting interview.

Makeup: skeptics take note.  

Kylie Sturgess recently released an episode which has been a work in progress for months.  Sometimes this can result in brilliance such as “Apocalypse Now” or in boring tripe such a “Ishtar.”  Luckily for the listener the episode has far more in common with Apocalypse than with Ishtar.

The episode, which is a companion piece to TS ep. 8, features three interviews.  One with former cosmetics chemist turned blogger, Perry Romanowski, one with an anonymous cosmetics blogger who has worked in the British cosmetics industry and is privy to inside secrets, and finally consumer advocate at Australia’s “Choice” magazine, Christopher Zinn.

I do not use cosmetics myself, unless the occasional aftershave counts.  (Lady has more beauty products lying around various nooks in the house and cars than I care to recall.)  Interesting, when I told Lady what was the topic of the latest TS, she exclaimed “yeah, there’s a lot of crap they are trying to peddle and push on people.”  Indeed, one would think cosmetics would be a common skeptical topic with all the ‘sciency’ sounding terms tossed about in the advertising along with the animations of blue blobs circling and targeting some throbbing red target under the skin in every other cosmetic television commercial.

Recently ads for some face cream call “stem cell therapy” have made the tv commercial rounds lately.  The use of the term 'stem cell' sets off the same 'oh oh' alarm as do the terms 'quantum' and 'ancient wisdom.'  While the harm caused used by a cosmetic touting the powers of stem cells may not cause the same level of harm as someone traveling to a Pacific Rim country to seek some unproven stem cell treatment of a mortal disease, it is still causing a likely waste of time and money.  At the very least it is setting someone for unmet expectation.  

I hope that others take up the banner of questionable cosmetic claims.  I know it is not a completely ignored topic, but it sure seems underserved to me.  There is plenty of room for this topic next to Bigfoot, UFOs, acupuncture, ghosts, psychic surgery, 9/11 truther conspiracies, antivaccination advocates, etc.  The episode despite is long birthing process really only seems to have scratched the surface.  I hope Sturgess and others follow up.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, stem cell therapy in cosmetics is complete BS. They don't even use human stem cells but rather apple seed stem cells.

    We've been covering the topic of skepticism in cosmetics since 2006 on our blog


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