Sunday, December 14, 2014

Skepreview is not dead. Just taking a nap.

I have been quiet as of late.  I have had a bit of writer’s block, or at least a bout of writer’s unhappiness.  For whatever reasons swirling in my brain, the last few pieces I have drafted have come out as angry.  Angry not against the cultural competition, but about fellow skeptics.  All the in-fighting and sniping has been wearying.  I have no desire to be an angry type of blogger.   

I do plan on authoring a post on my end of the year thoughts.  I doubt there will be many surprises in it. 

Lately, I have been listening to a lot of “The Great Courses’" series on Audible.  It’s all been history related, and the current series I am enjoying “Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations” with Professor Brian M. Fagan.   What I found interesting with this series is it is very science heavy.  Much of what we know from this part of human history is based upon radiometric dating, genetics, and climatology.  As a science enthusiast and history guy, I find the combination wonderful, but I do wonder if for some if all the science talk is mumbo jumbo or if for others this entire course is nonsense as it all is clearly not in accord with biblical history.  I do enjoy it when my interests overlap. 

Of note on the skeptical podcast front, Dr. Stuart Robbins of Exposing PseudoAstronomy has produced a lengthy but interesting take down on the alternative scientific views of James McCanney in two episodes.   McCanney's notions and 'scientific' ideas are numerous and varied.  They are also not just unconventional but flawed.   I do not recall ever hearing of McCanney prior to this episode.  Although I have heard of his ideas, which range from the electric universe theory, Apollo moon hoax notions, an alternative view of what are comets, and on and on.  Dr. Robbins, as always, is thorough in his criticisms and in this instance perhaps almost overly generous toward the subject.

Also of note, Dr. Mark Crislip of Quackcast, Science Based Medicine Blog, and new Society for Science Based Medicine has just released a slew of new episodes.  This did put a smile upon my face, and so far I have listened to Chaperons Needed, Why get a flu shot, Homotoxicology, and In the Spirit of Choosing Wisely.  All of which were released today on December 14, 2014.  Not sure what caused the backlog or if this is a new release strategy.  Each episode is about 10 to 15 minutes in length and as always Crislip's wit and take no prisoners attitude abounds.  I particularly enjoyed In the Spirit of Choosing Wisely.  

Luckily there are no acupunctures sites
on the genitals. (Wiki)

Within real medicine, there is a group that puts out a list of top five things to avoid or at least be wary of by a patient when speaking to their doctor.  Crislip takes method promotion of best practices by avoidance of worst practices, and turns it towards alt medical practices listing ten alternative medical practices to avoid.  The obvious ones such as using sterile techniques in acupuncture and avoid chiropractic neck manipulation are covered as well as others.  He ends this episode asking if alt med providers do the same thing.  List out treatment modalities within their own field to avoid.  I thought it was a nice little twist at the end.  I never heard of the alt med notion of homotoxicology, which is another unified theory of what makes people sick that not surprisingly is rubbish. 

Dr. Crislip and Dr. Robbins both have produced some good listening material to enjoy while the holiday season sweeps the Industrialized world.  If you still have some online shopping to do, and you use Amazon, consider clicking through Amazon through the link on Doubtful News.  You'll get some shopping done and a small bit of money will flow into DN's coffers to keep that site in the black. Also, December 14th is Torkel Ødegård's birthday, so I get to wish him a happy birthday.  If you see T today, wish him well.  

1 comment:

  1. Regarding being perhaps too generous to McCanney: I would rather do that than not. I think it's a fine line to walk, especially with something like his claims, and I would rather err on the side of being too generous/kind than not, if only so that my critics MUST lie to say I've been mean and resorting to ad hominems. I'm also cognizant of a post you wrote over a year ago regarding the SGU and Rebecca bringing up the latest bigfoot claim and dismissing it out of hand. You wrote something to the effect that it was flippant, and a person who was just encountering skepticism for the first time and had chosen that episode would be turned off by it, n'er to return. I've kept that in mind and try to approach each instance of each topic as though it's almost the first time I'm talking about it and to not be too dismissive of it, or at least to refer to a previous episode where I talked about it in-depth (like the part 2 McCanney episode on Venus, telling y'all to go back to the Velikovsky episode for more on that).

    That said, I was afraid that the two-parter might come off as too mean, considering that I was repeating over and over again that McCanney was wrong.


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