"A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." - Dr. Steven Novella of The New England Skeptics and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.

Skeptical about Coma man?

I have been following this case for the past couple of days mainly because of a sense of terror at being stuck inside an unresponsive body for 23 years while being fully concious! He is apparently able to type his words on a computer, and is even planning on writing a book. This sounded so amazing that at first I was willing to just accept the mass media reporting.

However, after the initial shock and horror wore off I started following some of the more skeptical blogs out there to see what was really going on.

Site Logo

Hey all,

I've checked with Crispian Jago who had the original of this image. Crispian has told me that he actually found the image via a google image search and that he's not been able to find the original artist. He's also asked around a lot and no one thinks the original artist would have an issue with it being used the way we're going to use it.

November 20, 2009

Announcing a new Meetup for Wellington Skeptics in the Pub!

What: regular pub fare
When: November 20, 2009 5:30 PM
Where: Kitty O'Shea's

[SitP] Tuesday 2009-12-01

Announcing a new Meetup for Christchurch Skeptics in the Pub!

What: Fortnightly Tuesday Meetup

When: December 1, 2009 6:00 PM

Where:
The Twisted Hop

"New Image" colostrum and stem cells

I listened to a good 'Mediawatch' podcast this morning. You can listen online here:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch

Great to hear a skeptical view on a mainstream radio station, but it was a concern to hear that Maori TV (and other stations) had effectively promoted dubious health claims from a Multi Level Marketing company "New Image".

The NBR article is also a regurgitation of a press-release from the company:
http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/new-image-profit-soars-109247

How to spot an AIDS denialist

Excellent article from Seth Kalichman, author of "Denying AIDS". In addition to dealing with AIDS denialism, it's an good primer for what to look for in other forms of denialism as well. Denialism

Psychic Fail

This is a good case to use on those people that tell you that psychics solve criminal cases. It's not hard to see that instead of solving this UK case, the psychics introduced costly red herrings. It seems the investigation was done to reassure the family after they were fed bogus information about the death of their loved one.

Detectives launch £20,000 murder inquiry after bogus tip-off from mystics: Police spent £20,000 scouring the country for a lion, a horse and a Mr Fox following a tip off they were told had come from the ghost of murdered man.

Regular blessings

Why is it that any time a new building, road, exhibition is opened there is felt to be a need to hold a blessing? In New Zealand these blessings are normally carried out by a Maori elder, who I presume would be christian. Are other faith leaders invited to perform these blessings? is there a tender process to decide who does the blessing?

The latest in these ridiculous blessings is taking place in wellington, where the police will mark the start of a new road safety initiative tomorrow by blessing a car involved in a local alcohol-related crash.

What is the point???

Surely if the blessing is any good it should have been carried out before the crash!
If blessings can help with alcohol related crashes maybe all cars should be blessed when they are parked outside bars?! This could be a nice little earner for local Kaumatua.

This sort of stupidity seems to me to be more about appeasing certain groups of people than actually having any tangible benefits for the people involved. Though please let me know if you have any proof to the contrary.

Calling potential Podcasters and support staff

Hey all,

I have set up separate forum for the management, preparation and planning for a New Zealand based podcast. This forum is restricted so that we can have some privacy during the planning and pre-posting of each episode. It is, however, open to anyone that is willing to participate.

Member Profiles

Hey all,

Just a quick note to let you know that I've enabled profiles on the user accounts. I've added Name and City/Town as required fields. This is so we can get an idea of where we are all located and our actual names (instead of the current usernames).

The other reason for collecting the City/Town is so I can figure out where to start planning new SitP meetups and you can locate other skeptics in your area.

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