Exhausted. Long day. Links. Here.
Of course, everyone’s reading Dr David Gorski’s An open letter to Penn & Teller about their appearance on The Dr. Oz Show:
In general, you’ve been very good when it comes to quackery and various CAM therapies. (But I repeat myself.) That’s why it puzzles me to no end why you would lend your considerable talents to Dr. Oz, who has had credulous episodes on all manner of rank quackery and even worse.
I only just had the chance now to read the article and saw in the comments, an email exchange between Linda Rosa and Glenn Alai, the spokesman for Penn & Teller:
It was a tough call. We’ve done many shows with people whose views are VERY different from ours (Oprah, Glenn Beck to name two). It was also a way to reach an audience very different from our great fan base. The content of the show was negotiated to fit P&T’s sensibilities and now provides them with some comic fodder for their shows and when they attend skeptic conventions.
We hope you understand it was a hard choice and sometimes being seen in front of a crowd that would not normally subscribe to their beliefs and views can crack open the door to ethical, sensible and critical thinking.
On his other blog, David / Orac talks of two examples where interaction with the blog Age of Autism and Burzynski patients did not demonstrate particularly optimistic outcomes, yet this isn’t surprising – How “They” View “Us” on Respectful Insolence:
Now of this, however, is to say that we shouldn’t criticize them. Andrew Wakefield has done great harm, and as a cancer doctor and researcher I simply can’t abide Burzynski’s activities—and rightly so, in my opinion. Certainly, I’ve never pulled any punches. On the other hand, we do have to remember who are targets are and what our goals are. I have no expectation that I will ever be able to convince someone like the parents whom I quoted above. Occasionally, I actually do get through to such people, but it’s so infrequent that I can’t count on it. My goal is instead to put science-based information out there, so that the fence sitters and undecided can encounter it. If the occasional true believer listens, then I’ve done far better than I would ever expect.
According to the results of a Danish study released late last year, my Dutch friends are giving their daughter a less tangible but more lasting gift along with that bicycle: the ability to concentrate better. The survey looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school.
This is the first draft of a document intended to serve the entire Skeptical network/community. We are soliciting comments on this document to be incorporated into the second draft. Please send your comments and suggestions to comment (at) doubtfulnews.com with “media guide” in the subject line. Comments will be open until March 1st. In March, a final draft will be published.
Finally, tremendous congratulations to Mia Klose’s band, who after a solid dint of promoting their band for entry to the Sweden Rock Festival, has succeeded! Big thanks to everyone that voted; it also means that band member Jonny Scaramanga (interviewed on the Token Skeptic episode #123) will also be attending!