Junkfood Science: 55th Skeptics Circle

March 01, 2007

55th Skeptics Circle

The 55th Skeptic Circle is up at Second Sight and EoR has bowed to the higher energies of the universe in compiling this edition in honor of this special occasion. He used the numerological vibrations of the contributors in organizing the submissions because, as he explains, the 55th circle “doubles the vibrational energy of the number 5, and the numerological value of this edition returns us to the beginnings (5+5=10 reduced to 1+0=1)....Numerology is, of course, a science that has been proven by thousands of years of traditional use, dating back to at least Babylonian times. And they probably got it directly from the Atlanteans. Who got it from the interdimensional Martians.”

So which numerological value did he use? He explains his decision: “EoR chose the poster's nom de blogue since this, being chosen at a subconscious level, represents the true inner symbolism of the blogger on their particular quantum karmic path, and just added the numbers up to reveal the inner secrets of your soul.”

You get the fun tone of this edition and there are too many great articles to list them all. Junkfood Science readers may especially enjoy a few of my favorites.

Let’s start off with breakfast. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or your favorite brew and be prepared for some good belly laughs.

[Oh, you did hear about the latest study, didn’t you? Coffee is back “in.” Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College reported last week in the American Journal of Nutrition that the higher the caffeine in drinks consumed, the lower the relative risk of heart disease among people as they age. :) ]

While getting ready to dig into a complete bacon and egg breakfast, Saga of Runolfr took a close look at the fine print on the package of special (and no doubt expensive) eggs claimed to be “all-natural, vegetarian-fed eggs” and labeled “Born Free.” Vigilence can help us not be taken in by those selling us feel-good beliefs about our food.

You’ll probably want hash browns with your eggs. Huw Lynes examines the actual scientific evidence behind claims that genetically modified potatoes are unsafe for human consumption and finds a fair amount of mischief behind those trying to scare us about our potatoes!

Polite company explains how the magical properties of fruits and plant foods to cure and prevent diseases are divined. There’s a serious side to such magical thinking, however, when it hurts people, especially the poor and sick.

Reading the morning paper, Dr. Clark Bartram shares a wonderful article, “Extra! Extra! Part II: Murderous Rampaging Teens Hunting Down Homeless.....

When the mass media isn't misrepresenting medical information, leaving a trail of poorly researched conclusions and false hope in its wake, it is preying on our fears and insecurities over most every other aspect of our lives. I don't think that the people who write articles, or produce television segments, are bad people for the most part although I have no doubt that some do intentionally exaggerate or even lie in an effort to garner praise, ratings, or just a reputation....

Either way we are at least partially to blame. If we just turned off the television, canceled our subscriptions to People Magazine, and changed our home page from CNN to The Onion things might stand a chance of changing. Do we really need to know why Brittney Spears shaved her head or what some celebrity named their son? Do we really appreciate being told about the hidden dangers that lurk around every corner and might be about to kill us right now as we watch this program(but won't be revealed until later in the program!)?.....

This specific example, along with several others later in the article, is used as a springboard to spread fear that serves no purpose. It does not educate, because the statements made in the article are entirely misleading and no suggestions on how to fix this pseudoproblem are provided. It will not lead to any benefit for the homeless but it may lead to the all too typical reality of throwing money at a problem that doesn't really exist....

He goes on to look at the science and myths surrounding violence against the homeless, the prevalence of real health and starvation problems among them, and how we can best help to alleviate their suffering.

And there were two posts with serious messages behind delightful, belly-hurting humor.

In a post titled, “The Ancient Chinese Art of Separating Fools and their Money,” Amy Alkon at Advice Goddess Blog examines the scientific evidence behind of feng shui, especially popular in California, it seems. She lambasts “whichever twit hired the architect who hired some chick to have the monkey house at the L.A. Zoo...get this...feng shui-ed....Los Angeles [taxpayers] paid $4,500 to a feng shui consultant to ensure that the three endangered monkeys will have health, happiness, fertility and, of course, a strong life-force energy, in their new digs.”

And professor Akusai at Action Skeptics googled “quantum touch,” claimed to be “an all-new, all-awesome way to heal yourself.”

How does this amazing process work? In principal the Quantum-Touch practitioner learns to focus and amplify life-force energy, which is most often referred to as “Chi” or “Prana.” This is accomplished by combining various breathing and body awareness exercises. When the practitioner holds a high vibrational field of life-force energy around an affected area, through a process of resonance and entrainment, the client naturally matches the vibration of the practitioner, allowing one’s own biological intelligence to do whatever healing it deems necessary....I like the implication that "biological intelligence" is something separate from "regular" intelligence, like it's your body's ability to, well, create a high vibrational field.

Akusai goes on to explain how quantum is used to enhance other alternative healing modalities and the difference between life-force energy and electricity. As part of his cautionary tale, he also exposes the “authorities gushing all over it” — doctors, professors, and other credentialed professionals from reputable institutions and universities — and the “research” from various journals with “very medically sounding” names. Finally, he answers: “So is there any evidence that QT can do any of the things it says it can do?”

EoR has succeeded in “Rebalancing, realigning, detoxifying and maintaining the skeptical worldview.” Thank you, too, for including my posts — The alternative energy bunny....just keeps going and going and Fears of foods, contaminants and modern life in this special edition.

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