Tuesday, April 20, 2010

James Randi @ TED 2007

Legendary skeptic James Randi takes a fatal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills onstage, kicking off a searing 18-minute indictment of irrational beliefs. He throws out a challenge to the world's psychics: Prove what you do is real, and I'll give you a million dollars. (No takers yet.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

DNA Replacement Therapy

The Cleveland Skeptics recently attended the Gift of Light Psychic Fair, where I came across fliers on DNA Replacement and DNA Implantation distributed by Dr. Steve Glasgow. Trust me, you really want to click the links to see the fliers in all their glory.

I didn't do more than glance at these fliers until after I left, otherwise I would have certainly engaged Dr. Glasgow in some conversation. I thoroughly regret my mistake. Once home, I could not find any references to DNA replacement and implantation of the New Age sense on the web. However, one of the fliers says that his treatment is much more than DNA "activations" out there so I used that as my starting point. Although I was convinced that this DNA therapy must be something new, I saw that Orac talked about DNA Activation on his blog, Respectful Insolence, long ago. Orac described the amusing claims made by Toby Alexander's site, DNA Perfection but I also found others, including one by Deena Douglas. The basic shtick is we are only utilizing two strands of our DNA when there are really 12 (or more) that could all be up and running. (I thought DNA working overtime is a cause of cancer growths, but who's counting?)

DNA Perfection offers activation of 12 strands of DNA, while Denna Douglas offers 24 strand activation. Well, who you gonna go with?? But wait, there is more! Dr. Glasgow speaks of 144 strands, yes, 144 strands of DNA. It reminds me of the "7 minute" abs scene from There's Something About Mary. I should offer to do 20,736 and see if he twitches.

Let's pull our toes out of the pool and jump knee deep in horse doo-doo, shall we?

The DNA Replacement flyer first states,
...the "Original Human DNA" has been located in a sealed ancient stone container... A starter of the "Original Human DNA" is placed in your body and allowed to grow and expand. This is the original DNA that humans had when the first arrived on this planet.
Ancient stone container? Placed in my body? First "arrived" on this planet?

Maybe I shouldn't be so shy about having this DNA placed in my body. After all, "no human touching of any kind is involved," because it is, "physically implanted into the human body through a multidimensional spiritual process called apportation." This is done by the "Doctors and Angels in the Spirit world." Plus, as part of the process I get "Chakra balancing and vortex rotation adjustment." Sounds like something for a New Age auto mechanic.

So all I have to do is allow the Spirit world to place this DNA, "into the bone marrow of the spine near the solar plexus" and I'm good to go. Until I hit 72 strands. Then it is time for a second procedure, and time for another payment.

Now there is pseudoscience which knows how to mix just the right balance of scientific sounding nonsense and just plain nonsense to appeal to the average Joe. Like The Secret. But on this one somebody turned the crazy dial until the knob fell off.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

Michael Specter is a staff writer for the New Yorker. His new book, Denialism, asks why we have increasingly begun to fear scientific advances instead of embracing them.

Notable Links:

Michael Specter's Official Website