Sunday, 10 October 2010

Celebrity endorsement and its effect on me........

I just get so turned off of anything that sniffs of pseudo scientific quackery or religion that it makes me shudder. I am also a consumer of media and entertainment and my tastes lay mostly in news and comedy. I like funny people and I like clever people and I tend to be quite addictive when it comes to this consumption. I have named my dogs in the past "Bart" and "Maggie" after Simpsons characters, both have now passed on but you get the idea.

The problem I have is when the two mix, I get such an instant turn off. Not that it has the slightest effect on either the celebrity involved or their particular brand of woo woo. I was SUCH a big fan of The Simpsons and then I find that Nancy Cartwright is a Scientologist and something inside of me dies. I would jump through hoops to see a new episode, now I couldn't care less.

I was a big fan of actress Julie Walters and then I find she's a patron of the British Homoeopathic Society, then the same happens with David Bellamy of all people - someone I would have though would have had a more serious insight into the rubbish that it is. Katie Boyle - I would have put money her being on the list, but David Bellamy? Professor David Bellamy, OBE? More deaths inside of me, in his case a lifetimes worth as I can here his voice patiently explaining about some moss or other on some rock from way back in my distant memory. And now, I can't take him seriously despite his standing and qualifications, its like finding out Mohamed Ali used to box with and a pair of ladies knickers on or had horseshoes hidden in his gloves. Its hard to explain, but a light goes out for me and I can't feel the same warmth as I did before, however hard I try.

I don't go out of my way to avoid The Simpsons on TV, but any merchandise buying has been cut off - no way am I paying to support that rubbish, how ever small my contribution may be. Its hard to keep on top of, but I tell anyone who will listen, and hope that a tiny bit will rub off. So far the Daily Mail has kept going despite my steadfast refusal to buy it or any other newspaper, and Dinner Ladies box sets seem to be doing well on iTunes and so forth, so its a slow burning protest I am undertaking, but at least its an active one and that makes me feel a bit better.

Of course the opposite effect happens when I see an admired "Celeb" getting stuck into some hippy brained "doctor" peddling their snake oil..... I get behind them and rejoice in all their glory, lets use that "Celeb-power" and go for it.

On a side note, I had to laugh at a report I read about only 500 odd t-shirts celebrating the Popes visit had been sold, out of a total of 20,000 printed up - if THAT doesn't send a message I don't know what does.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A response to an article written on Lady Sheherazahde's Blog.

Have a look at this first then come back............the following is also pasted as a comment on the page if you don't want to - under my user name pianomarc.


The way I see it, the MSS are raising awareness of a case of large scale deception - the stuff has no use and yet people are still allowed to sell it under the guise of a treatment for medical ailments...... the Muslim cleric is telling lies in the same way as the homoeopathic industry for the benefit of his belief...... I don't think a woman's cleavage could cause an earthquake, that's just plain stupid but ultimately harmless apart from the issue of women's rights and extremist interpretations. I don't think medicine should rely on any kind of belief for it to work, that's also just plain stupid and also potentially very harmful. Common sense seems to spur the majority into action regarding the former, but seems sadly lacking regarding the latter.

I also think that supporting these belief based phenomenon has much wider implications. Its is belief in witch-craft that gets humans to burn other humans alive in Kenya, graphic footage is available. Belief in homoeopathy also got a 9 month old baby killed by its parents for a relatively minor and treatable eczema. They are currently serving jail terms. I can provide a link to the Sydney Morning Herald's story.

I know of nothing more abhorrent than to push another living human being into a raging fire pit, or to think of a small child, unable to harbour her parents beliefs yet, dying in the way she did.

To compare what the MSS and 10-23 are trying to do with the Muslim clerics actions is nothing short of ridiculous. Some peoples beliefs get suspected Kenyan "witches" and some unfortunate Australian babies killed......not the same thing? Well, its that belief in something that isn't there that's done it for the both of them at the end of the day. Is one of them wrong or are both of them wrong?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Testing from the iPod

Wow, I don't think blogging can be any easier than this..... Stumbled on a free wifi connection in the shopping center and am sat on a park bench waiting for the kids to finish music class. Going to spend my birthday money on a nice bottle of olive oil and contemplate my first move against the outrageous prescription of a magnetic collar for an arthritic dog that a friend of a friend was given. I was a little unsure how to go about this so I emailed Marsh from the Mersey Side Skeptics and he basically told me to follow my instincts. It seems obvious to me that a magnetic collar will have no effect on the body - any body in normal fettle without added extras like steel pellets or knitting needles swallowed in error - because we would never survive the likes of MMR scans, as Marsh pointed out to me. I don't know why it is people get taken in by this and as long as there is a market for it, it will be gotten to market somehow. I hope to be able to report that I saved at least one poor soul from parting with almost £40......I have a feeling it's going to take more time and effort than is strictly necessary but nobody else is trying to stop him. Watch this space as they say....and many thanks to the MSS and Michael Marshall for the encouraging words.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Homoepathy proponents STILL fight back........

Many years ago we began studying all of these herbal and alternative therapies and the stuff that worked is now just called plain "medicine" was proved to have worked through proper investigation and testing. So far homoeopathy has not successfully been proven. Apart from the fact that the dilution makes no sense, its science just doesn't add up. People have a tendency still to believe these things work based on hear say and if they want to waste their money on it, then of course that's up to them, it's foolish to those of us who do have the ability to do our own thinking, but ultimately its very dangerous as can be seen by the DEAD child in the video who couldn't read the crap that's on its advertising nor understand any of the people saying "it worked for me". Lets just recap on the video, its not made up. That's a DEAD 9 month old baby who's parents were convicted and jailed because they held back on real medicine - that would have seen that this little baby was alive today - because they held a belief in this rubbish.... IF homeopathy DID work, why would they bother to print stuff like "does not cause drowsiness" on the label of homoepathic sleeping pills.... and why did that baby die of complications brought on by not treating its eczema that in its worst case, some cortiosteroid cream would have probably done the job. It may be just a coincidence that they were Indian and living on Australias "hippy coast" where all kinds of alternative stuff prevails.......they took the baby to India by the way for advice from a leading homoepath......nice advice!!

The main problem lies in the fact that homoepaths qualify each other, there is no government regulated body that overlooks their courses and people who embark upon these courses do feel that they are studying a genuine therapy and so are bound to feel a bit aggrieved when they pass out only to find that the world is looking at their craft now and people are actually questioning it form all angles. The people who say "it worked for me or my friend" are without realising it, deluding themselves and helping to motivate an industry that in some cases has the cheek and audacity to tell the world they can cure aids and malaria and sell pills to people who are in enough bother already for money they cannot afford. There is a serious enough problem with childhood diarrhea in Africa - which is mainly caused by bacteria and parasites, to you and I with a normally healthy diet, it would clear its self up after a few days providing there were no serious underlying causes - and if we have taken anything, say a homoepathic pill, we would indeed tend to think that it was that that had done the trick........its a different story in Africa, howeve,r and even real medicine struggles to cope. A supply of clean water would help, and I suppose homoepathy does offer us at least that, as there is not much else in it - but you cant go to these people and say, "if you BELIEVE in this it might work for you, it did on a friend of mine"..... they don't have time for that, they are dying in large numbers every day. I am talking about children here......

Its an individual choice to use these "cures" and that's up to you, but it does have wider implications - people DO DIE because this stuff exists, .... I know plenty of people also die because of illness that real medicine is struggling to come to terms with, but at least the doctors administering that stuff have real qualifications and are using real scientific protocol to
try to save lives. Their losses must be hard to bear - they want you to live after all, but to shun them in favour of a 300 year old unproven system based on "energy" and "belief" must be harder to swallow.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Starting A Group

I have decided that rather than just stomp around town getting angry at every health food shop and "alternative" therapy centre, I am going have decided to try to begin a local group of like minded thinkers and to that end have emailed a couple of my favourite orgs for advice. Time will tell if they respond favourably, but it has to be better than my see sawing blood pressure and those awful forums full of, in this order; trolls, IDiots, Creat -ins, snobs and superiority-complex dick heads. I read them all and its a sad fact that misinterpreted moods in the written word cause chaos. So I am going to try to bring together some people - real people who think like I do and do some talking about serious subjects close to home using good old fashioned mouths, brains and ears as tools and hopefully giving woo in Lanzarote a run for its money. If anyone would like to help me or just join, please contact me. I am hoping any advice I get from my hero's orgs will avoid any pitfalls I come up against and at least give the thing some semblance of organisation. It could take a while, but I am just sat on the sofa right now doing NOTHING about the pseudo-sciencey stuff around me that makes me sad and disgruntled and I would like to try to start to do SOMETHING.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Day From 250 Miles Up.

I am honoured and delighted to have found the twitter feed from a real live astronaut, Soichi.  He has a regular feed and posts most days and is well worth a follow if you do not already.  He even obliges by taking the odd photo and posting them for all to see upon request, and even if you dont manage to get him to snap your choice, the existing ones are just so bloody fascinatingly interesting.  Give him a look, he has some links to a few other 'nauts so it should always be possible to keep a live link up to the ISS when he returns to earth.

Particularly interesting was the pics of the space shuttle approaching out of the darkness ready for its recent docking for a 2 week stay, half of which is over now.

I am posting this picture in the hope that even a few of you get stuck in, jump on to twitter and see the things that are going on in the name of science, right at the cutting edge on the way out to space.

View from Node 2 window. Background is Africa. on Twitpic

Congrats, successful docking of Space Shuttle Endeavour! We'll... on Twitpic

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The Irish and their "new" Medievil law,,,,,

In support of the abolition of this crazy way of thinking I am republishing my favorite quotes from the Atheist Ireland website, the rest of the full 25 quotes can be found HERE 

This is the most backward thinking idea to have ever hit a modern country; in fact I am so bemused by it I can only think that its leaders do not want to live in this modern world and wish to drag their constituents back into the dark ages.  Maybe when the dust settles they will see the size of their error and revoke this idiotic law, but I hope in the mean time no big corporations use it as an excuse to get the flock out of there and damage its already wobbly economy.

Anyway, on with the quotes :

George Carlin, 1999: “Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”

Ian O’Doherty, 2009: “(If defamation of religion was illegal) it would be a crime for me to say that the notion of transubstantiation is so ridiculous that even a small child should be able to see the insanity and utter physical impossibility of a piece of bread and some wine somehow taking on corporeal form. It would be a crime for me to say that Islam is a backward desert superstition that has no place in modern, enlightened Europe and it would be a crime to point out that Jewish settlers in Israel who believe they have a God given right to take the land are, frankly, mad. All the above assertions will, no doubt, offend someone or other.”

Frank Zappa, 1989: “If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine – but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you’ve been bad or good – and cares about any of it – to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.”