Skeptic News: Dr Oz coming to UK

From: Daily Mail

Dr Oz is the most watched doctor on American television. His shows are utterly compulsive. He draws you in by telling you simple but powerful truths – how to lose weight, how to live longer, how to look younger, how to have a better sex life.

Now his show, an Emmy-winning success in the US, is coming to Britain. How is he going to tailor it to us? ‘The UK is unique in many ways. It’s at the same time extraordinary and ordinary,’ he says when we meet in his Manhattan office.

'All human beings have basic creature comfort issues. Things we're all concerned about, like how do we lose weight. It's how you interpret the information that's important and the UK is appropriately sceptical.

'I find British people insightful and demanding and they need smart content. I feel that if you can pass muster with the British audience it automatically attracts

interest from the rest of Europe.’

Skeptics may welcome the opportunity to question Dr Oz on science and medicine and why he recommends turmeric, cinnamon and ginger to speed the metabolism, sweet potatoes to lose weight and other similar claims. It is unclear as to whether his reiki healing wife will make an appearance on the show.

Skeptic News: Anti-Vax Family Denied Adoption

By Lee Christie

The Van Tienderen family in Pheonix, Arizona was recently refused the right to adopt because their biological daughter was not vaccinated for what the family called “philosophical reasons”.

The mother (Susann, aged 27) is quoted as saying

“I feel like if I knew every ingredient that was in each shot I would comfortable to make an educated decision” (  10th August 2012)

The family dispute the decision not to place the potential adopted boys with the family on the grounds that the children they are hoping to adopt have already been fully vaccinated, however, Arizona law states that all children in the household must have been suitably vaccinated before adoption can take place.

Vaccination offers invaluable protection against communicable diseases. The anti-vaccination movement (AVM) has become in increasing threat to health in recent years. The AVM threatening the return of diseases which killed many only a few generations ago. The family in question do not appear to have made clear their specific objection to vaccinating their daughter, but are ignoring the scientific and healthcare community’s who state that vaccination is safe and advisable.

Skeptic News: Girl Killed in Suspected Exorcism Ritual

A 3-year-old Malaysian girl was killed in a suspected exorcism ritual by family members who believed she was possessed by evil spirits, police said Tuesday.

Police raided a house in northern Penang state late Sunday after receiving a distress call from a family member and found a group of eight people lying on top of the girl in a bedroom, said district police chief Azman Abdul Lah.

The girl was face down under the human pile, which comprised her parents, grandmother, uncle, aunt, two cousins and their Indonesian maid, he said.

The room was dark and chanting could be heard from under a blanket covering the group, Azman said. The girl died of suffocation, and all eight involved have been detained, he added. Belief in the supernatural has long been entrenched among Malaysia’s main Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic communities, though occult rituals have waned in recent decades.

Deaths linked to such rituals are occasionally recorded. Two Malay cousins were sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for killing the parents of one of them during a spiritual cleansing ritual in that involved beating the slain couple with brooms and motorcycle helmets.

Skeptic News: Fortune telling ban unconstitutional

20120714-172529.jpgA federal judge has struck down a central Louisiana ordinance banning fortunetelling, palm reading, astrology and similar activities in the city of Alexandria.

U.S. District Judge Dee Drell’s ruling Wednesday concurs with a magistrate’s conclusion that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

The city argued that the practice of fortune telling is inherently deceptive and counts as fraud. The court ruled however that fortune telling is free speech and protected by the first amendment.

A violation of the ordinance resulted in $500 fines for fortune tellers before it was overturned.

Skeptic News: Creationism grows in Brazil

20120704-081038.jpgBelief in Creationism, the religious belief that God created the world and all life in it, is growing in Brazil.

Over the last seven years, as Brazil’s population has grown and been getting richer, people have started rejecting the Catholic church in favour of the Evangelicals. This has led to a rise in creation beliefs. A rise that has been welcomed by the Question Evolution campaign.

In 2004, Governor Rosinha Garotinho (a/k/a Rosinha Mateus) of Rio de Janeiro ordered that public schools in Rio would start teaching creation science as well as evolution. When the general public were surveyed nine years later only nine percent of their sample accepted the strict naturalistic view of human origin. Fifty-four percent accepted old-earth creation, the idea that man appears millions of years ago but changed only as God said he would change. Thirty-one percent accepted young-earth creation. Furthermore, 89 percent of the sample agreed with what Governor Garotinho did. 75 percent of the sample even said that creation should replace evolution in the schools.

Brazil could become a major source of support and funding for the creationist and young Earth creationist movements in years to come.

Skeptic News: Possess like an Egyptian

20120703-172605.jpgAn 18-year-old Egyptian girl who shed ‘blood tears’ claimed she had been touched by jinn, which are ghosts and spirits popular in Upper Egyptian folklore.

The girl appeared on Al Nahar Television, to share her experience.
She said she had been touched by tribe of about one-thousand jinn.

She claims to have been exorcised by Amr Al-Laithi, a Muslim scholar, who recited verses from Qur’an as the teenager fell unconscious.

The scholar claimed that the Jinn only had an external influence on the girl and reported that there was no change in her voice, and too, that she did not suffer from physical convulsions during the exorcism.

Bloody tears can be a symptom of Haemolacria which is a physical condition that causes a person to produce tears that are partially composed of blood. It can manifest as tears that are anything from merely red-tinged to appearing to be entirely made of blood.

It is a symptom of many diseases and Acute haemolacria can occur in fertile women and seems to be induced by hormones.

Skeptic News: Religious row over tobacco

20120703-165721.jpgIn India the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the highest Sikh religious body, has written to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, protesting the use of Guru Nanak Dev’s pictures on tobacco pouches of a company based in the state.

Chitrakoot-based Kumar Enterprises had printed the Guru’s pictures on tobacco pouches and named them as Giani Paan Samagri. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said:

"In Sikhism, most learned people are called Giani. How can a tobacco pouch carry a word like Giani?" asked Makkar. He said if a Sikh uses tobacco, he or she ceases to be a part of the community.

The use of tobacco is prohibited according to the Sikh rehat maryada (code of conduct). “We demand speedy trial, severe and exemplary punishment to those involved in hurting the religious sentiments of Sikhs,” he said. Makkar said it was a shameful and unethical act of hurting the Sikh sentiments.

Skeptic News: Scotland Atlantis

20120703-163953.jpgScotland’s Atlantis has been discovered at the bottom of the North Sea.

Divers, working with academics from the University of St Andrews, have discovered Doggerland (named after Dogger bank).

The research shows that a landmass once existed under the North sea that stretched from Britain to the continent. Around 20,000 years ago it reached a maximum but was mainly covered by ice and as the ice melted the land slowly vanished beneath the waves.

Research suggests that these drowned lands could have been home to tens of thousands of people and once might have been the real heartland of Europe.

Could it have given rise to the myths of Atlantis? Perhaps not. But the sunken land is subject of an exhibition at the Royal Society over this coming week.

Skeptic News: Alternative therapy kills

20120630-180351.jpgIn Perth, Australia, an alternative treatment offered for cancer has killed four patients.

Deputy State Coroner Evelyn Vicker investigated the deaths of Sandra McCarty, Pia Bosso, Sandra Kokalis, Deborah Gruber, and Carmelo Vinciullo. Four cancer patient whoall undertook an alternative cancer therapy at Kathi Preston Memorial Health Centre – which operated a “clinic” out of a Dr Boyd’s home in 2005.

The treatment, invented by Austrian doctor Hellfried Sartori involved an IV High pH Cancer Therapy, using a range of substances including caesium, the industrial solvent DMSO, and laetrile – all of which are potentially toxic.

Sartori hid his criminal record in order to practice in Australia after losing his medical license in several US states for previous involvement in AIDS and cancer cure scams.

Sartori told the inquest he believed that it was treatment the patients received under proper medical supervision that killed them.

Sartori has failed to save at least 24 patients in Australia alone and may faces charges.

Skeptic News: Exorcism stabbing

20120630-035532.jpgA man in Russia’s St. Petersburg city has been placed in a psychiatric ward after he attempted to exorcise the devil from his wife by stabbing her with knives and a screwdriver.

The “exorcism” was preceded by a family argument though the accused had already prepared the knifes. Yury Simakov stuck three knifes into his wife’s vital organs, then removed her jewellery before he stabbed her in the head with a screwdriver.

Simakov apparently expected the wounds to heal themselves rather than kill his wife. He was apprehended by police running naked in the streets.