Homeopathy – a Useless Treatment

16 September, 2018

Homeopath practitioners believe that by diluting a solution of a substance that mimics the effect of a disease the diluted concoction will cure the disease. The solution is usually diluted so many times that chemists calculate there may be no molecules of the original substance left in the final medication.

Homeopathic Dilution: other diluents beside alcohol are water and sugar

Homeopaths claim this doesn’t matter as the water has a “memory” of the dissolved curative substance.
Scientifically this makes no sense whatsoever. Nevertheless homeopathic treatments have been clinically tested to see if they are effective. When tested under rigorous double blind conditions the results show homeopathy is no more effective than a placebo.

The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia recently released a report on homeopathy. After reviewing over 200 research papers that it considered worthy of inclusion (many studies of homeopathy are of such poor quality that their conclusions are unreliable) the NHMRC concluded:

“The review found no good quality, well-designed studies with enough participants to support the idea that homeopathy works better than a placebo, or causes health improvements equal to those of another treatment.” Read the rest of this entry »


The TGA Complaints (lack of) process

6 September, 2018

Here are reposts from two recent pieces by Dr Ken Harvey: Both examine Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Authority (TGA).

The first is a letter written to Melbourne’s Age newspaper.

The second, published on Dr Harvey’s own website is about Detox Foot Pads and more than adequately demonstrates the contention, made in the first piece, that the TGA is not really interested in consumer protection.

– – – – – – 

Letter to The Age 5/9/18 Spotlight on regulators

Your editorial (4/9) says the government should have a more rigorous process to protect consumers from ineffective treatments and products. There are government regulators that are meant to do this job but they are weak and ineffective. Read the rest of this entry »


Professor Susan Blackmore

3 September, 2018

Professor Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, lecturer and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth.

She is a TED lecturer, blogs for the Guardian, and often appears on radio and television.

The Meme Machine (1999) has been translated into 16 other languages; more recent books include Conversations on Consciousness (2005), Zen and the Art of Consciousness (2011), Seeing Myself: The new science of out-of-body experiences (2017) and a textbook Consciousness: An Introduction (3rd Ed 2018).

Professor Blackmore is visiting Australia in October. Her appearances will include:

Melbourne: (One night only) Thursday October 11 Royal Society of Victoria

Booking info: https://memes-n-tremes.eventbrite.com.au

Sydney: Australian Skeptics National Convention October 13 &14

https://convention.skeptics.com.au/

Canberra: Monday October 15 (Details to be announced)


Puzzles for September 2018

31 August, 2018

Each month we publish a themed Skeptical Crossword, a set of seven Picture Puzzles, a set of twenty Mixed Bag Questions (Trivia / General Knowledge) and a set of Logic & Maths Puzzles. They can be found, blog-style, at the top of the Puzzles Page.

There hundreds of earlier published puzzles. They can be found here:

https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/puzzles/puzzles-archives/


Puzzles for August 2018

31 July, 2018

The Skeptical Crossword for August 2018 is themed to Religious Ideas.

96 August 2018 Crossword Religious Ideas

Our Skeptical crosswords generally have two sets of clues, one “standard” and the other “cryptic”. These monthly crosswords are all available in archive, are all based on themes related to Skepticism, and go back to 2010.

Other crosswords, wordsearches and cryptograms specifically for classroom use are available here: https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/useful-info/


Our Mixed Bag Questions have a format of twenty trivia-type questions, (ten “easy”and ten “harder”), with answers supplied.

08 August 2018 Mixed bag questions

All of our previous sets of Mixed Bag Questions are available in archive.


Our Logic & Maths Puzzles consist of ten questions of varying levels of difficulty. Solutions are supplied.

Logic and Maths Puzzles 73 August 2018 

There are now over seventy such puzzles available in archive


A new set of Picture Puzzles can be found each month at the top of the Puzzles Page.

Enjoy!


PUZZLES ARCHIVES

https://vicskeptics.wordpress.com/puzzles/puzzles-archives/



Vyom Sharma, Doctor, Magician and Mentalist

17 July, 2018

     Dr Vyom Sharma

After gaining his medical degree in 2008, Vyom Sharma completed specialist training and currently works in Melbourne as a General Practitioner. However alongside his clinical work, he has carved out a career in show business.

As a magician and mentalist, he has performed live stage shows at the Sydney Opera House, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and was a grand finalist on Australia’s Got Talent.

His knowledge of medicine, combined with his experiences with the psychology of deception have afforded him a rare insight into the human experience of truth and persuasion. He explores the neuroscience of deception and beliefs as a regular Guest Lecturer at Monash University’s school of biological sciences.

He has debunked pseudoscientific therapies in the media, including Fairfax newspapers, Triple R radio and medical trade magazines.

Vyom Sharma will be our featured speaker at next Skeptics Café  (Monday August 20)

He will also appear at Australian Skeptics Annual Convention in Sydney over the weekend of October 13 & 14


Puzzles for July 2018

30 June, 2018

Fresh Picture Puzzles are at the top of the  Puzzles Page.

Mixed Bag Questions, Skeptical Crosswords and Logic & Maths Puzzles now come in pdf form and can be reached from here or from the Puzzles Page.

For July:

07 July 2018 Mixed bag questions

95 July 2018 Crossword Famous Scientists

Logic and Maths Puzzles 72 July 2018

The PDF format requires the Adobe Reader for viewing. The Adobe Reader is free software and may be obtained at this website: http://get.adobe.com/reader/

Enjoy!