Ex-gay Ministry Exodus Int'l Shuts Down...or Do They?

In the past several days, I have received numerous emails and Facebook messages from people asking if I have heard the latestAlan ChambersAlan Chambers developments in the ongoing saga over the work of Exodus International, the world’s largest “ex-gay” organization. This is, in large part, due to the talk I gave last September on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) in which I highlighted the dangers posed by this pseudoscience, and told the history of Exodus’ failed attempts to change people from gay to straight.

So-called Superfoods not so Super after all

In case you missed it, a nice article in Mother Jones debunking Red QuinoaRed Quinoathe idea that exotic edibles like quinoa, acai berries and Chia seeds are "superfoods" of extraordinarily high nutritional value.

Can a Marshmallow Predict Your Future?

I See...A MarshmallowI See...A MarshmallowSome 40 years ago, in the early 1970s, Stanford University psychology professor Walter Mischel published a groundbreaking study testing children’s self-control and delayed gratification. In the study, children were presented with a treat (sometimes a marshmallow, but pretzels and chocolate were also used) and told that they could eat the treat now, or wait until the adult returned, at which point they would be given two treats. The original purpose of the study was to determine the age at which children develop the ability to delay gratification, but follow-up studies revealed something much more meaningful and shocking.

Can Vinegar Save Thousands from Cervical Cancer?

When skeptics read a headline like “Vinegar Saves Thousands from Cancer Death,” their defenses are doubtless on red alert. After Vinegar vs PapVinegar vs Papall, a new quack medicine or procedure for cancer treatment seems to appear in the media every other week. But when I clicked on a link today reporting this very connection between household vinegar and cervical cancer, what I found amazed me.

Sylvia Browne Wrong Again...

Earlier this month, on May 6th, 2013, three young women were rescued from captivity after 9 to 11 years as kidnap victims. Louwana Berry / Sylvia BrowneLouwana Berry / Sylvia BrowneAmanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were living in a house owned by Ariel Castro, one of three men charged with abducting the girls and holding them as sex slaves. Also released was a 6-year old girl, Berry's daughter, whom DNA results have shown to be Castro's biological child.

What makes this story particularly interesting and frustrating for those of us in the Skeptical Community?...

Another take on the Florida "Science Experiment" Arrest...

Thousands were shocked in recent days to read of a 16 year old girl, Keira Wilmot, who was reportedly arrested for a failed science experiment which caused a small explosion and ended with the young girl being Kiera WilmotKiera Wilmotarrested and charged with “possessing or discharging weapons or firearms at a school sponsored event or on school property.” A conviction could have meant a five-year prison term, triggering Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of blogs to virtually explode with comments and requests to write to school and law enforcement officials to complain. An online crowdfund even netted an $8,000 legal defense fund, and a petition on Change.org that attracted over 195,000 signators.

But could there be more to this story than meets the eye?

Another Failure of Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy is a long-time staple of medical quackery, but it isn't tested as often as it might be. Here's a curious report of a recent clinical test published in JAMA showing that chelation therapy chelationchelationdoesn't make any difference in heart attack, stroke, hospitalization, surgeries, etc, outcomes.

The report is curious -- and so is the publication of the article -- because the JAMA publisher editorializes against the use of chelation therapy yet the director of the study appears to be a believer, clinging to a very small improvement of outcomes for chelation when all the outcome variables are combined.

Top 5 Lessons from Psychology for Critical Thinkers - Part 3...

Your Common Sense Can Fail You

JREF LogoJREF LogoMy third article for the James Randi Educational Foundation's "Education Initiative," whose purpose is to promote teaching of critical thinking and skepticism, has been posted. Please take a look if you get a moment.

Which Aztec Artifacts are Fake? Expensive Ones.

Aztec "crystal skulls" make neat displays and fiction. But recent Crystal SkullCrystal Skullanalyses of several in museums show they're fake. CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Ohlone Psychology Club presents Bryan & Baxter, Paranormal Claims Investigators!

Please join me on Monday, April 1st at 7 pm for the Ohlone College Psychology Club Speaker Series' presentation of "Bryan & Baxter: What THEY Don't Want You to Know," a fun-filled one hour romp Bryan & BaxterBryan & Baxterthrough some of Bryan & Baxter's investigations of paranormal claims.

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