Two skeptical events coming up!

By Phil Plait | January 14, 2011 9:59 am

Two very cool skeptical announcements:

FIRST:

The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism — NECSS, pronounced "NEXUS" or possibly "glaven" — has just opened its registration! This weekend conference is in downtown NYC, and will be a terrific event. The speakers include Jennifer Michael Hecht (who spoke at TAM 8 and was terrific), George Hrab, Genie Scott (I <3 her so much), and many others, including (ahem) me! In fact, I’m the keynote speaker for the conference, which paradoxically makes me proud and humbled.

NECSS will be held April 9 – 10, 2011. There are plenty of other extracurricular events as well, including a trip to the American Museum and Natural History (which I’ll be attending as we tour the space exhibit), a concert by George Hrab, and more. Registration is only $95 for both days, and some discounts are available. So go here to register. I want to see lots of BABloggees there!

SECOND:

My friends at the Center for Inquiry-Vancouver are performing a homeopathic overdose for the Canadian TV network CBC’s show Marketplace, a consumer advocate program. From the online preview it really looks like this will be an actual fair and balanced presentation… in that it shows homeopathy not to work. If so, this will be one of those very rare times when reality actually makes it on TV, and homeopathy is shown for what it is: nonsense. The show airs tonight, January 14, at 8:00 p.m. So, my neighbors to the north, tune in and watch what one of your Canuckian skeptical groups is doing.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Science, Skepticism
MORE ABOUT: homeopathy, NECSS

Comments (19)

  1. Grizzly

    Marketplace is a fair and balanced show, it has established credibility as a sort of “consumer’s report” meets “investigative journalism”.

    The CBC radio news has been running bits and pieces on their news programs revealing some of the results of the investigation: Guess what? Homeopathic remedies are sucrose and lactose!

    What I am really interested in watching is their commentary on homeopathic vaccinations.

    But judging from the commentary section on the show – see the webpage for the show – there’s a lot of “It works for me, I don’t care about the facts” going on and I wonder if there will be a backlash from “Big Stupid” and complaints to our Public Broadcaster over the show.

  2. davidlpf

    The other day I was watching a show called [i]Rodeo[/i], all about the Canadian Rodeo circuit. One of the contestants gave their horse homeopathic medicine of some sort and all I could think of is “well at least they’ll pass the drug test”.

  3. Thanks for the Marketplace plug Phil!

    The homeopaths are launching a semi-organized comment spam campaign at the link in the above post. If anyone wants to come in and refute their anecdote nonsense, it’s appreciated!

  4. QuietDesperation

    Why can’t these things ever be in medium sized towns with ample parking?

  5. bigjohn756

    I read a few of the comments, but had to give up after a short while because it made me so sad. People who think that water can cure their diseases are just so gullible and pathetic.

  6. For any non-‘Canuckians’ interested in watching the CBC Marketplace report – the full episode will be available for viewing at http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2011/cureorcon/ quite soon after it airs tonight!

  7. Zucchi

    Whereas here in Atlanta in February, we’re having something called “The Truth Convention”. Conspiracy theories; UFOs; a combination involving secret cabals acting in concert with extraterrestrials; perpetual motion machines (dressed up with the term “over-unity devices”); medical woo; etc. Great.

  8. Brian Too

    Marketplace interviewed one homeopath and directly asked the question: “How can it work?”.

    The homeopath answered “I don’t know but it does”.

    Weird combination of truth and superstition, honesty and wishful thinking.

  9. Liisa

    Marketplace was very well done. I just sent them a congratulatory email. I hope it won’t get lost in the hate mail they’re sure to receive.

  10. sascha

    As much as I enjoy this Astronomy blog. All this talk about being oh so skeptical annoys me! Be careful not to become too skeptical! It might have an adverse effect. Balance is the key!

  11. Jeff

    Homeopathy = placebo effect with no side effects.

    Allopathy = placebo effect with loads of side effects.

    I agree with sascha. Balance is the key.

  12. Steve Metzler

    Jeff (#11):

    Allopathy = placebo effect with loads of side effects.

    Analogy fail. Allopathic drugs don’t get to be marketed unless they can prove they beat placebo in stringent double-blind tests. Thanks for playing though.

  13. Jeff

    @ Steve Metzler

    Here’s a link to an interesting article about placebo:

    http://www.wired.com/medtech/drugs/magazine/17-09/ff_placebo_effect?currentPage=all

    Thought you might appreciate.

    Jeff

  14. Mary

    I watched the show and thought it sent as very clear message. One thing that was disturbing, though was the fact that homeopathic remedies has been given some Drug Identificdation Numbers.
    Thanks for mentioning your email, Liisa. I will do the same.

  15. @Jeff
    The wired article basically says that when a drug is no better than a placebo it is withdrawn. And we still don’t know why placebo work. But we already knew that too.

  16. Jeff

    @Shane,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    The way I interpret the article, is that the surface has only been, but barely scratched, as to how the complex healing mechanisms of the body work.

    This is proving to be a very humbling journey for me, although I cannot speak for others.

  17. Kenny

    Jennifer Michael Hecht.. she won my skeptics brainless comment of 2010 when she said words to the effect of “i have to convert so many people back to atheism because people like Dawkins turn them away.. and it’s so exhausting *probably a frouny face after that*”.

    Haha!

  18. WJM

    CBC Marketplace has now almost redeemed itself for jumping on the CELLPHONES CAUSE THE CANCERBRAIN!!!! hysteria not so long ago.

    Not quite. But almost.

  19. I wish I could go to NECSS. Looks like a fantastic lineup! It does look like I’ll be going to TAM this year, though, so that makes me feel just a little less sad about not going to NECSS.

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