Skeptics in the Pub Online
While the current pandemic
restrictions are in force, there are no live Skeptics in the Pub meetings being held anywhere as
far as we know. Skeptics in the Pub Online is the result of the collaborative efforts of several
SitP groups and hosts Thursday evening talks present by authoritative speakers on topics of
skeptical interest. Regularly check their Facebook page for upcoming talks.
Cancer Prevention and Vitamins
for use of vitamins for CVD, cancer prevention: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
(USPSTF) concludes that evidence is currently insufficient for determining the benefits and harms
of most single or paired and multivitamin supplements but recommends against use of beta-carotene
and vitamin E for prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.'
have recently presented the results of the first global analysis in 19 years of clinical trials
for weight loss supplements. Drawing on two literature reviews, they found insufficient evidence to
warrant the recommendation of supplements for weight loss. The study's authors drew their
conclusions from 121 clinical trials involving nearly 10,000 participants.'
Covid Conspiracy Theorist's Case Thrown Out
conspiracy theorist has had his lawsuit against the government of British Columbia (BC),
Canada, dropped by the courts. Makhan "Mak" Parhar was arrested in November 2020 and
spent four days in jail for allegedly breaching the terms of a government COVID Quarantine Act.
Police said he had "refused to comply" with the rules and had left his home despite being
told to self-isolate. According to videos and statements made on his Facebook page, Parhar is a
supporter of the flat Earth movement and critic of COVID regulations. … Following his arrest,
Parhar argued that he had been "kidnapped" and harmed and was looking for justice via
Withdrawal of Humanist of the Year award to Richard Dawkins
'...the AHA Board has concluded that Richard Dawkins is no longer deserving of being honored
by the (American Humanist Association), and (the AHA)
has voted to withdraw, effective immediately, the 1996 Humanist of the Year award.'
Loveworld and Covid-19
Ofcom investigation has found that coronavirus coverage on the religious satellite television
channel Loveworld breached broadcasting rules for a third time. During two episodes of a current
affairs programme, Full Disclosure, presenters made a number of materially misleading and
potentially harmful statements about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines, which were made without
scientific or other credible basis, and which went without sufficient context or
The Declaration to Improve Health Research
'We are an international group of researchers and patients who believe that:
- it is ethically untenable to remain complicit in the crises that undermine science,
- there are simple measures which can improve the quality and openness, and
- the public and patients have a right to full access of the research they fund
'It is extraordinary that we tolerate a situation in which most research activity is wasted.
Research findings are mostly wrong and riddled with biases including inadequate or absent reporting
and hidden conflicts of interest.
'On 27th April 2021, the Declaration to Improve Health Research and
the Center for Open Science will be hosting a Hackathon event on
'Registered Reports are a publication format whereby the methods for manuscripts are
peer-reviewed before results are known. … Over 250 journals have adopted this publication route,
but few are in medical and health sciences.
'We will be asking participants to join in writing to medical and health journals asking
them to allow authors to use the Registered Report publication format to increase the quality and
transparency of research. If you are interested in helping health research change for the better
and would like to take part in the Hackathon, please book your place here. The event will start at
3pm (UK time).
'If you would like to find out more about the hackathon please get in touch by email.'
Professor Chris French is currently writing a popular
science book on anomalistic psychology. He writes:'I will soon be starting the chapter dealing
with out-of-body and near-death experiences. I firmly believe that interesting first-hand accounts
really bring such subjects to life and so I am appealing to anyone out there who has experienced
either or both of these to consider sending me an account for possible inclusion in my chapter.
Needless to say, anyone who contributes an account would have the final say on whether or not it is
included and whether or not it should be anonymised. Also, space will be limited, so there is no
guarantee that I will be able to include your account even if you are kind enough to send me one
but I'll certainly read it and say thank you!' Contact
ASKE for details
5G: No evidence for biological effects
A meta-analysis reported in the
journal Nature of studies of 5G technology has failed to confirm any biological effects
of low-level MMWs (radiofrequency radiation, mainly in the millimetre wave band).
Middlesex University parts company with homeopathy
University is cutting its ties with the UK's biggest provider of homeopathy training after
it peddled vaccine misinformation and encouraged the use of potions made with phlegm to protect
against and treat Covid-19. The Bloomsbury-based Centre for Homeopathic Education (CHE) has been
criticised for its "actively anti-scientific teaching". NHS England has repeatedly warned
that homeopathic remedies for Covid are ineffective and that taking them leaves patients at
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation have recently issued
an advance copy of a report on 'Levels
and effects of radiation exposure due to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Station' that occurred on 11.3.2011. Regarding effects on public health in the region, they
have concluded the following:
'No adverse health effects among Fukushima residents have been documented that are
directly attributable to radiation exposure from the FDNPS accident. The Committee's revised
estimates of dose are such that future radiation-associated health effects are unlikely to be
discernible. The Committee believes that, on the balance of available evidence, the large increase,
relative to that expected, in the number of thyroid cancers detected among exposed children is not
the result of radiation exposure. Rather, they are the result of ultrasensitive screening
procedures that have revealed the prevalence of thyroid abnormalities in the population not
previously recognized. An increase in the incidence of cancers is unlikely to be discernible in
workers for leukaemia, total solid cancers or thyroid cancer. The Committee has insufficient
information to reach an informed judgement on the risk of cataracts.'
Alternative medicine and conspiracy theories
A study by researchers at the Colorado School of Medicine suggests that advocates of homeopathy
and alternative therapies generally are more likely to accept fake news and conspiracy theories
about medical conditions that are circulating on social media. The results have been published
in the journal Health Psychology.
Matthew Syed, journalist, author, broadcaster and Olympic Games table tennis player now has a
series running on Radio 4 called Sideways, which explores 'ideas that shape our lives with
stories of seeing the world differently'. Recordings of these episodes are freely available
and are of great interest to skeptics. The first episode is a critical account of the supposed
'disorder' Stockholm Syndrome and the second covers how the misunderstanding and misuse of
statistics can have harmful and even tragic consequences, as in the case of the late Sally Clark,
falsely convicted of murder after the deaths of her two children. I think skeptics will find these
episodes very useful.
Neil O'Brian MP
It isn't often that praise and support for our politicians is forthcoming from the skeptical
community. So, step up to the platform Mr Neil O'Brien (@NeilDotObrien), Member of Parliament
for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston (party irrelevant). According to the Sunday Times (14.2.21)
'the MP has become a virtual superhero in the fight against conspiracy theorists, hunting out
lockdown sceptics on social media and destroying them with a barrage of facts. … He is dogged in
his pursuit of guilty parties and has taken to keeping charge sheets against them-records of
deleted tweets and in accuracies he bombards them with'. Individuals whom he regularly has in
his sights include 'contrarian journalists' such as Toby Young and Allison Pearson, and
'maverick scientists' search as Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan and Claire Craig. Claire Craig
has deleted all her tweets from 2020 but unfortunately for her Google has cached them. Mr
O'Brien reminds us that 'On 18 October she claimed in a now-deleted tweet: "No-one is
going to die of it (only with it). Flu diagnoses have been replaced by COVID. This happens when you
overtest people dying of respiratory failure until you get the result you are looking
for"'. Why doesn't she just say, 'Sorry, I was wrong' (Ask a silly