False Memory re Subs?
In the latest NZ Skeptic, beside the chair-entity’s report, there is a false history of subscriptions. From written records: the sub was $10 for ’86 to ’88, then $20 for ’89 to ’91 and $25 since. The new $40 rate follows the third increase since starting. I would hate to think the Skeptics allow false statements to go uncorrected.
Two views of the World Trade Centre Attack
- From Editorial in Skeptical Inquirer Jan/Feb, 2002.
Brian Farha, a professor of education at Oklahoma City University and member of CSICOP’s astrology subcommittee, wrote to me to propose we run a Forum column with this introduction: “Following are detailed summaries of documented psychic predictions-to this author’s knowledge-regarding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on America.” That would be followed by a blank page.
- From the newsletter of the American Society for Psychical Research, Dec, 2001.
Through our website, we have initiated a survey of precognitive experiences specifically related to the terrorist attack.
Submitted without comment by Bernard Howard
More Brickbats for Glen Fiddich
Some years ago, returning from the Continent, the in-flight duty-free catalog offered Glen Fiddich and Glen Morangie. I ordered the Glen Morangie. It was bad enough to be told that they were out of stock, without being patronized by the salesgirl (“air-stewardess”) insisting on showing me what a Glen Fiddich bottle looks like. Very nice, so could I have a Glen Fiddich bottle refilled with Glen Morangie whisky! As for Wilson’s, (See Beer and Skittles, Issue 61) well I shan’t be surprised if it doesn’t taste as good as Glen Morangie, but will be disappointed if it doesn’t taste better than Glen Fiddich.
Kris Howard, Scotland
In Philippa Stevenson’s note Report Debunks Organic Benefits (NZ Skeptic 61) she quotes from the NZ Herald that 10 million hectares in organic farming round the world yield $50 billion worth of produce, or about $5000 per hectare (NZ dairy farmers would expect to exceed this), while 44 million hectares in transgenic crops, mostly in the US, yield produce worth $7.5 billion, or $167 per hectare.
I would have expected that Philippa, or any other good skeptic, or the editor of NZ Skeptic, would have been skeptical about these figures and checked their credibility. Or are skeptics, so zealous not to be gulled by claims of the paranormal, quite gullible about claims of the normal?
Philippa Stevenson is a Herald reporter and not a member of the NZ Skeptics. The article was reprinted as it originally appeared in the NZ Herald. ed.
Children and Quackery
Pippa MacKay’s Bravo Award-winning item When Children are the Victims of Quackery made sad reading. Yet it is merely another reflection of a country that is losing its collective marbles. Volumes could be written about the reasons for this creeping looniness, but surely chapter one, volume one would have to be ‘our politically correct times’.
An encounter recently with the mother of a 4 year old has put me in a pessimistic frame of mind. The mother is a registered nurse, ie a ‘caregiver’, the 4 year old is her son – a lively, articulate and energetic boy, filled with inquisitiveness, brimming with energy and apparently desperate to be at school learning about the world. The boy is such a handful that a child psychologist has diagnosed him as an ADHD patient and recommended Ritalin for him. The mother is tired, but doubtful regarding Ritalin, yet remains tempted by such a trite and convenient diagnosis. I am treating the mother, who coincidentally swears by arnica ointment and enjoys reading the Women’s Weekly’s clairvoyant’s page.
It seems we are surrounded by the paradox of people who listen to the local clairvoyant with respect, and self-medicate with homeopathy yet have post-graduate education. Similarly I have spoken to anxious parents (and grandparents) about Ritalin, and heard enough to believe that Ritalin is being administered to children (almost always boys) who seem to be more energetic, more inquisitive and more assertive than their teachers or caregivers can deal with.
There can be nothing more horrific than child abuse, and God knows we have seen such abuse aplenty – but shouldn’t we be directing the sceptical searchlight towards the institutionalised child abuse prescribed and condoned in the name of ADHD.