Skeptic News: Piña coladas and Protests

NZ Skeptics Newsletter


Piña coladas and Protests

In a world where for some 2021 is already giving 2020 a run for its money, I'm trying to appreciate my freedoms. That includes the freedom to relax, drink cocktails and enjoy the balmy weather, and not get stressed out about about where to put cocktail flavoured suppositories to solve make-believe problems invented by the wellness industry.

Jess Macfarlane 

Lockdown Protests at the Beehive

There were many false claims made on 14th January, by Billy Te Kahika and his supporters outside the Beehive in Wellington. The most dangerous claim was that Covid-19 is no more deadly than the flu (2 million people have died worldwide at the time of writing). Among other strange things, they claimed that Jacinda Ardern is a communist who wants to keep putting New Zealand into lockdown, including organising one again on 15th January, the day after the protest.

The problem with making false claims about a deadly pandemic is, people who underestimate the danger will not only risk catching Covid-19 themselves but will wantonly take risks that impact the health of others around them.

The trouble with making predictions about specific things happening on specific days, is what to do if your prediction doesn’t come true.

We found our answer on January 15 when @nealejones shared on Twitter a screen capture of Billy Te Kahika saying “Urgent Live!! Lockdown called off because of us?”.

If that’s not a textbook example of confirmation bias, (and delusions of grandeur) I don’t know what is.

In response to the protest, Newshub writes that Dr Anna Brooks, an immunologist at the University of Auckland's Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery spoke to Magic Talk, saying it was “somewhat frustrating” to see people who have done their own “research” online spread misinformation about Covid-19. Dr Brooks said it was "offensive" for people to say “I’ve done my research” when actual experts have had to spend years and a great deal of money to understand what research means and how to perform it objectively.

U.K. Society of Homeopaths have Accreditation Suspended

In a win for skeptics everywhere, On 11 January 2021, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) in the U.K.  moved to suspend accreditation of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH), because they found that the SoH “did not appear to have prioritised public protection over professional interests in its handling of complaints or governance processes, which undermined confidence in its ability to ensure its registrants were compliant with its own Code of Ethics and position statements.”

Read here to find out about the multiple legal challenges the Good Thinking Society have brought over the years, including one relating to the morally bankrupt CEASE therapy, intended to ‘cure’ autism.

In New Zealand, after a tip from NZ Skeptics, reporter Farah Hancock wrote back in August 2019 about CEASE therapy in Christchurch, and how diluted vaccines were being sold as homeopathic cures for autism right here in New Zealand. Vaccines do not cause autism, but it is this false belief that led homeopaths to think they could cure it by coming up with a homeopathic remedy made from diluted vaccines.

It seems that so far, no-one in the SoH has offered their resignation, despite the significant blow to the organisation in losing accreditation. You would think they might want to clean house to get back on the good side of the PSA. We will see what happens. A hearty congratulations to all those at the Good Thinking Society and those that helped to make this happen.

Fruity Vagina Melts go viral on TikTok

The author of my Bible – The Vagina Bible, Gynaecologist, columnist and author Dr. Jen Gunter was on Twitter recently, again, to educate people about how a vagina is able to self-clean, without any help from the wellness industry which is doing its best to make money out of people by shaming them into thinking they have to fix a problem that isn't there.

Dr. Gunter explained that any products designed to clean vaginas or mask their natural odors can cause harm by disrupting the body's own natural effective cleansing process. The tweet came in response to vagina cleansing melts that were becoming a thing on TikTok. Femallay, the company selling the fruity flavoured vaginal moisturising suppository melts say they “offer a fun and healthy way to feel confident, smell lovely, and be your best you! “.

On her first ever TikTok, Dr. Gunter assured us that vaginas don’t need any assistance from fruity flavoured and fragranced melts, are evolved to clean themselves, and should not “smell like a piña colada”.

This product had apparently been in the news for a while as I found an article about them from back in October 2020 when Christchurch gynaecologist Olivia Smart was interviewed by Stuff.

Dr. Smart suggested that in a physically and emotionally healthy relationship the melts were unnecessary but could be fun. However, she worried that people might turn to them instead of seeking medical advice for issues such as “pain, discharge, odor or dryness”. Again, delaying effective treatment may cause real harm.

I'm saving the fruity flavours for the cocktails. Stay skeptical!
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