Skeptics with a K: Episode #146

Ethnic emoji, money for homeopathy, character encoding, and sexist behaviour.  Plus alien heads, visiting London, and unconscious bias. And QED is almost here… eek!

Donate to the Good Thinking Society Homeopathy appeal at justgiving.com/Good-Thinking-Society-Appeal.

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The QED Skeptics in the Pub forum – topics wanted!

At every QED there has been a Skeptics in the Pub Forum – an open forum to discuss issues around the starting, running and expanding of a local Skeptics in the Pub group.

Whether you are a current organiser looking to share your successes, or want tips on how to expand, or are looking to set up a new group in your hometown, this is the place to be.

This year the forum will be moderated by:

  • Ian Scott – Ian is the founder of Glasgow Skeptics, who in 2014 hosted the largest public debate on Scottish independence of any non-aligned organisation. Ian is also the Acting Chief Executive of the Humanist Society Scotland, and Events Manager at the British Humanist Association.
  • Kash Farooq – Kash is an organiser of Nottingham Skeptics in the Pub and the co-founder of the popular PubhD network.
  • Alice Howarth – Alice is a PhD cancer researcher, co-host of the Skeptics with a K podcast and Secretary of the Merseyside Skeptics Society.

The forum will mainly be an open Q&A session, but if you have any topic that you’d particularly like to be covered, please leave a comment below and we’ll try to make sure it’s included during the discussion.

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Merseyside Skeptics Society welcomes NHS Liverpool CCG’s Decision To Re-Think Homeopathy Funding

3736069_1426544235.2609_funddescription-300x225As reported in the Liverpool Echo today, NHS Liverpool CCG recently decided to reverse their decision to continue funding homeopathy after a successful legal challenge by our friends at the Good Thinking Society. As a result of the challenge, Liverpool CCG has elected to re-consult on the matter – a decision we at the Merseyside Skeptics Society wholeheartedly support.

As a Merseyside-based critical thinking group with a large number of members who live within the jurisdiction of Liverpool CCG, we believe it is time that our local NHS services were no longer burdened with the need to provide ineffective sugar pills to the unwell – not least at a time when NHS budgets are under great pressure. Since our inception in 2009 we have campaigned to spread awareness about the pseudoscientific nature of homeopathy and the clear failure of any homeopath to find credible evidence that homeopathic remedies are of any benefit at all, and we sincerely believe it is unacceptable for taxpayer funds to be wasted on treatments that have been comprehensively shown to be ineffective.

Liverpool CCG’s decision is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to the upcoming consultation with hope that a fair and sensible decision will be made, reflecting the lack of evidence for homeopathy and the need to offer the people of Liverpool quality healthcare founded on good evidence-based practices.

MSS President Mike Hall said of the decision: “Homeopaths have claimed that skeptics reject homeopathy because we don’t understand how it works. While the proposed mechanism of homeopathy is indeed nonsensical, we do not reject it for this reason. We reject it because in 200 years it has never been shown to have a reliable effect on the course of any medical condition. With an ageing and expanding population, it is right and proper to insist that our NHS funds only those treatments with a proven benefit for patients.”

Donate with JustGivingWe urge our supporters – and indeed anyone who wants to see NHS allocate their limited resources to treatments that have any hope of helping patients – to support Good Thinking’s campaign against wasting taxpayer funds on these ineffective and disproven treatments. Good Thinking are currently crowdfunding in order to mount further legal challenges similar to this successful one in Liverpool, and supporters can donate to the campaign online.

Update:  Liverpool CCG has been in touch to ask us to make clear that homeopathy services are not being immediately withdrawn. Rather, they intent to return the decision to continue funding homeopathy to the consultation stage. Homeopathy will still be available during the consultation.

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #145

Amber necklaces, brain rotting, Kangen Water, and cereal bars. Plus shoes, wasps, Shakespeare, and the greatest mistakes of history. Feeling contrite, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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Be Reasonable: Episode #027 – Alan Butler

This time on Be Reasonable we’re joined by Alan Butler from the website Dawn of Realization. Alan is an author and historian who believes that the Moon and Ceres have far different origins than most astronomers realise.

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #144

Walking, root canals, Sarah Palin and witch doctors. Plus boiling nails, acupuncture meridians and sucking teeth. Without looking directly at the Sun, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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