Skeptics with a K: Episode #014

The Health Ranger vs the Shorty Awards; electrohypersensitivity revisited, dinosaur names and flying to the moon using only water.  Find out what the skeptics really believe in episode 14 of Skeptics with a K.


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  1. #1 by Mike on January 28, 2010 - 19:34

  2. #2 by Trinoc on February 6, 2010 - 14:08

    I’d better point this out before any of the woomongers notice it (assuming, perhaps wrongly, that any of them will know enough chemistry to notice) … mercury in tooth fillings is not in the form of a compound, it is an amalgam. That is, it consists of a solution of other metals (like silver) in liquid mercury which has the property of hardening to a solid metal.

    A small amount of mercury (and the other metals) does leech out and get ingested, but the general medical view is that this quantity is too small to cause noticeable harm. You’d possibly ingest more mercury by eating a tuna fish sandwich.

    That said, I always hated the taste of mercury fillings, and the pain they produce when you accidentally chew on a piece of foil wrapping, so when my fillings needed replacement I forked out some extra cash to have them replaced with non-metallic ones.

    You are also mistaken in saying that ingesting a mercury compound is less harmful than metallic mercury, and your analogy with sodium chloride is flawed. Both sodium and chloride ions are essential in the body, but mercury ions are poisonous. In fact, a mercury compound is probably more harmful than the equivalent amount of metallic mercury, since it may be more easily absorbed, whereas metallic mercury will mostly pass through the digestive system unchanged. This is particularly true if the metallic mercury is immobilised in a solid material like a tooth filling, so a swallowed filling may well be found a couple of days later in the bottom of the toilet bowl.

  3. #3 by Mr Ashy on February 8, 2010 - 14:33

    Just listened to your talk about Mike Adams List o’ Lunacy and think that for his “Skeptics believe that the human body has no ability to defend itself against invading microorganism and that the only things that can save people from viral infections are vaccines.” You missed an obvious point. Not only do Skeptics believe that the immune system exists, they believe that this is how vaccines work! The whole basis of developing new vaccines and giving them out is that they stimulate the immune system against specific antigens the virus has.

  4. #4 by BCBaker on August 2, 2010 - 20:11

    I subscribe to WAY too many podcasts. I love the skeptical/rational ones. I am an aclothesist btw. I hold that those who assert that the Emperor’s new clothes exist (yet, in voluminous commentary over centuries, seem to be discussing every garment at your local department store rather than a single outfit) have not met their burden of proof.

    But SwaK (Skeptics with a K) has fallen through the cracks. So I just listened to #14, thinking it to be the most recent episode. (Not updated in my iTunes feed). Since it’s not current, this may not get much notice.

    You asked for contributions to add to the nonsensical “What skeptics believe” article by the Power Ranger…oh, sorry, the poor guy who’s so sensitive to EMF (ie “power”) was an entirely different wackaloon…the article was by the Health Ranger.

    That request brought me here. I thought I had one. But I’ve just realized it’s not about skeptics’ beliefs, but about our physiology.

    The skeptic gene is recessive. So a male and (the all too rare female) skeptic are unable to mate and produce offspring. (We can mate all right. Heck, we can go all night, pause for breakfast, and be back at it til noon. It’s the reproduction part we can’t manage.)

    So…how do skeptics come to exist?

    Simple. A skeptic who wishes to reproduce simply finds a credule (a “credule” is a credulous person, just as a skeptic is a skeptical person), feeds her a line of bs (which she, of course, believes; hey, if they believe in talking snakes, etc., what malarkey WOULDn’t they buy?) and mates with her.

    That’s why skeptics are so rare in society. Because duplicity of this nature (even if it is to ensure our survival) is distasteful to most of us. So we don’t do it often enough to become a larger portion of the populace.




  5. #5 by BCBaker on August 2, 2010 - 20:13

    Okay, here’s one.

    Skeptics believe…

    …that you can read an unLIMited amount of wacky bs online…and be comPLETEly unharmed by it.

  6. #6 by Julia on April 5, 2011 - 23:21

    I know this is a really old episode but I just want to point out that the reason many people go for homebirth rather than hospital birth is NOT because they think nothing can go wrong and they won’t need a doctor, but rather that obstetricians do stupid things like artificial rupture of membranes, having mothers labor on their backs with the legs up in stirrups (which is the WORST position to labor in and is most likely to cause serious tears), washing the baby right after birth (“Early bathing of the baby removes vernix, which contains antimicrobial proteins that are active against group B. streptococcus and E. coli. Delaying the bath and keeping the newborn together with his or her mother until breastfeeding is established may prevent some cases of devastating infections caused by these bacteria. The fact that preterm babies tend to have more vernix than babies born at or after 40 weeks might mean that healthy, stable preterm babies derive even greater benefit from staying with their mothers during the immediate newborn period.” from ) and generally if you don’t get done with it in some arbitrary amount of time you have to have a c-section. Here are some links:

  7. #7 by Paul C on September 27, 2012 - 23:11

    Looks like that Wifi court case is over he lost BTW.

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