I’m joined today by Rebecca Watson she
is founder of the skeptic blogging also cohost the skeptics guide to the
universe podcast a fellow Massachusetts college graduate be you I went to grad
school at Bentley University I think the UN
Bentley arrivals and some sport but I just have I didn’t really pay attention
in a possibly and be you had zero school pride so I wouldn’t be able to
pick a rival at Allina so how did you first become involved in
the skeptic movement there or how did you first start having skeptic leanings I was
actually in college I A was working as a magician and
obviously I as one does and I had to pay my mind that big be you bill somehow cell
ad yeah a with the big banner magicians
they Penn and Teller and James the meeting Randy and his do
Andy actually that I really gone bob he is an escape artist and magician who has for a long time now
offered a million dollar prize to anybody who can prove that they have
paranormal abilities and I was a big fan of his into
RadioShack Ireland and only two people also there’s an incredible video above James Randi and a guy who said he
can move paper I think it is with his mind NJ and
Randy very quickly identifies the guys blowing on the paper so we put a bunch
of styrofoam peanuts around the book and the guy all the
sudden can’t do any point into the lights and saying there’s some kinda issue with the later something it the
men amazing video that people can look at yeah and he’s done a lot of great stuff
like back as he has that magicians mind and there’s a big overlap between
magicians and skeptics because you know there’s so many people out
there who are just using magic tricks to try to fool people and take their money and
that includes guys like that I’ll or even psychics who are preying upon
people who have lost loved ones and things like that the tissues magic tricks and they tell
them that they have these mission supernatural abilities and its it can be really awful in terms
that taking people’s money and also plane
with their memories of their loved ones in with
their emotions so if you were getting it now name the three or four most problematic
areas where lack of critical thinking are falling for so-called magic as the case
may be is leading to misinformed people and
having a real back you know I could think I’ve climate
change on evolution on whatever the case is what what are the three or four that
you are most worried about right now at we’ve named to at my top Wednesday
through any and so-called politicized science things
like creationism creeping into schools and what happens with the Texas State
Board of Ed constantly trying to sneak creationism and and and you know there there are things
happening right now in a had where was it and of the time I had
him pick up with state it is but someone else is just introduced a new bill to force teachers to teach the controversy oh that’s right that’s so that South
Carolina yeah we’re yes proved a lot and stuff for the new curriculum
except for the teaching of evolution is science exactly and so that’s a bad one climate
change is a huge one because that’s something that is going to have it is currently have been AT&T death
toll and is going to have more of one in the
future what’s interesting to me about the climate change one is that the
problem is media driven in the sense that if
people got their news from science they would see that
disproportionately there is a consensus on that issue but
when you get your news from you have to talking heads here’s
one person who says humans are a factor here’s another
person who says humans are not a factor in climate change it sounds pretty balanced to me i guess
its controversial yes the problem of mass balance and we
see it not just with climate change but with pretty much any skeptical topic another huge one
that we focus on at skeptic is vaccine denial right nest that’s
another one where you see at B’s articles about vaccines in the
present this idea that on one side there are people who believe back scenes are
safe and effective and on the other equal side there are
people who believe that they’re dangerous in cause autism the sides are not equal
and all of the evidence we have shows us
that vaccines are safe and effective and and for the better good at society and
there’s a very small but vocal group and mostly scientifically ignorant
people who are arguing that vaccines cause
autism there’s absolutely nothing to suggest
that that is true know obviously you could have only come to that conclusion
because the government has told you that that’s the message you’re supposed to be
on and they’re probably even paying you to be part of the establishment yeah apparently I get quite a big
paycheck from Big Pharma which is news to me because Big Pharma’s
something that I have fought viciously in the past I used to
be in activists were keen to you and to improve medicare to include
prescription medication and lobbyists from Big Pharma where
exactly who I was fighting but fast forward a few years and been
accused of being in Big Pharma’s pocket and that is one of the problems though
present in this kinda fast the laminates like well you’re either on Big Pharma
side or you’re on a little guys side be a
look at most alternative medicine out there this is
being produced by Big Pharma the people who are making millions of
dollars of the pattern did medicine art trying to you you know they don’t
have some and some hope for humanity that that the
evil big pharma company doesn’t have they are the big pharma companies
although these you know you can have opened the door now it to me asking about homeopathy we had a little
segment a couple weeks ago where I said what are some of the the biggest scams we know other than my
producer and I discussed that and by scams we mean something that
legal but is either dis deceptive or it’s not what it is or it’s
a way for people to take your money and I listed in a long list of things homeopathy
saying when you actually look at active ingredients in homeopathy there’s
almost nothing there it’s like the looting at a teaspoon of
salt in a big swimming pool or even more and that James Randi took a whole bottle
love love some kinda up homeopathic sleeping medicine and he
not only didn’t feel sleepy he should have been in the
hospital that were true how effective it was so I got a bunch of flak for this saying
David homeopathy helped me and it has helped others I’m thinking about the placebo effect
but what do you know about this supposed controversy over homeopathy well you’re absolutely right a lot of
people and confused homeopathy with naturopath
the cell that’s one thing to get a out-of-the-way
and at the start what homeopathy is is literally nothing a sugar pill some water there is add the definition a homeopathy
is that there is no active ingredient and they’re basically two rules to
homeopathy one is that the more you dilute something the strong great get well let let heard about that one when I
heard that I said how is it that all love the basic fundamentals up
science and a where else would it applied that
the more you dilute something it stronger imagine if you put some salt in a dish and in a soup for
example and then you double the amount of water
and you say well how is that possibly going to make it saltier rate yeah it makes 0 sense and any child should be able to debunk that one and it’s not even just
diluting it its you know wat the example you gave a spin it’s all in
a swimming pool is would be one of the weakest dilutions
that homeopathy could offer weakest and because their
standard dilution is is something like a single
Adam other thing in olive the oceans honor and you know you will not get that you
are getting more at fish poop in your water then you’re
getting any kind homeopathy in homeopathic treatment and that’s just
one roll the other rule is the idea that like cures like so for instance if you have poison ivy and it’s very itchy then you should find
something else that makes you eighty and eat it and this whole something so example like if you have a soy
allergy and you get poison ivy you should have
some saw a together to the poison ivy yet exactly I’m a dancer very minute bit
of thought right add to the point where they’re is
no actual so year and you know we’re back when homeopathy
you was invented it actually was pretty successful just
because doctors at the time a be medicine at the
time was you know using leeches and and
things like that so not tree Dina a minor illness was actually better than going in
getting it treated and so by taking sugar pills incentive going and getting leached you could do a
lot better for yourself I would assume combining the
non-destructive backed above the sugar pills with
possible placebo effect your you’re gonna do okay yet the other thing
is the placebo effect which is a really fascinating topic and one that I
recommend people read up on because every time you think you understand the
placebo effect you find something else out about it that makes it even weirder
and more amazing but yeah and the placebo effect can and account for quite a number people
who take alternative medicines and seem to
get better and sometimes even actually do get better all right we’ve been speaking with
Rebecca Watson founder of the skeptic blog also cohost I’ve the skeptics guide to
the universe podcast great to talk to you thanks for joining
us thanks for having me on great started to

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