SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 2

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 1
SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 3

SkeptiCamp is an open conference celebrating science and critical thinking. For more information please visit SkeptiCamp.org.

Polyamory and Mononormative Assumptions

Anlina Sheng is a freelance graphic and web designer, a feminist, and a polyamory activist. For more information about polyamory in Winnipeg, visit PolyWinnipeg.org.

Perpetual Motion and Free Energy… Science or Pseudoscience?

Javier Hernandez-Melgar is a student at the University of Manitoba, pursuing a joint honours degree in math and physics.

Evaluating Rational and Emotional Arguments

Brendan Curran-Johnson is a software developer, unrepentant geek, and incorrigible satirist.

WARNING! This is NOT medicine.

I have 4 kids, they are all under 10 years old, so when there is an infectious health issue like a cold or flu it tends to spread amongst the whole household like we are living in a putrid petri dish; it’s best to avoid any of us during those occasions.

Recently one of those episodes saw me heading out to find some relief for my little ones’ sore throats. I was at Zellers in Winnipeg looking through the cough and cold section and I was dismayed that all of the cough suppression products I was finding were not for kids under 6 years old, which two of mine currently are. I was thinking about the hot water and  honey mixture I would be making for them instead to help their sore throats when I saw in big, bold lettering “Kids 0-9, Cough and Cold”.

Exactly what I was looking for!

As I read the description on the box I became increasingly hopeful.

“Relieve dry cough”, check

“Relieve congestions”, check

“SAFE – No side effects”, awesome

“Great Tasting”, even better

But as I reached the bottom of the box my heart did slump just a little as my joy over this seemingly magical, wonderful, solution-to-my-problems product was squashed.

“Homeopathic Medicine”

What a huge letdown.

Homeopathic “medicine” does nothing, it is not medicine. It has been shown through scientific trials to be nothing. For a primer about homeopathy check out Wikipedia and this talk by The Winnipeg Skeptics founder Gem Newman.

I took this package and walked up to the Pharmacy area at Zellers and asked them why they stock this non-medicine along beside actual medicine, why carry it at all? The answer is the same that I’ve gotten when questioning other pharmacists in the big box stores; “we don’t decide what to stock, it comes from corporate”. After saying that they often acknowledge that homeopathy is junk, along with other so-called medicines like ColdFX, but they don’t decide what to carry.

In fact one time a pharmacist at a big box store motioned over to an entire section in their store and said “everything over there is crap”; the area she was referring to stocked nutritional supplements, herbal remedies and “organic” items.

What’s the harm in this?

Simple. The fact that homeopathy is not actual medicine is not well understood by the general public. If a parent walked into Zellers that day as I did and bought this product expecting it to help their children they would be disappointed. They would have wasted their money on non-treatment when their child should be getting actual medicine that has a known efficacy.

To give a homeopathic treatment is to give no treatment; which in the case of a cough or cold is not too serious, but what if that child is running a fever? Has aches and pains? Well there is homeopathy for that too. “Flu Buster”.

 Again, to give a homeopathic treatment is to give no treatment, and I find it particularly offensive, and disgusting, to give parents a false sense of security, when they think they are helping their children that are in need of medicine and instead have been tricked into buying nothing.

And Kids 0-9 doesn’t stop there. They have a whole line of products to treat your infants that are suffering from allergies, earaches, colic, etc. This would be great if homeopathy actually worked, but it does not.

And now, enjoy this commercial from the good folks over at Homecan.

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 1

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 2
SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2011: The Videos, Part 3

SkeptiCamp is an open conference celebrating science and critical thinking. For more information please visit SkeptiCamp.org.

Logical Fallacies (A Spoonful of Sugar)

Paul Nordin is a member of the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Winnipeg Secularists. He is currently majoring in philosophy at the University of Winnipeg.

Free Will: What is it? and Do we have it?

Gem Newman graduated with distinction from the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. in Computer Science, specialising in Artificial Intelligence. He founded the Winnipeg Skeptics in 2010, and more recently he co-produced a short documentary called “The Nonbelievers’ Beliefs” with fellow skeptic Scott Carnegie. He blogs at WinnipegSkeptics.com, StartledDisbelief.com, and occasionally at SkepticsOnThe.Net.

Denialism

Jeff Olsson is a former Anglican priest and the current president of the Humanist Association of Manitoba. His book, Leaving Faith Behind, is available on Amazon from Xlibris. The Humanist Association of Manitoba can be found at mb.humanists.ca.