Episode 148: Medical Myths

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem talks about Anthroposophic medicine and some of the weird myths it promotes, Lauren discusses medicalization, Laura busts some myths about food, and Ashlyn quizzes the panel about sexually transmitted infections.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education: Rudolf Steiner (Wikipedia) | Anthroposophic medicine (Wikipedia) | Waldorf education (Wikipedia) | The Heart is not a Pump: A Refutation of the Pressure Propulsion Premise of Heart Function (Rudolph Steiner Research Center) | Rudolf Steiner’s Quackery (QuackWatch) | OTA Report: Herbal Treatments (QuackWatch) | Spotlight on Anthroposophy (Sharon Lombard) | Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, by Paul Offit | The Foundations of Human Experience, by Rudolph Steiner | My Waldorf-Student Son Believes in Gnomes—and That’s Fine With Me (The Atlantic)

Medicalization: Medicalization (Wikipedia) | Medicalization and Social Control (Annual Review of Sociology) | The medicalization of life (Journal of Medical Ethics) | Revisiting Medicalization: A Critique of the Assumptions of What Counts As Medical Knowledge (Frontiers in Sociology) | Medicalization (ScienceDirect) | How Do Medicalization and Rescue Fantasy Prevent Healthy Dying? (American Medical Association Journal of Ethics) | Between hope and acceptance: the medicalisation of dying (British Medical Journal) | De-Medicalizing Death (Health Affairs) | How Halitosis Became a Medical Condition With a “Cure” (Smithsonian) | Get the Facts: Bill C-14 and Assisted Dying Law in Canada (Dying with Dignity Canada)

Food Myths: Fact or Fiction?: Chewing Gum Takes Seven Years to Digest (Scientific American) | Bezoars (Merck Manuals Professional Edition) | Bezoar (Wikipedia) | Gastrointestinal Bezoars: History and Current Treatment Paradigms (Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology) | Chewing gum (Wikipedia) | Chew on This: The History of Gum (History.com) | Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load (Diabetes Self-Management)

STI Myths: Myths and Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS (Peel HIV/AIDS Network) | 5 STI Myths That Just Won’t Die (HuffPost) | Our Whole Lives (Wikipedia) | HPV vaccine: Who needs it, how it works (Mayo Clinic)

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SkeptiCamp Winnipeg: Mediums

Image by Trish2 via DeviantArt, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Image by Trish2 via DeviantArt, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Embedded below is Sharene Gilchrist’s talk from SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2014. Sharene likes to make things out of other things and she has cats. She likes to read and ride her bike. She has been a Christian, a Pagan, a vague New-Agey type and finally feels better not having any religion at all.

SkeptiCamp Winnipeg is a conference for the sharing of ideas. It is free and open to the public: anyone can attend and participate! Presentations and discussions focus on science and free inquiry, and the audience is encouraged to challenge presenters to defend their ideas. You can visit our SkeptiCamp page for information about upcoming events and links to past SkeptiCamp talks.

Episode 76: Life, Death, and Dying with Dignity

Episode 76: Life, Death, and Dying with Dignity

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Donna Harris and Richelle McCullough talk about the ambiguous line between life and death, and Donna interviews Cheri Frazer from Dying with Dignity.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Man wakes up in body bag hours after being pronounced dead | When death is near: Religions offer their perspective on assisted suicide | Brain-dead woman taken off life support | B.C. woman on life support dies after baby boy is safely delivered | Brain-dead Marlise Munoz taken off life support in Texas hospital | Alberta Health & Human Services (Personal Directives, Goals of Care Designation, Understanding Goals of Care Designation) | Dying with Dignity | Advanced Care Planning Kits

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Episode 71: A Tribute to Sylvia Browne

Episode 71: A Tribute to Sylvia Browne

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn Noble discusses the life and times of recently deceased “psychic medium” Sylvia Browne with Donna Harris and Gem Newman, and Gem hosts a game of Psychic Fact or Psychic Fiction!

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Sylvia Browne | Stop Sylvia Browne | Robert Lancaster | The Kidnapping of Shawn Hornbeck | Video of the Shawn Hornbeck Predictions | The Kidnapping of Amanda Berry | Forer Effect | Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure | Goodbye Sylvia Browne | Sylvia Browne: A Post-Mortem | On Sylvia Browne and The Death of an Awful Person | Demiurge (Wikipedia, Gnostic Society Library) | Popularity of the Name “Michael” (Baby Center, Wikipedia)

Psychic Fact or Psychic Fiction! Sources: Sylvia Browne: The Next 100 Years | Sylvia Browne’s Predictions for 2008 & 2009 (from the Internet Archive; the current version at Spirit Now has removed some predictions, including the “Aura Scanner” prediction)

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Episode 47: News Update

Episode 47: News Update

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Richelle McCullough, Gem Newman, and Donna Harris discuss local and international news of interest to skeptics, including an investigation of anti-WiFi activism in Canada, a new study examining the negative impact that personhood amendments have on women, a governmental report in Québec endorsing the right to euthanasia, and more.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Bad Science Watch’s Investigation of Anti-WiFi Activism in Canada | How Long Does a Cough Last? Comparing Patients’ Expectations with Data from a Systematic Review of the Literature | New Study Shows Anti-Choice Policies Leading to Widespread Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women | SkeptiCamp Winnipeg 2012 Videos | Québec to Proceed with ‘Dying with Dignity’ Legislation | Spot the Station | Thought Experiment (Outtakes)

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Mothers Day

Mothers Day can be a hard day for anyone who has lost a mother. It can be doubly hard for those of us who have lost both a child and a mother, but these things are multiplied if one is also a non believer.

Myself, I have some prep going into the mother’s day weekend, as my mom died weeks before mother’s day 2 years ago. May 2nd (the anniversary of her death)  I had a flood of Emails and Facebook posts telling me that mom was “in heaven” or that mom was “watching over me”.

I am always torn about how to respond to, or take these comments. I try my hardest to take the comments in the spirit that they are given in. I truly think that those who say such things (who should know me well enough to know that I don’t believe in heaven or that someone is capable of ‘watching over me’ after they die) still only tell me these things in an effort to try to comfort me. But on days where I feel isolated and alone most often, these comments make me feel worse.

I hate to sound selfish, but sometimes (especially when someone is trying to make ME feel better) I wish that people could put aside their own beliefs and try to make ME feel better.

Here is how I look at ‘life after death’:

Well… maybe I should back up. I think that we are all what the matter that makes us up lets us be. The matter that makes up my brain, my organs, my limbs…. If I lose use of an arm or a lung or a part of my brain I will act differently…. to varying degrees depending on how serious the injury is and what part it is.

I think that a large part of who I am is the neural pathways in my brain. And a not insignificant part of those neural pathways are make up my memory. For example: memory’s of my mom.

Lessons she has taught me, Skills she has taught me, Story’s she has told me, and the Morals she taught me; all woven in to my neural pathways and I couldn’t get rid of them even if I wanted to.

Not to mention the fact that I look so much like my mother (physical traits wise) that people mistake pictures of mom for pictures of me all the time.

The funny part of that is people mistook pictures of grandma for pictures of mom as well as pictures of great grandma for pictures of grandma. So anyone who wants to have an approximate of what I’m going to look like when I’m 70 needs only to meet my grandma.

But back to my original point. If all we are, is what we are…. if we are only what our minds and DNA says we are…. well…. I kind of get to decide how much of our mothers gets to live on.

The DNA; That me & my brother have already, it’s going to be my kids and it’s already my nieces… CHECK.

What I’m more concerned about for this mothers day is my moms memory. I mean that in an honest way. I have started making a flower bed the way she taught me to when I was about 5…. and who knows… maybe when we sell our house the new owners will keep it and that flower bed (& part of my mom) will be around for another 50 years. I am, myself, going to make an effort to learn from the lessons my mother taught me and the example she set for me. Also I am going to try to learn from her mistakes.

Most importantly (from my frame of mind right now) I’m going to try to talk about my mom and share the knowledge she has given me. If she was neural pathway pathways and created neural pathway pathways in me, and I pass on knowledge from those pathways that create new pathways in someone else… well… that’s the kind of living on I have no problem believing in.

What I would love for people to say to me instead of “your mom is in a better place” or “god needed an angel” or the thousand other cliches we have all heard already; is something personal, something unique. Tell me why I look or act like mom… Tell me a story about her… Even better, tell your kids a story about.

I may be wrong, but even if you are religious I can’t imagine anyone getting more comfort out of a trite saying than a personal story. And if you are religious and are reading this… well… try to keep in mind that your comments may be having the exact opposite effect that you intend. If you care enough about a person to send a thought to them when you know they are going through a tough time, try to care enough to not say something that will only serve to make you feel better, but them feel worse.

My Grandma, My Mom And Myself

 

Episode 21: How Rationalists Approach Death, Part 2

Episode 21: How Rationalists Approach Death, Part 2

Life, the Universe & Everything ElseIn this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Mark Forkheim concludes his discussion of life, death, and immortality with Gem Newman, Robert Shindler, and Greg Christensen.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Drinking Skeptically with the Winnipeg Skeptics | Imagine No Relgion 2 | Skepticon 4: How Should Rationalists Approach Death? | Cryonics (Wikipedia, Less Wrong, Alcor Life Extension Foundation) | Technological Singularity | Transhumanism | Technological Predictions by Ray Kurzweil | Curiosity: Can You Live Forever? | Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom | The Weekly Weinersmith, Episode 17: Dr. R. Douglas Fields and “The Other Brain”

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