Brief Announcement: World Skeptics Congress

The 6th World Skeptics Congress will be held on May 18-20 in Berlin, Germany. Topics will include: Why do people turn to pseudoscience for help? What makes alternative medicine so attractive – and how can we find out what really works? Why is it so difficult for us to deal with risk and uncertainty in a rational way? Can we teach children to think critically and scientifically? And how can academic disciplines like biology or psychology protect themselves from pseudoscientific contamination?

Dr. Harriet Hall will be speaking on “CAM: Fairy Tale Science and Placebo Medicine.”

Details are available here.

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2 thoughts on “Brief Announcement: World Skeptics Congress

  1. lilady says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Hall. Perhaps you will “treat us” to the video of your presentation…only if it is in English.

    Have a great trip.

  2. phayes says:

    “And how can academic disciplines like biology or psychology protect themselves from pseudoscientific contamination?”

    I don’t think they can very easily because I don’t think it’s a problem specific to certain individual disciplines. I think orthodox inference has made /all/ of science vulnerable to pseudoscience, cargo cult science and pathological science and it’s that deeply entrenched general problem which needs the (urgent) attention.

    Of course psychology and biology do provide some very clear illustrations of the (severity of the) problem. Just recently, Bem’s precognition experiments came up again here: and I was struck by the futility and irony in challenging the supposedly explanatory weak measurement based pseudo-theory that turned up in the comments there knowing that it’d have no impact anyway on the status of the associated ‘experimental science’ in the plausibility-blind mind.

    Then yesterday, Edzard Ernst wrote about the evolution of his views on homeopathy here: and I’m left scratching my head wondering where in the EBM / orthodox inference framework a justification for this dismissal of *all* highly diluted homeopathic remedies has come from:

    “During this period, the evidence has become more and more negative, and it is now quite clear that highly diluted homeopathic remedies are pure placebos.”


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