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Would you like fries with your penicillin? (1996) (Off Site)
As a doctor/teacher, I feel a naive inclination to enrich my patients' minds as well as treat their bodies. But in this politically correct New Age, a satisfying doctor's visit, like a trip to Burger King, means "having it your way." So when my next "cold" patient demands an antibiotic, rather than attempting to provide scientifically sound care, which only results in a complaint being generated, I think I'll give this tried-and-true response a whirl: "Yes, ma'am. And would you like fries with that?"
Chinese Acupuncture for Heart Surgery Anesthesia (1999) (Off Site)
Posner critiques the claim that a Chinese surgeon performed open-heart surgery on a patient using acupuncture instead of anesthesia.
Questioning Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld's China Acupuncture Story (1999) (Off Site)
Another critique of the claim that a Chinese surgeon performed open-heart surgery on a patient using acupuncture instead of anesthesia.
A skeptical look at Hoagland's claim that he and Eric Burgess, not Carl Sagan, was responsible for the plaque that accompanied the Pioneer 10 mission.
An Interview with Philip J. Klass: The World's Leading UFO Skeptic (1999) (Off Site)
Posner's interview with Klass for The Skeptical Inquirer.
A Case of Immaculate Abortion? (1998) (Off Site)
Posner discusses the case of a doctor who was "faced with the choice of saving one life over another" for the first time in his career: the doctor's patient was diagnosed as having a "hydatidiform mole pregnancy," a potentially malignant condition of the placenta. If the mother was not treated, there was a high probability she would die within a year. If the doctor did treat the mother, it would possibly result in a terminated pregnancy. Posner examines this religious doctor's claim that the pregancny was miraculously terminated in accordance with God's will.
Posner discusses a study published in the October 25, 1999, Archives of Internal Medicine that attempts to the positive effects of intercessory (not personal) prayer, without the recipients' knowledge, on the hospital course of patients.
An Examination of the Media Coverage of a Prayer Study-in-Progress (1998) (Off Site)
In 1988, the Southern Medical Journal published Randolph Byrd, M.D.'s study on intercessory prayer (prayer by outsiders, at a distance, as opposed to personal prayer) in treating cardiac care unit patients. Critical examination of this study revealed flaws that appear to render the effort no more useful than those that preceded it.
Examining an Unsolved Mysteries Report of a 'Miraculous' Cure (1995) (Off Site)
On May 5, 1995, NBC-TV's "Unsolved Mysteries" featured a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, woman who, a few years ago, allegedly experienced a "miraculous" healing, through prayer, of a breast lesion suspected of being cancerous. Upon further examination, however, it appears this woman had a a benign, fluid-filled cyst (or, less likely, a benign, solid fibroadenoma).
God in the CCU? (1990)
A critique of the San Francisco hospital study on intercessory prayer and healing.
Nonhealing a Nonexistent Tumor (1986-1987) (Off Site)
Seldom do we have the opportunity to examine critically a claim of faith-healing in which an incurable medical condition is definitively diagnosed, a prayer is offered, and the affliction is "miraculously" healed, with resolution of the confirmatory x-ray findings. Such a claim was made in a riveting and moving video segment of the Peter Popoff Miracle Ministries program. Posner explains why Popoff's televised claim of a documented "miracle," nearly three years after the fact, is without foundation.
NBC's Cynically Skewed Reporting on the Power of Prayer (1994) (Off Site)
Posner describes the skewed reporting on one episdoe of NBC's television newsmagazine "Now" (which has since been absorbed by Dateline NBC).
The O.J. Simpson Trial: Burden of Proof (1995) (Off Site)
What if the scientific community were to adopt the lofty standards of our "system of justice"? In this age of political correctness, why shouldn't they? -- it's only fair. Let's begin giving the benefit of the doubt to those sincere-sounding UFO abductees, whose testimony is uncontested by witnesses to the contrary. As UFO proponents have so correctly pointed out in the past, the evidence in their favor would certainly prevail in any court of law. Even Carl Sagan agrees that our dry, uninspiring science textbooks need overhauling. Why not fill them with tales of UFO abduction, ESP, astrology, pyramid power, Bigfoot, and the unabridged teachings of Ramtha? Maybe our youth would then find their science homework to be as relevant to their lives as is MTV. Then, if it works for science, we can do the same for "history."
The Devilish 'Barney' Media Hoax (1994) (Off Site)
In 1994, John M. Bunch, Jr. and David J. Bennett were graduate students in psychology at the University of South Florida. They were also stand-up comedians. Bunch and Bennett perpretrated a hoax upon the media, claiming to be Luscious M. Bromley and Jack Herman, fundamentalist Christian founders of a group called Citizens Concerned About Barney (the purple dinosaur star of Public Television). As first reported by the Tampa Bay area TV, radio, and print media, and then nationally by CNN and the Associated Press, front man "Bromley" charged that the loveable, lavender Barney is actually "the most powerful symbol of current evilness that is going to lead this country right down the tubes."
Psychics and Spirit Mediums
Archive of Gary Posner's Articles on 'Psychic-Sleuth' Noreen Renier (Off Site) [ Index ]
"Psychic investigator" Noreen Renier resided in Florida for many years before moving back to the rural Charlottesville, Virginia, area in January 2004.
Van Praagh: Talking to the Living Loved Ones of the Dearly Departed (1998) (Off Site)
James Van Praagh's Talking to Heaven, the New York Times #1 nonfiction best seller, may just be the most clearly written, entertaining, comprehensive and persuasive book yet published on any paranormal theme. Wouldn't know. Haven't read it. Doubt it, though.
Taking a Stab at a Paranormal Claim (1995) (Off Site)
Posner discusses a letter received by the Tampa Bay Skeptics (TBS), as well as some other skeptics groups, from Jamal N. Hussein, Ph.D., director of Paramann Programme Labs in Amman, Jordan.
Nation's Mathematicians Guilty of Innumeracy (1991) (Off Site)
Marilyn vos Savant speaks in her weekly Parade magazine column, "Ask Marilyn." In one column, Savant answers a "brain teaser" submitted by a reader. Her answer was correct. What was surprising was the large number of critical letters Savant received from mathematics professors, claiming that Savant was in error. Posner concludes that even the nation's mathematicians are not immune to innumeracy.
On July 25, 1998, USA Today dredged up a 2 1/2-year-old Associated Press article extolling the beneficial health effects of religion, and re-featured it as if it had just been written (it has since been rearchived and properly dated). But we have come to expect no better from the press. And the article's case isn't any more persuasive the second time around.
Column: Skeptically Speaking
Skeptically Speaking (Off Site) [ Index ]
This off-site archive contains past issues of Gary Posner's Skeptically Speaking column.
Periodical: Tampa Bay Skeptic's Report Online
Tampa Bay Skeptic's Report Online (editor) (Off Site) [ Index ]
Posner is the editor of this regular periodical reporting on paranormal claims in Tampa Bay, the state of Florida, the U.S., or even worldwide.
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