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This week Skepticality features an interview with Dr. Paul Offit, in which he discusses his work in science based medicine. From his time as a vaccine inventor to his tireless work educating the public about harmful medical fads and misinformation. His latest book, "Do You Believe In Magic" is a scathing expose' of the so called "alternative medicine" industry and gives insights into how to decide if a treatment is real, a helpful placebo, or just hogwash.
Show Notes

– Date – September 24th, 2013
– Send your cool ‘SCIENCE!’ shout-outs to
– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.
– Thank you to everyone who has been purchasing books, Skepticality stuff, or using our Amazon link to help us!

– Our previous guest, Jon Hotchkiss, is offering a 50% discount to our listeners. Just go to: and click "see the series" and enter the promo code 'skepticality' when prompted.

Skepticism, Past and Future [1:35]
– Indian rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar was murdered on August 20th.
– Murders of health workers dispensing polio vaccinations have taken place this year in Nigeria and Pakistan.
– A grenade was thrown into Cotton Mather's house to protest smallpox inoculations in 1721.
Anti-vaccine riots broke out in Montreal on September 28, 1885.
A "vaccine revolt" lasted a week in Rio di Janeiro from Nov. 10 – 16, 1904 – previously discussed on Skepticality #168.
– Virgil Griffith built WikiScanner in August 2007 and it made quite a splash.
Wired Magazine won an award in 2008 for their feature which allowed readers to use WikiScanner to explore self-interested anonymous edits to Wikipedia and vote on the worst offenders.
– WikiScanner no longer operates, but a similar tool called WikiWatchdog recently came online.
The offices of Scientology were permanently banned from editing Wikipedia on May 28, 2009.
– Skeptic History facts are posted daily on social media find out where on this page at Tim’s blog.

Wikipedia [9:12]
Leah Remini who very recently left Scientology, and there has been a lot of fuss made.
– Tony Ortega announced that Remini was interviewed on The Ellen show.
Visit the Scientology talk page.
Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia Blog.
– You can find Susan Gerbic at her website.

Skeptical Humanities [14:35]
– "Bridge for Sale: Deception in America." BackStory Podcast. 29 March 2013.
– "Buy/Sell the Brooklyn Bridge." The Big Apple Blog (13 July 2004).
– Cohen, Gabriel. "For You, Half Price" New York Times (27 Nov 2005).
– "Court Interpreter Accused." New York Times (21 Oct 1903).
– "Hollander 'Buys' Brooklyn Bridge." East Oregonian (19 March 1913).
– Find out more at

Legend of the Ztarr Kickstarter [22:05]
Sarah Mayhew Skeptical Manga Writer.
– Join the Legend of the Ztarr kickstarter to help promote more critical thought entertainment.

The Odds Must Be Crazy [22:50]
– This week's featured story is, "Kiwis Caught Playing Hooky at Disneyland"
– Story was submitted by reader Andrew Law.
– Please visit the story link for a more detailed analysis and to add your comments.
– Additional thoughts and considerations provided by Barbara Drescher
– Our theme music comes to us courtesy of Brian Keith Dalton, AKA Mr. Deity.
– Please visit The Independent Investigations Group Los Angeles.
– The Odds Must Be Crazy can be found on Twitter at @OddsMustBeCrazy, Facebook at TheOddsMustBeCrazy, and Google+ at thier profile.
– Wendy Hughes is on Twitter @Wendy91602.
– John Rael is on Twitter @skepticallyPwnd.
– Jarrett Kaufman is on Twitter @TurboFool.
– Barbara Drescher is on Twitter @badrescher.
– Brian Keith Dalton is on Twitter @MrDeity.
– Thanks to our friends Emery Emery and Heather Henderson for hospitality and support for the production of the segment. Visit them at

Interview: Dr. Paul Offit [27:45]
Dr. Paul Offit's Personal Website.
– He was born with a childhood medical condition, which forced him to be around children who were infected with Polio.
– Co-Inventor of a Rotavirus vaccine.
– That vaccine is now part of the USA vaccination schedule.
– Works with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia providing vaccine education and awareness.
– Was a dissenting voice against giving preventive smallpox vaccines to military and individuals as a preventative after the events of September 11th.
– Latest book is "Do You Believe In Magic?".
– He had the song by the 'Lovin' Spoonfuls' in his head while writing the book.
– He took the practice of vitamin dosing by the general population to task.
– Taking some vitamins actually will increase your chances of getting certain cancers.
– The Wall Street Journal even ran a story about the dangers of taking unregulated vitamins.
– Acupuncture is a 'difficult' topic, the placebo effect is a strange and hard to pin down when determining the actual 'benefit' of certain alternative medical treatments.
Chiropractic, 'medicine', a medical idea born out of a completely incorrect idea which is easy to see, is completely untrue.
– There have been many cases where chiropractors 'treatments' have lead to people having strokes, and some cases, death.
– Could the 'trust' in alternative treatments be due to poor medical training or education?
– Dr. Offit decided to wrote the book after receiving faulty medical advise by his doctor, showing a lack of science based thought.
– Some alternative medical treatments are, without a single doubt, fanciful and useless.
– See some television clips featuring Dr. Offit at his website..

Outro Music [40:33]
– Outro music donated by Trent Brusky of Dropfox.

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