SGU Episode 613

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SGU Episode 613
April 8th 2017
Tentacle robot.jpg
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 612                      SGU 614

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

C: Cara Santa Maria

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week

Don't assume the endgame. Focus on the process, follow the evidence, and don't distort analysis with an imagined conclusion.

Gary Kasparov

Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Discussion


You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

What's the Word ()[edit]

  • Teleology

News Items[edit]

TM and Violence ()[edit]

Citizen Science and Planet 9 ()[edit]

Tentacle Robot ()[edit]

Boeing Deep Space Plans ()[edit]

Death by Turmeric ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to last week: 3D Printer

Questions and Emails[edit]

Question #1: Doctors Recommending Homeopathy ()[edit]

My name is David Burnie. I'm a long time listener to SGU and love and respect the show, which is why I thought of you for my question. Today I took my 27 month old son to his pediatrician because of a persistent cough. As part of the treatment proscribed, she mentioned and listed, Highland's Kids Cough and Cold Syrup. I have attached a portion of today's visit assessment, minus any personal identification information, with the medication highlighted. When I got home and googled the Highlands syrup, I found that it's freaking homeopathy! My initial reaction to this is to phone them up and tell them how angry I am that they would be prescribing anything homeopathic in any way. I am seriously upset at them, and I want to tell them I won't ever be using them again, and to expect a request to transfer my son's files to a new pediatrician once I find one. I am seriously pissed! In fact, I'm wondering if there is a governing body or agency that I should call and let them know that a doctor is recommending homeopathy. On the other hand, my wife says that perhaps they just recommend that because parents feel better giving their kids something for a cough, and since cough syrup is not normally recommended for kids under 3, this is just a way to sooth the parents. (By having them spend money on water) I will mention that they have kept him up to date on his vaccinations. So my question to you is: am I being reasonable by telling them off and taking my business elsewhere? Is there a governing agency that would care about something like this? Or should I just let it slide and not put to much thought into a recommendation (It does say MAY also get... on the list, not MUST). I value your opinion and will await your response. This way it will give me time to cool down so if I do phone them I won't still be angry. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to read this, David Burnie Columbus, OH

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: A new review of research concludes that adults need significantly less sleep as they age. Item #2: In a series of studies, Japanese researchers demonstrate that children as young as six months old are attracted to the heroic acts of others. Item #3: A new DNA analysis finds that indigenous people living in the Pacific Northwest display genetic continuity with local populations for at least 10,000 years.

Skeptical Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'Don't assume the endgame. Focus on the process, follow the evidence, and don't distort analysis with an imagined conclusion.' - Gary Kasparov

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at, where you will find the show notes as well as links to our blogs, videos, online forum, and other content. You can send us feedback or questions to Also, please consider supporting the SGU by visiting the store page on our website, where you will find merchandise, premium content, and subscription information. Our listeners are what make SGU possible.


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