Episode 2 - How To Spot A Skeptic
Good morning, and welcome to the second electic radio transmission of OfQuack, the Government's watchdog for Quack Medicine. If it's quackery, we'll certify it for you.
We have a packed program for you, with two high profile interviews, and sage advice from our founder.
But first, a word from our sponsor.
Advertisement - I Love Oscilliococcinum
Do you love homeopathy? Do you love magazine partwork collections? Then you'll love the I Love Oscillococcinum magazine partwork collection!
With issue 1, you will receive a vial of rancid duck liver, lovingly prepared to Joseph Roy's original recipe, and a handsome leather binder perfect for storing your first ten magazines and sturdy enough to withstand repeated succussion.
Each subsequent issue comes with everything you need for a 1C dilution of the previous month's solution. As your collection builds, you will understand how homeopathy works, in simple practical terms, as you work towards your 200C Oscillococcinum solution, a cure for colds and flu since time immemorial.
First issue 99p, subsequent issues each 100 times more expensive than the last. Additional binders available for £12 each. The publisher is not responsible for any bad effects of eating undiluted rancid duck liver. Other partwork magazines are available.
Yes! With I Love Oscillococcinum, you too can look forward to something other than the bewildered scorn of your friends and family!
Jingle: "I Love Oscillo"
And now over to our correspondent in Hollywood for an interview with Mr Dim Scary, one of the leading vaccine skeptics in California.
Gervais Freiberger interviews Dim Scary
Gervais: Hi there over in little old England! I know that some of you are worried about the MMR vaccine over there, so I tracked down one of the famous-est (and dreamiest) vaccine skeptics over here to give you a quick run-down on vaccine safety. Dim Scary has been on our screens playing wacky pet doctors in lots of really sucessful films, and that's pretty much as good as a medical degree, so his word is law as far as I'm concerned. Dim, what should we do with our children? Jab them or fab them?.
Dim: Aargh. Vaccines! Vaccines! Pins o the devil, I say, and I should know I don't have a medical training so I can see the things these so called doctors suppress. Ooh. Aargh. It makes me so mad. Poisons! Poisons? Yeah, mercury. They use that in fish to measure temperature. I don't want my kid being a thermometer fish! Yeah. No. They took it out, but they, no, no, they didn't stop the toxins. Toxins! In the fish in the vaccines - jab jab jab - they want to kill the kids. Why? I hear you ask. In my head. Over and over. WHY DON'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE. Why why why why? Fun! The Obama/Bush death panel advisory committee said it should be done. Done/fun. It rhymes! I never noticed that before. Proof! PROOF! WAKE UP PEOPLE THEY'RE COMING FOR LITTLE BOBBY NEXT! Transcript may not be reliable at this point.
Anyway, it's all on our website.
Gervais: Yeah, verbatim. Wow, who could argue with that: pretty cast-iron, I'd say. That's all the news for this week, so it's back to OfQuack HQ - byeeeeeeee!
After unfortunate action by those nasty skeptics, we have been forced to edit the following advertisement based on GCC guidelines.
Advertisement for McChimeney Chiropractic (compiled in accordance with GCC guidelines)
'Ullo there boys and girls, Bert here from McChimeney Chiropractic. I lives from day to day, creating cures where the mood takes me. If it wasn't for Chiropractic, my [redacted] wouldn't have cleared up as fast as it did, and I would still have my [redacted].
'Ere at McChimeney, we can treat [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], infant [redacted] and lower back pain, for the low low price of 2s 6d per hour. That's less than half a crown a week!
And why not take advantage of our wellness service! We will check you for signs of [redacted], [redacted], inner [redacted] or loss of [redacted]. We call it a McChimeney Sweep. Five shillings.
So if you've got a problem with your [redacted] or ear [redacted] then come down to the McChimeney Chiropractic Practice, care of Miss Mary [redacted], 22 Cherry Tree Lane.
You can stop this happening to you. Lady Anatidae Buckfast has some advice on how to spot a skeptical investigator if they arrive unannounced in your practice.
Live from Buckfast Hall
This week's talk is called "How to spot a skeptical investigator if they arrive unannounced in your practice".
While we usually have a view of Skeptics as grumpy, curmudgeonly old wet blankets with nary a good word to say about anything OfQuack does, it may surprise you to learn that they can on occasion hide this very well and blend in with normal people.
There are, usually, however, some tell-tale signs that might tip off the observant OfQuack member. I'm obliged at this point to remind listeners that OfQuack membership is still only £45 and we need to get another 2000 of you by Chistmas because Nigel typed an extra zero on the estimates we sent the the Department of Health and no-one noticed until it's too late. So join now, it's a wonderful opportunity. We guarantee to accept you, no matter what you do.
Anyway, how does the vigilant member spot the sourpuss? Simple. Remember this handy mnemonic: Skeptics are SICK - Slogan, Interrogation, Cockiness, Konvention.
First, Slogan. The skeptic will think nothing of putting on a cheery face when he comes in, but he will invariably forget to remove his revoltingly common sloganized T-shirt. This will usually have a would-be-witty quip, such as "Homeopaths do it repeatedly against a leather book", or simple antihero-worship. Names such as Dawkins, Dennett, or Darwin are a dead giveaway.
Second, Interrogation. He will ask you a series of questions, not the usual ones like "I'm feeling a bit tired, how can I give you some money?" but instead may try to insert references to "evidence" and "studies".
Third, Cockiness. If you are foolish enough to give evidence, especially good evidence from proper journals like the Journal of Lunar Healing or Astological Medicine Today, he will smirk in smug satisfaction. In extreme may even dance about singing songs by George Hrab.
Finally, Konvention. Skeptics are the products of families with stunted imaginations, who do not have the mental power to comprehend Rainbow Reiki Therapy or unconventional names. So if the skeptic says his name is James, John, or Sean, be suspicious - these are very conventional names. Whereas anyone called, for example, Crispian cannot possibly be a threat and can be welcomed with open arms.
I hope that this has been instructive, and will help your practices stay skepticism-free in the future.
As usual, you can write to OfQuack at 4, Organic Gardens, Pokeit-on-Sea, SUSSEX, OQ1 OMG. Please do not send correspondence to Buckfast Hall directly, as it tends to blow into the moat and Nigel's expenses don't cover the cleaning any more.
You can also use one of the ghastly electronic computer things and follow our regular updates on... "Twitter". Nigel? Is this right? Really? Good God these computer people are weird. Yes that includes you, out. Out. Go.
At this point our sound recordist was ejected.
Thank you, Lady Buckfast.
Earlier this week, I visited OfQuack Laboratories to meet our most senior researcher, Professor James Blast. He took over from the founder of OfQuack Labs, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, when he took up a lucrative research post in America.
Visit to OfQuack Laboratories
Prof. Blast: Welcome to OfQuack Laboratories.
OfQuack Rep: Good morning, Professor Blast.
Prof. Blast: Hello.
OfQuack Rep: Could you share with us some of your latest research?
Prof. Blast: Today I am going to tell you how to make the most effective cold medicine in the world. First, take a small cup full of nitroglycerine, and add three teaspoons of dynamite. Stir for five seconds, very carefully. Suck a few drops up in a pipette, and sniff it up your nose. You will find that your blocked nose is no longer a problem.
OfQuack Rep: May I try? [Sniff] [There is a loud noise] Oww. Owwwwww. Ow....
Prof. Blast: Next time, we will be looking at the problem of ear infections.
OfQuack Rep: Pardon? Owww.... Aaargh....
Thankfully, since that report, an intensive course of Magnetic Reiki Nose Therapy has complemented the Professor's excellent remedy and I was able to smell again in under a month. Impressive, I am sure you will agree.
Regrettably, Dr Hanneman is unable to be with us this month. He had the misfortune to fall into a river and diluted himself until he was too effective. We wish him a speedy return from near-Godhood and look forward to hearing from him next time.
We hope that you will join us then for more adventures in quackery.
And remember, if it's Quackery, OfQuack will certify it for £45.
The OfQuack podcast was brought to you by OfQuack, in association with McChimeney Chiropractic and the Crispian Jago Mammary Balacing Emporium.
Music was "Last Dance" by Oleg Galkin