From the Chairman

David Bloomberg

Once again, we had a busy month. This time it was due to the series of talks in our area. First we had, well, me – in Chicago and then in Springfield for our meeting. Then we had Professor Karen Bartelt in her forum with creationist Kent Hovind in Peoria. Then we had CSICOP fellow Joe Nickell speaking in St. Louis (unfortunately, they didn’t get the information to us in time to get it into The REALL News, so we were only able to notify those at the October meeting and a few others). Finally, we will have our November meeting, discussed below. Phew!

With all these activities plus a long cover article by Randy Alley, we had to expand from our normal 8 pages to an extra-large 12-page issue. Randy’s article is only the start of a series that will tell us about two pseudosciences of past years and how a skeptic in those times dealt with them. Why should we dwell on such history? For one thing, it seems that no piece of nonsense ever really dies out. For example, mesmerism, which will be addressed next issue, may be back again in the form of magnets claimed to cure all manners of injuries and illnesses. Also, I think the occasional history lesson reminds us that we are not the first, nor will we likely be the last, to fight unscientific thinking.

November Meeting

Our meeting on Election Day, November 3, will feature David Hunter speaking on the topic of "Why My Daughter Hates Me." Hunter lives in Champaign and is a Central Illinois contact for the Illinois False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Over eight years ago, his daughter went to see a therapist because of an eating disorder. As we’ve so often seen, rather than solving that problem, the therapist created new ones by convincing Hunter’s daughter that she had been horribly abused and was repressing the memories. Hunter has not seen her in years and has never seen his own grandchildren.

This talk comes at an appropriate time. Last issue contained two articles related to repressed memories. While the weight of scientific evidence is heavily against the theory of repression, and the legal tides have turned, there are still families out there who have been ripped apart by this particularly disturbing bit of pseudoscience. Hunter will give us insight from one of those families. If you can only make it to one meeting in a year, I urge you to come to this one.

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