The Stichting Kennisplatform Elektromagnetische Straling (SKES, ‘Knowledge Platform Electomagnetic Radiation Foundation’) has published an alarming press release about a research paper from the German scientific journal Reviews on Environmental Health (Belyaev et al. 2015), assessing potential harm done by electromagnetic fields (EMF). It starts as follows:
Too much exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) from mobile and wireless telephones, WiFi, electric devices, electric cables and other sources at home and in public places, can cause several health complaints, infertility and even cancer or Alzheimer. The best way to treat and prevent these ailments is to reduce exposure to EMF, an international group of scientists concludes.
Dutchman Wim Hof earned his nickname ‘The Iceman’ for his world records involving the cold – standing for almost two hours in a crate full of ice cubes, that sort of things. But in recent years he is promoting the methods that he claims enabled him to achieve these records as a method for achieving better health as the ‘Wim Hof Method’. Lacking scientific evidence, Hof is careful not to claim explicitly that his method can cure diseases like cancer, but he definitely suggests that improving the immune system can achieve this. Already he has gained a lot of enthusiastic followers and he has been training many people to propagate his method. But how is it supposed to work, and does it? Skeptic Pepijn van Erp investigates…
For a bit of context, let me take you on a short tour around the skeptical movement in the Dutch-speaking world. This includes the Netherlands and Flanders (Northern Belgium). In total there are four active organizations; two in the Netherlands and two in Flanders. In the Netherlands the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Society Against Quackery) or VtdK, founded in 1881, is the oldest skeptical organization in the world. The VtdK specifically focuses on fighting harmful or useless (alternative) medicine. The second organization in the Netherlands is Stichting Skepsis (founded in 1987 with the help of Paul Kurtz), which focuses on skepticism in general. In Flanders there is SKEPP (founded in 1990 with the help of James Randi and Skepsis), also focused on skepticism in general. Het Denkgelag, the fourth group, is a recent offshoot from SKEPP (althought they’re not competing, rather completing each other) that was founded in 2012 to hold discussions and lectures aimed at attracting people outside the skeptical community, and stimulating critical thinking. Continue reading “Report from the Skepsis Congres on 8 November 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands”