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Medicine Pseudoscience Skepticism/critical thinking

David Copperfield starting to believe in illusion?

Mentioned in the comments on this post was this story:

MIAMI (Reuters) – The man who made the Statue of Liberty appear to vanish may soon claim to do the same for unsightly bags and wrinkles.

Master illusionist David Copperfield says he has found the “Fountain of Youth” in the southern Bahamas, amid a cluster of four tiny islands he recently bought for $50 million (26.4 million pounds).

One of his islands in the Exuma chain, Musha Cay, is a private resort that rents for up to $300,000 a week and the other islands serve as buffers to keep prying eyes away from celebrity guests on the white sand beaches.

Copperfield is coy about his reasons for the Fountain of Youth claim, but the man best known for entertaining with grand deception insists his archipelago also contains the legendary waters that bestow perpetual youth. Seriously.

“I’ve discovered a true phenomenon,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. “You can take dead leaves, they come in contact with the water, they become full of life again. … Bugs or insects that are near death, come in contact with the water, they’ll fly away. It’s an amazing thing, very, very exciting.”

Copperfield, who turns 50 next month, said he had hired biologists and geologists to examine its potential effect on humans but he’s not inviting visitors to swim in or drink from it just yet.

Well, well, well. Either Copperfield is the exception to the rule that magicians tend to be skeptics because their profession is to deceive for entertainment (or, as this article puts it, “entertaining with grand deception”), or he’s got quite the little publicity scam going on here. I wonder if any biologists have taken him up on his offer to study this supposedly miraculous water.

Calling The Amazing Randi, STAT! I think we need a woo intervention here from a fellow magician!

ADDENDUM: Tim Gueguen has also commented.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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