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Naked Skeptic

The Naked Skeptic column

Misremembering the Past

By Peter Bowditch

It is quite simple to build false memories, even ones as serious as sexual abuse.

Earlier this year the ABC’s Four Corners program featured a story about a therapist who specialised in implanting false memories of sexual abuse into the minds of his patients. This sort of thing has been going on for years, but what made this case different is that the mental manipulation took place in an environment that resembled a cult, complete with a guru and a closed community set apart from the rest of the world. The program raised several points about how the general public perceive therapists, cults and their members, and the workings of memory itself.

Courts Immune to Anti-Vaccine Lobby

Girl receiving injection

The anti-vaccination lobby has been dealt some crucial blows in the US courts.

By Peter Bowditch

The anti-vaccination lobby has been dealt some crucial blows in the US courts.

Two days before Christmas last year, Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) sued Dr Paul Offit, journalist Amy Wallace and publisher Condé Nast because an article in Wired magazine had hurt her feelings by suggesting that she is sometimes careless about the truth.