Sceptics gathering to doubt things tomorrow

Some New Zealanders remain as gullible as ever when it comes to get-rich quick schemes and potions offering miraculous health benefits, Dunedin sceptic Warwick Don says.

Mr Don is a former national chairman of New Zealand Skeptics, and attended that organisation's first national conference, which was held in Dunedin in 1986.

More than 50 sceptics from throughout New Zealand are expected to attend the organisation's latest three-day gathering, which begins in Dunedin tomorrow evening.

Mr Don said the advent of the internet had made it easier for financial scammers to operate from distant countries, sending out vast numbers of emails, and often finding a few victims for get-rich quick schemes.

But the internet also offered a good source of reliable information, including about dubious financial schemes and unproven claims by sellers of various health potions.

Conference speakers include Dr Michael Edmonds, of the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Prof Jean Fleming, of Otago University, and David Veart, an Auckland archaeologist and cookbook enthusiast, who will discuss 20th century food fads.

Mr Don, a retired Otago senior lecturer in zoology, has simple advice about handling email offers from unknown people that promise sudden wealth.

"Delete immediately."


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