idoubtit

Editor and owner of Doubtful News. Writer, specializing in science and society, science policy and education.

15 Credibility Street #29: Amateur Hour

Trump nominates Brett Talley, an unqualified lawyer and former paranormal investigator, for Federal Court in Alabama. Being a former ghost hunter is the least of his problems. Bigfoot gets another “official” name: Kryptopithecus gimlinpattersonorum. What does this all mean? Can you name a species from a photo? Yes. A classic case of taxonomic vandalism: Raymond…

15 Credibility Street #28: Defense against the dark art of scare-mongering

It was just Halloween, the media is out to scare you into believing dumb things. Don’t. Tricks in treats? Not-too-deep-thinking about marijuana-laced candy warnings will bring quick realization this hazard is not worth worrying about. One incident in New Brunswick, Canada may have been nailed down but who would eat that anyway? The condition called…

15 Credibility Street #27: It’s not right, it’s surrealism

Jumping right into news of the same dumb TV schtick being sold to audiences, what paranormal beliefs are popular with American’s today, two former rock stars now exist at the fringes, and DNA test failed a psychic who thought she was the offspring of a famous painter. Caution: Some people might find the sounds a…

15 Credibility Street #25: A spray a day keeps monsters away

In this jam-packed episode, we run through updates on still active news stories, discuss some current cool and not so cool things from the last two weeks, and check out a hyped anomaly that probably wasn’t as described. Closing out the episode is a great conversation about what transpired at Cryptid Con 2017 – a…

15 Credibility Street #24: Feeling out of this world

This shorter episode is heavy on the theme of “people really believe this stuff” and why that’s not something to scoff at. I (Sharon) am off to attend a cryptozoology event this weekend that might prove to be a bit weird. I also express some thoughts about the years worth of content on Doubtful News…

15 Credibility Street #23: The sound and the fury

This episode, Sharon and Torkel discuss several recent news events and how they reflect on social views of science and credible sources. First, an eclipse recap: Nothing bad happened and we were not overwhelmed by alien or occult forces. The Hopkinsville aliens did not reappear. New Age spiritualism at a Mt. Shasta festival The media…

What happens now?

From my personal blog: I wonder about this site’s place in the world of fake news and what happens to it now that I can’t keep up with the deluge. What happens to ‘Doubtful News’? – Sharon A. Hill If you have thoughts about preserving the content of the site or making it more useful…

15 Credibility Street #22: We’re not saying they made this stuff up but…

There are a whole lot of shenanigans to call out on this episode. We have a special commentary by Jeb Card about the spooky stuff in association with Hopkinsville, Kentucky and the upcoming eclipse. Listen to get a primer for what might be popular in the media from now until then. Torkel and I discuss…

15 Credibility Street #21: Exaggerated and Unlikely Evidence

Follow up: Grand Canyon Creationist Update – NPS relents New Skeptoid episode on the case Fyre Fest Organizer arrested and Blink-182’s Matt Skiba Claims His ‘Witchy Ways’ Doomed Fyre Festival Tom DeLonge’s Sekret Machines News items: Amelia Earhart dubious photo History Channel documentary Extreme Tech regarding the Japanese theory. Debunked Slate: The “lost” Earhart photo was…

15 Credibility Street #20: A Mummy-Bundle of BS

Mummies, aliens, and alien mummies. It’s a strange strange world out there… News chat: 70th anniversary of Flying Saucers “Anonymous” needs to be ignored. Their goofy (and boring) claims are baseless and should not be considered “news”. Real people have to waste valuable time debunking this s**t. Gwnyeth’s GOOPy stickers Gizmodo was the first to point out…

Nazca “alien mummy” revealed in promotional video featuring serial hoaxer (UPDATE: Experts say ‘hoax’)

UPDATE: As I said originally, with a number of very ignorant people insulting me for it, the mummy has been deemed to be a hoax by experts who say that it is clear real mummies are being manipulated to look strange and exotic by adding extra bones. See the addition below the original story.  You…

15 Credibility Street #19: Leaping to doubtful conclusions

News items: A news blast from the paleo world made top science headlines this week saying the great and powerful T. Rex is unfeathered. Read the study that caused the news headlines and controversy. Washington Post piece Fantastic feathers Some paleobiologists said “told ya”! Others not so much. Check out this video by Trey the…

Poestenkill big cat story is irresponsible reporting

Another typical story from local news where a resident is reporting a strange animal and the reporter dramatically jumps on the story, taking the assumption of the witness as the headline. In all probability, it’s just a dog!  UPDATE: Wildlife officials did what they were supposed to do and tested for size. They determined it…

15 Credibility Street #18: Crystal clear consideration of claims

News items: Crystal healing at Edith Cowan Uni in Australia. Kudos to the Australian Skeptics to making their views crystal clear on these bogus claims about healing properties of rocks. Electrosensitivity UK makes doubtful claims. Electrosensitivity UK is a nonprofit organization that placed advertisements in public places around London claiming “More and more research is starting…

Gender studies journal hoax reveals you can publish utter nonsense (Updated)

A pair of skeptical scholars pulled off a hoax publication (in, dare I say it, a “dick” move) to expose problems with the field of gender studies and, ultimately, the peer review and publishing process for scholarly journals. Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay wrote “3,000 words of utter nonsense posing as academic scholarship” and had…

MUFON under fire for PA director’s absurd racist rant (UPDATE: Ventre removed)

See June 04, 2017 update below The Mutual UFO network headquarters issued a “non-pology” saying they can’t police people’s personal views after PA Director, John Ventre, posted a racist rant on his personal Facebook page about a Netflix series. Note the five “likes” on this post. UFOlogy is dominated by conspiracy ideas and run almost…

Oroville fish fall remains a mystery

A new and interesting “fish fall” report comes out of Oroville, California this week. News stories conflict about what actually happened but here is the best report from a local news team. According to witnesses at the Stanford Avenue Elementary school in Oroville, just before noon, teachers and children noticed the playground area was strewn with…

No rocks for you! (Updated: Rock on)

Update (7 July 2017): Snelling has dropped the lawsuit because the Park Service reversed their decision. A young earth Creationist, Dr. Andrew Snelling, is suing the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, in a civil rights action, stating that he was unlawfully restricted from doing geological work in the Grand Canyon national park…

Money monster of Loch Ness must be fed (Update: Hoax)

UPDATE It looks for all intents and purposes that this was a deliberate hoax. Someone has manufactured a fake Nessie “head”. Dick Raynor appears to have found what was left. Earlier this month a video was published showing Nessie swimming towards the south shore of Urquhart Bay. Monster huggers continue to speculate as to its biological…