Critical thinking

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 #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 #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…

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…

15 Credibility Street #5: UFOs over Turkey and I ain’t too surprised

We’re back with another news chat episode. The news is weird, as usual. Strange days indeed… Mothman reappears close to the 50th anniversary. Howard suspects pecuniary interests might be involved in the promotion of these local legends. The same can be suggested for the many YouTubers and websites that promote “weird news” like anomalies, natural…

15 Credibility Street #4: A virtual flood of news – bad, good, real, fake and otherwise

In this episode, after a disheartening election result, we spend time catching up on other questionable claims reviewing all the news stories posted since last time. Alaska river monster Canadian ping Quack loses license in Florida American eagles down the drain Earthquake lights over New Zealand Nostradamus and others “predicting” election results Fake News never…

Continue, we must: US needs critical thinking advocates to step up and be heard

The DN/15 Credibility Street crew took a break yesterday because writing and talking about most things besides the election results seemed frivolous. We postponed our scheduled recording of the podcast because we weren’t in the right frame of mind, but by the end of the day, I saw many of the dejected pick themselves up,…

It’s the season for the word “skeptic” to be overly used and abused

Oh, dear. Every Halloween-themed story out this week about ghosts and monsters and the people who seek them will invariably have the term “skeptic” in it. This person is the group’s “skeptic” or this person “was a skeptic until…” Most egregious are those who are completely gullible and pooh-pooh the skeptical process as being “closed-minded”…

Creator of gadgets for Ghost Adventures show says he does not believe in ghosts

Ghost hunters have been played by promoters of pricey ghost tech gadgets. Out in Popular Mechanics is a detailed article on the dubious history of ghost hunting gadgets. Three skeptics and a seasoned paranormal scholar chime in on the pseudoscientific basis behind these instruments but, in a revealing twist, two well-known “gadgeteers” of Ghost Adventures refused to talk. And…

Robert Todd Carroll of The Skeptic’s Dictionary has died

Skeptical Inquirer Facebook page announced just yesterday that uber-Skeptic Bob Carroll passed away on August 25 of pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. He was 71. A former professor teaching Philosophy and Critical Thinking at Sacramento City College for over 30 years Bob shared his knowledge in the form of the HUGE compendium of skepticism, The Skeptic’s Dictionary. From…

Facts may no longer matter in this election but fact-checking and skeptical activism works

It’s the day after the big debate and media outlets like Politifact, Factcheck.org, AP, and NPR have their fact-checking (FC) machines churning at full speed since 9PM last evening. As a Skeptic who values solid evidence and empirical facts, I deeply appreciate FC but I strongly suspect that facts and examinations of truthfulness and accuracy…

Big snake loose in Maine or is Wessie a hoax?

Cross posted from DOUBTFUL. Back in June, locals of Westbrook, Maine said they saw a large snake slithering around. After no sign of the beast a week later, a Westbrook police officer witnessed it eating something near Riverbank Park on the Presumpscot River. A second officer called in also saw it. From their Facebook page: On…

Scottish poltergeist story is highly questionable, even if the police say they saw something

Cross posted from Doubtful by Sharon Hill A story about a family in Rutherglen, Scotland, who called in police to report paranormal phenomena, rode the media wave yesterday into today. The original source was the local Rutherglen Reformer paper that appears digitally on the Daily Record (UK) website. Here is the main story: Rutherglen family call in police…

Preaching to the Choir: Social media sharing in “echo chambers” reinforces belief

Doubtful News would be useless if people weren’t interested in finding out what might or might not be true and correct. This site appeals to people who are willing to listen to a narrative framed in that way. But, SURPRISE (not), most people consult the internet guided by beliefs they hold dear – whether those tend towards…

Swords and sophistry: Questionable archaeology to the hilt (UPDATE: Not a Roman sword)

Welcome to 2016! I predict that this year we will continue to see the popularity of pseudo archaeology – a cracked spinoff of a science-based field that studies human long-past history. Yes, more out-of-place artifacts, ancient alien astronauts, Atlantis, etc. Today, we bring you the continuing saga of SwordGate and a heretic historian who is attempting to prove…

Are people really this dumb to be scared of solar panels? (Update)

So, the top story shared on my social media today is a point-and-LOL chortle-fest at a North Carolina town who has rejected a solar panel farm project. There are DOZENS of stories that make fun of the people who provided public comment against the rezoning decision in Woodland, NC because of their apparent ignorance of…

YouTube-Google lends a welcome hand to UFO debunkers

It’s happened to lots of websites: criticism (or just a mention) of a product or a person results in an overreaction with an inappropriate claim of copyright infringement. How can you soundly explain the reasoning for why you think a certain photo is a bear, not a Bigfoot or that a UFO video is a hoax unless…