Critical thinking

Stop sharing this insane warning about vaccines and drug use!

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This photo was making rounds this past weekend on Facebook and Twitter. Many people who should know better were blinded by the appalling ridiculousness and passed it along as a demonstration of stupidity. Stop. You are making things worse! Even by trying to express outrage, you will be amazed at how many will not read an explanation…

Dowsing useless in finding missing girl

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The “Find Me” crew is back in the news. And, again, not really helping. Private Investigator believes he knows who the suspects are in the Celis kidnapping The private investigator the family contacted said, “Whoever did this knows the family 100 percent guaranteed, and my suspect has a key to the house.” Retired federal agent…

Sheldrake collaborating on children’s book about psychic dogs

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Sheldrake’s idea that dogs know when there owner is coming home is unconfirmed and falls on the highly dubious side. But let’s tell kids about it! Boy’s Best Friend | Kate Banks, Rupert Sheldrake Kate Banks and world-renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake collaborate on this novel about two boys who set out to prove that their dogs…

Anonymous commenters undermining science have negative impact. We knew this.

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This is further justification why we do not allow anti-science commenters on this site. It’s not a debate but the reader often does not know that. Healthcare websites are attempting to educate about health risks but a new study shows, surprisingly, that readers may be influenced more by online comments than by credible public service announcements.…

James Randi retires from foundation at age 86

Photo credit: Bruce F. Press photography. brucefpressphotography.com

James “The Amazing” Randi, world-renowned magician and advocate for science-based skepticism, is stepping down from the Board of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). In statements released today on the JREF website, Randi announced his retirement from the JREF, and the Board regretfully accepted it. But, Mr. Randi noted, he’s got a few tricks left…

The main problem with confession – it could be completely manufactured

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Think memory is like a videotape? Wrongity wrong wrong. It can be rather easily manipulated and is reconstructed without our awareness every day. Of special interest to criminal confession cases, it’s not really too hard to convince someone that they committed a crime. People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened –…

Food Babe clueless about food, science, and apparently, air

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Vani Hari is a blogger who calls herself the “Food Babe”. She has become infamous for her criticism of the food industry. However, with a degree in computer science and experience as a management consultant, she sounds like an idiot when talking about food facts and science, and she has little fear of being identified…

Media violence correlated to societal violence: An actual scientific controversy

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Experts disagree: violent content in media correlates/does not correlate to violent behavior. No link found between movie, video game violence and societal violence. Since the 1920s, scholars and politicians have blamed violence in movies and other media as a contributing factor to rising violence in society. Recently the responses to mass shootings in Aurora, CO…

Law clinic investigates 27-year old “Satanic Panic” child abuse conviction

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The Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic takes on a doubtful case of Satanic ritual abuse that landed a man in jail for 27 years. Duke law clinic to review 1987 conviction. Duke law professor Theresa Newman has three boxes full of files about Andrew Chandler Jr.’s case: details about the bizarre allegations, the expert testimony…

The ‘News’ – hijacked by trolls

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I love lots about this piece, especially the use of the word “arseholes” to describe scumbags who get their jollies out of trolling and making trouble on the internet. It’s a fine English word. Meanwhile, arseholes hijack the news. Is this the fault of the trolls or the people who click? The Emma Watson nude…

Espanola police conclude “ghost” is the only possible explanation for an insect on the camera

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Each day, I come across a half-dozen “news” stories about officials who sanction ghost hunts in their buildings or use ghost tours as fundraisers or tourism draws. See Paranormal testing scheduled for Southwick Town Hall | masslive.com. Medina Paranormal Society to discuss building findings Monday – The Daily News Online: News. Even most sceptical spooked…

Spinosaurus appears to have been toothy and semi-aquatic; but don’t call it a crocoduck

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Previously-known Spinosaurus was a dinosaur that blew my mind. I couldn’t figure out the deal with the sail and the ultra-long snout. Turns out it had more surprises in store. Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus: Massive predator was more than 9 feet longer than largest T. rex — ScienceDaily. Scientists today unveiled what appears…

Some in Sierra Leone ignorant or in denial about Ebola

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Another unfortunate use of the common term “skeptics”. These people have limited understanding and information and fed by the current poor situation regarding health care and transparency among other social issues, they are denying that ebola is a serious problem. Skeptics In Sierra Leone Doubt Ebola Virus Exists : Goats and Soda : NPR. Opinions are…

Ghost with axe photo and story lacks all credibility

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A strange photograph has people online jumping to paranormal conclusions. Are there more obvious explanations? Perhaps the better question to start with is how do we know this even happened? Ghostly image causes online stir – Yahoo!7. A photo showing a ghostly figure, apparently wielding an axe, has spread viral goosebumps across the internet and…

Skeptics in Vegas: The Amazing Meeting 2014 brought cheers, smiles and a call for education

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The premier gathering for advocates of evidence-based skepticism and critical thinking, THE AMAZING MEETING (TAM), the annual conference run by the James Randi Education Foundation, took place from July 10-13 in Las Vegas. James (The Amazing) Randi, aged 85, one of the world’s greatest living magicians and conjurers, was very accessible throughout the several days, taking photos…

The “great” and “doctorful” Oz admits he doesn’t have miracle solutions

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No kidding! This truly is great. I wish I’d seen it. But Consumerist has an excellent summary that sounds like when Dr. Oz went to Congress he got more trouble than he bargained for. McCaskill deserves applause. Dr. Oz Grilled By Senator Over “Miracle” Weight-Loss Claims – Consumerist. Since he started appearing on pal Oprah…