Pseudoscience

Dead or alive psychic experiment results pulled from neuroscience journal

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Some paranormal proponents are crying foul and “censorship” over the retraction of a paper claiming to support clairvoyance. The paper: Prediction of Mortality Based on Facial Characteristics by Delorme, A., Pierce, A., Michel, L., and Radin, D. (2016). Front. Hum. Neurosci. 10:173. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00173 was published in May of 2016 and officially retracted in early October. The…

Medical license of holistic doctor in Florida revoked in court ruling on patient death

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The Florida medical board has taken decisive action against a doctor who convinced a young woman to forgo chemotherapy for stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma by concluding her symptoms were likely due to allergies and other non-cancer related causes. Stephanie Sofronsky died under the care of Kenneth Woliner who ran Holistic Family Medicine in Boca Raton. …

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

Ovilus 5 ITC device that "translates environmental energy into words".

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…

Patients loved board-certified doctor who administered weird vaccines (Updated: Hearing November 21)

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UPDATED According to a new piece in the Chicago Tribune Dr. Lin’s hearing will be November 21. This unfortunate piece by the Tribune showcases testimonials from patients, providing them the same weight as those statements from medical professionals, a fallacy that commenters here have also embraced. A boatload of anecdotes that “it worked for me”…

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

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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…

MUFON to rebrand

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I found this story… interesting funny, well, not sure. What do you think? MUFON – motivated by increasing interest in UFOs, company orders rebrand The Mutual UFO Network, the largest UFO investigation squad in the US and also the largest amateur anomalous research and investigation group possibly in the world with thousands of volunteers, is looking…

Thanks to Kickstarter, those who promote silly hats got a pile of free money

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A hat that claims to shield your head from electromagnetic fields has become a successfully funded project on Kickstarter this past week. The people behind the campaign (whomever they are) took advantage of people’s ignorance and gullibility (and possibly paranoia) about the supposed harmful effects of electromagnetic fields. These beanies are basically just a fancy version…

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

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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…

On newsstands now… paranormal pandering from previously reputable sources

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National Geographic has a special issue out featuring “Strange But True: Secrets of the Supernatural Revealed”: Strange But True: Secrets of the Supernatural Revealed features the most wildly popular, incredibly weird, and totally true stories that only National Geographic could discover. Ripped from the headlines of National Geographic Daily News, these often weird, sometimes miraculous…

Bigfoot Captured breaks History: Channel continues to fake out viewers

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WOW! History Channel pulled a “Mermaids” gimmick. Why would they sabotage their credibility? Oh wait, ever since it became the “Hitler” Channel a while ago, it’s been heading downhill. According to this review of their latest special program, Bigfoot Captured, a “shameful fake documentary” about Bigfoot, it’s hit rock bottom. Reviewer Jim Vorel of Paste Magazine takes the…

Were the Egyptian mummies just scarecrows? Carson’s absurd claims about the pyramids.

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So, Republican candidate for President Ben Carson has a very unusual idea about the Egyptian pyramids. What should Americans think about that? It’s not debatable that the pyramids were built as tombs for the pharaohs. It’s not even a mystery of how they were built. Hint: NOT aliens, but good old manpower, lots of it. The…

Did teacher “alter the brains” of teens so that they ended up dead? No.

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A tragic case has been settled in Florida regarding the deaths of three high school students who were said to have been “hypnotised” by a former school official. The families of three students from North Port High School will receive $200,000 each from the Sarasota County School District under a settlement agreement. Because of this…

Science-based medicine writer sued by threatened doctor (UPDATE: Skeptic win)

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UPDATE: Science-based medicine site reports that this lawsuit is over. On September 30, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted Dr. Novella’s motion for summary judgment, ending the lawsuit against him by Dr. Edward Tobinick and two of his companies. Earlier in the case, all of the other defendants had filed…

Rumors are that it will be a disastrous week

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A Blood Moon prophetic disaster? The restart of the LHC makes big bang of doom? Mercury in retrograde? Heaven forfend! There are all these weird noises too! What does it all mean? The Apocalypse? Well if you buy into tabloids, and religious and conspiracy sites hype (specifically from the WND site), it sounds like the…

Recovery water healing claim sounds like snake oil

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NFL player makes claim regarding the healing properties of fancy, “sciencey” nano-bubble water. Russell Wilson Says Recovery Water Healed His Head Injury from NFC Title Game  At one point in the story, Rodrick mentions a moment where Wilson claimed Reliant Recovery Water—a sports recovery drink in which he is a personal investor—helped him recover from…

Elongated skull find in Russia hijacked for pseudoarchaeology ideas

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UFO watchers are in a tizz over the discovery of an ancient skeleton with an elongated skull that resembles an ALIEN. The humanoid skeleton was unearthed from a site known as Russia’s Stonehenge and it is being heralded as proof that aliens visited Earth thousands of years ago. Researcher Maria Makurova told Russian news agency…

Bad science Writing Example A: Linking plesiosaurs to the Loch Ness Monster

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An obviously inexperienced science journalist latches on to the mistaken and downright nonsensical idea that plesiosaurs = Loch Ness Monster. Then, media outlets propagate the silliness. The fossil remains of a giant marine reptile have just been discovered by a team of researchers from the University Of Alaska Museum Of The North. The remains were…