Pseudoscience

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…

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…

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…

Continuing miseducation on Bigfoot

Community and small local colleges typically provide non-credit continuing education courses for the locals at low cost. As I’ve written about previously, it’s often art or history classes, computer training, those sorts of things. But also frequently offered are “classes” on paranormal nonsense like “How to develop your psychic powers,” “Ghost Hunting 101,” and “Tarot Reading”.…

Maine ghost group claims to have Eva Gray ghost pic (UPDATED: Eva real, ghost is not)

Update: The ghost group appears to have additional information that they have not yet released that indicates that this “image” is not paranormal, and we have confirmation on some details of Eva Gray’s death. See below. Originally published 17-Jan-2017 An amateur research and investigation group (ARIG) in Maine is getting local attention for their claim…

Tabloid pseudoscience alert: Alien claw

The usual tabloid suspects are hyping a non-story about the finding of an “alien claw” in Peru. ALIEN investigators claim this giant hand is REAL and could have come from a dead extra terrestrial being. Source: Researcher Brien Foerster claims ‘giant hand from Peru cave’ could be of alien origin | Daily Express and Institute…

Dead or alive psychic experiment results pulled from neuroscience journal

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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)

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

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

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.

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.

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…