Skeptical activism

YouTube-Google lends a welcome hand to UFO debunkers

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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…

Exposed “healer” Popoff is back to take your money

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We are again pleased to bring you news of brilliant skeptical activism from UK’s Good Thinking Society as they expose former fraud televangelist Peter Popoff. He’s back to his old tricks “healing” people. But also, he has what appears to be a lucrative fund-raising plan that demands money from patrons in exchange for gimmicks and…

JREF changes focus, slips into the background

James Randi Educational Foundation

As was briefly announced at The Amazing Meeting #13 in July, the James Randi Educational Foundation is changing focus. The new plan is announced on their website. The JREF will be awarding grants to worthy applicants. Starting in 2016, we will be making grants to non-profit groups that we believe are promoting activities that encourage…

Dear John Oliver: Preach it, brother

Praise Legal and Loopholes.

John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight takes it to greedy televangelists and those preaching the “prosperity Gospel” and “seeding”. Give money (seed) to get money. And people give… But it gets worse, some preachers push faith healing and collect money for their claims that God will heal. And people give… Oliver exposes the bizarre legality…

Fake UFO on Fakebook in wrong part of the world

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314,711 shares on Facebook? 6,100 upvotes on Reddit? 1.8 million views on Imgur? Of a reflection of a light in a window. Why? Because it’s stupid and it’s the internet. Here is today’s must read skeptical debunking of really stupid stuff on the Internet: The UFO picture from Australia, that Facebook are trying to remove! (Or a…

Ghost in the window photo busted

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A ghost photo from the U.K. is going viral this week but in this case psychology—not the paranormal—provides the best explanation. Ben Radford takes a closer peek at a “ghost” photo that was taken five years ago but got new attention this past week. As with any ghost photo, it’s terrible evidence. It’s even WORSE…

Show of hands: Palmistry is bullshit

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The Good Thinking Society (UK) produced a set of videos documenting an investigation into palm readers. There is no basis to palmistry, it doesn’t work, it makes no sense, and the GTS shows that at least in this case, it sounds more like scripted repetition instead of any personalized reading. You will love how all…

Dr. Wallace Sampson, advocate for science-based medicine, dies

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Dr. Wallace Ira Sampson, 85, passed away on May 25, 2015 in California. We are very saddened at the news and remember Dr. Sampson’s great contributions to the public discussion about “alternative medicine”. Wallace Sampson Obituary Dr. Sampson was the editor in chief of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, a blogger and editor emeritus at Science-Based Medicine,…

What happened to the dinosaurs? They are used to indoctrinate children

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DN Reader David O’Hare passed along a tip to me yesterday to try googling: “What happened to the dinosaurs”. Here is the surprising and highly misguided result: The top result is from Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham‘s fundamentalist, anti-science, Christian group who believes that dinosaurs existed with humans and they are really a means to fool…

Support free speech in the public interest: Anti-SLAPP act proposed

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It’s a shame that outspoken bloggers have to have lawyers at their disposal because of threats to take down pieces critical of some charlatan. This week, there is a new push to support anti-SLAPP lawsuits. Lawsplainer: The Proposed Federal Anti-SLAPP Act: What It Would Do, Why It’s Important | Popehat Last week, two members of…

Writers in Bangladesh, critical of religious dogma, murdered in the street

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Very disturbing news about the death of another outspoken writer who promoted science over religious dogma in Bangladesh. This is the FOURTH murder by fundamentalists extremists who object to the non-religious sentiment expressed by these courageous freethinkers. Another free thinker murdered | The Daily Star Blogger and an organiser of local Gonojagoron Mancha, , was…

Doubtful News TAM Educator Grants

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Your Doubtful News editors, Sharon and Torkel, will be at The Amazing Meeting TAM 13 from July 16-19, 2015 taking place in Las Vegas, NV. We want to help educators get there too! UPDATE (6-June 2015) We made it a bit easier for five educators to attend TAM! See below. UPDATE: 19-May 2015 Four grants…

The scoop on the Roswell Slides: really pathetic hoax

Nice resolution, eh? Looks like a museum, you say? Hmm, yes, I believe you are right. What kind of idiots do you think we are?

Back in November 2014, we reported on a story from the UFO community – Thomas Carey told the audience at a conference that he had “smoking gun” evidence that extraterrestrials have been here – Kodachrome slides dated 1947 showing an alien. I don’t typically use Billy Cox as a source but he does note that people have…

“Real” ghost claim takes a back seat to skeptical research

A screen shot from Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers offers the clearest copy of the photo by Mrs. Mabel Chinnery allegedly showing a back-seat ghost. Photo from Skeptic.com/Blake Smith

What paranormal enthusiast like me hasn’t seen this famous picture of the dead mother in law in the back seat of the old car? IT WAS CREEPY AS HELL and it was one of the most widespread photos promoted as “real” because there seemed no good explanation. That’s because not many people attempted to provide…

Have your say to the FDA on homeopathic products!

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The US FDA will hold a public hearing on homeopathic products. What does this mean? It means the agency is considering adjusting the current enforcement policies to reflect changes in the homeopathic product marketplace over the last approximately 25 years. That sounds like a PLAN and a great opportunity! Homeopathic Product Regulation: Evaluating FDA’s Regulatory…

Good thinking about homeopathy funding

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In February 2015, The Good Thinking Society in the UK, headed by Simon Singh, challenged Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Groups’s decision to approve spending on homeopathic treatments under the contention that it was potentially unlawful and contrary to the best interest of local patients. Public funds for health care are precious and should not be wasted…

Toronto Star in backpedaling mode after major screw up about Gardasil shot (UPDATE: Retraction)

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UPDATE (24-Feb-2015) This story has been retracted by the Toronto Star. Good. A rare event: Toronto Star retracts fear-mongering vaccine story Fifteen days after publishing a widely-criticized article linking anecdotal health problems to the HPV vaccine Gardasil, the Toronto Star has issued a retraction. As Retraction Watch notes, a newspaper retraction is rare. But something…

Commentary: Online news and damn lies

The main goal of digital news websites is not actually to report news in a responsible manner, but to attract eyeballs and web traffic. Over the past decade, there has been a shift to prioritizing speed and clickable content as the Internet has become a main source of news and information. A new report by…