Skeptical activism

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…

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…

FTC and Homeopathy: 15 Credibility Street extra

The FTC issued a policy statement on November 15, 2016 regarding the marketing of homeopathic “drugs” to consumers. The statement was the culmination of research and analysis incorporating information gathered from a workshop last year where various parties – homeopathy advocates, organizations and producers along with science-based medicine advocates – provided comments. The policy changes…

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,…

Episode 2: Rather Rigged

Stopping by at 15 Credibility Street this week are our pals Bob Blaskiewicz and Karl Mamer. Because, they rock. But first, since this is Halloween, I mention ghosts. The hot news this week was not that ghosts are any more plausible or better documented than in the last 300 years but that the guy who makes…

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”…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

Exposed “healer” Popoff is back to take your money

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…

Dear John Oliver: Preach it, brother

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…

Not-a-doctor Clement in Ireland pushing treatment that cures “every known disease”

You can probably imagine that someone who would make such a claim would be a target for skeptical activism. You’d be right. Recall back in January, the story of two Canadian girls with leukemia that were treated not with chemotherapy, which has an extremely high cure rate, but at a Florida clinic that serves up unproven alternatives…

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

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

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…

How low can you go: Potentially dangerous cancer cures promoted in “secret” presentation

Black salve and Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) are touted as fantastic cancer treatments “they” don’t want you to know about. Pushers of these items must avoid the law that prohibits them from saying these are “cures” but they can’t avoid the media. The Good Thinking Society in the UK went to a conference held on…