Skeptical activism

Maharashtra state rushes emergency legislation through after Dabholkar murder

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Many businesses closed and people protested the killing of this Indian rationalist. BBC News – Narendra Dabholkar: India’s Maharashtra state bans black magic after killing. The Indian state of Maharashtra has enacted emergency laws banning black magic and superstition, one day after a prominent campaigner was killed. On Thursday, the Maharashtra state government enacted an…

Rationalist anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar assassinated in India

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Terrible news out of India. Anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar shot dead; Prithviraj Chavan announces Rs10 lakh reward for info on killers – Pune – DNA. Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead by two unidentified…

Unexplained happenings mean call in the ghost hunters

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Weekends are for haunted human interest stories, I guess. Aisle be damned – Dumfries and Galloway Standard. Ghostly goings on have spooked staff at a Gretna Green store. Worried workers at the Wee Big Shop are on edge after a series of unexplained “happenings.” And they have called in paranormal investigators to see if they…

Congratulations and other worthwhile remains of the day

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I’ve been catching up on some good reads and links while keeping an eye on new news. Check out what I collected for you today. “I’m a Creationist,” Says Former Times Tech Writer, Heffernan | Religion Dispatches. In which Orac does Stanislaw Burzynski propagandist Eric Merola a favor… – Respectful Insolence. Aggressive snake slithers down…

Start kids early on skeptical thought – it’s FUN

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It’s wonderful to bring you some good news about positive outreach in science and skepticism. Check out this program for kids taking place in Spokane, Washington. They teach kids how to recognize bad science by showing them why dowsing and astrology SEEMS to work but ultimately is a fail. Bad Science Fridays teaches young scientists…

The complex, convoluted tale of Dr. B. on Panorama, by R. Blaskiewicz

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As regular readers know, we have been following and even directly involved in the critique of cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski. This weekend, the UK show Panorama is airing a report on Dr. B. Robert Blaskiewicz has been dogging the doc for a very long time, picking at the rottenness behind his hype. I am pleased…

Local news would rather bank on truth of demonic tale but quotes Skeptic

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Thumbs down to the Pocono Record (PA) for dissing a skeptical take in the headline about a demonic story. The article itself is pretty fair so I question the editor. Paranormal skeptic rains on Stroudsburg’s devil tale | PoconoRecord.com. For several days in February 1983, Don Decker was possessed by a demonic force that caused…

Misinformation in the news continues to prosper because no one complains

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Whatcha gonna do? Journalists can’t help but chase sensational stories. Media manipulator Ryan Holiday explains why – The Next Web. The demands of online journalism, where page views reign supreme and the time between starting an article and pressing publish is increasingly restricted, has triggered all sorts of unprecedented and questionable journalistic behavior. Indeed. This…

When pigs fly: Pigasus awards bestowed on the deserved

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The honors were given yesterday, April Fools’ Day. JREF’s Pigasus Awards “Honors” Dubious Peddlers of “Woo”. Since 1997, the JREF’s annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous promoters, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek…

Skeptics poked holes in acupuncture study which needled the study’s author

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An INTERESTING follow up to this story… A sharp difference: Study of sham vs real acupuncture appear good or bad depending on how you view it. The lead author of this acupuncture study complains about “ad hominem” attacks from skeptics. Two skeptical medical blogs give him what’s what. Here is the abstract. In September 2012 the Acupuncture…

Thoughts from the International UFO Congress

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We have several reports coming in from the International UFO congress in Arizona. Robert Sheaffer, stalwart skeptical UFO reporter is chronicling it on his blog. Bad UFOs: Skepticism, UFOs, and The Universe – by Robert Sheaffer: UFOs In the Desert, Part 1. Great stuff! And Tyler A. Kokjohn, Ph.D., provided me with this fascinating viewpoint…

Dowsing for dollars, a challenge to test your skills

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Water dowsers are offered a chance to compete for prize money…if they can really do what they say they can. Calling all diviners | Australian Skeptics Inc. Australian Skeptics are again organising a major test of water divining, repeating an exercise last undertaken 11 years ago at the Mighty Mitta Muster in Mitta Mitta, northern…

You don’t REALLY need to know the TRUTH about homeopathy, says NHS

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Foundation for Integrated Medicine persuaded officials to neuter advice about homeopathy on the NHS (National Health Service, U.K.) Choices patient website. Prince’s charity lobbied government to water down homeopathy criticism | Life and style | The Guardian. Draft guidance for the website NHS Choices warning that there is no evidence that homeopathy works was suppressed…

Happy Valentine’s Day: You’re being manipulated

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Michael Marsh looks at the business-driven surveys about love and sex that are promoted by the media and that tell us what we are SUPPOSED to do and be like. You really can’t rely on the media… Valentine’s Day retailers say it with flawed surveys | Michael Marshall | Science | guardian.co.uk. The commercial exploitation…

Criss Angel magic show just got real

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Criss Angel’s TV series has an intriguing advisor? Magician Criss Angel to Star in Spike TV Docuseries – Hollywood Reporter. The network is teaming with Criss Angel for an 11-episode series featuring new illusions and what it dubs are “apparent supernatural abilities.” Over the hourlong episodes, Angel will attempt new “demonstrations” never attempted by any…