Skepticism in a nutshell

On episode #208 of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast, the SGU folks took questions from the audience at TAM7. The best question, I thought, came from my friend Bruce who asked how to explain a skeptics convention and skepticism so that a teenager might understand.

Sounds like quackery

In my series Sham Inquiry, I spotlighted three examples of fields that sound a lot like science but have critical failures. Attempts to don the trappings of science are most irritating when they fool people into thinking it is real, cutting-edge science. I found more examples from the recent Newsweek article on Oprah’s promotion of…

Ghost Hunting – Sham Inquiry

Thousands of eyewitnesses report ghostly encounters from ancient history to modern times. Contact with the dead is very much part of our modern culture. With the expansion of television content and the internet, stories about hauntings have surged in popularity. Ghost hunting is a popular hobby for thrill seekers. It’s fun to be scared. The…

Pretend science

Playing Pretend Science In order to be technical, like science, pseudoscientists engage in a method of data gathering that is not haphazard or lazy. Intricate collection and analysis is often a part of pseudoscientific activity. They may produce enormous bodies of work. Commitment to a cause can prompt “energetic intellectual effort” [1]. The motives and…

So much information

WordPress has a new feature that allows me to blog from email. Very cool. Why did it take so long? The reason why this is Awesome is that I frequently get ideas or come across links at work. I can’t post to the blog at work because WordPress is blocked (along with thousands of other…

Sour Grapes

“If you aren’t trying to get to the truth, you aren’t really inquiring” -S. Haack [1] A case of sour grapes We live in a world of science. Because of its high regard as a source of truth about the world, the concept of ‘science’ is often abused by scoundrels [2] and its appearance is…

Sham Inquiry

As part of a research project, I looked at the phenomenon of sham inquiry. It’s when pseudoscience or a marketing scheme dresses up to look like science in order to add credibility. The public can be easily fooled – they think if you look like this: …you must be a scientist. Well, that’s obviously not…

Reasons to love evolution

Evolution explains the way things are. There is no God at work there, things happen according to natural rules (policy and general guidance). It’s a beautiful thing. Nature is the designer. Don’t be afraid to embrace Natural Design. Here’s why it’s OK to love evolution. Scientists are cool, crazy evangelicals are not. You will piss…

Airborne shot out of the sky

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up this blog for those of you who might be subscribed. Every so often I feel the need to speak out in the hopes that someone might hear me. This made me say “Yea!”. From the first I heard of Airborne, and other things like Cold-eeze, Zicam and the like,…

Age of Endarkenment

Please read this Guardian (UK) editorial essay by David Colquhoun. It is written in reference to goings-on in the UK but is even more applicable to what is happening in the U.S., which is worse. I see daily evidence for our society wandering off into the land of ‘woo’ and it scares me. No, terrifies…