Your friendly neighborhood mon$ter

In a recent post on Skeptoid blog, I suggest that paranormal-based tourism, such as ghost tours and monster festivals, which are growing in popularity, border on fraud. “Even if there are long-standing legends of strange events occurring at some location, to suggest that a place is haunted just to freak people out is contemptible.” “Ghost…

Pop descent into low quality

As a follow up to my last post on why cryptozoology may or may not be called a pseudoscience (depending on your criteria), I was reminding of the idea of “deviant” science as discussed by Dolby. When a “deviant” science, or what might be labeled pejoratively as “pseudoscience” by mainstream scientists or commentators, appeals to…

Well done, Skeptics

I’m quite pleased with this exchange at the PA skeptical site Keystone Society for Rational Inquiry. A guest poster noticed an article in the local paper about a new alternative therapy – Himalayan salt cave – and looked into it. What was found can benefit lots of people and can assist people in make more…

Building a wall with values

Throughout the day, I’m reading books and news stories and listening to podcasts. This week, I saw a recurring theme in my media selections: values and the entrenched position. I guess I was predisposed to thinking about it. I spent last week preparing a lecture on ethics for a professional licensure exam review. I included…

Everyone panic. Or not.

A few weeks ago, I moved my desk next to an upstairs window overlooking a Bradford pear tree. For the past 3 weeks, when I sat at the desk during the day, periodically, a flock of about 50 starlings would swoop in and land on the tree,  devouring the shriveled fruits up like grapes. Then,…

Footprints that go nowhere

Tom Biscardi’s Searching for Bigfoot gang appears to have taken up the reins where MonsterQuest left off, by leading expeditions to stake out sights where evidence of Bigfoot surfaces. In response to a highly dubious piece of evidence, that looked more like a clump of leaves than an ape, they rushed to PA a few…

Solving Unexplained Mysteries: A review of “Scientific Paranormal Investigation” by B. Radford

This past March, I registered for a seminar on Scientific Paranormal Investigation at CFI – Washington, DC. Ben Radford was presenting and the event description mentioned his upcoming book of the same name. This was fortuitous since I was working on developing a thesis project about the prevalence of sham inquiry, focusing on amateur investigation…

What’s the most convincing type of evidence?

Evidence is factual statements (or perceived to be factual) offered in support of the speaker’s claim. There are, generally, three kinds of evidence – statistical, causal and anecdotal. ‘Statistical’ is numerical summaries of many instances. ‘Causal’ provides an explanation for an occurrence in which I’ll also include “expert opinion”. ‘Anecdotes’ are from specific instances. I’ve…