Paranormal investigators and Velikovsky sound similarly sciencey

In January 2013, I wrote about Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, and pseudoscience, referencing Michael Gordin’s excellent book The Pseudoscience Wars (2012). Well, I’m writing about it again, to be included in a book about amateur investigation groups “sounding sciencey” and fooling the public. I went back to some of my old sources and found a good one. It’s…

Scientific or Scientifical?

About half of all amateur research and investigation groups (ARIGs – those self-forming groups that do ghost hunting, Bigfoot searches, cataloging of UFO sightings, and other paranormalia) on the Internet say they use scientific methods and equipment and/or their field is based in science. [1] As one who actually did scientific work in a lab…

Bigfoot researchers making big leaps

A few behaviors really irk me: acting like an authority to the public when you don’t deserve to be authoritative and making shit up to give a good story. The scientist in me would like experience, credentials and an exhibition of expertise. I also need evidence for wild claims. Because, well, you know… I doubt…

Brain dump and more stuff

Busy busy busy… My task list on Google got so long I had to break it up into 4 different lists. All of us after-hours skeptics are constantly coming up with new project ideas and getting jazzed about new topics and avenues to explore. Some days I have so many ideas, I think my head…

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…

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…

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…

The red herring

Conclusion to “Sham Inquiry” The coelacanth is a red herring Mainstream science, which is respected and functions very well with its current methodology, excludes those fields who don’t pass muster. For a theory to be considered as an explanation for observations of the natural world, even the public realizes it ought to be scientific. Using…

Elbowing in

Continuing with “Sham Inquiry” Elbowing in on good science The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the published by the Society for Scientific Exploration which describes itself as “a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying phenomena that cross or are outside of the traditional boundaries of science and…are ignored or studied inadequately…”…