Skepticism

Category archives for Skepticism

I got a letter with criticism from a man who believes in electromagnetic hypersensitivity and thinks I should too. Most of the letter is the Galileo argument, where the letter writer refers to an anthropologist whose ideas were, in his view, once highly respected until they were taken apart by critical thinkers. I should be…

Skeptic’s Guide Interview

I’m on the latest instalment of the Skeptic’s Guide podcast talking about the Mora/Orsa electrophobia case and the Obscurantist of the Year anti-award. I also mention a bunch of upcoming European skeptics’ conventions, though Steve Novella cut out the bit where I recommended that the skeptical rogues grow mullet hair styles and mustaches for the…

The Swedish Skeptics, of whom I am the chairman, have just announced their annual awards for 2011 [a - b]. The Swedish public TV show Hjärnkontoret receives the Enlightener of the Year award, “…for their excellent science coverage directed towards children. Hjärnkontoret has aired for 16 years and thus contributed to the upbringing of the…

Here I go again, bad-mouthing Thor Heyerdahl to his countrymen. But note that I’m quoted as saying, “Norway is a country that has produced many great archaeologists. Thor Heyerdahl was not one of them.” Proud Norwegians, your country is great! And its greatness does not hinge upon the posthumous judgment of that guy with the…

Sweden’s goodbye to religious faith and cult continues apace, and so does the relocation of the population from the countryside to the cities. Here’s a sign of the times. The National Heritage Board has recently re-issued its 1998 how-to guide for (rural) congregations who wish to quit heating their churches (available as a free PDF).…

Radiation Phobia and Wolves

For the past few days, Swedish skeptics have been shaking their heads in disbelief over Mora municipality’s office for the environment. The office had taken the complaints of a man with radiation phobia seriously and demanded that all radio transmitters in the area be turned down or re-pointed to ensure that the man’s house would…

Kon Tiki Airport Restaurant

I’ve written a bit before about Thor Heyerdahl’s hyperdiffusionism and the status as a Norwegian national hero he still enjoys despite being completely discounted as a scientist. Last time I passed through Oslo airport I discovered this Kon Tiki-themed restaurant with a faux Ecuadorian Bolivian stele. I think what Heyerdahl interpreted as a full beard…

The Kensington runestone of Minnesota is a rather obvious 19th century fake. But in a recent paper in Saga och Sed 2010, Mats G. Larsson shows something less obvious: the hidden signature of the stone’s carver, who also was its finder. Olof Öhman came from Forsa in Hälsingland, central Sweden. He claimed to have found…

Swedish academic archaeology has a few hard-core post-modernists. Their attitude to the discipline tends to be meta-scholarly (they study people relating to the past rather than the remains of the past), radically knowledge-relativist (they reject rationalist science with its aim to gain cumulative objective knowledge about what the world is like) and influenced by Continental…

Gothenburg Book Fair

I visited the Gothenburg Book Fair for the first time because of my new book. The Academy of Letters needed people to put on the Researcher’s Square stage, and conveniently one of their staff had just published a book with them – me. When the local organiser saw me she did a double take because…