Skepticism

Category archives for Skepticism

Alopecia: Charm Quark’s Non-Cancer

Here’s a guest entry from Charm Quark, one of the bloggers at Skepchick Sweden. When I read it there I asked her to give me a translation for Aard. I have alopecia, an autoimmune disease in which hair follicles go into a resting phase, causing hair loss. The form I’ve got, alopecia areata, causes hair…

Swedish Pyramidologist

“Pyramidology“, says Wikipedia, “is a term used, sometimes disparagingly, to refer to various pseudoscientific speculations regarding pyramids, most often the Giza Necropolis and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.” The encyclopedia goes on to explain that there are several kinds of pyramidology that do not necessarily correspond, one of which is the metrological kind,…

I don’t like Falun Gong, which I regard as a crazy manipulative cult. And I don’t like the Chinese government, which I regard as a repressive capitalist dictatorship. These two organisations, in turn, hate each other. And it looks like someone in the Chinese government is trying to use me to disseminate anti-FG propaganda. This…

West African Marabout Con Man

Marabouts are West African con men & fortune tellers who market their services in Europe with little flyers printed on coloured paper. In France, there’s an ongoing collectors’ craze for these notes. I found one under my windshield wiper the other day. I translate: Mr Seeki Fortune teller, international marabout Born with spiritual power. I…

Bertil Albrektson is a very cool Bible scholar. A former professor of Old Testament Exegetics in Turku, Finland, he was on the most recent Swedish Bible translation commission despite being an atheist. His ground-breaking little 1967 book History and the Gods. An essay on the idea of historical events as divine manifestations in the ancient…

Will the New Age Be Here Soon?

The other day I overheard a cringeworthy conversation between two 70ish ladies of the New Age persuasion. They were talking about how a great change is imminent in our society, as heralded by the unusually many catastrophes taking place (huh?), and by the 2011 end of the Mayan calendar, “or was it 2012?”, the Maya…

Talking and Listening in Minneapolis

So Friday morning, we swam in the hotel pool after breakfast. Then we went into town and had lunch with Heather Flowers at the Acadia café, whereupon I gave a well-attended lunch talk about my Bronze Age project to staff and students at the U Minn Anthropology Department. Good to reconnect with Prof. Peter Wells,…

Journalist Geoffrey York has dug deeper for the Globe and Mail into the story about alleged descendants of Medieval Chinese sailors on the coast of Kenya that I wrote about once in ’07. He finds that not even the locals, who supposedly tell “legends” about their Chinese ancestry, believe any of it or indeed know…

Chairman of the Swedish Skeptics

I joined the Swedish Skeptics Society in 1997. Not because I was particularly aware of or bothered by paranormal claims or alternative medicine, but because I was an unhappy grad student in an Artsy post-modernist environment that was extremely hostile to the idea of cumulative rationalist Enlightenment science. It was a huge relief for me…

A Lot Going On

I’ve got a lot of fun stuff going on right now. Yesterday I drove to Uppsala, talked to the County Archaeologist about a site for almost two hours on an empty stomach, was fed cake by my friend and colleague Åsa of Ting & Tankar, spoke about Bronze Age sacrificial sites to her staff at…