Welcome to the meeting of the 43rd Skeptics’ Circle! Good logic and critical thinking never hurt anyone, but bad logic, gullibility, and uncritical acceptance of questionable claims causes distress to small, furry animals. I’m not kidding! As proof, please consider the above picture (provided to me by Fern).
Can you bear to live in a world where this cute puppy is sad? Wouldn’t you rather make the puppy happy? Me, too.
UPDATE: I’m not going to say the dog ate my homework, but this morning I found a half dozen (lightly chewed) posts that should have gone into the carnival last night. I suppose I’m in the doghouse now.
Doggone Deceptive Advertising:
From Daylight Atheism, we learn of miracle cures offered at Madison Square Garden!! If doctors did this, there would be some truth-in-advertising hell to pay, wouldn’t there? So why do televangelists get a free pass? (Were any living-impaired people raised from the dead as promised?)
But Lord Runolfr at The Saga of Runolfr notes a court ruling that purveyors of arthritis relief baubles can be nailed for false advertising. (No word yet whether selling placebos as placebos is legal.)
Orac at Respectful Insolence reviews the Breathatarian diet.
Bronze Dog at Rockstars’ Ramblings sits through — and recaps — a Sylvia Browne appearance on the Montel Williams show. Talk about taking one for the team!
Sick Puppy Health Advice:
EoR at The Second Sight takes a critical look at the claims being made by a company selling a probiotic asthma remedy. What could it mean when your “evidence” is thin and your marketing claims ratchet downward?
Kevin Leitch at Left Brain/Right Brain looks at the Generation Rescue-recommended treatment regimen for autism (and notices lots of claims without much in the way of accompanying evidence). Good at swallowing pills (and unsupported claims)?
JeanneE at Metaphoria shares an all-natural fable.
And, Bryan Gillis at Infophilia takes another crack at chiropractors — and finds some good ones.
Tara C. Smith at Aetiology looks at how AIDS denialists (and creationists) lean on bad statistics. (But who’s counting?)
Butterflies and Wheels reports that Rupert Sheldrake conducts telephone surveys and presents us with the opportunity to reflect upon implausibility and improbability.
Skeptico gives a careful diagnosis of AIDS denialist fallacies (including labeling as fallacies things that aren’t fallacies).
Akusai at Action Skeptics shares his favorite fallacy:
[A]d hominem is awesome. An insult is a completely neutral piece of information, logically speaking. However, an insult is also fun and, it might be said, sometimes necessary.
Meanwhile, Bronze Dog at Rockstars’ Ramblings explains why being called a meany doesn’t do much to rebut your argument.
And, Barry Leiba at Staring At Empty Pages considers how well one strategy for arguing against use of surplus embryos in stem cell research holds up if we try to extend it.
Critical Thinking that’s Good with the Kids:
Mark at The Calladus Blog finds out what the DriMark Counterfeit Money Detector Pen will, and will not, detect — and includes an awesome photo of his evaporative rotary oscillator.
Coturnix at A Blog Around the Clock gives some evidence-based ammunition to teenagers skeptical of their elders’ claims that they ought to be getting their lazy butts out of bed and delivering paper, chopping firewood, and so forth before getting on the school bus.
And, Matt at Pooflingers Anonymous takes us skiing down an apparently slippery slope with parents arguing for “balanced treatment” of the question of the origins of life in the schools:
… now that they’ve made evolution into abiogenesis, abiogenesis into part of atheism and atheism into a religion, all that’s left is to stir briskly for a couple of seconds and viola, we have a constitutional reason to teach religion in science class.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
Isn’t Pluto a Dog?
See You At Enceledaus notes that Pluto’s demotion was hard on the astrologers, too.
Tom Nelson at Ivory-bill Skeptic raises concerns about Ivory-bill claims coming out of Cornell University. Is this evidence for lies? Self-deception? Unclarity about the data and the methodology?
Martin Rundkvist at Salto sobrius considers why a postmodernist should be growling at skeptics: “Thou Shalt Not Tell Anyone That They Are Wrong.”
Dogs of War:
A story from Neural Gourmet: “In which we learn that the big secret behind a swastika on a Navy base in San Diego is… what the explanation usually is when the government is involved — snafu!”
Francois Tremblay at Check Your Premises wonders whether Alcoholics Anonymous might be the enemy of individualism rather than addictions.
Meanwhile, Chris Hallquist at the Uncredible Hallq and Carl Feagan at Hot Cup of Joe both take note of the psychological literature on attempts to “convert” homosexuals.
And, Stuart Coleman at Daily Irreverence argues that scientists are well-trained not to be dogmatic.
A Dog Who Comes When Called:
Lord Runolfr at The Saga of Runolfr considers what you should do if cell phone is lost or stolen: be skeptical of what the chain letter tells you to do.
Speaking of chain letters, See You at Enceladus notes that many now come with Powerpoint presentations, the better to convince you with those bulleted lists.
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Hey, doesn’t the puppy look a little happier? Until the next meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle (September 28 at Salto sobrius) it’s up to you to fight bad logic and keep his cute little tail wagging.