Paranormal

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Paranormal

Deepak Chopra isn’t very happy right now. In fact, he appears downright pissed off right now, particularly at skeptics, so much so that he’s issued a hilariously fatuous “challenge” to James Randi (a.k.a.) The Amazing Randi on You Tube entitled Deepak Chopra’s One Million Dollar Challenge to Skeptics: Yes, apparently with The Amazing Meeting (a.k.a.…

When it comes to Twitter, I run hot and cold. I’ll frequently go weeks when I barely touch my Twitter account, and nothing gets posted there except automatic Tweets linking to my new posts. Then something will happen, and suddenly I’ll post 20 Tweets in a day. Rinse, lather, repeat. I guess I’m just too…

Dr. Oz descends further into psychic quackery

Regular readers have probably noticed that I’m taking it easy this week, at least compared to my usual ridiculous level of output. It is, after all, the holidays, and last night I even went to see my cousin’s son play basketball and then hung out at the local Knights of Columbus hall. (No, it didn’t…

Will it never end? First we had “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz, credulously featuring psychic medium scammer John Edward on his show last year. Sadly, but typically, Dr. Oz was completely taken in by Edward’s cold readings, even the most transparent ones. Even if his previous shows featuring Joe Mercola and a faith healer weren’t…

Ever since starting my blog nearly seven (!) years ago, I’ve concentrated mainly on skepticism in medicine, in particular examining various implausible medical claims that proliferate on the Internet and in our media like so much kudzu choking out science and reason. The reasons are two-fold. First, it’s what I’m interested in. Second, it was…

I must admit, I’m rather happy that October is over, as that means that the local news stations doing all sorts of brain dead fluff stories about the paranormal. On the other hand, if I were still living in Cleveland, I’d miss out on awesome pareidolia like this: Here’s what they’re talking about:

A contest you don’t want to win…

…is to be among the 5 most fraudulent psychics of all time. Still, this is as good an excuse as any to post one of my all time skeptical demolitions, namely that of Uri Geller on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: Yeah, now that’s an oldie but a goodie. Still, I wonder: Who are…

The return of the living Choprawoo

With all the anti-vaccine nonsense going on and my feeling the obligation to fire a broadside at “America’s doctor,” there was a tasty bit of woo that totally escaped my attention from an old “friend” of the blog. Actually, he’s an old “friend” of many skeptical blogs, both here on ScienceBlogs and around the blogosphere.…

Area 51 veterans speak: No space aliens

One of the most persistent and prevalent examples of a modern myth that will not die is the story of Area 51. So ingrained in our culture has it become that nearly everyone (at least in the U.S.) knows what you are talking about when you refer to it. It’s been featured in movies as…

Over the holidays, I stayed at home for a combination of some relaxation and some grant writing. (I know, weird.) As I was perusing some of the links I saved during that time, it occurs to me that I totally forgot about one particularly amazing bit of hilarity, courtesy of our old “friend” Deepak Chopra.…

The role of faith summarized

I love this guy’s explanations of skepticism and critical thinking. In this installment, it is quite clearly and cleverly why it’s impossible to “prove” the existence of God or any god and thus why such gods are always a matter of faith and belief without evidence:

How can one know?

If there was one thing about going to TAM7 last week, it was the opportunity to contemplate among a thousand fellow skeptics just what critical thinking and reason mean. If there’s one thing about woo, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories in all their forms, it’s not just a lack of critical thinking and a plethora of…

The Kitty of Doom

Today, I’m leaving for The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. I can’t wait to get there. Believe it or not, I’ll even be on a panel! While I’m there I’ll probably manage to do a new post or two, but, in the meantime, while I’m away communing with fellow skeptics at TAM7, I’ll be reposting…

Last night, I was sitting on the couch, my laptop, appropriately enough, on my lap creating my paean to Homeopathy Awareness Week in which I had a little fun discussing homeopathic plutonium. Because Homeopathy Awareness week is not yet over, I’ll probably have one more bit of fun at the expense of The One Woo…

Pet psychic finds blown away Chihuahua?

Well, the weird news just keeps coming in from my hometown. This time around, consider the case of Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell is a tiny Chihuahua weighing all of five pounds. This poor little creature met nature in a most unfortunate way on Saturday, when some rather heavy storms swept through southeast Michigan. It turns…

For skeptics, TV news in my hometown sucks. Actually, it sucks for just about anyone with two brain cells to rub together, but it’s especially painful for skeptics and scientists to watch. On one station last year, there was the most credulous report I’ve ever seen about–of all things–orbs! It was presented as though these…

I get e-mail, too

I realize that PZ seems to have all the fun when it comes to entertaining e-mails from cranks, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes get my share of such amusement. For example, yesterday, waiting for me in the morning in my e-mail in box was this delightful gem: From: jockdoubleday@hotmail.com Subject: the dark force…

Unfortunately, as we have been dreading for the last four months or so since her relapse was diagnosed, my mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer in hospice. She died peacefully, with my wife and the rest of her family at her side. As you might expect, I do not much feel like blogging, and even…

When the economy tanks, psychics prosper

I should have seen this one coming. After all, the economy’s been in the crapper for several months now. Things are bad and getting worse, with the bottom not yet in sight. So who could prosper in this environment, except for repo men and liquor stores? Psychics, of course: NEW YORK (CNN) – The housing…

I love Tim Minchin. I also totally understand where he’s coming from when it comes to confronting woo, though, as I’ve described here. In any case, see Tim in action (parts may be NSFW due to profanity): Enjoy, as I’m running a bit late in producing my usual content for Monday. Fear not, it’s coming…

Remember the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)? It’s been a long time since I’ve written much about the AAPS, of course, but refreshing your memory will be easy. It’s the ultra-libertarian wingnut medical “association” that routinely scrapes the bottom of the barrel, as far as pseudoscience goes, as long as that pseudoscience fits…

I got this e-mail the other day, and I urge everyone who’s ever linked to Robert Lancaster’s excellent site to do as Tim Farley requests. (While you’re at it, you should consider linking to Farley’s equally useful What’s the Harm?): I’m writing you because your site is one of the top ranked sites (according to…

Unfortunately, I’m going to be ensconced in my Sanctum Sanctorum most of the day, pounding out text far less fun than the text I like to pound out for Respectful Insolence. However, I have to admit that this video sums up the attitude behind a whole lot of woo that I like to apply a…

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Generation woo

I realize that I’ve been mighty hard on Jenny McCarthy these last several months. I’ve made fun of her for her idiocy, her arrogance of ignorance, and her antivaccination lunacy, not to mention her utter ignorance of science, and, yes, I’ve been rather vicious at times. However, she richly deserved it. Indeed, I argue that…

I just shook my head as I perused this item on Pharyngula earlier this morning. What else can you do? The irrationality and lunacy is beyond belief as I read a story about a mother named Colleen Leduc called into school because a report of sexual abuse was made about her autistic daughter Victoria: The…