Skepticism

Pharyngula

Category archives for Skepticism

How to spot a quack

As I was going through my usual morning roster of webcomics, I discovered that Sci-ence referenced an earlier one I missed — the Red Flags of Quackery. There are certain tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with woo…like the abuse of the word “quantum”. But then you all already knew that Sci-ence was required regular reading,…

The Kensington Forgery

The infamous Kensington Runestone is kept in a museum just a few miles up the road from me. It’s a carved rock that was dug up on a farm in the 19th century by a Swedish farmer, and purports to tell the tale in runes of a doomed Viking expedition that had come down from…

Stand for Science: Confront Homeopathy

Aww, the students of Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists have warmed the frigid, friable cockles of my black heart. They’re having a protest of homeopathy on the Twin Cities campus this Friday! They’re hosting a lecture debunking that nonsense, and are planning to poison themselves with homeopathic dilutions. Take that, Center for Spirituality and Healing!…

Tonight, at 8pm ET, the cast of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe will be bracing themselves with caffeine for their overwhelming plan to saturate the world with a non-stop 24 hour live program. I think it’s a kind of anti-homeopathy: they’ll be delivering a super-concentrated dose of an effective agent all at once to…

Dr Oz crosses the line

Usually, Oz just dispenses pointless pap and feel-good noise, but now he’s antagonized the agriculture lobby. On a recent show, he claimed that apple juice was loaded with deadly arsenic — a claim he supported by running quick&dirty chemical tests on fruit juices, getting crude estimates of total arsenic, and then going on the air…

There was another Republican debate (I skipped it; there are limits to the horrors I can endure), and apparently, many people think Michele Bachmann trumped Rick Perry by jumping on his ‘liberal’ endorsement of using the HPV vaccine to prevent cancers in women. Bachmann ranted about the federal government forcing innocent little girls to get…

A whole new world of quacks

My wife and I have three kids, and while that pregnancy and childbirth thing is way, way back in the past, we did have some strong opinions after our experience. Midwives were wonderful, we had only the best and most positive experiences with them, and they were the indispensable supporters we were glad to have…

What Steve Jobs did really well

Jobs is stepping down from his leadership role at Apple, as has been all over the news for the last several days, and I had to say that he’s someone I’ve really admired. Not just as a fully committed member of the Cult of Mac, but because I’ve really liked his style. Here’s a video…

It’ll never happen

The pair of psychic frauds, James van Praagh and Allison DuBois, who were featured on Nightline, have been called out by the JREF: The JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge Director, Banachek, also featured in the episode, said, “We’re issuing a challenge to these fakers: for once, show that you can get this supposedly supernatural knowledge without…

Quacks everywhere

David Colquhoun has posted an excellent series of posts on the Steiner Waldorf schools, 19th century crackpottery that persists even now, by hiding their fundamentally pseudoscientific basis under a fog of fancy invented terms. He discusses their goofy philosophy of anthroposophistry, their devious efforts to get state funding, and their unfortunate buy unsurprising history of…