How pseudoscience makes its case-Part 2. Revised and repost.

Recently, we discussed how science works. It’s not a belief. It’s not a random set of rules. It is a rational and logical process to determine cause and effect in the natural world. Pseudoscience, by its very nature, ignores the scientific process; instead, it claims to come to conclusions through science, usually by using scientific sounding words, but actually avoids the scientific process.  They tend to use logical fallacies to make their case.  Just to be clear, logical fallacy is essentially an error of reasoning. When a pseudoscientist  makes a claim, or attempts to persuade the public of this claim, and it is based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy. Continue reading “How pseudoscience makes its case-Part 2. Revised and repost.”

How pseudoscience makes its case-Part 1. Revised and repost.

This is a two-part article that partially describes how the science-denialist makes their case, not necessarily why humans accept it so easily.  I’m not a psychiatrist, and I certainly don’t play one on TV.  I thought we should start with the scientific method, or how real science works.

I always get suspicious when someone makes an argument with the statement of “it’s been proven to work”, “the link is proven”, or, alternatively, they state some negative about scientifically supported therapies. Typically, I hear these kinds of statements from the pseudoscience pushing crowd. For example, real science has debunked the “there is a proven link between vaccines and autism,” a common and popular pseudoscientific belief.  Or that most alternative medicine (CAM) therapies work based on numerous logical fallacies that suspends reason, and accepts “belief” in the therapy, something that evidence-based medicine just doesn’t do. Continue reading “How pseudoscience makes its case-Part 1. Revised and repost.”

Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (update 6)

According to the Nashville News, Governor Bill Haslam told reporters that he will probably sign antievolution bill, which allows teachers to discuss the scientific “controversies” regarding the fact of evolution and the fact of climate change.  Not to be overly pedantic, there is no scientific controversy over either theory; however, there is a political one.  Another problem with the bill is how will a teacher discuss everything there is to know about evolution in a few hours.  How can you critically analyze evolution or global warming denialism in just a few minutes?  That would be like teaching someone to be a surgeon in a couple of days.  It’s almost impossible.

Stay tuned.  We’ll see if Governor Haslam actually signs the bill.  Republicans rarely keep their word, so who knows what will actually happen.

Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 4

There’s good news, modified with a bit of bad news, out of Oklahoma regarding the ongoing Republican legislative push for evolution and climate change denialist opinion to taught instead of real science.  Oklahoma House Bill 1551, which passed the House, died in the Oklahoma Senate, since they were unable to report out of committee in time.  Similarly, Senate Bill 1742 also died in the Oklahoma Senate. Both bills essentially required Oklahoma public schools to teach their students about the “debate” between creation and evolution, and about global warming.   Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Oklahoma update 4”

Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (Update 5)

There’s really not much more to report, except that House Bill 368 is still sitting on Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s desk, awaiting his signature or veto. Actually, there’s a third way, he can just ignore it, and it will become law after a set period of time.  

The Los Angeles Times, in an editorial, Tennessee’s attack on the teaching of evolution, makes a few more points that were intended for the eyes of Gov. Haslam, if only we could be sure that he read the LA Times.

In deciding whether the bill advances a religious agenda, the governor needs to look at context and history as well as the text. A useful reference work would be a 2005 decision by a federal judge in Pennsylvania striking down a school board policy requiring that students be made aware of “gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design.” In that case, Judge John E. Jones concluded that intelligent design and teaching about “gaps” and “problems” in evolutionary theory are “creationist, religious strategies that evolved from earlier forms of creationism.” Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (Update 5)”

Ken Ham is clueless about evolution–shocking news

We are all apes.

Last week, I wrote an article about the growing whooping cough epidemic in Australia, which, of course, brought the absolute nutjobbery out of the woodwork in the form of Meryl Dorey, who is the leading mouthpiece for the anti-vaccination lunacy in Australia. She is no different than any other pseudoscience propagandist, such as the ones found in the anti-evolution crowd, global warming and HIV/AIDS denialists,  and sasquatch/alien abduction/Loch Ness Monster/crop circle idiots. That’s right, there is no difference between creationism, sasquatch and homeopathy–no science, and a lot of beliefs based on…nothing. Continue reading “Ken Ham is clueless about evolution–shocking news”

iPhone and iPad Apps–skepticism and atheism (update 2)

There’s an app for that.

Update 2.  Just added one more app that I’ve been using and just forgot to put in the original article.

When I write about skepticism, sitting at my trusty MacBook Pro, I have access to every source and bit of information that is required to write about evolution, vaccines, global warming, and the existence of sasquatch.  If I need to dig up a link to an article that debunks some silly anti-vaccination lunatic’s claim, it’s easy to do.  However, since people make pseudoscientific claims all the time, it’s always good to have access to information right at the tip of your fingers.  Of course, it’s relatively easy to put your question in google, in the hope of getting a good answer.  Then again, you have to weed through the 100 hits that might actually support the bogus claim.

Continue reading “iPhone and iPad Apps–skepticism and atheism (update 2)”

Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (Update 4)

[pullquote]If you’re looking for a cure for your cancer, don’t look to evolution-deniers for hope. As for me, I give thanks to Darwin and the researchers who have stood on his shoulders.–Leslie Brunetta[/pullquote]

A quick update on Tennessee’s “Monkey Bill”, which is a Republican-led anti-evolution and global warming denying bill.  The bill, HB 368, was  sent to Governor Bill Haslam this week for consideration.  Gov. Haslam has until April 9 2012 to either sign it, allow it to become law without his signature or veto it.  The bill encourages teachers to present the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” in topics such as “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life (known as abiogenesis), global warming and human cloning.”  The scientific weaknesses are nearly nonexistent, except in the mind of the science denialists that inhabit the Republican Party, particularly in the South.

Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Tennessee Monkey Bill (Update 4)”