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 “Skeptics guide to skeptical iPhone apps”
In 1925, in the state of Tennessee, the most famous legal proceeding in the battle between evolution and anti-evolution occurred. In what became known as the Scopes Monkey Trial, a high school science teacher, John Scopes, was accused by the State of Tennessee for violating the Butler Act,a Tennessee law that required school teachers to not “deny” the Biblical account of the origin of man. The trial grabbed the attention of the whole country, and two of the greatest attorneys of that era, William Jennings Bryan (a three time Democratic candidate for President of the US) prosecuted the case, and Clarence Darrow defended Scopes. Even though the trial is often considered a science vs. religion battle, in fact, it centered around a “modernist” view, that evolution was consistent with the bible and religion, against a “fundamentalist” view, that the bible is the “word of god”, which would exclude evolution. Continue reading “Creationism legislation–Tennessee, or The Return of the Monkey Bill”
Yesterday, I responded to an article that I read, where the author wanted African-Americans to refuse HIV testing because of…pseudoscientific nonsense. I refuted the 10 claims of the AIDS denialist without too much trouble, though I doubt that the denialist will care that much. An AIDS denialist, for those who might not know, is someone who denies the link between HIV and AIDS, blaming AIDS on something else (other than the scientifically supported HIV infection).
There are consequences to denying real science. Vaccine denialists are leading to an increase in communicable diseases that were once almost unknown. Climate change denialists may lead us to finding New York City under a few meters of water. Continue reading “Consequences of AIDS denialism–African American Female HIV Rates”
I ran across a blog that is titled Homeopathy: Science Modern Evidencebased (sic). Since any reasonable person would understand that homeopathy violates some of the basic principles of physics, chemistry and biology. And because there is no viable mechanism that would make you think homeopathy actually could work, clinical trials show that it doesn’t work, or, at best, it is a mythical placebo. So, if it doesn’t work in clinical trials, and there is no possible mechanism underlying it, employing Occam’s Razor, we would have to say the simplest explanation is the best: Homeopathy does not work. It’s a lie. It’s a scam. Period. End of story.
But you want more. You want real explanations. Continue reading “A homeopath discusses evidence based homeopathy–except no evidence”
There are times I read pseudoscience online, and it causes my blood pressure to go through the roof. Of course, maybe life would be easier if I just accepted that everything written in the interwebs is accurate and THE TRUTH™. Today I read some comments about the new iPad where global warming denialists used junk science to support their ramblings. How the article moved from the new iPad to global warming is beyond the ability of me to describe.
I have a lot of smart people who I follow on Facebook and Twitter. Very few are actual friends or family, most are just like-minded people who entertain me with rational discussions on a wide range of topics. And sports.
Then one of my Facebook friends posted 10 Reasons Why Black People Should Not Take The HIV Tests! by Curtis Cost, a well-known member of the anti-vaccine gang. I thought it might be some racially charged article that I’d read and ignore, but it’s some of the worst AIDS-denialist junk that I’ve ever read. He makes these 10 points without one bit of evidence, completely violating the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Continue reading “AIDS denialist lies to African-American community”
One of the two anti-evolution and anti-climate change bills, introduced into the Oklahoma legislature earlier this year, died in committee. The remaining bill, HB1551, was passed by the Oklahoma House Common Education Committee in February, so may be scheduled for a floor vote soon. The surviving bill is modeled upon the Louisiana Louisiana Academic Freedom Act, which states:
…the teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects.
I’ve always considered the Deep South, which includes Alabama and Mississippi, to be a part of the country way out of step with the real world, including the rest of the country. Without the South, the United States would basically be a liberal, religiously tolerant, progressive country, similar in a lot of respects to Canada. Both Alabama and Mississippi are relatively poor with educational systems that rank at or near the bottom of the US. Other than college football champion, it’s hard to see that their educational system has done much positive. Continue reading “Alabama and Mississippi think Obama is a Muslim and evolution is wrong”
I would hope that every single reader of this blog would know that the predicted Mayan calendar apocalypse, that some people (including the History Channel, as annoying as that is) will happen in 2012, is nothing but pseudoscientific junk. First of all, the Mayans themselves didn’t make that prediction, it’s based on the “end” of the Mayan calendar. The Mayan calendar just starts again, just like all modern calendars. Those Mayans were brilliant astronomers, which is more than I can say about the current gang of 2012 doomsday prophesiers! Continue reading “NASA says 2012 Mayan apocalypse is bogus”
The anti-vaccination lunacy is made up of lot of individuals who push the various myths and pseudoscience regarding vaccines onto the planet. There’s Andy Wakefield, whose original article was withdrawn by the medical journal who published it, and who was stripped of his medical license because he perpetrated a fraud. Why he’s not sitting in a British prison is beyond my understanding.
Then there’s Jenny McCarthy, an anti-vaccine advocate whose education included posing nude and starring in bad movies. Continue reading “Joe Mercola using random nonsense words to push vaccine denialism”
In my recent post about Bill Moyers and the anti-vaccine lunacy, I referred to the Straw Man Fallacy, which I’ve just added to my Logical Fallacy FAQ. I try to keep my FAQ to a few sentences (and I will add links to more complex descriptions of the fallacies), trying to make it easy to grasp the essence of the particular fallacy.