Brandolini’s Law

Ever had the frustrating experience trying to correct someone’s obviously un-factual post or meme on Facebook? And found yourself in a swamp of comments all telling you you’re wrong, an idiot, it’s just your opinion, it worked for my friend so it’s true, or you don’t know anything, followed by insults and accusations? Welcome to the backlash from Brandolini’s Law. According to Wikipedia, Brandolini’s … (more)

The day that reason died

I’m not a believer in alien visitations and UFOs, but I’ll bet if an alien did swing by, after an hour or two observing us, checking out Facebook or Twitter, they’d lock their doors, hang a detour sign around our planet, and race off. They’d tell their friends not to visit us because we were all nuts. Scarily, dangerously crazy. Seriously. What sort of … (more)

How the pandemic defines who we are

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, wrote Charles Dickens in the opening of his novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Those words seem eerily prophetic when read today. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in humanity. Every day the news brings us stories of people rising to the challenges to save their communities, … (more)

The death of critical thinking or just bad journalism?

There was a recent article on Patheos.com with the scary headline, “Young People Are Choosing Horoscopes and Crystals Over Fundamentalist Religions.” The last part of that might seem good news, but the first part is highly troubling. It suggests a continued descent into the New Dark Ages where science, logic, and reason are replaced by woo hoo. Let’s be clear from the start: astrology … (more)

GWT treatment a sure cure for NAWHS syndrome

After years of research* and development, I have finally worked out the details for the treatment of the viral NAWHS (New Age Woo Hoo Susceptibility) syndrome: GWT or Gullibility Whack Therapy. And I’m going to found my own institute: The Whack-a-Wacko Institute of Common Sense Therapy. I stand to make millions. It works like this: Every time a client utters a comment about the … (more)

Local media is letting us down

Rule number one in The Elements of Journalism is: “journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.” Number three is “Its essence is a discipline of verification.” Keep those two in mind as you read this. I recognize that local reporting is not always the same calibre as the investigative journalism we expect from national media, but in my view (and experience as a former … (more)

What is science? It’s not this stuff.

Recently in a Facebook post, two of us were squabbling in typical Facebook-fashion over “alternative medicine” and related treatments (many of which came into the discussion as links to pseudoscience and/or charlatan’s websites). As is my wont, I continued to debunk these with links to actual medical sites and discussions on the topic from health services, universities and real doctors. The other person posted a … (more)

WTF is wrong with people these days?

Into everyone’s life comes the realization that we are not young and in between the time when we were, the world has changed. Not always for the better, either. In fact, it’s hard not to conclude the whole world has gone to shit since the internet arrived. Aging is not something that, as a culture, we embrace. After all, who wants to be old? … (more)

Another bad year for ‘psychics’ and quackery

The year 2018 was another bad year for so-called ‘psychics,’ astrologers and others in the prediction business – and yes, it is a business – because nothing they predicted came true. Nothing specific or meaningful, that is. Sure lots of general “predictions” and vague lifestyle comments phrased as “predictions” were made – many which echoed what others have been saying in real news. But … (more)

Astrology: millennials in search of woo hoo

“Astrology is not a science; there’s no evidence that one’s zodiac sign actually correlates to personality.” I was disappointed to read that line in a story in The Atlantic, a piece titled, “The New Age of Astrology: In a stressful, data-driven era, many young people find comfort and insight in the zodiac—even if they don’t exactly believe in it.” Disappointed not because it isn’t … (more)

More rapture, less reality

According to some, the rapture is coming again, April 23. I’m so tired of this event. I’m still cleaning up after the last rapture. And the one before that. And the one before that, and before that, and before that… it’s even more frequent than an annual event. But next week it’ll come again. the whole shebang: Christians rising from the dead, the messiah … (more)

Raw water: the New Age death wish

Would you willingly expose yourself to cholera? While treatable, this highly infectious disease causes great physical distress and suffering to its victims, and is even fatal to some. Most readers have never experienced it because it’s rather a rarity in developed nations, those that have the benefit of modern water and wastewater treatment systems. That’s thanks to decades of stringent and effective health and … (more)

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