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Category: Pseudoscience & Quackery
The dark and dangerous side of the New Age nonsense: people who tout unproven, unsupported processes and products allegedly for healing, but often dangerous and even fatal. When fancy talk is used to fake science to the uninitiated and unsupported claims are made for studies and research that was not done properly or sometimes not done at all.
Although it surfs the tidal wave of anti-intellectualism and anti-science in our society, the whole “5G-is-evil” conspiracy has been amusing, I must admit. From burning down cell towers, to accusing Bill Gates of spreading COVID through 5G waves, it’s been a delightful cavalcade of the funniest, stupidest notions to flitter through the internet. They have a Marjorie-Taylor-Greene wackiness about them (albeit without her nastiness); the sort of conspiracy nuttiness not quite attached to gravity or reality, like the flat earth, … click below for more!
It’s been a while since I wrote about Flat Earthers and their inane —but laugh-aloud funny — ideas about science, religion, and politics. Their worldview is wrapped up in wacky conspiracies, then layered with a topping of pseudo-biblical claptrap, crypto-mythology, scary demons, and your basic rightwing paranoia about the “deep state.” I wrote two pieces about flat-earth nonsense in 2016 (read them here and here), but have not really looked at their loony anti-science movement in any depth since then. … click below for more!
In a recent opinion piece in Macleans Magazine, Scott Gilmore wrote what I expect many vaccinated Canadians felt about those who still refuse to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic: We need to begin treating the vaccine holdouts as the fools they are. It is not fair that reasonable and responsible Canadians should pay the price for their deadly selfishness. No more soothing tones and patience. Time for the stick. The stick in question that Gilmore suggests is withholding … click below for more!
While walking our dog recently, we encountered another couple “our age” (somewhere between 65 and 90) also walking their dog. While the two pets sniffed and frolicked, we chatted with them (at a safe distance, of course). And, as might be expected during a lengthy pandemic, one of the first questions we asked them was, “Have you had your shot yet?” Shockingly, they both answered, “No! And we’re not going to get one.” My first thought when I heard this, … click below for more!
I was reading a story in CollingwoodToday about another anti-mask/anti-lockdown protest recently — this one in Barrie, Sat. April 24 — and thought to myself that our language does not have the appropriate words to describe the combination of selfishness, stupidity, and ignorance that fuels this sort of event. Sure, we have lots of individual words to describe these people, but it seems the pandemic has brought out a unique combination of attributes that deserve their own vocabulary. This was … click below for more!
A recent survey by Research Co. and Glacier Media shows a deeply disturbing trend in Canadians: we seem to be getting increasingly stupid. While this survey didn’t get the media coverage that other current events received (and hasn’t even been hinted at in local media, but no surprises there), I think it is one of the most troubling surveys of the last decade. The survey showed that, … more than half of Canadians (57%) believe that human beings evolved from less … click below for more!
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 law states that it’s easier to spread bullshit than to debunk it: Brandolini’s law, also known … click below for more!
Talibangelists (aka (aka the pseudo-Christian, far right) would love to force everyone believe in and obey their highly-adulterated pseudo-religion, and to punish those who don’t. Or won’t. Punishment is big on their agenda: unbelievers, those who stray, followers of a real faith, scientists, intellectuals, people of colour, gays, people with an “R” in their name — they love to punish anyone not among their small circle of authoritarian theocrats (aka theocons, because their pseudo-religious ideology is conservative-far right) and enablers … click below for more!
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 world can be called civilized when it has people touting — and believing — homeopathy? Reiki? … click below for more!
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, to show courage, spine, and care for others; and yet many others falling to their lowest, … click below for more!
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 is bunk. Magic rocks are bunk. Guardian angels, reiki, homeopathy, psychic readings, tarot cards, energy healing, … click below for more!
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 healing benefits of any flavour of New Age woo hoo including homeopathy, who avoids vaccinations, gluten … click below for more!
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 reporter and editor), blindly accepting claims about health, wellness or science without questioning, let alone confirming … click below for more!
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 link to a piece that had Dr. Nuzum – a naturopath*, not a medical doctor, who … click below for more!