Flat earthers? Must be a spoof…

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At first, I thought a story on Tech.mic titled “Meet the People Who Believe the Earth Is Flat” was satire. You know, a parody of those zany conspiracy theorists who believe in such nonsense as chemtrails, gluten-free, the government staged the 9/11 attacks, homeopathy, vaccines cause autism, Trump is a good presidential candidate, astrology, creationism, climate change is a hoax, Collingwood Council has ethics, and the rest of the rampant silliness and stupidity that haunts the Net. And it would be easy to write: wingnuts are … click below for more ↓

Not quite seven signs of the apocalypse

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A 2014 story on Salon, titled 7 things Americans think are more plausible than man-made global warming made its way around Facebook again, recently. It lists seven statistics about things Americans believe in more than they believe that human activity has caused climate change. It got a lot of shares and likes. Climate change is, of course, fact, and as Peter Schickele once said, “Fact is fact. You can’t argue with fact…” If you accept those facts, it seems a scary read: seven signs of the apocalypse… But before you … click below for more ↓

Nibiru nuttiness

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I’ve written about the wingnuts and their mysterious planet Nibiru – the so-called Planet X – in the past. It’s one of the furthest wacky conspiracies on the fringe of wackiness, and fairly recent. It mostly sprang whole cloth from the brain (if I can call it that…) of uber-wingnut Nancy Lieder, whose website, ZetaTalk, has been spewing diaphanous piffle of the most banal sort since 1995. Lieder claims to be in psychic contact with aliens called the Zetas (stop laughing), and has conned a whole … click below for more ↓

The Flat Earthers Respawn

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While flat-earther might be a metaphor for a certain kid of myopic, political stupidity (think of your local council…), I learned this week that it’s also a thriving online subculture of rabidly pseudo-science wingnuts. A couple of entertaining articles about the flat-earthers appeared on the UK’s Guardian paper site (here and here) this week (and in the HuffPost, too). They surprised, but also disturbed me. I hadn’t actually believed in flat-earthers as a modern reality: while I knew of their former existence, I thought the concept was … click below for more ↓

The “Secret” Space Program Hoax

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It’s just one more of those wingnut fantasy conspiracies that popped up on my Facebook feed recently. It’s not a new one: the old aliens-among-us nonsense just gets recycled and re-spewed by a whole new group of ignorati who follow the scam artists, hoaxers and charlatans who in turn make their living off this stuff. This latest group is, apparently, led by two top wingnuts. If there was an army for wingnuts, they’d be five-star generals. One is Corey Goode, described as having… …an extensive knowledge … click below for more ↓

Putting Homeopathy to the Test

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Homeopathic products often make a lot of outrageous claims. Given that these products are just water, or sometimes water and sugar, anyone with a gnat’s worth of common sense doesn’t believe those claims. Nor are they backed by any evidence. It’s no wonder homeopathy is called the “air guitar of medicine:” It should not be a shock to learn that homeopathy has no basis in scientific fact – should anyone doubt this I invite them to peruse Edzard Ernst’s systematic review of the practice. Homeopaths … click below for more ↓

Going Clear Reviewed

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[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19YGhuORcJk] I found it difficult to read Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Random House, 2013): it gave me a sense of unease, forcing a frequent over-the-shoulder glance to see if someone was following me just because I was reading it. But nonetheless, it proved compelling – so much so that I dropped all other books and read it cover to cover, uninterrupted earlier this summer. It is by far the most complete, detailled expose of the church I’ve read  to date, and … click below for more ↓

Ontario’s Assault on Health Care

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Earlier this month, the Ontario government took a shot at real medicine when it became the first province in Canada to regulate homeopathy. What the government should have done, if it had any real concern about our collective health or our health care system, is ban it. Instead, although it at first seemed an April Fool’s joke, on April 1 the Wynne government announced legislation that will do nothing but legitimize and help spread this dangerous pseudoscience. Clearly this was a political move,  since it is not … click below for more ↓

Extraordinary Claims

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As the poster for the Centre for Inquiry notes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It’s a popular catchphrase for the skeptical movement, but should be an intellectual policy for everyone. Regardless of what is being claimed, it requires evidence at the same level of the claim. Anecdote is not evidence, please note, especially personal anecdote even with the corroboration of other witnesses. People often “see” what they choose to see, and interpret events and objects according to preconceived ideas. Seeing UFOs instead of ordinary aircraft, or … click below for more ↓

It’s Official: Homeopathy is Bunk

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“Homeopathy not effective for treating any condition, Australian report finds,” reads a headline in The Guardian this week. Well, that’s hardly news. But it repeats saying anyway. It’s a story about the latest in a series of studies that again and again debunk homeopathy as a treatment and conclude it is useless. Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) “…thoroughly reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy to come up with its position statement,” the paper reported. And on Gizmodo they said: An analysis of over … click below for more ↓

Bad News For Balderdash

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A recent story on New Scientist gives a glimmer of hope for those of us who bemoan the swelling tsunami of claptrap and codswallop that fills the internet: THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free “news” stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness. What a relief that will be. Of course it may spell doom for the popularity of pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, fad diets, racist, anti-vaccination fearmongers, … click below for more ↓

The Pinnacle of Homeopathic Stupidity

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“Have Homeopaths Reached Peak Stupid?” asks the headline on Quackometer.net. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting dumber than a belief in homeopathy (aka The One Quackery to Rule Them All), but apparently there are higher levels within their madness that homeopaths continue to scale. This, however, looks like their Everest of stupidity. The story in question is about the plan by homeopaths to “heal the oceans” last week. Admirable goal, but it’s the implementation that will make you laugh so hard you’ll snort your morning tea right … click below for more ↓

Debunking Homeopathy. Again.

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Homeopathy. It’s absolute bunk. But you already know that. All those forms of ‘magic medicine‘* are bunk, of course, but homeopathy has a special place reserved for it in the kingdom of codswallop. Codswallop is dangerous to the mind, and often to your wallet, but homeopathy compounds that by being dangerous to your health, too, even fatal, as Penelope Dingle discovered. Yes, homeopathy can kill you, if you take it’s fake cures instead of actual medicine or treatment.** But, you ask, if a placebo works … click below for more ↓

Reflexology: another daft New Age idea

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As medicine, reflexology is bunk. Just like iridology and phrenology. Of course, you knew that. But not everyone does. Reflexology popped up recently in a shared post on Facebook (a popular venue for moving codswallop and cat photos from one user to another at the speed of light…). Coincidentally it appeared right after a post promoting a piece in the New York Review of Books called, The Age of Ignorance. How apropos. (I’ll get to that NYRB piece in another post, along with some comments about Nicholas … click below for more ↓

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