By Natalie Wolchover via LiveScience
Historical records indicate that, worldwide, witch hunts occur more often during cold periods, possibly because people look for scapegoats to blame for crop failures and general economic hardship. Fitting the pattern, scholars argue that cold weather may have spurred the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692.
The theory, first laid out by the economist Emily Oster in her senior thesis at Harvard University eight years ago, holds that the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with a 400- year period of lower-than-average temperature known to climatologists as the “little ice age.”Oster, now an associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago, showed that as the climate varied from year to year during this cold period, lower temperatures correlated with higher numbers of witchcraft accusations.
The full moon has been linked to crime, mental illness, disasters, accidents, werewolves, and many other things. Does the scientific evidence support any of these links? Not really. Well, the science does favor one link: when the moon is waning (when the part we can see gets smaller), you would be well advised to stay out of the reach of hungry lions in the jungle. In the dark they can see us better than we can see them.
Why do people believe the full moon makes all kinds of things happen? There are several reasons.
Let’s begin with a common belief about the full moon: more people are admitted to hospitals during a full moon than at any other time of month. Is this true? No. Yet, many nurses say it is true because they have seen it happen. But the facts show that there are no more admissions to hospitals during a full moon than at any other time of the month. So why do some nurses believe in the full moon effect? The main reason is that believers rely on memory instead of keeping records.
Memory is tricky. If you believe that more people are admitted to the hospital during a full moon, then you may pay more attention to admissions when the moon is full. You may not pay much attention to the number of admissions on nights when the moon is not full. A scientist doesn’t rely just on memory.
Read More: full moon – Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids.
- The Debunker: Do People Go Crazy During A Full Moon? (woot.com)
- Can the Blue Moon Make You Crazy? (news.discovery.com)
- Photographer Spies Stunning Crescent Moon Over France (space.com)
If you believe everything you read on the internet, then is seems that a chemical found in thousands of products is causing an epidemic of severe neurological and systemic diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus. The FDA, the companies that make the product, and the “medical industrial complex” all know about the dangers of this chemical but are hiding the truth from the public in order to protect corporate profits and avoid the pesky paper work that would accompany the truth being revealed. The only glimmer of hope is a dedicated band of bloggers and anonymous e-mail chain letter authors who aren’t afraid to speak the truth. Armed with the latest anecdotal evidence, unverified speculation, and scientifically implausible claims, they have been tirelessly ranting about the evils of this chemical for years. Undeterred by the countless published studies manufactured by the food cartel that show this chemical is safe, they continue to protect the public by spreading baseless fear and hysteria.
Hopefully, you don’t believe everything you read on the internet, and you don’t get your science news from e-mail SPAM, where the above scenario is a common theme. While there are many manifestations of this type of urban legend, I am speaking specifically about aspartame – an artificial sweetener used since the early 1980s. The notion that aspartame is unsafe has been circulating almost since it first appeared, and like rumors and misinformation have a tendency to do, fears surrounding aspartame have taken on a life of their own.
Keep Reading: Science-Based Medicine » Aspartame – Truth vs Fiction.
- The Low Down on Low-Calorie Sweeteners (thedaintydietitian.wordpress.com)
- Avoiding Sugar with Diet, Low-Calorie, and Sugar-Free Alternatives? Think Again… (foodconsumer.org)
- Artificial Sweeteners May Be Worse than Sugar for Diabetics (foodconsumer.org)
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in most water supplies. Fluoridation is the adjustment of the natural fluoride concentration to about one part of fluoride to one million parts of water. Although fluoridation is safe and effective in preventing tooth decay, the scare tactics of misguided poisonmongers have deprived many communities of its benefits.
How Poisonmongers Work
The antifluoridationists’ (“antis”) basic technique is the big lie. Made infamous by Hitler, it is simple to use, yet surprisingly effective. It consists of claiming that fluoridation causes cancer, heart and kidney disease, and other serious ailments that people fear. The fact that there is no supporting evidence for such claims does not matter. The trick is to keep repeating them—because if something is said often enough, people tend to think there must be some truth to it.
A variation of the big lie is the laundry list. List enough “evils,” and even if proponents can reply to some of them, they will never be able to cover the entire list. This technique is most effective in debates, letters to the editor, and television news reports. Another variation is the simple statement that fluoridation doesn’t work. Although recent studies show less difference than there used to be in decay rates between fluoridated and nonfluoridated communities, the benefit is still substantial. In fact, the Public Health Service estimates that every dollar spent for community fluoridation saves about fifty dollars in dental bills.
A key factor in any anti campaign is the use of printed matter. Because of this, antis are very eager to have their views printed. Scientific journals will rarely publish them, but most local newspapers are willing to express minority viewpoints regardless of whether facts support them. A few editors even welcome the controversy the antis generate—expecting that it will increase readership.
The aim of anti “documents” is to create the illusion of scientific controversy. Often they quote statements that are out of date or out of context. Quotes from obscure or hard-to-locate journals are often used. Another favored tactic is to misquote a profluoridation scientist, knowing that even if the scientist protests, the reply will not reach all those who read the original misquote.
Half-truths are commonly used. For example, saying that fluoride is a rat poison ignores the fact that poison is a matter of dose. Large amounts of many substances—even pure water—can poison people. But the trace amount of fluoride contained in fluoridated water will not harm anyone.
“Experts” are commonly quoted. It is possible to find someone with scientific credentials who is against just about anything. Most “experts” who speak out against fluoridation, however, are not experts on the subject. There are, of course, a few dentists and physicians who oppose fluoridation. Some of them object to fluoridation as a form of government intrusion, even though they know it is safe and effective.
Continue Reading: Why Fluoridation Is Important.
- Embarrassing Conspiracy Theories: Water Fluoridation (illuminutti.com)
- Portland City Council approves fluoride for water supply (kgw.com)
- CDC findings on fluoridated water (kansas.com)
- 3 Steps to Prevent Fluorosis (topdentists.com)
Makers of supernatural claims have an inescapable burden of proof.
Once upon a time, not so long ago, I came across a website that provided “Bigfoot Facts” for kids. The site didn’t say from where these facts were derived but they were commonly circulated in various books and all over the web.
Here are some typical “facts”:
- Bigfoot has been spotted all over the world, often in wooded and mountainous areas.
- Bigfoot is an omnivore, eating plants, nuts, berries, fish, deer, and other animals.
- Bigfoot is shy. He just likes to be around others of his own kind but not around people.
- Since Bigfoot doesn’t want to be noticed or photographed, he is hard to spot and difficult to capture on film.
- He is curious, aware of people, and can stealthily avoid them.
- Bigfoots talk to each other by making loud howls across long distances or by wood knocking.
- Bigfoot throws rocks at people to scare them away. He isn’t mean, just territorial.
How do they know these things? I asked the site owner. My comment got rejected and my question was never answered. Did I cross a line? I just wanted a reference. Apparently, that was too much to ask.
Self-styled Bigfoot researchers make claims that suggest they know more about Bigfoot than Bigfoot might know about himself. They can tell me what Bigfoot likes and doesn’t like, where he sleeps at night, how he avoids detection, and how he communicates. They tell the public that Bigfoot makes those sounds they hear at night. They find locations where a Bigfoot passed through or slept or built a shelter. These researchers even know about Bigfoots’ “culture”—what they do with their dead relatives, how they can fool humans. But apparently they don’t know enough to catch one.
Continue Reading: CSI | “You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts”.
- Nearly one-third of Americans believe in Bigfoot (chron.com)
- The Great Bigfoot Debate! (chron.com)
- Does Bigfoot Exist ? (conspiracyreveal.wordpress.com)
- Bigfoot Encounter In Grand River Area Of Ohio (VIDEO) (illuminutti.com)
- Bigfoot News September 14, 2012 (robertlindsay.wordpress.com)
- Is This New Video Proof Of Bigfoot? [VIDEO] (now100fm.cbslocal.com)
Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists (PCTs) consider the Bilderberg group to be but a small part of a bigger worldwide conspiracy known as the New Word Order (NWO), a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda … conspiring to eventually rule the world by replacing sovereign nation-states with an all-powerful, authoritarian world government. (Source)
According to PCT Alex Jones, the “Bilderberg group is responsible for plotting our wars, increasing our oil prices, causng the world economic crash” and causing pretty much everything except making the sun rise every morning.
What does Alex Jones offer up as proof of this NWO/Bilderberg omnipotence? Not much.
For example, PCT Jones and his wacky minions over at InfoWars and PrisonPlanet claim Bilderberg is super top secret, mysterious and all-powerful. Every time a Bilderberg event is reported, Jones and company love to use spooky words and phrases like “leaked”, “secretive” and “kingmakers”.
So how could I, your humble skeptic of all things unproven, have penetrated this secretive clique of industrialists, bankers, academic leaders and media figureheads to discover, for example, the Bilderberg group met more than 50 years ago on September 18-20, 1959 in Yesilkoy, Turkey? That’s very specific information, isn’t it? My source also informs me the Bilderberg group met twice in 1955, the first meeting was March 18-20, in Barbizon, France and the second meeting occurred September 23-25. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What secret operative within the NWO did he have to meet with, in the shadows of a darkened alley, to acquire a full list of all the Bilderberg participants’ names since 2009?” (Because i DO have the list of names!) Or you’re wondering, “How much did he pay said informant to leak the list of the entire Bilderberg steering committee?” (Because i have that list too!)
You want answers, don’t you? You are demanding to know the name of my informant, aren’t you? Well, here is my secret: The Bilderberg group has a website!!!!!! Yes! The super top secret url is www.BilderbergMeetings.org! Quick, write down this military-grade encrypted web address before the Men In Black (MIB) kick in your door and erase your memory.
One of Alex Jones’ latest headlines reads “Secretive Bilderberg Group Set To Meet In Virginia May 31st-June 3rd” and these dates were chosen to “coincide with this year’s U.S. presidential election.” (source)
Hmmmm, were these dates set to coincide with the presidential elections? Let’s see. I went back to 1980 and found: 28 of the 32 Bilderberg meetings over the past 32 years were held in either May or (mostly in) June. Now I’m really confused. Did the Bilderberg group time their 2012 meeting dates to coincide with the presidential election or does the Bilderberg group tend to meet the same time every year and this year isn’t any different? No. Wait. I know what it is – they meet the same time every year to hide the fact they’re meeting the same time this year to coincide with the election. I think conspiracists call this “hiding in plain sight” or, as i call it, “projecting unprovable, unsolvable, end-of-the-world, apocalyptic meaning and hopelessness on to benign facts, patterns and random acts of chance while boasting of your own brilliant ability to decipher and unravel the conspiratorial mess you just created from nothing.” But I digress.
On the same Alex Jones page referenced above PCT Jones asserts “Bilderberg displayed their kingmaker status during the last two U.S. presidential elections when they selected Barack Obama’s running mate Joe Biden in 2008, as well as picking John Edwards to be John Kerry’s VP in 2004.”
As proof Bilderberg selected Joe Biden as Obama’s running mate, PCT Jones links to another one of his articles from May 23, 2008. Problem is, if you read the referenced web page there isn’t a single reference to Joe Biden. Nothing. Nada. Once again, PCT Jones fails to offer any corroborating evidence to support his assertions.
How about Bilderberg selecting John Edwards to be John Kerry’s VP in 2004? PCT Jones links to a web page at wnd.com from July 8, 2004 titled “Bilderberg ‘performance’ key to Edwards VP pick”, which does mention John Edwards by name in the same sentence as “the super-secret Bilderberg.” If this article from wnd.com was supposed to be evidence of Bilderberg knowing Kerry’s running mate before the rest of the world, then how did CNN know – a full two days before wnd.com – that John Kerry had chosen John Edward?
Once again, paranoid conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones come up empty.
Mason I. Bilderberg
What would the world be without UFO’s falling from the sky, shadow governments watching our ever move, and big brother trying to keep you down. These are the 25 most popular conspiracy theories out there.
View on YouTube – The 25 Most Popular Conspiracy Theories – YouTube.
Critical thinking explained in six kid-friendly animations
Are chemtrails and chem-clouds real? The evidence is examined.
RELATED: Kill ChemTrails With Vinegar!!!!!
Some people would call David Icke controversial. I would call him a brilliant psychotic.
His ability to speak for hours on an incomprehensible doctrine is stunning. But listen carefully and the methods of his madness become apparent.
He has a brilliant talent for the subtle interweaving of plausible with crazy, and packaging the in-between gray areas as thought-terminating clichés like “secret societies”, “brotherhood”, “free masons” and other slogans and catchphrases popular with modern conspiracy thinking.
The magic is in his ability to dispense seemingly innocuous tidbits of (allegedly true) earth history one moment, then slipping in talk of aliens crossbreeding with humans the next moment. Talk sane, touch on some crazy, go back to the safety of sane. Rinse and repeat until the listener can swallow the crazy with the sane.
This ability to subtlely slide in and out of the realm of plausible is the same potent cocktail used by science fiction writers to blur the lines between the possible and the impossible to keep viewers coming back for more.
This 25 minute video has been distilled from a 217 minute video. I’ve removed the plausible to expose the rest. Enjoy.
A very funny and critical look at the Mayan calendar and other doomsday nonsense.
True or false? JFK said the following at Columbia University on November 12, 1963:
“The high office of the president has been used to foment a plot to destroy America’s freedom and before I leave this office, I must inform the citizens of their plight.”
Answer: False. President Kennedy is known to have been in the White House on the date in question. President Kennedy did not speak at Columbia University at any time during November of 1963.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum addressed this issue in March 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/bpczjcf):
Another Alex Jones Conspiracy Bites The Dust!!
From Alex Jones’ InfoWars: