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The Lunar Effect and Confirmation Bias

By Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog I gave a seminar recently to science teachers and the topic of whether or not there is a lunar effect came up. I was not surprised to find that 80% of them believed that emergency rooms and police stations are more busy during a full moon. I was also […]

The Power of Confirmation Bias

via NeuroLogica Blog It is … not enough to have a generally skeptical outlook, or even to call oneself a skeptic. Skepticism is a journey of self-knowledge, exploration, and mastering the various skills that comprise so-called metacognition – the ability to think about thinking. […] As an example of the need for metacognitive skills in […]

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational

By George Dvorsky viA io9.com The human brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any computer currently in existence. But that doesn’t mean our brains don’t have major limitations. The lowly calculator can do math thousands of times better than we can, and our memories are often less than […]

Your personal pseudoscience detector

By The Original Skeptical Raptor via Skeptical Raptor Pseudoscience is like bubble gum. It tastes pretty good, it’s fun to blow bubbles, and it annoys some people. But eventually, the flavor leaves, and you find that you’re just chewing on some nutritionally dubious substance. Now you have to find a place to spit it out. […]

Lunar Cycle Effects Busted

By Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog When I was an intern doing a rotation in the emergency department, on one particularly busy shift a nurse commented (to no one in particular) that it must be a full moon. I habitually look at the moon and generally know what phase it is in (right now it […]

‘Ebola is man-made’, and other crazy conspiracy theories

By Will Storr via The Telegraph The best conspiracy theories are like enchanting mazes of logic whose thresholds, once crossed, are hard to return from. As ludicrous as they can appear from a distance, the closer you get, the stronger their gravity and the greater the danger of being sucked in. How else to describe […]

A Convoy of Conspiracies!

By Mason I. Bilderberg Before i forget … This is a video i recently saw on a facebook webpage. The video shows a large convoy of tractor trailer trucks traveling on Virginia’s Interstate 64 being escorted by State Troopers. Take a look: As i watched the video i couldn’t think of why these trucks would […]

99 red balloons

by Gordon Bonnet via Skeptophilia In today’s episode of “Studies in Confirmation Bias,” we have a story in The Examiner claiming that someone captured a UFO refueling in a chemtrail. What cracked me up about this one is the way the author of the story, Tom Rose, seems to take it as given that (1) chemtrails […]

The Batman/Sandy Hook Delusion

Originally posted December 26, 2012 By Mason I. Bilderberg Have you heard the one about the latest Batman movie foretelling the shooting at the Sandy Hook school? The story has been floating around for at least two weeks now and i’ve been addressing the issue on a number of forums, so i thought i would […]

Chemtrails: Puffy White Lies

Via This Week in Pseudoscience One of my favorite conspiracy theories to debate is “chemtrails.”  The factual explanations behind the puffy white lines are so fabulously simple, you’ve got to marvel at those who harbor this preposterous notion.  Entertain no fear, intelligent reader, as this conspiracy can only be held by the least scientific among […]

Vaccine adverse events are rare–vast benefits outweigh risks

Via Skeptical Raptor Like all medical procedures, devices and pharmaceuticals, vaccines are not perfect. What matters is that the benefits, not only medically but also economically, outweigh any risks. As far ask I know, no perfect medical procedures, devices or pharmaceuticals, none, that are perfectly safe or perfectly effective. Sometimes the ratio is small. For […]

Animal Predictors: Psychic, Sensitive, or Silly?

Many animals are presented in the popular media as being psychic. Is this the best explanation? By Brian Dunning via skeptoid Read transcript below or listen here In the wake of a popular 2014 hoax email going around claiming that animals were fleeing Yellowstone National Park in record numbers to escape an impending volcanic eruption, […]

Synchronicity: Definition & Meaning

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience Amazing coincidences happen all the time — but are they simply the product of random chance, or do they convey some hidden meaning? The answer may depend on whether you believe in synchronicity. The term synchronicity was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961). Jung had a strong belief in […]

10 Tips for Telling Fact From Fiction

by Patrick J. Kiger via HowStuffWorks [ . . . ] 10: Beware of Cognitive Bias Our brains are designed to make sense of the onslaught of sensory stimulation and information that they get from the world by filtering and organizing. We have a tendency to focus on certain details and ignore others, to avoid […]

The Batman/Sandy Hook Delusion

By Mason I. Bilderberg – Dec 26, 2012 Have you heard the one about the latest Batman movie foretelling the shooting at the Sandy Hook school? The story has been floating around for at least two weeks now and i’ve been addressing the issue on a number of forums, so i thought i would bring […]

Fool’s Gold

Jul 14, 2013 I like to tweak conspiracists for their lack of research. Many conspiracists subjugate any form of critical thinking to their overhwleming desire to believe nonsense. If they see something they want to believe, they just believe it without lifting a finger to investigate the truth. Here is an example from the last […]

Your personal pseudoscience detector

Via Skeptical Raptor If you read something that makes some medical claim, here’s a quick and easy checklist to determine if it’s pseudoscience. Or real science-based medicine. The discoverer pitches his claim directly to the media. Going to media directly bypasses the all-important peer-review process, where real scientists can evaluate whether the claim is real […]

When Noam Chomsky says that’s an idiotic idea, he’s probably right

by Sharon Hill via Doubtful News One of the world’s most prominent intellectuals says it’s nonsense to buy into 9/11 conspiracy theories – get off the internet and think for yourself. Noam Chomsky slaps down 9/11 truther: People spend an hour on the Internet and think they know physics | The Raw Story. During a lecture […]

Thirteen Common (But Silly) Superstitions

via Discovery News THE GIST One study found that superstitions can sometimes work The make a wish on a turkey bone saying dates back to first-century Romans. The word friggatriskaidekaphobics describes those afraid of Friday the 13th. If you are spooked by Friday the 13th, you’re in for a whammy of a year. And it […]

Prove Your Supernatural Power and Get Rich

If you can demonstrate a power unknown to science, there are people looking to write you a check. By Brian Dunning via skeptoid Read transcript below or listen here. It can sometimes be quite mind-boggling to hear a friend or family member reveal that they have some kind of supernatural ability. Often they feel an […]

Uncloaking the Deceptive Tactics Used by Alleged Psychics

by Emil Karlsson via Debunking Denialism Alleged psychics who claim to have supernatural powers to communicate with the “spirit realm” have been around for centuries, from the priestesses of the Oracle in Delphi to Sylvia Browne (who has been debunked several times on this blog, such as here, here, here and here). Alleged psychics may […]

Fool’s Gold

I like to tweak conspiracists for their lack of research. Many conspiracists subjugate any form of critical thinking to their overhwleming desire to believe nonsense. If they see something they want to believe, they just believe it without lifting a finger to investigate the truth. Here is an example from the last few days: Go […]

The Con Academy (Vol.1)

This is volume 1 of The Con Academy videos—another resource in the Skeptics Society‘s arsenal of Skepticism 101 for teaching critical thinking and promoting science through the use of humor, wit, and satire. In this faux commercial for The Con Academy you’ll see how psychics count on the confirmation bias to convince people that their […]

Astrology

via Mysteries and Science – The Skeptic’s Dictionary «In a nutshell: Astrology is the idea that the stars, planets, and other objects in the sky shape who you are and what your life will be like. The science doesn’t favor this idea.» Astrology is a kind of fortune telling based on the positions of stars, […]

The Halo Effect

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking The halo effect refers to a bias whereby the perception of a positive trait in a person or product positively influences further judgments about traits of that person or products by the same manufacturer. One of the more common halo effects is the judgment that a good […]

Saved by Psychic Powers

via NeuroLogica Blog In just about every disaster or event in which there are many deaths, such as a plane crash, there is likely to be, by random chance alone, individuals who survived due to an unlikely sequence of events. Passengers missing their flight by a few minutes can look back at all the small […]

Does Reiki really work?

via Relatively Interesting Reiki, a spiritual practice developed by a Japanese Buddhist in 1992, has developed into various traditions. Some call is palm healing, others label it hands on healing – bottom line, it’s complementary therapy and a form of meditation. That being said, Reiki stands out in the world of meditation – but why? A […]

Temporal Binding

via NeuroLogica Blog Skeptics should add another term to their lexicon of self-deception and cognitive biases – temporal binding. Over the last half-century or so psychologists have been quietly documenting many various ways in which people deceive themselves and distort their thinking. This knowledge, however, has insufficiently penetrated the public consciousness. When it does it […]

The Batman/Sandy Hook Delusion

By Mason I. Bilderberg Have you heard the one about the latest Batman movie foretelling the shooting at the Sandy Hook school? The story has been floating around for at least two weeks now and i’ve been addressing the issue on a number of forums, so i thought i would bring the issue here to […]

Subjective Validation

via Skepdic.com Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant. Subjective validation explains why many people are seduced by the apparent accuracy of pseudoscientific personality profiles. Subjective validation deludes everyone from the housewife who thinks her happiness depends […]