Tag Archives: India

The Consequences of “Stupid”

By Hayley Stevens via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

I used to believe in ghosts, an afterlife, and that people had the ability to talk to the dead; these beliefs were fuelled by an information overload. As a curious teenager, I had the internet at my fingertips and I wasn’t really taught how to critically examine claims like these at school. Thus, when I joined web forums dedicated to discussing paranormal experiences and the proof of these experiences, I wasn’t able to distinguish between the plausible and the implausible.

In addition to the forums, there were numerous television shows catering to aspiring ghost hunters that championed spiritual and pseudoscientific methodology, and many magazines in the shops that encouraged the belief that paranormal ideas were real because others had experienced them.

I could get psychic readings in person, online, over the phone, on television, or by writing into my favorite magazines. Having paranormal beliefs validated is easier today because we are constantly bombarded with information that we can then cherry pick to suit our particular ideas.

Falling into the trap of illogical thinking is very easy. You can quickly invest a lot of yourself into your new beliefs, and thus they become an important part of your life. I speak from experience when I say that calling people who hold such beliefs “stupid” because of their lack of rationale does nothing to make them reconsider the conclusions they have reached about those subjects.

In fact, dismissing people as “stupid” may have the opposite effect, depending on why they hold those beliefs and what they’ve invested in them. Abandoning important beliefs isn’t a light hearted change of mind, and forcing someone to turn their back on what they hold sacred too quickly can have a harmful and negative effect. Attacking someone—calling them names and suggesting they’re an idiot—because of what they choose to believe can push them away from reason and logic, and can cause them to develop such dependency upon those beliefs that nothing will ever change their minds.

Continue Reading @ The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – – –

DEBUNKED: UFO Over India

By CaptainDisillusion via YouTube

Palmistry

Via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

palm 817Palmistry, also known as chiromancy, is the practice of telling fortunes from the lines, marks, and patterns on the hands, particularly the palms.

Palmistry was practiced in many ancient cultures, such as India, China and Egypt. The first book on the subject appeared in the 15th century. The term chiromancy comes from the Greek word for hand (cheir).

Palmistry was used during the middle ages to detect witches. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated one had made a pact with the Devil. Palmistry was condemned by the Catholic Church but in the 17th century it was taught at several German universities (Pickover, 64). Britain outlawed palmistry in the 18th century. It is popular enough in America in the 20th century to deserve its own book in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series.

The Book of DivinationAccording to Ann Fiery (The Book of Divination), if you are right handed, your left hand indicates inherited personality traits and your right hand indicates your individuality and fulfillment of potential. The palmist claims to be able to read the various lines on your hand. These lines are given names like the life line, the head line, the heart line, the Saturne line. The life line supposedly indicates physical vitality, the head line intellectual capacity, the heart line emotional nature, etc.

Some palmistry mimics metoposcopy or physiognomy. It claims that you can tell what a person is like by the shape of their hands. Creative people have fan-shaped hands and sensitive souls have narrow, pointy fingers and fleshy palms, etc. There is about as much scientific support for such notions as there is for personology or phrenology. All such forms of divination seem to be based on sympathetic magic and cold reading.

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Why Would Bill Gates Want to Kill One Billion People?

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

[…]

So is Bill Gates really a Monsanto-owning, eugenics-loving, anti-education monster who wants to cull the population through poisoned vaccines? Or is he a wealthy man trying to use his fortune do some good in the world in a way that angers people who see conspiracy around every corner?

[…]

CLAIM: The Gates Foundation supports deadly vaccines that kill people.

bill-gates-injection_250pxFirst of all, let’s sweep away any speculation that supporting vaccination is a bad thing. Despite one’s personal opinion, vaccines save lives. Mommy instinct and Google University might not agree with that, but decades of scientific research does.

Vaccination in the developing world makes up a major platform of the Gates Foundation’s philanthropy. Populations that had no access to vaccines for a host of deadly, preventable illnesses now do. The Foundation’s efforts are working. In just one example, India, a country ravaged by polio not that long ago, reported one single case in 2011.

It’s the polio vaccine that makes up one of the most common claims against the Foundation, that Gates-sponsored vaccines caused 47,500 cases of paralysis in India. You’ll find this claim all over vaccine-doomsayer websites, and as you can guess, it’s not true. The polio vaccine does not cause polio. These cases turned out to be acute flaccid paralysis, caused by a non-polio enterovirus. Another oft-repeated and equally bogus claim is that Malawian children were forced at gunpoint to take Gates vaccines. The source of this is, of course, Natural News – which referenced an article from Malawi Voice that appears to have been taken down shortly after it went up.

Skeptical Raptor has a good write-up of these and other false vaccine-related accusations against the Gates Foundation. Read it, then beat your head against the nearest wall.

CLAIM: Bill Gates is a eugenics advocate who wants to cull the world’s population.

Did the richest man in the world calmly (and publicly) outline his plans for genocide?

Did the richest man in the world calmly (and publicly) outline his plans for genocide?

Conspiracy theories about global depopulation are legion, with everyone from the UN to the Illuminati supposedly preparing a massive thinning of the herd through “soft kill” techniques. So naturally, a Bill Gates speech about how vaccines can reduce the population of the world would be a big deal and prove him to be a murderous monster.

Of course, Gates never said such a thing.

What Gates DID do was give a TED talk in 2010, called “Innovating to Zero.” The focus of the talk was reducing global carbon emissions to, as per the title, zero. Out of that speech came this quote, which conspiracy mongers have seized on as an admission that Gates is a eugenicist in programmer’s clothing:

The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent, but there we see an increase of about 1.3.

Devoid of context, it looks like he’s saying that vaccines and health care could kill a billion people. But a rational person doesn’t look at this and see the richest man in the world calmly (and publicly) outlining his plans for genocide. What Gates is talking about is reducing population growth, and reputable science bears out that a higher-standard of living equals lower birth rates. Included in this are things like good health care, better food and, yes, vaccines.

Like all the other depopulation plans, this one appears to be either not real or moving incredibly slowly.

MORE from this article . . . Mike Rothschild discusses more hysterical claims against Bill Gates . . .

▶ North Sentinel Island: Digging Deeper

Via Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – YouTube.

Located off the coast of India, North Sentinel Island is a distrubing anomaly. Mysterious people live on it, but all attempts to contact them have gone disastrously wrong, and they attack any outsiders with unparalleled ferocity. So what’s going on at the island? Tune in to learn more.

Spontaneous Baby Combustion

by via NeuroLogica Blog

Flames3_200pxNews reports are coming out of India of a “rare medical case” involving a newborn infant who apparently spontaneously bursts into flames. This has occurred four times so far. The baby is now in the hospital being treated for these burns.

The International Business Times, with a headline declaring a “mystery baby,” reports:

Rahul, a native of Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu was admitted to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital on Thursday for burns reportedly caused by a rare medical phenomenon known as Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) wherein a person catches fire due to emission of inflammable substances through the body.

They do contain some token skepticism, but then go on to discuss the “controversy” over SHC and the various theories about how it might occur.  The earliest reports of this case did not even contain the token skepticism, which seems to have crept into the later reports.

Some of the doctors treating the baby seem to take the SHC theory as a given – a rare medical condition. They are seeking to explain how a baby can spontaneously burst into flame. The Daily Mail quotes one doctor as saying.

‘We will carry out tests to find out the kind of gases generated by the baby’.’

Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. (source)

I think she meant “if” the baby is generating gas. Others speculate that the baby has inflammable sweat. These are nothing but wild speculations, but they are presented as serious medical hypotheses, while SHC is presented as a real medical condition.

The media has apparently been waiting for medical tests that they somehow felt might shed light on the case. As far as I can tell, these were nothing but routine blood tests, perhaps with some specific tests thrown in, to see if there was anything unusual. Unsurprisingly, these tests came back normal. 

At least some of the doctors at the hospital where the baby is being treated understand that SHC is a “hoax theory,” as they are calling it. That is true enough. I have written about SHC previously – there are no confirmed cases and no plausibility to the phenomenon. A typical alleged case involves an infirm overweight individual with an obvious external source of flame, such as a lit cigarette. This is one of those cases when a non-mystery is treated as if it is a mystery and then “explained” with wild pseudoscientific speculation.

Given that the SHC explanation is nonsensical, the most likely (unfortunately) explanation remaining is child abuse.

MORE . . .

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