Tag Archives: misinformation

Principles of Curiosity

Personally, I would give this video 3.5 out of 5 stars. It felt too lengthy (40 minutes) for the amount of information presented, but still very enjoyable.

Using the fear of God to promote an Anti-Vaccine agenda

The LockeBy The Locke via The Soap Box

Yesterday I saw an article making rounds on pro-science and anti-anti-vaccination Facebook pages that was written by a “Christian” blogger who was claiming that God does not support vaccines. (Read the article here)

vaccine small pox 133The author of the article uses several classic anti-vaccination claims to spread her propaganda, although the one that was mostly talked about in that article is the claim that vaccines contain parts from aborted fetuses, which is false.

She combines this along with passages from the bible and her “interpretation” of those passages in an attempt to make it seem like God does not approve of vaccines.

Before I begin I’m very well aware that many of you reading this are atheists, but for the moment just for fun consider the possibly that God exists, and if you are someone that believes that God exists then please and hear what I have to say.

First, God is, according to Judea-Christian beliefs, an all powerful being that created the Universe and everything about it, including what does and does not work.

If God is all powerful and didn’t want people to use vaccines, then couldn’t God just will vaccines not to work?

I asked this question in the comments section, and the author responded to me:

locke image 01

First, before anyone points it out I believe she meant to say (although I could be wrong) that research into vaccines have not been proven to be clinically effective. This is ofcourse not true. Vaccines are very effective, and there are multiple published research papers showing how effective vaccines are. Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 8.32.59 PMDoing a simple Google Scholar search for vaccine effectiveness will bring up thousands of papers concerning vaccine effectiveness.

The second thing the author claims is that no vaccines have a life time immunity. This is completely false.

Certain vaccines (as seen here) only provide immunity for a few years, but for other vaccines they could give a person immunity against a disease for the rest of their life, although for most additional vaccinations are recommend just to be safe, and with certain vaccines, such as the MMR vaccine, getting another vaccination several years after the first one is usually all that it takes for lifetime immunity.

I replied to the author’s reply to my comment pointing these things out to her, and also once again asking her the question if  .  .  .

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Facebook needs to start enforcing it’s own rules!

The LockeBy The Locke via The Soap Box

Yesterday I saw something on Facebook that really p*ssed me off!

Granted I see lots of things on Facebook that p*ss me off (sometimes on an hourly bases) but the things that usually get my teeth grinding are just rude, or offensive, or ignorant, or all of the above. What I saw wasn’t neither rude nor offensive, but it sure was ignorant, and it was definitely dangerous.

GMO insulin_400pxWhat ticked me off was an infograph posted on Green Med Info’s Facebook page concerning a “study” about “GMO” insulin (which all insulin is) that claimed that certain people with type 2 diabetes can develop type 1 diabetes from injecting insulin. (Link to original post here)

While people with type 2 diabetes can develop type 1 diabetes over time there are usually several factors that can cause this, such as a person’s diet, or whether they exercise, or if they take the medication that has been prescribed to them, or genetics. Insulin is not one of the causes. Infact it could prevent a person with type 2 diabetes from developing type 1 diabetes.

What gets me so angry about that post isn’t just the sheer ignorance of it, or how outright dangerous it is for the people at Green Med Info to promote something like this (because despite the fact that it promotes quackery and fraud medicine, better known as alternative medicine, people do listen to and take “advice” from that page) this type of “info” could kill a person with type 2 diabetes if they take it to seriously and decide to stop taking insulin. Either that or result in a person developing type 1 diabetes, or slipping into a diabetic coma, or losing a body part. The very worst thing that could happen is that the parent of a child with type 2 diabetes reads that and decides not to give their child insulin and what I listed above happens to that child, and there is little they can do about because they are at the mercy of their parent (unless they tell a teacher or family member about what their parent is doing and that person gets the authorities involved).

Now, back to the original reason why I’m writing this.

I, along with many other people reported this post to Facebook hoping that the social media website would take down the post due to the fact that it could cause some people to do something that was dangerous and hazardous to their health, and warn Green Med Info not to post something like that again.

Facebook has done nothing.

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How perception is used for deception in promoting pseudoscience and conspiracy theories

By via The Soap Box

Perception is one of the most commonly used tools of advertisers. If done correctly it can be used to sell a person a product or an idea, even if it’s something they do not want or need. All you need is an image combined with some information (factual or not) that catches a person’s eye and makes them interested in whatever is being sold which ultimately leads them to buying whatever it is that is being sold.

Promoters of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories know this as well, and will often times create pictures on the internet of images coupled with text in an attempt to get you to “buy” whatever claims that they are making.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

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Looks nice, doesn’t it? The pretty, smiling young woman that catches your eye and causes you to read whatever it is that the picture says and perhaps even gets you to try or believe whatever it is that the text is saying, which in this case is an advertisement to get people to try out Earthing.This is an example of using positive images inorder to fool people into believing that something that isn’t true. In this case it the original creator wants you to believe that Earthing works.

Now lets take a look at this next picture, courtesy of Illuminutti.com:

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Not as nice looking as the previous picture, is it? Except for the photo in the bottom left side of the page, everything else about this picture is exactly the same as the one above this one.

Most people probably would  .  .  .

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… Prisonplanet and Infowars

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

US radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

By via The Soap Box

Prisonplanet and Infowars. Both are Alex Jones’s main websites, and both are two of the largest conspiracy theorist websites in the world.

Now there are a lot of things that have been said about these sites, and after taking a look at these two sites I’ve noticed quite a lot of things about them, which I have narrowed down to five things.

So here are five things I’ve notice Prisonplanet and Infowars:

5. There are a lot of ads on the sites.

AlexJonesLunaticI have no problems with any websites having advertisements on them, and with the size of the websites that Prisonplanet and Infowars are it’s necessary for these sites to have advertisements on them in order to make money to both pay people maintain the sites, as well as to pay other employees… and also to make Alex Jones money.

The sites not only have your ordinary, random ads that try to look like news stories, but also ads by sponsors of the sites with products or services that is geared towards the typical fans of Alex Jones (i.e. conspiracy theorists), or it’s just advertisements for books and videos and other products that Alex Jones has created himself… or at least he claims to have created. And of course there are also ads for Alex Jones’s radio show.

There are also articles on those those sites as well, not just ads, but the thing about that is…

4. Alex Jones doesn’t write a lot of articles on those sites.

alexjones_animated_3On any given day if you go to Infowars and Prisonplanet you’ll find a whole bunch of articles on there, what you hardly ever see however are articles written by Alex Jones. Infact seeing an article on there that was written by Alex Jones is more rare than seeing an article on there that actually tells the truth instead of being a manipulative form of propaganda.

Not only does Alex Jones not write a whole bunch of article on his sites, but neither does his staff. Many of the articles on those sites are actually from other websites, some of which mainly promote conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, and some are from legitimate news sites.

Even when someone there does write an original article, they always seem to do this one thing…

3. They cherry pick stuff.

Most of the articles on these two sites that are written by actual staff members of Alex Jones’s tend to be just cherry picked from other legitimate news articles, with parts of the legitimate news articles being taken apart and having pieces of it taken out of context, and then the writers ad in their own comments to make it sound like the original article agrees with their point of view, even if it doesn’t. Or they  .  .  .

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67 claims about Coconut Oil: Which ones are true, and which ones are BS?

by via The Soap Box

coconut oil uses

Recently I came across this picture that were making all of these claims about coconut oil (67 claims to be exact).

Now normal when I see something like this and it has the word “Proven” in the title, I automatically assume that most or all of it is just a bunch of BS.

But I decided to give these claims the benefit of the doubt and examine all of them to see if there is any truth behind them.

1. To cook with instead of vegetable or seed oils.

This one is true. You can cook with it, but it’s advised by many health organizations not to, or not to use to much due to it’s high amount of saturated fat.

coco-milk-creamer-original2. In your coffee/tea instead of creamer.

Sure. Infact non-dairy creamers are often made out of coconut oil.

3. To wash your face with instead of soap.

Yes, this is true. Also most hard soaps are made with coconut oils.

4. To brush your teeth with.

You could. There’s nothing dangerous about coconut oil (except maybe increasing your chance of having a heart attack if you eat to much of it) but I would stick with good old fashion (and proven) toothpaste.

My advice is that you should ask your dentist first before using coconut oil toothpaste and see what they have to say.

5. For oil pulling.

Yes, you can use coconut oil for this, although oil pulling itself hardly does anything and only really decreases the amount of tooth decaying bacteria in your mouth. Mouthwash is far more effective to use, and takes less time. Vodka also works to, and unlike mouthwash, you can actually swallow it!

IMG_2636_200px6. As a body moisturizer.

Yes, this is true.

7. As a sun-screen.

Lets go back to #1 on the list, shall we. It’s used as a cooking oil. What do you think it’s going to do to you?

For those who answered incorrectly, it’s going to cook you!

8. As a hair conditioner.

It does reduce protein loss in hair, so yes you could use it as a hair conditioner.

9. As a supplement.

For what? That’s kind of vague. Plus considering how high coconut oil is in saturated fat, I wouldn’t use it as a food supplement.

massage1_250px10. As a massage oil.

You can use it for that.

11. To reduce scars.

It helps with dry skin, and it might help acne scars, but scars from a cut it’s not going to help.

12. To treat for lice.

Yes, you can, but you have to use a lot of it to work, and you have to leave on for 12 to 18 hours, and it probably won’t kill the eggs.

hair-growth.-Coconut-milk1_250px13. To soften cracked heels.

Yes, you can use it for this.

14. As a hair serum.

Yes, this is another thing you can use it for.

15. As a buttery spread.

Sure you can… if you don’t mind increasing your risk of having a heart attack in a few years.

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Obama ordered $1 billion worth of disposable coffins for use in FEMA camps? More BS fear mongering.

By via The Soap Box

Reblogged from Is that a FEMA Camp?

Recently the old FEMA camp myth has once again reared it’s ugly head around internet, this time making it appear that President Obama has ordered $1,000,000,000 worth of “disposable coffins”, as you can clearly see from this screen shot below:

FEMA coffin

And from this article here.

When I was reading the article one of the first things that clued me in that this was just a bunch of BS and anti-government fear mongering were the pictures.

All of these pictures have been spreading around the internet for years now in various conspiracy theorist websites and forums.

Despite what the website wants you to believe, these pictures are actually pretty old. Infact they’ve been around since the George W. Bush administration, as have these claims.

The pictures were also taken at a storage facility for Vantage, a company that manufactures plastic coffin liners, not some government storage facility.

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Anti-Vaccination pics should come with a disclaimer…

By via The Soap Box

This morning while I was going through my Facebook page and looking around at some of the skeptics groups that I belong to I came across this anti-vaccination photo. It was posted to mock and criticize the anti-vaccination movement for their blatant hypocrisy:

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Now of course anyone who is either a skeptic or a medical professional can clearly see why this picture is being mocked and criticized, but for those who don’t I’ll explain why:

facepalm 822It’s mocked because of the irony that people in the anti-vaccination movement actually believe that getting “information” off of a website that promotes pseudoscience and alternative medicine rather than a legitimate science and/or medical website or journal apparently makes you well educated, and that those who are in the anti-vaccination movement actually believe that they are well educated about vaccines.

Also, it’s criticized because it gives the impression that people who advise against vaccination are themselves well educated, which is often not the truth and that in reality they are actually to dumb to realize that they don’t know anything about vaccines other than what they’ve been told (or scared into) by the anti-vaccination movement. Even those that really are well educated have either just been fooled by the claims of the anti-vaccination movement into believing that vaccines are dangerous, or are just lying about their beliefs for reasons that are their own (usually because they don’t want to admit that they are wrong).

If pictures like this were truly honest they would . . .

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Is that a FEMA Truck?

By via Is that a FEMA Camp?

Recently on a Facebook skeptics group that I belong to someone posted a very “curious” looking photo, along with the commentary by the person whom posted the photo somewhere else on Facebook:

FB FEMA truck

Now the first thing that came to my mind when I saw that photo was, “Wow… that trailer needs a good wash.”

All joking aside of course what really came to my mind was that the words on the truck looked like it was put on there via digital photo manipulation (i.e. photoshopped) and even if it wasn’t, then so what?

Now my first argument for why it is photoshopped is because of another photo that looks almost exactly like the first one provided to me via Illuminutti.com:

FEMA 03_flat_600px

Now clearly the second picture is photoshopped, and to be all honest it’s not even that good of a photoshop job either.

Of course just because the second photo has clearly been digitally manipulated, I have to admit that it does not mean that the first photo has been digitally manipulated as well. If you look closely at the bottom words “FEMA DISASTER RELIEF” that while the font style used for the letters are similar to the ones on the top, they are infact different.

If the first photo was photoshopped, the second photoshopped photo was probably done by someone else whom used the closest font style that they could find to the original words… unless the person whom created the original photo forgot the original font style that they used.

Now another reason why I think the photo has been digitally manipulated is because of the trailer itself.

Besides just being in need of a good wash, it is clearly a used trailer due to the fact that there is a company logo right next to “FEMA DISASTER RELIEF”, as well as a logo on the truck that is pulling the trailer.

So if this photo was real, what it would tell me isn’t that FEMA is planning on “something” evil, it’s that they’re moving a trailer from one location to another to another, probably for some bureaucratic reasons, or it’s being driven around just to make sure that everything is okay with it and the truck that’s pulling it (and before you point out that the person claims that it’s coming from a FBI building in Virginia I should like to point out that I don’t take such claims seriously unless I have more proof that it really did come from a FBI building in Virginia).

Also, if the photo is real then it tells me is that FEMA is pretty underfunded if the only big rigs they can afford to buy are used and can’t be washed every so often due to funding…

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“You Know You Are a Conspiracy Theorist If…”

A deceptive test to make people believe they are a conspiracy theorist.

by via The Soap Box

A few months ago I came across the You Know You Are a Conspiracy Theorist If… test (which I found to be laughable when I saw it) to help a person tell if they are a conspiracy theorist or not (view the test here).

I have some things to say about this “test” and some comments about “questions” that were asked (well, they’re not really questions) as well as a few questions of my own:

critical-thinking1_250px• You are capable of critical thinking.

This is a paradox. If a conspiracy theorist was capable of critical thinking, then they wouldn’t be a conspiracy theorist because people who are capable of critical thinking would figure out that a conspiracy theory was BS.

• You distrust mainstream media.

So do most skeptics, although for entirely different reasons than conspiracy theorists do.

• You like nature.

Lots of people do. What does this have to do with being a conspiracy theorist?

• You think it’s a good idea to spend the Friday after Thanksgiving with your family rather than camping outside Best Buy to get a cheap plasma television made in China.

That doesn’t make you a conspiracy theorist. That makes you someone who is smart enough not to waste their time in the cold waiting for some store to open in the hope of finding bargains.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 8.58.15 PM• You think it’s a little strange that WTC building 7 came down at free fall speed on 9/11 yet it was never hit by a plane.

This might make you a conspiracy theorist, as well as someone who has conveniently forgotten that WTC7 was hit by something… a skyscraper.

• You think that drones in America might not be for Al Qaeda.

This might also make you a conspiracy theorist… or it might make you someone who knows drones that fly over America are also used for multiple benign purposes.

• You would like to be able to get on a plane without having to engage in a mandatory radiation bath and digital strip search.

As do many Americans, especially those who have gone through that process.

• You have read a book in the past year.

What does reading a book have to do with being a conspiracy theorist?

thefirstamendment_250px• You think you have the right to protest.

According to the first Amendment I don’t think I have the right, I have the right, period!

• You think the War on Terror is a scam.

That depends on what your definition of “scam” is.

• You think the War on Drugs is a scam.

Again, that depends on what your definition of “scam” is. Does your definition mean completely bogus and fraudulent, or wasteful and unnecessary?

• You think the anger directed at America from the Middle East could possibly be related to our foreign policy rather than hating how amazingly free we are.

This just means you’ve done more than five minutes worth of research about the Middle East.

• You think the Republicans and Democrats are exactly the same on the important issues affecting our country.

This could mean you’re a conspiracy theorist… it could also mean that you’re a Libertarian, or you’re just ticked off at both political parties.

• You think believing in The Constitution does not constitute a terrorist act.

Who the Hell believes that believing in the constitution is a terrorist act? The only people who believe that are idiots!

bill-of-rights_250px• You have heard of the Bill of Rights and can even name what some of them are.

As most Americans have and can…

• You question whether the government loves you.

The government is not a living entity. It neither loves nor hates, therefore it is pointless to ask if it loves you or not.

• You think the right to bear arms is not for hunting, rather so citizens can fight back should the government become a bunch of tyrannical thugs.

Yeah, this could mean that you’re a conspiracy theorist… it could also mean that you just don’t like the government, or you’re afraid that the United States “could” become a tyrannical dictatorship.

• You don’t own a television, and if you do, all you watch is RT, especially the Keiser Report and Capital Account.

(Reading that alone makes me wonder if this is satire) If all you watch on television is RT (Russia Today) then there is no need to finish this test. You are a conspiracy theorist.

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5 Things I’ve noticed about… Conspiracy Theorists on Youtube

by via The Soap Box

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 8.46.56 PM_250pxIf you’re someone that makes a hobby of investigating conspiracy theories, you will eventually be lead to one place: Youtube.

Youtube seems to the gathering center conspiracy theorists on the internet due to the huge amount a conspiracy theory videos on that website (and I mean huge).

Now there are a lot of things that I have noticed about conspiracy theorists on Youtube that I could talk about, but I have narrowed it down to five different things.

So here are five things that I’ve noticed about conspiracy theorists on Youtube:

5. They can come up with some pretty bizarre conspiracy theories.

If you want to find a really bizarre conspiracy theory, then there is no better place to look than Youtube, because the conspiracy theorists on that website can come up with some very bizarre conspiracy theories. In fact some of the weirdest conspiracy theories that I have ever heard of are from videos on Youtube.

These conspiracy theories on Youtube can get so strange, and combined with a person’s own behavior either in a video, or in the comments section, that it makes one wonder if that person is either a poe, or a fraud that is looking for attention (or to scam people), or severely mentally ill. In fact some conspiracy theorist on Youtube have been proven to be either mentally ill or frauds.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 8.48.33 PM_200pxSome of these videos are so bizarre that I’ve had to stop watching them at times because I felt that it was driving me crazy (mostly rage) and making me want to destroy my computer in frustration over not only how some one could come up with some thing that crazy and stupid, but also in frustration over why Youtube would allow such a video to stay on the website.

If such videos make me nearly go crazy then I can’t imagine what they do to people who take these videos seriously.

4. Their videos can be extremely long.

Sometimes a conspiracy theorist’s video on Youtube can be short, sometimes they can be half an hour long, and sometimes they can go on for hours and hours.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 8.50.48 PMSome of the longest videos that I have ever seen on Youtube have been from conspiracy theorists, and I’m not talking about an hour or two long. Some of these videos can be three to four to six hours long. In fact I think the longest one I have ever seen (I didn’t actually watch it, I just noted the time) was forty hours long!

The only way someone could watch such videos is if they were unemployed and/or had no life what so ever. They would have to spend all of their time infront of a computer watching these poorly made and researched Youtube videos which would become essentially their only source of information about the world…

Besides just making abnormally long videos, conspiracy theorists on Youtube also tend to do this:

3. They create videos of an event quickly after an event happens.

Thanks mostly due to cheap (many times free), widely available, and easy to use video capturing and editing software, conspiracy theorist can now create videos at astonishingly amazing speeds after some event happens, sometimes even within hours of an event happening.

Usually these videos are . . .

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Be skeptical of what you see on the Internet

by at The Soap Box

skeptical_dog1-180hprn_250pxRecently on my Facebook page a couple of people posted a very disturbing photo showing a heavily tattooed white male in what appears to be in his 20’s apparently forcing a cute little puppy to drink a bottle of vodka. I was even asked by one of the people whom posted the image on their page to post the photo on this blog in hopes of actually finding the person and getting the person arrested, because allegedly that person had not been arrested yet.

I decided not to post the photo for two main reasons:

First, I considered the photo to be just too disturbing and graphic and might not just turn people away, but could result in people sending complaints to Blogger.com over the contents of the post, which could result in this blog having restrictions placed against it, or have the post pulled and removed.

And second, I don’t know story behind that photo.

For one thing the person might have been making a very distasteful joke and only made it look like he was pouring vodka down the puppy’s throat when in reality the bottle was already empty or sealed (it didn’t look like there was any liquid in the bottle, or at least that any liquid was leaving the bottle), or, he could have been taking the bottle away from the puppy after it got a hold of it (and if you’ve ever puppy, you know they will get a hold of anything they can).

As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened [read here]. The person in the photo wasn’t trying to hurt the puppy, he was trying to prevent the puppy from accidentally hurting itself.

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