Tag Archives: skepticism

10 Techniques “Psychics” Use To Trick You

Psychic Methods Revealed: Hot Reading

Detecting psychic scams & debunking mediums is easier when you know how psychic methods like hot reading work. Don’t be fooled by psychic misdirection. Expert mentalists, skeptics, and magicians Penn and Teller, Derren Brown, Paul Zenon, James Randi, and Mark Edward will reveal the secrets of psychics by exposing disgraceful psychic tricks used by psychic Sally Morgan, The Long Island Medium (Theresa Caputo), Rosemary Altea, Peter Popoff, Joe Power, James Van Praagh, and more. Stay skeptical, dare to be curious, but don’t fall for this bullshit, and don’t drink the koolaid.

WTC Building 7 Explained

EdwardCurrent via YouTube

An expanded/updated version of my 2011 video “Building 7 Explained,” focusing on 7 World Trade Center’s construction. The tube-frame steel design explains why its collapse looks similar to a controlled demolition — thus creating a generation of modern conspiracy believers.

The animation at 5:00 is scale-accurate: The east face of the frame really did tip that much to the north (the smaller building shown is Fiterman Hall). Meanwhile, the west face appears to have tipped to the south. There is no evidence whatsover that the frame collapsed “into its own footprint.”

Addressing other top talking points:

“Thousands of architects and engineers disagree…” And many, many thousands more agree. I made comedy out of the generally poor professional qualifications of those who have signed the petition put forward by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth: https://youtu.be/lpEnvGBfgnI

“You haven’t looked into the evidence…” Actually I have, because I used to be a Truther: https://youtu.be/UULUQfEQFuU

“A collapse like that due to fire would violate the laws of physics.” That’s interesting since NIST created a simulation that was quite accurate up to the last (and hardest to model) part of the collapse, using the program LS-DYNA, which — believe it or not — relies on the laws of physics to operate. If you don’t like the job NIST did, you can make your own simulation and see what happens — the construction and materials of the building are a matter of public record. In the meantime, feel free to point to one paper in a legitimate peer-reviewed engineering journal that supports this “violation of physics” claim.

“Professor Leroy Hulsey of the University of Alaska just released the results of a two-year study…” With funding by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Hulsey and two graduate students computer-modeled two floors where NIST found that collapse initiation *might* have taken place, and found scenarios where the collapse did not initiate. The team did not attempt to model any other cases where the collapse might have initiated. Not exactly an exhaustive scientific investigation, but hey, they’re still seeking donations to keep this hope alive.

“You believe everything the government tells you.” The government in reality is fairly incompetent. And, you’re asking people to believe that this same government pulled off a perfectly executed secret operation AND has maintained this secret conspiracy for 16 years and counting, after the operation was carried out and with hundereds of thousands of people worldwide working to expose a cover-up. The skeptical person finds this to be a highly unlikely scenario. See: “How to Apply Occam’s Razor”: https://youtu.be/AQNxNeQ9cxw

“Witnesses heard explosions in WTC7 before it collapsed.” Lots of things explode in fires. Transformers, gas lines, fire extinguishers, fuel tanks, even pneumatic office chairs have been shown to explode in a fire. That’s very different from high-velocity detonations necessary to cut even one major steel column of a skyscraper, which would exceed 150 decibels a half mile away.

“You are obviously paid by the government to make these videos.” Thank you for demonstrating your standards for evidence that confirms your pre-existing beliefs.

“But military-grade super-nanothermite that no one knows anything about . . . .” Okay, we’re done.

 

8 Ways to tell a Conspiracy Theorist is really a Fraud

By via The Soap Box

As I have been observing conspiracy theories, and by extension, conspiracy theorists themselves. From my observations I’ve noticed that some of them may not be entirely truthful in what they believe, and that some of them may be out right frauds.

Here are eight ways to tell if a conspiracy theorist is a fraud:

1. Constant self promoter

It’s one thing for a conspiracy theorist to promote the conspiracy theories they believe in, it’s quite another for a conspiracy theorist to constantly promote their own materials and media concerning conspiracy theories they allegedly believe in.

The fact is, is that some people do make money off of promoting conspiracy theories, and some fraud conspiracy theorists do realize they can make lots of money creating and pedaling books and videos about conspiracy theories.

2. Tells people to ignore facts

While most legit conspiracy theorists will usually ask a person to examine all of the facts before asking you to conclude that they are right, a fraud conspiracy theorist will tell you to ignore any facts other then the “facts” that they present. Some even go so far as to call real facts disinformation. This is done as a way to discourage people from actually examining real facts, and by doing this a person might stop believing a certain conspiracy theory, and thus stop believe the fraud conspiracy theorist.

3. Constantly making up stuff

A fraud conspiracy theorist constantly makes up stuff, and then discards certain “information” when no one believes it any more, or no one really cares about it any more.

One of the main reasons this is done is because it keeps people coming back, wanting “new” information.

4. Claims to be withholding information until a later date

Many fraud conspiracy theorists claim they have “secret information” that they claim they are withholding until a later date. Most of the times this “information” isn’t even revealed at all, or the “information” that is revealed is actually false and made up, and sometimes not even new at all, just reworded.

Continue Reading @ The Soap Box – – –.

Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator – Wisdom of Chopra

The Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator generates a randomly-selected collection of words that eerily mimic the syntactically-sound, but often content-free, thoughts of new-age author Deepak Chopra.

Here are a few examples of random, computer generated gems:

“The world opens karmic chaos”
“Infinity inspires subtle timelessness”
“Evolution differentiates into positive opportunities”
“Freedom experiences a symphony of creativity”

Check it out here: Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator – Wisdom of Chopra.

Ancient Aliens Debunked

Ancient Aliens Debunked

Ancient Aliens Debunked!

Click the link in the menu bar or the image above to view the latest updates!

Aspartame – Truth vs Fiction

by

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.

Morals and Dogma

In 1871, Albert Pike published a book called Morals and Dogma.

Conspiracists call this book a manifesto, a primary doctrine for Masons and, contained within its pages is absolute proof Albert Pike was a Satanist who wrote secret Satan worship into the degrees of the Scottish Rite.

Who is Albert Pike? What is his book about? What was the extent of his influence? Do Freemasons worship Satan?
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The Ultimate Conspiracy Debunker

Via YouTube

Most Conspiracy Theories are stupid. By the power of the internet they spread like wildfire and often poison discussions. But there is hope – we developed a way to debunk conspiracies in just a few seconds…

Another Study that Doesn’t Show How Acupuncture Works

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

The pattern is now quite familiar – a study looking at some physiological outcome while rats or mice are being jabbed with needles is breathlessly presented as, “finally we know how acupuncture works.” As is always the case, a closer look reveals that the study shows nothing of the sort.
electroacupuncture-ratThe current study making the rounds is, “Effects of Acupuncture, RU-486 on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis in Chronically Stressed Adult Male Rats.” We are told that acupuncture has the same effect as pain medication, but honestly I don’t see that anywhere in the study.
The study presents two experiments with rats in which there is a control group, a stress group, stress plus acupuncture, and stress plus sham acupuncture. The first thing to notice is that the rats were not actually getting acupuncture. They were getting the fiction known as “electroacupuncture.” Electroacupuncture is not a real thing – it’s just electrical stimulation through a needle which is called an acupuncture needle.
The authors claim that their results show that electroacupuncture (EA) at the St36 acupuncture point (which is behind the leg), but not sham EA on the back blunt the stress response as measured by cortisol levels, ACTH, and stress behavior in the rats.
acupuncture 835_225pxJust looking at the data itself, separate from the context of acupuncture, there are a few things to notice. The first is that the study is very small, with (in the first experiment) 7 rats in the control and stress groups, and 14 rats in the EA and sham EA groups. That’s not a lot of data points. There is no mention of blinding anywhere in the study. Unless everyone involved in those aspects of the study measuring outcomes were effectively blinded, I see no reason to take the results seriously.
Further, the results are completely unimpressive. The differences are slight. The researchers also pull a common statistical trick. They say, for example, that the difference between control and EA was statistically significant, while the difference between control and sham EA was not. However, they don’t tell us whether or not the difference between EA and sham EA was significant (and by looking at the data I would guess not).
acupucture_chinese_medicine_300pxIt is therefore not valid to conclude that there is a difference between EA and sham EA. This is a common statistical “mistake” researchers make, probably having something to do with the fact that it makes negative data look positive.
It is possible that this study tells us nothing at all. Given the small number of rats in the study, no documentation about blinding, and the unimpressive results, just a touch of researcher bias (exploiting those researcher degrees of freedom) is all that is necessary to get the graphs to look good enough to publish.
Therefore, regardless of the subject matter, these are preliminary results at best, and unimpressive preliminary results at that.
If we put these results into the context of acupuncture, we then have the equivalent of Bem’s psi research – unimpressive results used to support a massive claim.
Let’s be clear – acupuncture points are a complete fiction.

Continue Reading – – –

Critical Thinking

Fun stuff.

Critical Thinking – YouTube.

The burden of proof

Makers of supernatural claims have an inescapable burden of proof.


Via The burden of proof – YouTube.

World of Batshit – #3: Chemtrailer Trash

Though a bit lengthy (23 minutes) i found this video really entertaining and full of good information.

One caution: There is some occasional use of adult language and humor.

Enjoy 🙂

MIB


By CoolHardLogic via YouTube

Freemasons & Satan

Originally posted June 12, 2012.

Enjoy 🙂

In 1871, a man named Albert Pike published a book called Morals and Dogma.

Conspiracists call this book a manifesto, a primary doctrine for Masons and, contained within its pages is absolute proof Albert Pike was a Satanist who wrote secret Satan worship into the degrees of the Scottish Rite.

Who is Albert Pike? What is his book about? What was the extent of his influence? Do Freemasons worship Satan?

Ancient Aliens Debunked

Vacation Post: By far THE most popular and hotly researched topic here at Illuminutti is the Ancient Aliens section that was originally posted May 2, 2012.

Enjoy 🙂

Ancient Aliens Debunked

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

The information contained in this 8 part series is based on the work at “ART and UFOs? No Thanks, Only Art” by Diego Cuoghi.

If you wish to conduct more investigating into this subject matter i highly recommend visiting ART and UFOs? No Thanks, Only Art. The website is written in Italian, but some pages have been translated into English. The Italian pages are translated using MicroSoft Translator:

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

why-people-see-ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts (and gods, angels, demons, and aliens and why they float, fly, and travel out of their bodies)

via Skeptic.com

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience like the examples that we list in this FREE PDF booklet? If so, you know how compelling they can be. A life can be changed or an entire religion founded on the basis of a single brain-generated hallucination. These phenomena are so powerful that throughout history seekers of knowledge have sought to induce them. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be more than a waste of time and energy. It can be dangerous for both the individual and larger society.

While science has made considerable progress in discovering how the brain is hard-wired to produce these illusions, the public is largely unaware of much of this research. This is where your Skeptics Society comes in—we provide the scientific explanation.

DOWNLOAD the free PDF

Para.Science – Orbs ARE a Load of Balls

quick note_150pxFor some believers in the paranormal, the site of orbs in a photo is confirmation of a spirit energy. To people like me, orbs are nothing more than something like dust.

For the last word on orbs, head on over to the ParaScience web site. You will never believe in orbs again.

Enjoy 🙂

MIB


Identical pictures. Taken at the same instance. Why does an orb appear in the photo on the left but not in the photo on the right?. Read the answer at Para.Science.

Identical pictures. Taken at the same instant.
Why does an orb appear in the photo on the left
but not in the photo on the right?
Read the answer at Para.Science.

Deepak Challenge to Skeptics

steven_novellaBy Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog

Deepak Chopra doesn’t appear to like skeptics much, or understand them. He just put out a YouTube video challenging ”Randi and his cronies” to his own fake version of the million dollar challenge.

All we have to do, apparently, is make 50-100 years of scientific advance in neuroscience in a single peer-reviewed paper. Chopra_711_250pxI’ll get started on that right away.

Actually, even that probably would not be sufficient. The whole point of pseudoscientific goal-post moving is to keep forever out of reach of current scientific evidence. It doesn’t matter how much progress science makes, there will always be gaps and limitations to our knowledge. Chopra lives in the gaps.

Here is his exact challenge:

Dear Randi: Before you go around debunking the so-called “paranormal,” please explain the so-called “normal.” How does the electricity going into the brain become the experience of a three dimensional world in space and time. If you can explain that, then you get a million dollars from me. Explain and solve the hard problem of consciousness in a peer-reviewed journal, offer a theory that is falsifiable, and you get the prize.

The challenge is absurd because it is completely undefined. “Explain” to what degree? Science often advances by developing theories that are progressively deeper. Obviously we can explain consciousness on some level, CHOPRAand just as obviously Chopra would not accept that level as sufficient, but he gives absolutely no indication of how much deeper an explanation he would require.

A challenge without a clear way of judging the outcome is worthless. This is very different than the JREF’s million dollar challenge (now supervised by Banachek) which negotiates a very specific protocol with clear outcomes and a clear threshold for what will be considered success.

The vacuous nature of Chopra’s challenge reveals it for what it is – an insincere stunt that Chopra no doubt wishes to use for rhetorical purposes.

If you listen to the rest of the video challenge it is also clear that Chopra likes to operate in the gaps – he is making a massive argument from ignorance, or “god-of-the-gaps” type argument. In essence he is saying that because neuroscientists cannot now explain consciousness to an arbitrary level of detail (determined at will by Chopra, with an endless option to revise), therefore magic.

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Deepak Chopra Gets Owned

Solar Roadways, a VERY expensive joke?

Intro by Mason. I. Bilderberg

TSolar Freakin’ Roadways_225pxhis is the third video in the Solar Roadways series. If you’re not familiar with this topic, you might want to two previous videos:

  1. Solar FREAKIN Roadways, are they real?, and
  2. Solar Roadways, IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS!

If you want some background information, click one of the links above. Otherwise, enjoy 🙂

MIB


Via YouTube.

From the video description:

So the solar roadways has a page up to ‘answer’ its critics.
http://solarroadways.com/clearingthef…

Previously I had suspected that they have no technical expertise, now Im sure.

They claim that asphalt is softer than glass.
They claim LEDs will be fine for roads because of powerhungry LED billboards or LED traffic lights that work in the shade.

People gave them over 2 million dollars for this. You really have to laugh or cry at this.

This video was supported by donations of viewers through Patreon:
http://www.patreon.com/Thunderf00t

Solar Roadways, IMPORTANT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS!

Intro by Mason. I. Bilderberg:

This video is a followup to the video we featured here on iLLuMiNuTTi.com in a story titled “Solar FREAKIN Roadways, are they real?” and this followup video is just as enjoyable as the first.

If you want some background information, click the link above. Otherwise, enjoy 🙂

MIB


Via YouTube

From the video description:

Ball park numbers: 25 000 sq miles = 90 bn square meters.

At about 4 tiles per m2, thats 240 billion tiles.

At 50 LEDs each, thats 12 trillion LEDS.

These need to be light up ALL the time you want road markings!

300 LEDs takes about 60 Watts.

Cheap electricity is about 0.06 dollars per kW Hr

So to run 300 LEDs for 1 hr coast about half a cent.

To run 12 trillion LEDs for 1hr costs about 150 million dollars!
4 billion dollars per day,
1.4 trillion dollars per year.

They will take more power just to run the LEDs than will be generated by the road!!!
And thats not including the cost of building the infrastructure, or the fact that the LED probably will need to be replaced about every 5 years.

This video was supported through Patreon:
http://www.patreon.com/Thunderf00t

Correlation and Causation

steven_novellaby via NeuroLogica Blog

Every skeptic’s new favorite website is Spurious Correlations. The site is brilliant – it mines multiple data sets (such as causes of death, consumption of various products, divorce rates by state, etc.) and then tries to find correlations between different variables. The results are often hilarious.

correlation_600px

The point of this exercise is to demonstrate that correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Often it is more effective to demonstrate a principle than simply to explain it. By showing impressive looking graphical correlations between phenomena that are clearly not related (at least proposing a causal connection superficially seems absurd.), it drives home the point that correlation is not enough to conclude causation.

I think most people can intuitively understand that funding on science, space, and technology is unlikely to have a meaningful causal connection to suicide by hanging, strangulation, or suffocation.

Yet – look at those curves. If a similar graph were shown with two variables that might be causally connected, that would seem very compelling.

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 7.51.27 PM_600px

There are a couple of points about this I want to explore a bit further. First is the important caveat that, while correlation is not necessarily causation, sometimes it is. Two variables that are causally related would correlate. I dislike the oversimplification that is sometimes presented: “correlation is not causation.” But it can be.

The second point is a statistical one. The important deeper lesson here is the power of data mining. Humans are great at sifting through lots of data and finding apparent patterns. In fact we have a huge bias toward false positives in this regard – we find patterns that are not really there but are just statistical flukes or complete illusions.

Correlations, however, seem compelling to us. If we dream about a friend we haven’t seen in 20 years then they call us the next day, that correlation seems uncanny, and we hunt for a cause. We aren’t even aware of the fact that  .  .  .

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pirates

Climate Change in 12 Minutes – The Skeptic’s Case

I am a global warming climate change climate disruption skeptic. I catch a lot of heat (pun intended) for my skepticism.

global-warming-Gore 02_225pxBut i have my reasons and this video does a very level-headed job of explaining where skeptics are coming from in the global warming climate change climate disruption debate.

If you’re a global warming climate change climate disruption believer and you wish to understand the skeptic’s perspective, i ask you to watch just the first 2 minutes.

The first 2 minutes of this video does an excellent job of spelling out the very thin line between believers and skeptics. So close, yet so far.

This video appears to be based on an article written by Dr. David M.W. Evans called The Skeptic’s Case. As such, you might find the video easier to understand if you read along with the original text (The Skeptic’s Case) or download the PDF here.

Actually, the PDF text version is worth downloading as a standalone resource for those times when people ask why you’re a global warming climate change climate disruption skeptic.

Enjoy 🙂

Mason I. Bilderberg


By Dr. David M.W. Evans via YouTube

Battling Psychics and Ghosts: The Need for Scientific Skepticism

Rodney SchmaltzBy Rodney Schmaltz via The Huffington Post

Many years ago I was asked to give a talk to incoming university students on the nature of psychology. As a social psychology professor, I had a lot of interesting material that I was sure students would find fascinating, from blind obedience to authority to the everyday persuasion techniques of salespeople. The secret_300pxYet to my surprise, at the end of my presentation, I had but two questions from the students: “Does The Secret really work?” and, “Can psychics really read minds?” For those unfamiliar with The Secret, it is a bestselling book and film that promotes the idea that we can have whatever we want merely by thinking about it, all couched in New Age terms and a gross misrepresentation of quantum physics. And as for psychics, there has yet to be any solid experimental evidence of extrasensory ability, even though there is $1 million on the line (more on that later). I initially thought that students asked these questions because they did not have much formal training in science at this point in their academic career, though I soon came to realize otherwise.

College and university students, from freshmen to seniors, have asked me similar questions, along with queries about aliens, ghosts, and a wide variety of New Age and alternative health and psychological treatments. Through countless questions on these topics, I’ve realized the need to teach scientific skepticism, and that using examples of pseudoscience — claims that appear to be scientific but are not — can be an invaluable resource for helping students become discerning consumers of real-world claims.

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