Cause of death: Oprah

Over the last few years, there’s been a huge sensation in the Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM), and it’s name is The Secret. It essentially co-opted the long-held Self Health and Actualization Movement (SHAM) tradition of combining humanity’s notorious tendency toward insecurity with our equally notorious sedentary [...]

Generation Rescue denies autism

I often refer to those pushing the “vaccines cause autism” lie anti-vaccinationists or vaccine deniers because more often than not, their real target is the vaccines while the autism claim, though the most often mentioned in the media,  is just one of many evils these ideologues try to link to vaccines. Really, in the same way Scientologists blame all the evils in history from the Holocaust to 9/11 on psychiatry, the vaccine deniers try to blame vaccines for everything.

In fact, on any given day, if you visit the Age of Autism blog, you’ll find infinitely more entries condemning vaccines for all sorts of things than you’ll find articles actually discussing autism.

But that being said, they can just as easily be referred to as autism deniers given that they quite literally deny the most basic facts about the condition, particularly the role genes play in causing autism. Of course this position is just a means to an end because since their real target is the vaccines, any science that demonstrates something other than vaccines contributes either a little bit or entirely to causing autism hurts their vaccine unifying theory of evil and therefore must be denied. It’s like how Jack Thompson can never admit to anything other than video games playing as a main role in causing school shootings or why creationists can never accept evolution because it demystifies what in their mind is the majesty of divine creation. … continue reading this entry.

SafeMinds propaganda blocked by skeptics

This week the anti-vaccine propaganda organization SafeMinds is rolling out a commercial in some movie theaters that makes bogus claims designed to scare people away from getting their annual flu shot.

Initially, I heard about this from an article in Skepchick that reported which cineplexes would feature the commercial and urged skeptics to contact the management to voice their outrage. One of the theaters set to air the commercial was the AMC Empire 25 in New York City.

Fortunately, only a few hours after I added myself to the over a thousand who participated in the campaign by contacting AMC and writing a Letter to the Editor for my local newspaper, a representative from that company responded by saying they will not air this commercial or any other ads on the topic. … continue reading this entry.

Daily Mail Proves Psychic Powers!

I predict John Edward and his buddies will capitalize on this study.

Hey!  It’s great news!  According to a study in the Daily Mail, psychic powers exist and we can see into the future.  Wow!  Although apparently the effects must be really small because no one seems to have been able to predict that 9-11 was [...]

‘Psychic Kids’ needs a spanking

A recent article on Skepchick.org suggested a letter-writing campaign to the television network A&E to complain about their completely reprehensible and morally bankrupt show “Psychic Kids.”

I’d already written an angry letter to the network back when the show first aired but I decided to follow the Skepchick example and help this campaign by writing a second letter to the network.

Here’s what I wrote A&E:

Two years ago, when you began running the insipid program entitled “Psychic Kids,” I wrote a complaint about the abject nation of the show that promised that as long as that show remained on the air, I would never watch your network.

It’s two years later and I have kept my word. And now I’m writing you again to voice my disapproval of this program. … continue reading this entry.

The God of Creationism

Believe it or not, as an atheist I don't see this as an irrefutable text.

As far as atheists are concerned, I think I come off being rather tame.  I have never suggested that religion is some horrible institution that should be burned to the ground and I have been quite outspoken with my fellow skeptics about my belief that there are forms of belief which cannot ever be debunked through skepticism.  That said, creationism bothers me on multiple levels.  Last week, I wound up spending an inordinate amount of time arguing with a creationist on this very blog and I came to the conclusion that reactive defense of evolution was not going to win an argument with someone who refuses to look at evidence.  So I’ve decided to go on the attack on this one.  My reason is simple: whether there is a god or not, the specific God of Christian Creationism is logically impossible. … continue reading this entry.

Our First Investigation

Believe it or not, Big Bird, we didn't have to think Snuffleupagus existed until Sesame Street made the puppet.

Picture if you will, a bright but cold day.  It’s 3:25 and a man and a woman, one in a large black coat and the other in a white sweater, stand outside a metropolitan college looking in all directions for a different man and woman (they assume).  The man and woman hope they haven’t missed the couple they’re expecting.  These people will be a woman who can apparently receive psychic information from a friend of hers in Australia and the woman’s lawyer.  The man and woman wait, expectantly looking in all directions, quizzically looking to the woman’s texts for guidance, for one solid hour.  The people they are expecting never show up.  Thus ended the first experience Lisa and I had with real-world skeptical investigation.

The experience had started a few months previously when Michael Feldman, president of the New York City Skeptics, sent out an e-mail stating that a skeptical organization in Australia was running a paranormal challenge and needed some observers State-side.  Lisa and I both quickly volunteered ourselves and after a few months of hammering out details and waiting for all the schedules to come together, a date was arranged. … continue reading this entry.

Conspiracies and plot holes

I don’t usually notice plot holes when at the movies. I tend to have a very strong suspension of disbelief, meaning a hole has to be pretty glaring for me to be unable to ignore it and particularly egregious for it to significantly hinder my enjoyment of a film.

One such example was in the recent film District 9, when the entire plot revolved around a two-dimensional, monolithic evil corporation, MNU, that was also possibly collaborating with the government, which devoted twenty years and presumably trillions of dollars to trying to figure out how to operate alien weapons. Those weapons could only be operated in the hands of the aliens themselves and the corporation is seen in the film forcing captured aliens to demonstrating some of those weapons’ capabilities. But later in the film, when we’re finally shown the full capabilities of the alien weapons in real combat, they turned out to be at best no more powerful than a common bazooka, and certainly insignificant compared with the atomic bombs made here at home and which without a doubt would have been far easier for the corporation to obtain. This left me scratching my head and hoping MNU fired whichever moron was heading up the project in first place. I was also left feeling sympathy for the MNU shareholders and the villainous MNU employees who would soon to be out of work because their company has clearly bankrupted itself by taking wasteful spending to a whole new level. … continue reading this entry.

Hey Phil! I wasn’t a dick!

On Friday I did something that was fairly new for me.  I’ve been online writing about my opinions for… years.  I’ve been getting into random arguments with strangers for… years.  What I’d never done before was get up in front of a room full of Christians and try to represent an atheistic and highly skeptical viewpoint.  And now I have!  The people that ran the event say they’ll have it up online by the end of the week, when it is I’ll give everybody the link and if you want to see me with my ratty blond beard being told that I’m representing the New York City Skeptics (I told them that I wasn’t a representative of NYCS, but just a member, but they didn’t always listen) and saying why I don’t believe in God, you can check it out to your hearts content.  For today, I’m going to do what I can to tell you about the event, say what I took from it, where I think I could have done better.  Basically, I’m going to use this blog that I hope you tend to enjoy as my diary.  Aren’t you lucky? … continue reading this entry.

Why October 23rd makes a great Homeopathy Awareness Day

Earlier this year, British skeptics launched the ’10:23 Campaign’ against homeopathy. The name came from the Avogadro Constant, the scientific principle in which homeopathy would violate…if it were true. The slogan they came up with for the campaign was “Homeopathy: There’s Nothing In It.”

For many years prior, skeptics like James Randi had attempted to illustrate that there’s nothing in homeopathy but water or sugar pills by giving public demonstrations in which he swallows whole bottles of alleged homeopathic sleep aids, what should constitute as some kind of overdose. In 2004, the Australian Skeptics even videotaped “The Great Skeptic Attempted Mass Suicide Using Homeopathic Crap”. … continue reading this entry.

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