It’s All Semantics – That Doesn’t Mean We Shouldn’t Argue It

You can handle one more article on this before it blows up all over again at Skepticamp, right?

Once again that membrane which has been pierced so many times on this blog, has been broken, allowing us to once again wade hip-deep into the demarcation between skepticism and atheism.  Joy of joys.  On the bright side, I think I can safely say that this time it wasn’t my fault, but that the lance wielder du jour has been my dear Mr. Rosch.

There’s this funny thing that happens whenever we start talking about where skepticism ends and atheism begins.  Someone brings up the word “agnosticism” and all of a sudden people pounce on that person shouting that they don’t want to get embroiled in an argument of semantics.  I have unfortunate news for those people: the discussion on atheism and skepticism already IS an argument about semantics.  The confusion people have, however – and trust me, I’ve had this one wrong in the past – is that the discussion isn’t really about the definition of atheism.

The definition of atheism is one that atheists have fought for a good long time about.  That definition, that atheism is a lack of belief in god(s), has been whittled into this sort of perfect non-positive statement.  By definition, an atheist doesn’t have to prove anything and believers are, by default, on the defensive side of the argument.  Any believer foolish enough to say “well why don’t you believe in God?” has broken the rules of argument, that the one with the claim is the one with something to defend, and can be summarily told so.  Well done, atheists. … continue reading this entry.

Ugh… I read something by Deepak Chopra

If homeopaths were correct, looking at this man would cure my headache every time.

I made a mistake.  I read an article by Deepak Chopra.  Now I have to talk about it in order to exorcise the stupid.

The article is about Stephen Hawking’s statement that God is not necessary to explain the universe.  As most commentators have already done, Deepak decided to say that Hawking was saying there was no God, making a metaphysical statement.  Chopra goes on to rail about how Hawking has pointed a way to abolishing metaphysics all together.  I would personally say that abolishing a purely speculative and totally unprovable discipline wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but that’s not what Hawking was doing.  Hawking was making the statement that science always makes: whether there is a god or not is irrelevant.  The universe is explainable without one.

Deepak seems to suggest that science is being unfair in terms of its discussion with religion.

The modern world is willing to throw out any number of beliefs about God if the facts don’t fit. Science isn’t willing to throw out a single piece of data, however, to satisfy an article of faith. The net result is that science has become bolder. … continue reading this entry.

Want to prescribe drugs? Become a Canadian Naturopath!

Western science may say arsenic is a poison. I say it's natural.

There are some things that scare me.

Big rocks coming down from the sky, I’ve mentioned before.  Of course, I think my logic is strong enough to tell me that even though that’s one of those inevitable things to happen to the earth, the chance of the human race being destroyed in my lifetime is thankfully slim.  Nuclear proliferation scares me a bit.  Mostly because despite the faith I’ve attempted to gain in humanity, I recognize that we’re still a bunch of primates with poor impulse control who’ve managed to harness the most powerful of the four universal forces.  Still, it’s not a big concern for me.  Do you know what does scare me though?  Canada has just awarded a group of naturopathic physicians the right to prescribe medicine. … continue reading this entry.

24 Hour-News: Home to Great Journalism

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes, it's a UFO. You decide which one this is. Here's a hint. The "tobacco" was "harvested" by "aliens."

Now, I haven’t seen the original research the various 24-hour news sources put into their new expose on Churchill and UFOs, but it must be really phenomenal.  The most compelling article is from Fox News who put up an article that says that Churchill classified a UFO back in the 50’s!  ABC News added in an article as well, but it uses all these stupid words like “alleged” – at least they didn’t try and cover it up, right?  Because you can’t hide the truth!  This stuff is important!

It seems that Britain just declassified a bunch of previously classified UFO data, about 5000 pages of it.  And one of those pages is a letter from a pilot who says he saw a UFO!  Whoa!  Are your minds blown?  This wasn’t anybody, guys.  This was a pilot.  And we all know the truth: pilots are infallible. … continue reading this entry.

Hey! Placebo Acupuncture Worked Again!

So this will help my crippling wallet problems?

"So this will help my crippling wallet problems?

Believe it or not, a study has shown that acupuncture doesn’t help a woman get pregnant through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  I was shocked to.  I was certain that, even if there was no prior plausibility for acupuncture working, since it’s based on a human life-force energy called “Qi” which has never been measured, or even defined, still there MUST be something to acupuncture, since it’s been used for thousands of years in China.  I’m horribly shocked.  If you could hear my voice, you’d hear just how shocked I am right now. … continue reading this entry.

How Do You Stop Sylvia?

The one psychic Ill always believe in...

The one psychic I'll always believe in...

You probably have the same reaction that I do to the name “Sylvia Browne.” It’s a sort of growl that starts at the back of your throat. Maybe it makes you writhe slightly, maybe it makes you gag, maybe it actually makes you snarl audibly. I mention her because it turns out, Sylvia’s got a new book. It’s called PSYCHIC: My Life in Two Worlds and it’s published by HarperOne. My guess is that it’s going to do well, and right now I’m racking my brain to figure out why.

A google search of “Sylvia Browne” delivers her site three times at the top. Well, two of her sites. Those are www.sylvia.org and www.sylviabrowne.com twice. After that, video results come in from YouTube, which are not complimentary to Sylvia. Below the video results is Sylvia’s Wikipedia page which is, by it’s nature, fairly neutral, and right after that we get Robert Lancaster’s fabulous site, www.stopsylvia.com. … continue reading this entry.

The News Convinced Me that Bigfoot Exists

And I used to think this was a fake... I feel like such a fool.

And I used to think this was a fake... I feel like such a fool.

Did you know that Bigfoot is real?  No?  Neither did I, until I watched a story from an upper Minnesota ABC station KSAX, that is.  Take a few minutes and take a look, I’m sure you’ll be amazed!

http://ksax.com/article/stories/S1566237.shtml?cat=10230

There!  Did you see it?  Did you see any evidence which could possibly contradict the Bigfoot hypothesis?  No?  Neither did I!  Let’s take a look at the evidence one piece at a time.

Let’s start out with the “amazing footprints” found near Bena, Minnesota.

Each track was a bit different, different pressures, different depths, eliminating the possibility of some sort of footprint stamp. … continue reading this entry.

Scientologist’s Magic Touch

What stress readings do you think the Haitians might have? (photo from Flickr by David Sifry)

We all know of the epic horror in Haiti, I wrote a really over done and way too much piece about it last week, but today I’m here to tell you that help is being brought to Haiti.  Some of it’s sort of helpful, all those “Red Cross” people, all those “Doctors” that are helping out “the dying,” and some of it’s really helpful.  Our good friends, the Scientologists, decided to send 80 of their finest t-shirted volunteers down to Haiti in order to heal by magic. … continue reading this entry.

Phoenix School Gives Away Magic… FOR FREE!

Good news to all the homeless in Arizona.  Apparently, poking needles into your ears will in fact help warm you up!  WAHOO!!

It seems that the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture College & Clinic, Phoenix’s only accredited acupuncture school, has decided to help the homeless with a new free clinic designed to help deal with problems ranging from “cold” to addiction.  It seems that their treatments help people exposed to really cold conditions, and the real miracle is that in the summer, the PIHMA can help people who are too hot too! … continue reading this entry.

The Banana Man vs. The Smart Lady

Whos the sexy chick that can tell you why evolution is science and God creating the banana isnt?  SCOTT!  Youre damn right.

Who's the woman that can tell you why evolution is science and God creating the banana isn't? SCOTT! You're damn right.

There’s a man out there named Dan Gilgoff who publishes a blog for US News and World Report called “God & Country.”  The blog is, as you may be able to guess from the title, about religion.  Gilgoff regularly dips his toe into the world of politics, but we’re not here to do that.  We’re here because Gilgoff decided to recently enter the world of evolution.

Our story starts in September, when Gilgoff wrote a short blog on Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s new version of Darwin’s Origin of Species.  Now, it seems that we “Darwinists” are an easy group to rile, so Gilgoff figured out that this was an issue he should tackle again.  He got the infamous Ray Comfort and the great Eugenie Scott to write in competing posts about Comfort’s fifty page introduction to Origin of Species. … continue reading this entry.

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