Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

JREF account suspended-Let YouTube Management Hear It!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

I did my part and let them hear it Skepfeeds style. I do regret that they only allow 350 characters in their comments box, because I had so much more to unload on them, all in good style obviously, but it is really hard to take someone to task with 350 characters. Please follow the directions below the video to give them a piece of your mind. But a word of caution, KEEP IT CIVIL, no foul language and no cursing; that can only backfire on us. Be firm but polite. You can hand out a criticism without being rude, so let’s make sure we do that. I think that will be our best chance to bring the venerated JREF back to YouTube.

To complain to youtube FOLLOW THIS LINK. Scroll to the very bottom and click on “new issue” Select “suspended account” from the options and express your opinion

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Religious Persecution Wolf in Anti-Defamation Sheep’s Clothing

Posted in News by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

The Inquisition is back, and this time it has set up shop at the United Nations. Consider the resolution “Combating the Defamation of Religions” passed by a comfortable margin last week at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (and passed by the General Assembly every year since 2005).

The resolution decries a “campaign of defamation of religions,” intensifying since 2001, in which “the media” and “extremist organizations” are “perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions” (read: Islam) and “sacred persons” (read: Muhammad). It urges UN member states to provide redress “within their respective legal and constitutional systems.” Capitalizing on cartoon riots and Western anxieties over the excesses of the war on terror, the language conflates peaceful criticism of Islam with anti-Muslim bigotry and seeks to stifle speech in the name of “respect for religions and beliefs.”

In my capacity as UN representative for the secularist think tank Center for Inquiry, I spent a surreal two weeks at the Council participating in the negotiations over the language of this resolution, sponsored by a 57-member intergovernmental body called the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC.

After one of these sessions, I found my way into a private conversation with the chair of the negotiations, a delegate for the government of Pakistan. We were soon joined by the representatives of the United States, Canada, and the European Union. There we were, “the West,” standing at the front of an empty conference room, gingerly trying to reason with this feisty, yet solicitous, Pakistani diplomat.

The American delegate noted that, “History shows that criminalizing speech doesn’t work,” when the chair interrupted her to propose a case he hoped would hit home. Suppose someone were to say that the Virgin Mary was not a virgin but a promiscuous woman? What could be the purpose of this statement, he asked, except mockery?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RELIGION DISPATCHES”

Dr. Emoto’s water woo metastasizes

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

Indiana Jones had a saying: “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” This line was most famously delivered in Raiders of the Lost Ark after he and his friend Sallah had opened the Well of Souls and were staring down into it. Sallah noticed that the ground appeared to be moving within; so Indy shined a light down the entrance, only to see thousands of snakes waiting for him at the bottom.

Sallah then drily observed, “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.”

As we knew from earlier in the movie, Indiana Jones hated snakes and was afraid of them; so it was only natural that later in the movie he would encounter a floor literally writhing with thousands of them. So it was when I innocently picked up the latest issue of TIME Magazine and started perusing it yesterday. What to my fearfully wondering eyes should appear but an article entitled Mind over Chocolate. Because I like chocolate, I was curious and began reading:

Move over, organic, fair trade and free range–the latest in enlightened edibles is here: food with “embedded” positive intentions. While the idea isn’t new–cultures like the Navajo have been doing it for centuries–for-profit companies in the U.S. and Canada are catching on, infusing products with good vibes through meditation, prayer and even music.

My reaction was much like Indy’s: “Intent. Why’d it have to be intent?”

To which my imaginary companion replied, “Emoto. Very woo-ey. You go first.”

So I will, because as much as the whole concept of “intent” in various “alternative medicine” and other woo irritates the crap out of me, it also holds a bizarre fascination as well.

Before I go on to deal with these products, let’s take a trip back down memory lane to nearly two and a half years ago. That’s when I first encountered the infamous Dr. Emoto and his amazing water woo. Naturally, being the…pioneer that he is, a lot of this business of “imbuing” water and food with happy “intent” can trace back to him, at least as a business plan, given his H20m water. The long story is in the link immediately preceding this; the short story is that Dr. Emoto believes that water can somehow be altered by “vibrations” sent from someone focusing his or her intent upon it and that those vibrations leave behind residue of that intent that can then be imparted to the people who consume H20m. As “evidence” for this, Dr. Emoto cites “studies” (I’m using the term very loosely here, as you might imagine) in which he claims to be able to differentiate different ice crystals on the basis of whether “good” or “bad” intent had been directed at them. Being of an entrepreneurial bent, Dr. Emoto decided to scale up his focusing of intent on water into an industrial process, infusing the water with happy thoughts thusly:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “RESPECTFUL INSOLENCE”

Christ and Satan have both incarnated.

Posted in Uncategorized by Jeff Randall on March 30, 2009

I just don’t know what to say… But WOW!

I’m leaning towards this being a Poe, but I’d love to hear the ideas of others on what is going on here…

[Posted at: This is a total conspiracy nut-job website, I mean AboveTopSecret.com]

Here’s what I’ve learned from my sources.

Both Satan and Christ have incarnated on Earth a while ago. The rule
of Hell is left to Satan’s son, Santanas. Who I have had the displeasure
of meeting

personally in his lair, the 5th circle of Hell. He tortured my
soul.. for what seemed ages, before I was rescued. Luckily the memory
of the actual pain that was caused to me, was erased from my mind. I
was returned to my body after my rescuers broke the chains that held
me.

However, the Christ that has incarnated on Earth, is not the same Jesus
Christ from 2000 years ago, it is a different soul, but with the same
strength, the same abilities and probably even more.. because the battle
that is going to be fought in 2012, between the Christ and His forces, and
Satan and His forces, will be unlike anything this planet has ever seen.

Just like in the time when there were only God and His Angels, when one
of the angels rejected God, everyone has to make a choice now, either
you choose for Darkness and join the fight against the Light, or you will
choose for the Light and you join the fight against Darkness.

I suggest everyone chooses now, before it’s too late to choose. I have
made my choice long ago, I will join the Armies of Light of the new Christ.
I’m told I am meant to become some sort of warrior/healer, but everyone
has a task that suits their abilities. I’ve even bought a battle ready katana
on advice of my spirit guides.. just in case someone susceptible has been
influenced to attack me in my home. These things happen all the time now.

The events will be larger than any prediction in existence.. because both
sides underestimated each others power. The clash is going to be terrible.
Choose now, then educate yourself in the Light or in the Dark.

I have seen Hell, Heaven, Archangels, the most terrible demons, black
dressed armies of Darkness, the shining armor of Light Warriors, I have
seen several battles already with my own eyes, while outside of my body,
what I say is not what I’ve read somewhere, it is what I have experienced
firsthand.

You’re free to ignore, or to accept my words, if you have any questions,
ask me anything you want. That is what I enjoy doing, helping other people
awaken the way I have started awakening, as well as many others.

With all my love,

Hans

[Posted at: This is a total conspiracy nut-job website, I mean AboveTopSecret.com]

So, you wanna be a skeptic?

Posted in Bad Astronomy by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

If you read this blog, chances are you’re skeptical about something. Maybe you think all psychics are frauds, or Jenny McCarthy is a massive health threat, or homeopathy is killing people who should be taking real medicine, or the 911 Truthers are full of it. I’m sure there’s some form of bad thinking out there that sticks in your craw. And maybe, like me and many, many other folks, you’ve had enough.

Knowing that stuff, reading about it, is a whole lot different than getting off your keister and doing something about it. If you’ve got the itch, the need, the desire, the passion to get up and do something about all the nonsense facing the world, what can you do?

What’s the next step?

What Do I Do Next?

I’m glad you asked. Daniel Loxton, a long-time skeptical activist, gathered together a dozen other go-getters to create a guide for people who want to fight the good fight. Called “What Do I Do Next?” (PDF), it’s chock full of advice to get you off your sofa and into the action. It has tons of great information for you, with details on how you can accomplish your goals. There’s also an online Quick Reference Guide, a shorter version if you’re impatient like me. The bulleted list has just the facts with quickie advice. There’s also a Skeptical Activism page on Skeptics.com, and a forum where you can interact with other like-minded folks

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “BAD ASTRONOMY”

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Introducing Jenny McCarthy Body Count

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

Jenny McCarthy’s special brand of  anti science zeal has finally a quantifiable number attached to it, thanks to the Jenny McCarthy Body Count website. Go there frequently. As of today it stand at

  • Preventable Cases – 720
  • Preventable deaths – 142

Now of course this is a bit exagerated, not all of these cases are due directly to the anti-vaccine movement, but you have to wonder, how high is the percentage of those cases that are and can you live with that as an anti-vaccer? What if it was 1 of each only, can you, as an anti-vaccer, still look at yourself in the mirror without throwing something at it?

Google maps discovers british ghost!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 30, 2009

Or so some think. This is a picture that has been circulating in the British media.

street_view_grab

And of course you’d expect The Telegraph, which does seem to be very friendly to such crappy stories, to come up with as much a sensationalized article as they can, and you’d be right. “Victorian ‘ghost’ picked up by Google Street View” they boast. And wouldn’t you know, they went to an expert on such things, a local medium who happily proclaimed:

Apparitions have often been caught on film but are invisible to the naked eye. “This woman is very smart – but she is dressed in clothes that you just don’t see these days unless it’s in a period drama on TV.

“But what is really strange is that she doesn’t appear as a full figure – you can’t see all of her.”

First and foremost there is a guy IN UNDERWEAR and cowboy hat playing the guitar in Times Square. So why should we be surprised by a lady in a black coat, shirt and hat? But, let’s deconstruct this a little further. First, the medium claims that apparitions have been caught on film but are invisible to the naked eye. Interesting. I’d think they’d still be invisible to our naked eye, even after being filmed, but maybe there is some technicality there that I am not aware off.

Then, the medium says that this ghostly apparition is “very smart”! Very smart, not just ordinary smart, or above average smart, but very smart! Now where is that coming from? How does the medium know the ghost was not a bimbo ghost? What is it about the ghost that makes her very smart? Interesting indeed. And of course, the medium sounds mystified that we can’t see all of her, she does not appear as a full figure. Well besides the fact that there is something obviously wrong with this picture (where her body is “cut off” everything gets blurry, it seems to be magnified in comparison to the rest of the picture, and nothing lines up such as tile lines or shadows which imply that this is clearly an artifact of the picture taking process, or a fake), we also have in our hands another picture available of the same “ghost lady”.

Kudos go out to The Register who didn’t just go for the stupid headline, unlike The Telegraph, and instead did a little more digging and found out the truth, in all its non-glory. Here it goes.

street_view_grab_2

It’s just a lady standing on the sidewalk! That’s it.It is obviously not a ghost, as to my knowledge ghosts don’t seem so material, and they don’t have shadows, lining up perfectly with every other shadow in the picture. And the woman is not wearing anything out of the ordinary, just a long black coat, pink scarf and a hat. What’s so surprising about that? And guess what, I can see all of her, she is completely visible. Oh the true believers will quickly dismiss this, they’ll forget it and latch on to the next bad photo, one which hopefully will not have a sister photo showing that they are quite stupid in their beliefs.

The Stupid….it burns and burns and burns….

the-stupid-it-burns

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oh wait, you’re serious?

Posted in Uncategorized by Jeff Randall on March 30, 2009

[Originally posted at: weird things]

When I first read about the Institute for Creation Research trying to award a Master of Science degree in creationism, my jaw found itself very comfortable in my lap. Texas’ Higher Education Coordinating Board swiftly told the ICR to forget it and the ICR cried to the media about how its academic freedom is getting stomped on by evil politicos who won’t let them issue a degree in theology and pretend that it’s science. My jaw returned to its upright and locked position, but I was still curious how exactly the ICR could even claim that it taught anything about science or the scientific method.

You see, if you get a degree in science, you have to be well versed in the scientific method. This means you should be able to form a hypothesis, observe and experiment to test it and find out whether your hypothesis is true or false. Simple enough. But the ICR teaches the very opposite; that there already is an answer and that by virtue of something existing and the personal views of our ancestors, it must be a deity. There is no hypothesis, no experimentation and, above all, there’s no research. Ironically, an organization with the word research in its name doesn’t even do any actual research about anything other than how to proselytize. And now they want to get the same certification as people who actually do real scientific work? What a sick joke!

[Read the rest of this post at: weird things]

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