Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

What’s Your Sacred Cow?

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on February 5, 2009

[Originally posted at: Skepticblog]

A common question posed to skeptical outreach professionals like myself (bloggers, podcasters, speakers, magazine guys) is “In all the topics you’ve researched, what’s one that you found you couldn’t debunk?”

And a common comment I get just about every week is “I nearly always agree with you, but you really got it wrong this time.”

It turns out everyone has their particular sacred cow. Everyone is skeptical to some degree, and probably most people, even the most obsessive believers, do indeed agree with skeptics’ conclusions on most topics. But when it comes to the one they believe in — alternative medicine, religion, 9/11 conspiracies, or psychic dogs — that’s when I “really got it wrong”.

[Read more of this post at: Skepticblog]

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Next, They’ll Be Hunting Witches in Nova Scotia!

Posted in JREF by Skepdude on February 5, 2009

Reader Pascal Poirier tells us:

I am sure you are aware of the bus ads in London, UK.  In case you were not aware, we had recent developments in Halifax, NS, Canada, with the attempt by Humanist Canada to put the toned-down slogan “You can be good without God” on our buses.  It appears that this true statement was too controversial for the transit authorities.

This campaign was undoubtedly inspired by the currently successful bus-ad campaign in London, England, encouraged and supported by Richard Dawkins. Signs stating “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” are seen all over that city, though Dawkins had reservations about including the word, “probably” in the text…

Yes, the Metro Transit agency in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will not allow the “You can be good without God” advertisement to appear on its buses. The agency’s very proper spokesperson said:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT RANDI.ORG

’Tis the Season of Climate Idiocy

Posted in Science Progress by Skepdude on February 5, 2009

It’s winter. So global warming must be false!

It’s depressing to note that we’re still debating the issue at this level, yet such is the reality. Consider a recent column by Hoover Institution fellow and Scripps Howard contributor Deroy Murdock entitled “Even left is now laughing at global warming,” containing evidence like the following:

• Nearly four inches of snow blanketed the United Arab Emirates’ Jebel Jais region for just the second time in recorded history on Jan. 24. Citizens were speechless. The local dialect has no word for snowfall.

• Dutchmen on ice skates sped past windmills as canals in Holland froze in mid-January for the first time since 1997. Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop, who inhabits a renovated 17th Century windmill, stumbled on the ice and fractured his wrist.

• January saw northern Minnesota’s temperatures plunge to 38 below zero, forcing ski-resort closures. A Frazee, Minnesota dog-sled race was cancelled, due to excessive snow. Snow whitened Surf City, North Carolina’s beaches. Days ago, ice glazed Florida’s citrus groves.

Surely Deroy Murdock doesn’t think such anecdotes seriously refute the idea that there is a globally averaged warming trend—or does he?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT SCIENCE PROGRESS

Dualists Cling To Near Death

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on February 5, 2009

[Originally posted at: Fresh Views From Reality]

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) are not reliable evidence of anything other than psychological phenomena that happens when the body is in a state near death. This hasn’t stopped people who are desparately seeking confirmatory evidence for the afterlife, dualism and religious claims, to cling to the idea that NDEs can somehow “disprove skeptics” and validate their own claims. The word skeptic is often derided and when it comes to NDEs this is no different. Skeptics, adhering to sound scientific practice and correct logic, do not have the luxury to make claims without good reason to do so. Given the nebulous nature of NDEs it takes a very large and fallacious logical leap to use them as evidence for paranormal phenomena. So skeptics justifiably remain unconvinced that the NDEs are somehow the continuation of the self beyond the physical function of the brain. The burden of proof from the claimants has not satisfactorily been met.

This does not mean NDEs should not be reseached but it is critical that any studies should be scientifically tight. That is – well controlled, peer reviewed and conclusions drawn within the constraints of logic. A lot of studies fail in one or all three of the above conditions, primarily because they are conducted to validate claims of dualism and by extension, the paranormal.

A recent piece in the Sunday Star Times by Bryan Appleyard highlighted one of the largest studies that will be performed on NDEs. The study, By Sam Parnia, will involve about 1500 cardiac arrest participants from 25 hospitals in the UK and US. The basic methodolgy of the study is to see whether the NDE stories of Out of Body Experiences (OBEs) are actually out of the body, or more plausibly, are these experiences simply animations of the mind.

[Read the rest of this post at: Fresh Views From Reality]

Skeptophrenic Musings

Posted in Uncategorized by Rodibidably on February 5, 2009

[Originally posted at: Troythulu’s Log]

What is the paranormal? I think of it this way: It is perhaps most convenient to think of the paranormal as a subcategory of pseudoscience in which explanations far outside the bounds of conventional science for purported phenomena are relied upon. Typical paranormal phenomena are psychokinesis, faith healing, so-called anomalous cognition(ESP), human auras and energy fields, ghosts and poltergeists, reincarnation and life after death, and so on, which are often grouped together under the vague rubric of “psychic phenomena,” and this somewhat contrasts with those pseudosciences the explanations for which are merely bogus or bad science, but phrased in scientific-sounding language nonetheless, such as Blondot’s N-rays or detox and chelation therapy quackery.

[Read the rest of this post at: Troythulu’s Log]