Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Lightning bolt makes healer of Indonesian village boy

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on March 6, 2009

Actually, no it didn’t, superstition did. According to this article at theage.com.au (sounds suspiciously close to New Age for my blood):

MOHAMMAD Ponari was, until last month, a typical kid in the impoverished East Java village of Balongsari. Then, quite literally, lightning struck.

The nine-year-old, who had been playing in the rain in his front yard, was hit by the thunderbolt but, to the astonishment of his young friends, he was unharmed.

All the more bizarre, according to an account by his village chief and his family, when he came to, he found a stone the size of an egg on his head, and was convinced he possessed healing powers.

This has the makings of a Marvel superhero comic book. Boy gets hit by lightning. Boy miraculously survives. Boy gets mysterious superpowers. Or as in this case, A ROCK! Sounds made up so far to me, more specifically the kind of made up a 9-year old would come up with. Nevertheless, let’s continue reading:

A boy next door with a fever was his first patient. The stone was placed in a glass of water and the boy drank deeply. His fever vanished.

Wow! Fever vanished! But wait a minute, don’t most fevers vanish at some point? When did this other boy’s fever vanish? How long had he had the fever? Was he being treated with medicine already? How much of a fever did he have anyway? Of course those details are omitted. Why spoil a perfectly good story with facts and stuff. Moving on:

Then another neighbour approached him, a woman in her 30s who had suffered from a depressive condition for 15 years. She, too, was healed.

The miracles, large and small, kept coming, said Nila Retno, the local village chief.

It is a miracle indeed, a miracle that such a pathetic story is being reported at all, but we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen this too many times before. Anyway, the boy becomes so famous for his healing stone water ability that soon enough thousands were lining at his door. And what happens next:

Stampedes erupted on at least three occasions, resulting in the deaths of three people and injuries to dozens more.

3 people died. Let’s stop for a second and do a quick cost vs. benefit analysis here. This boy allegedly is “healing” a few fevers, depressions and sprained arms and on the cost side we have 3 fucking dead people and dozens of injuries. I wonder if the injured were treated for free by the magical lightning stone water, because did I mention he was obviously making money out of this. No? Must have skipped my mind.

Even so, as much as 1 billion rupiah ($A120,000) has been raised through a charity box outside his home. This, many adherents to mysticism believe, was poor form indeed. Dukuns are not supposed to profit from their activities.

But that is the whole point of charlatans like this, to make a quick buck, or a few quick millions, at the expense of the ingorant and the hopeless. They are supposed to profit from their acitivities, dukuns or not!

Ay the stupid….the stupid… it burns!

the-stupid-it-burns

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Egnorance and stupidity…

Posted in Journey Through a Burning Mind by Skepdude on March 6, 2009

Mike Egnor is a neurosurgeon, famous for his notoriously fallacious arguments and bad logic when trying to support the fairy tale that is intelligent design. He contributes to a ridiculous blog in which he often comments on news around evolution -a well of fallacies, misunderstandings of even basic evolutionary concepts, and just plain silliness. Actually, it is not even a blog: Egnor doesn’t allow comments on his posts, probably in fear of armies of people ridiculing him for his outrageously stupid way of “thinking”. Steven Novella has exposed Egnor a number of times already but he just doesn’t seem to notice… Everyone else though, has already acknowledged the vacuity in his argumentation… The term “Egnorance” was promptly and rightfully coined and is in wide use today.

Egnor’s latest rant is about the scientists’ response to the Academic Freedom bill that was recently passed in Louisiana. On paper, this law simply allows teachers to bring material and discuss controversies and weaknesses of scientific theories in the classroom without the fear of being “punished” somehow for this. In reality, this bill is of course a weasel’s way of introducing intelligent design and creationism into science classrooms.

To their honour, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) has actively opposed this ridiculous bill, and now that the bill was passed, they (along with many other science societies) have decided to boycott the State of Louisiana and organize their conferences in other states, more open to science and proper education.

Egnor however, thinks the SICB is just promoting censorship in the classrooms (what an irony from a guy that doesn’t allow comments in his blog!). You see, Egnor thinks that academic freedom is about discussing a scientific theory in a science classroom. He believes that science is done in the highschool classrooms:

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “JOURNEY THROUGH A BURNING MIND”

Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on March 6, 2009

Do they mention that the Discovery Institute has had its ass handed to it repeatedly for lacking the scientific gravitas of a vinegar and baking soda volcano exhibit at the 3rd grade science fair?

When the Vatican calls you unscientific, you should start considering suicide.

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