Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Stupid quote of the day

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on April 3, 2009

So, the argument is not that people must profess a belief in the Bible in order to do science. The argument is that the Bible must be true in order for anyone to do science (whether people acknowledge it or not). Science rests upon the truth of Scripture. So, the fact that the ancient Greeks were able to do science demonstrates that the Bible is true! If the Bible were not true, the methods of science would not make sense; they would have no rational foundation. In other words, “The Bible provides the only possible presupposition for all thought and science.”

Answers in Genesis

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Your Friday Dose of Woo: The Worldwide Wanker of Woo

Posted in Respectful Insolence by Skepdude on April 3, 2009

Let me say right up front that I’m not entirely sure that the victim–I mean target; no, I mean subject–of this week’s little excursion into the deepest darkest depths of woo is not a parody. That’s the beauty of it. I’ve never heard of it before, but a little Googling brought me evidence that it may not be a parody, that the guy purveying it may actually believe it. I’ll leave you to judge for yourself, or, if you’ve heard of this guy before, to chime in and let me know the deal. I’ll also point out that parts of this website are not entirely safe for work. Actually, a couple of the pages are not safe for work at all. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on directly linking to any those pages, but you could hit a link while exploring the site and accidentally find yourself looking at something you really don’t want to. Trust me on this.

And what woo it is!


Have any of you ever heard of Happeh Theory? You haven’t? Well, you have now! Suffice it to say that Happeh Theory has an odd obsession. More about that later. First, it starts out a lot like any other run-of-the-mill woo site, only with cheesier graphics. Specifically, Happeh Theory seems to think that we all have “energy bodies” that are in essence duplicates of our own body:

Treating the energy body of a human being as an exact duplicate of the physical body can be especially helpful in discussing the movement of the energy body from it’s proper location and orientation on the physical body.The reason why knowing if the energy body has moved away from it’s proper location and orientation on the physical body is important, is that any movement of the energy body away from it’s proper orientation or location is usually associated with the development of some type of health problem, and because the exact way in which the energy body has moved, will provide insight into how the physical body of the individual moves.

And, of course, there is “intent”:

It is the nature of the energy of the human body, that the light reflected by the body usually corresponds to the energy level of that region of the body. A bright and well lit part of the body would usually be an area of the body that was filled with energy, or had a high energy level. A dark part of the face would usually be an area of the body that had a low energy level.A phrase that is used to name the low energy areas of a person’s face, is the phrase “black in the face”. Calling the low energy areas of the face “black” simplifies talking about the subject.

The usage of the phrase “black in the face”, would be by describing the amount of black an individual’s face had in it.

An individual whose face was mostly well lit, would be an individual who had very little black in the face. Since black in the face corresponds to low energy, a person who had very little black in the face would be a relatively healthy person, because their face was filled with energy.

Everyday language supports that claim. A healthy or happy person can be described as “beaming”, which is a word associated with bright lighting.

He’s convinced me! If I just shine lights all over my body, then I, too, can be filled with energy all over. I wonder. Happeh Theory seems to imply that if I were to shine light on my head, that would fill it with energy, boosting its level and (hopefully) increasing my intelligence beyond its already stratospheric level to the level of Super Genius, just like Vox Day likes to tell us he is.

So far, this is the standard sort of “energy” woo that is hard to escape on the web and, sadly, increasingly hard to escape in some of the formerly greatest academic medical centers in our nation, given how many of them have embraced “energy healing” modalities like reiki and therapeutic touch. Be that as it may, there is one aspect of this woo that distinguishes it from the usual run-of-the-mill variety. Suffice it to say that Happeh Theory has a rather strange obsession. While Robert O. Young may be obsessed with pH and “acid,” Hulda Clark with liver flukes, and autism quacks with mercury, but Happeh Theory has found a new scourge, a new horrible cause of so many of the ills that plague modern humans.


According to Happeh Theory, masturbation will cause a person to become crippled and blind in one eye, as well as causing many other physical health problems. Excessive masturbation will also lead to the development of gay tendencies, as well as other alterations to the personality or mentality of a person.The most common question that is asked in response to the claim that masturbation makes the human body blind and crippled, is “How does masturbation make the human body blind and crippled?”. Or to phrase that question more accurately “What does masturbation do to the human body, that causes it to become blind and crippled?”

Masturbation causes the human body to tighten up or become tense. That tightness or tension impairs the ability of the limbs to move properly, and impairs the ability of the eyes to see properly.

That’s right. That evil scourge of masturbation can result in shortening of the yin part of the right arm, leading to horrific things, such as faces like this.


Atheists should be allowed to argue their case

Posted in News by Skepdude on April 3, 2009

Julian Baggini’s recent opinion piece, “The New Atheist Movement is Destructive”, strings together a series of flimsy claims and a general eschewal of the requirements of accuracy and relevance in criticizing the new atheists, to lead to a conclusion that, while truly extraordinary given the briefest glance at history, is unfortunately all-too-typical of such criticism.

First, a methodological quibble. Pointing out that he has not read the books of the new atheists, Mr. Baggini argues that this does not disqualify him from opining about them. He need not read the books, he claims, since they would only tell him what he already believes and could only be addressed to agnostics and open-minded believers. I confess to doing much the same thing, though not for the same reasons. For something like a text book or an introduction to atheism, I feel confident in passing over them, not because I expect to believe everything in them but because I expect they will provide no new information to me. But that is based on having looked at dozens of them and found them to be much of a piece.

The books by Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris are not just freshman texts in philosophy of religion though, something Mr. Baggini cannot know without at least cracking a cover. I can vouch for two of the books, Dennett’s and Dawkins’ – I haven’t read the other two, so I couldn’t say, and will hereafter confine my remarks (tacitly) to the two new atheists mentioned. Neither Dennett’s book nor Dawkins’ contains an atheist manifesto, listing only things every atheist believes, or a Cole’s Notes summary for philosophy of religion.

Still, I wouldn’t force Mr. Baggini to read anything he regards as a waste of time. And fortunately, when he turns to justifying his right to an opinion, it turns out the books he has not read are not actually the subject of his critique anyway. After a brief reference to Bayard’s book to support his claims – a book I find in the Humour section of my bookstore, by the way – he redirects his criticisms to “the general tone and direction [of] the new atheism”, “how [the new atheists] are perceived” and “the kind of comments the four horsemen make in newspaper articles and interviews”.

I am uncertain whether I should bother to point out that criticising ‘general impressions’ of such phenomena is inevitably superficial and highly questionable, unless one can comment on their accuracy and relevance, which would require Mr. Baggini to have better information than simple ‘perceptions’. Surely this seems too obvious a concern.

However, I would not prevent Mr. Baggini from discussing these general perceptions and impressions all he likes. Had the rest of his article been this scrupulous, there would be no issue between us. For he quickly moves on from these, to attribute faults to the new atheists themselves, attributions which his admitted information cannot support. If he had stuck with criticising perceptions, his apparent point, that the perception of the new atheism, not the new atheism itself, is counter-productive, would be indisputable, in my view.

No such scruples. He proposes to combat the misunderstanding that atheism is “a negative attack on religious belief”, and so, is ‘parasitic’ upon religion. The new atheists are at fault, he says, for lending credence to this myth.