Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

The Salad: A Tasty Logical Fallacy

Posted in Rational Moms by Skepdude on October 15, 2008

There’s a great local legend where I live, in the Los Angeles area. A local restaurant serves a salad that is supposed to make overdue women go into labor. It is called “The Salad.” And it’s delicious. Even if you are not expecting a baby, I recommend it! The restaurant actually has piles and piles of journals with entries from women who have tried The Salad. Some come back after they give birth to update that The Salad worked for them.

This is a great example of a post-hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Obviously, women who are past their due date are going to give birth any day. So they eat The Salad, go into labor, and attribute the onset of labor to The Salad.

One day, in a prenatal yoga class, a couple came by to show off their new baby. “By the way,” said the husband, “The Salad doesn’t work!” He detailed his and his wife’s efforts to induce labor. I was thinking that he had possibly learned that the whole myth of The Salad was a post-hoc fallacy, until he said, “What finally worked was Thai food! We ate it, and she went into labor that night!”

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You Don’t See Dead People. And Neither Do Your Kids.

Posted in Rational Moms by Skepdude on October 6, 2008

My two-year old daughter, Sally, loves ghosts. Last Halloween, she received the book Sheep Trick or Treat and since then we’ve read it many, many times. Sally points to the ghosts throughout the book and says, “Ooooooooooo” in her best scary voice. This leads to her ghost imitation where she walks around the house with a blanket on her head. Sally decided way back in June that she wants to be a ghost this Halloween. To my daughter, as well as rational people everywhere, ghosts are fictional, frivolous things. We can say this because the existence of ghosts, or any kind of paranormal activity for that matter, has never been credibly documented or recorded using true scientific methods.

In searching online for a ghost costume that will fit Sally better than a sheet (and let me tell you, it’s hard finding a ghost costume that doesn’t make her look like a Klan member), I happened upon a blog for parents of psychic kids. This site promotes “intuitive parenting for intuitive kids.” The posts are from parents who believe their son or daughter sees ghosts (mostly deceased relatives) or has an invisible friend.

Readers of this blog write with glee about how sensitive and perceptive their kids are. Billy communicates with Grandma! Cindy sees angels! Joey talks to an invisible friend! (Note their use of the word invisible rather than imaginary. As a child, my sister had two imaginary friends. We never thought she had a “gift,” we thought she had a screw loose.) The parents are desperate for advice on how to nurture the psychic ability in their “very special” children. It’s sad when adults think they possess psychic abilities, but it’s really sad when they project these ideas onto little kids. Some of the children referenced in posts are only two or three years old.

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