8.11.2015

Jade Helm 15: The Hell Has Begun

Greetings from Jade Helm internment camp #17-B, somewhere in the heart of Federally Annexed Territory Formerly Known as Texas (FATFKAT). After weeks of scoffing at the idea of UN-financed, Obama-controlled government enforcers knocking down my door and dragging me out in the middle of the night under the guise of “my own protection,” the joke was on me, because that’s exactly what happened. I was informed that martial law had been declared, and that I was suddenly living in an Agenda 21 non-human zone. Even though I knew this wasn’t true, there was nothing I could do, and I was relocated immediately to my comfortably accommodated FEMA camp. I was told further relocation to a local urban stack-and-pack habitation tower was coming soon. / read more…

8.10.2015

Beware Direct Response Marketing

AsSeenOnHere at Skeptoid, we like to promote skeptical and critical thinking about a variety of topics. I think that one place that deserves skepticism, that a lot of consumers fail to apply critical thinking to, is marketing and advertising.  There are a lot of tricky sales tactics out there and far too many people willing to buy into them. The old wisdom about fools and their money is as true today as it’s ever been.

/ read more…

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, Vaccines, and Mercury

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Eric M. Garneau prepares to administer an H1N1 flu vaccine aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan 2009. Via Wikimedia

I recently received a copy of Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, Junior’s new book, titled Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015), which is dramatically subtitled The evidence supporting the immediate removal of mercury—a known neurotoxin—from vaccines. My first impression was one of confusion over the title, since the book is written in English and almost no English-speaking countries use thimerosal in any vaccines. The only exception is a limited number of flu vaccines, which are not generally used on children. RFK Jr has a long history of environmental activism, including fighting against industrial mercury pollution. He has a more recent track record of objecting to the vaccine preservative thimerosal—almost an obsession with the topic. He has been very vocal on talk shows and on Capitol Hill of late. Given the author, who is credited as “editor,” I was not surprised by the subject matter. What caught my eye was the subtitle “let the science speak,” an ironic statement to say the least. The book is a short, well-written redress of a completely inaccurate meme: namely, that vaccines cause autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is a unique tract on the subject. Another whole book could be written on the inaccuracies in this book, I will try to limit the issues to the overriding theme. Let’s take a look at the book, its themes, and its implied (yet denied) purpose. / read more…

8.7.2015

Helping Build a Skeptical, Scientific Wikipedia

Hello Skeptoid readers. My name is Susan Gerbic. I’m planning on giving you an overview of one of the most amazing powerful projects that exists today in the world of scientific skepticism. That project is Wikipedia. This is the fifth (or sixth) most viewed website in the world, it is the closest we have to a repository of all knowledge, and it’s built for the average reader. The information inside Wikipedia is so influential and powerful that we, as skeptics, need to make sure that the reader is getting correct information and leaving notable citations that they can follow if they want more information.

/ read more…

8.3.2015

Critical Thinking: My Friend, My Enemy, Myself

Conversations between “skeptics” and “believers” tend to devolve into an argument over who is truly thinking critically and who is not — to nobody’s ultimate benefit. There is a very good reason why trading accusations of a lack of critical thinking is rarely a winning debate strategy: whether it’s true is purely a matter of perspective, and two parties with fundamentally different world views will never be able to agree on what constitutes critical thought. / read more…

7.28.2015

Is Big Pharma Killing Holistic Doctors?

The rumors started going around in June, 2015. Holistic doctors, natural healers who relied on the power of herbs and energy to cure the diseases that science couldn’t, were starting to die mysteriously. They were murdered in their homes, “suicided” or just dropping dead out of nowhere. Others were vanishing without a trace. And the alternative medicine community believed Big Pharma was behind it, knocking off the resistors to their plan to force drugs and vaccinations on all of us.

Actually, yes.

Actually, yes.

Or at least that’s what a bunch of Facebook posts and fringe articles, one of them written by the girlfriend of alt-med pioneer Joseph Mercola, would have you believe. The crux of the conspiracy is that the government, their shills in the pharmaceutical industry, and the vaccine pushers at Merck are killing anyone who’s dared to speak out against the racket they’ve got going in making the American people sick, then selling them expensive cures for their diseases. / read more…

7.20.2015

Lazy Reporting of UFO Phenomena

11265266_10152842947270957_2720874280904093587_nJust before the 4th of July holiday, there were reports of UFO sightings in Hemlock, Michigan.  The UFO story itself is neither noteworthy nor unusual for this sort of random lights-in-the-sky sighting; but I found the news report generated from the sightings interesting as an example of how shoddy, uncritical journalism can lead to the advancement of fringe beliefs.

/ read more…

7.15.2015

About That “Silver or Chocolate?” Video

There’s a video making the social media rounds. Originally posted July 8th, 2015 to the YouTube channel of Mark Dice, the video, which has been viewed nearly 500,000 times on YouTube and become widely shared on Facebook (as well as being shared on sites like InfoWars), shows average Americans turning down a $150-value bar of silver for a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Here’s the video:

Are Americans really that stupid? That’s the point the creator is trying to make, and from the comments I’ve read on YouTube and Facebook, he’s done a good job of getting his message across. But how representative is this video, really, of the incompetence of the average American?

/ read more…

7.14.2015

The Next Great Currency Scam

Over the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Iraqi dinar, the foreign currency that many self-appointed “gurus” try to convince buyers will suddenly “revalue” from being one of the most worthless currencies in the world to one of the most valuable. Dinar brokers sells bundles of the dinar that you can only buy in cash directly from Iraq, then you sit on it and wait for the Iraqi government (or President Obama, or the IMF, or whatever) to pull the trigger on boosting it hundreds of thousands of percent in value.

It doesn’t take a degree in finance to tell you that this is false. Many actual financial experts have debunked the myth of the Iraqi dinar “RV,” and while gurus have been promising for years that the magical day where millions of dinars turn into millions of dollars was right around the corner, it’s not, it never has been and it never will be. Iraq’s economy is nowhere near being able to support an electronically traded currency with serious value, and it might be a decade or more before that happens. / read more…

7.10.2015

Oh, The Organic Sweet Corn Irony

Human forced evolution of corn via Wikimedia

Models from the history of the human-forced evolution of corn. via Wikimedia.

I must have laughed for a good five minutes the other day when I heard the news story I am reporting on today. I immediately thought about writing about it here, but then I paused for a moment as I challenged myself as to the purpose of my writing and how it fits with my goal of scientific education. In the end, reporting on the irony and using the same logical fallacies as those who are anti-science can serve a purpose in showing how ridiculous those fallacies are.

/ read more…