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Posted inGeneral

The Strange Tale of Rose Marks

Reading Time: 4 minutes Last month, I wrote about whether we should pity the victims of the prosperity gospel and argued that, unlike in cases of outright fraud or coercion, their poor decisions are their own. There were several responses, such as this post by Russell Glasser, that took a more sympathetic view, arguing that most people who fall […]

Posted inGeneral

Should We Pity the Victims of the Prosperity Gospel?

Reading Time: 3 minutes John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight (watch this show!) had a cutting episode this past weekend about the wealth and arrogance of Christian televangelists: Like other preachers of the prosperity gospel, these shiny-suited hypocrites proclaim that God wants to make you rich, and that by “planting a seed”, or in other words giving money to the […]

Posted inGeneral

The Twitter Report: Leave the Long Island Medium Alone!

Reading Time: 3 minutes Just before the new Cosmos premiere last week, I noticed that “#LongIslandMedium” was trending on Twitter, a reference to a woman named Theresa Caputo. She’s just the latest in a long line of talking-to-the-dead hucksters who exploit the grief of the bereaved, using the same unsubtle cold-reading act that never fails to dazzle the gullible. […]

Posted inGeneral

Critical Thinking vs. Victim-Blaming

Reading Time: 3 minutes This caught my skeptical eye: an article about police efforts to fight the “blessing scam” in Asian neighborhoods in New York City. The scam involves a con artist who approaches the mark, usually an elderly person, to convince them that their cash and valuables are tainted by bad luck that can be removed by a […]

Posted inGeneral

Pseudoscience Without the Science

Reading Time: 3 minutes I was at the pharmacy the other day when I happened to notice this little accessory, which boasts on the package that it “may help to promote BALANCE, STRENGTH & ENDURANCE” (and which carries a disclaimer about not being evaluated by the FDA – always a good sign): I have to admit, I get weirdly […]

Posted inGeneral

News Flash: Psychics Still Useless

Reading Time: 3 minutes You may have heard about this bizarre story out of Texas this week, where a self-proclaimed psychic called police with a tip that a certain home was the site of a mass grave containing dozens of dismembered bodies, including the bodies of children. A swarm of reporters, FBI agents and Texas Rangers promptly converged on […]

Posted inGeneral

Swimming in a Sea of Pseudoscience

Reading Time: 4 minutes This past weekend, I was out at brunch when I saw a rack of free magazines in the restaurant’s foyer. I picked out one of them, which as it turned out was a promotional brochure and schedule for something called the New Life Expo to be held in New York City this coming weekend. I […]

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