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Posted inGeneral

How to Think Critically XI: The Null Hypothesis

Reading Time: 3 minutes So, you may have heard that Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, has a new book on the same subject, called The Power. Personally, I’m bewildered. Her first book promised to tell you how to get everything you’ve ever wanted. What possible room could there be for a sequel? You might also have heard of […]

Posted inGeneral

Weekly Link Roundup

Reading Time: < 1 minute • It’s about time! The SEC has charged a psychic with securities fraud for claiming to be able to supernaturally foretell the direction of the market. • The staff of IslamOnline, a Cairo-based journalism website that offers a platform for liberal and reformist views, have gone on strike over plans by the Qatari owners to […]

Posted inGeneral

Run Your Car on Water! (No, Not Really)

Reading Time: 3 minutes The other day, I came across a pseudoscience site so laughably ridiculous I just had to share it: http://www.runyourcaronwater.com/ (Warning: Page has sound.) As the URL indicates, the unknown people behind this site are selling a kit which they claim will enable you to turn your car into a “water-burning hybrid” that can use ordinary […]

Posted inGeneral

A Critique of the Learning Annex

Reading Time: 4 minutes The Learning Annex is a privately owned continuing-education school in New York. As a resident of New York City, I can testify to its success – its kiosks of free course catalogs are on nearly every street corner in Manhattan. It was founded in 1980 by Bill Zanker, who sold the company in 1991 and […]

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The Cure for Cancer! (Cure Not Included)

Reading Time: 3 minutes The other day, I received a jaw-dropping piece of spam e-mail: The Detox Box is a remarkable device that uses frequencies to destroy toxins in the body. It’s similar to how a singer can hit a note and shatter a wine glass. According to the e-mail, this marvelous machine is based on the ideas of […]

Posted inGeneral

Popular Delusions VI: Homeopathy

Reading Time: 4 minutes Before the advent of evidence-based medicine, a huge variety of quack nostrums and dubious cures flourished. Many of these have faded away with time – and in cases like radioactive water, this was almost certainly for the best. However, some superstitious treatments that predate scientific medicine are still being used today. One of the most […]

Posted inGeneral

A Daylight Atheism Consumer Warning

Reading Time: 4 minutes Consumers, be advised! When you want to know the future or ward off bad fortune through the invocation of magical power, don’t trust just any fake dime-store psychic. Be sure to choose only the best fake psychics for all your supernatural needs. Such is the message of a bulletin issued recently by the United Kingdom’s […]

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The 40th Skeptics' Circle

Reading Time: 6 minutes The doors of the Observatory are closed, and an eager crowd has gathered before them, milling about anxiously to await the unveiling of the newest Skeptics’ Circle. Your host, Ebonmuse, steps up to a podium beside the doors and addresses the crowd thusly: “Step right up, folks, to the Daylight Atheism Museum of Superstition and […]

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Popular Delusions II: Talking to the Dead

Reading Time: 6 minutes One of the most widespread delusions of our society is the belief in self-proclaimed psychic mediums who assert that they can speak to the spirits of the dead. John Edward, Sylvia Browne, James van Praagh, and Allison Dubois are some of the most popular, and command considerable fame and wealth for their alleged abilities, attracting […]

Posted inGeneral

An Oft-Asked Question

Reading Time: 3 minutes Turn on the TV, turn to the back pages of a newspaper, or peruse the best-seller lists, and you’re almost certain to come across one of those angels in human form, the psychics. Every day they display their powers to the wonder of believers and the astonishment of skeptics, presciently predicting startling information such as, […]

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