Category Archive: Skepticism

Jul 18 2014

Shermer rides again!

Jesus. He’s written a climatological ‘Dear Muslima’ for Scientific American, defending Bjorn Lomborg. It feeds directly into a common Republican trope: ‘sure, climate change occurs, and maybe humans contribute to it, but it’s just too costly do what is necessary’. He lists a bunch of problems, and then does a “cost-benefit analysis”. The ranking is …

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Jul 09 2014

Bread and circuses…well, circuses anyway, not so much bread


Michael Shermer indulges in some shabby Libertarian statistical games to wave away American economic inequality. Sure, there are inequities, he argues, but they’re not so bad — the poor are also getting slightly richer. The rich are getting richer, as Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless found by analyzing tax data from the Congressional Budget Office …

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Jul 08 2014

Setting the bar low. Burying it, actually.


Penn Jillete defends Anthony Cumia. We’re all missing the important detail that exonerates him — sure, he went off for hours in a racist tirade, but don’t you all realize that Cumia is licensed to carry a concealed handgun? Penn Jillette says that people are burying the lede in the alleged incident that led to …

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Jun 30 2014

Because Indians are magic!

So you wish you were an Indian, because they’re so spiritual and noble and one with nature — they’re so magical that having a name like Manny Two Feathers or Vicki Ghost Horse means the crap you sell on e-bay has extra cred and is worth more money. Now you can be! It’s easy. There …

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Jun 18 2014

The difference between skeptical thinking and scientific thinking

Skepticism has a serious problem, and there are a couple of reasons I’ve grown disenchanted with its current incarnation. Belief is a continuum, and I think that skepticism as it stands occupies an untenable part of that continuum. On one side lie the extremely gullible; people who drift with the wind, and believe anything a …

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Jun 13 2014

A thorough rebuttal

Who are you going to trust, Brian Morris or your penis? Brian Earp and Robert Darby take apart all of the ardent foreskin-hater’s arguments. As for my question, I think my penis is far more honest and forthright than Brian Morris.

Jun 12 2014

Weird ways of thinking

Breatharian crank Jasmuheen believes she doesn’t need food or water to live — she claims to absorb nutrients from sunlight and air. She was rather easily exposed, as are all these breatharians, by putting her up in a nice hotel with people to monitor her eating, and observing the subsequent quite rapid deterioration as she …

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May 24 2014

Secularism has a tunnel-vision problem


There was a time, back when I was a paying subscriber to the Skeptical Inquirer, that I received this issue in the mail: the January/February 2000 issue, which proudly announced the Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Twentieth Century. It stopped me cold, and I decided to not bother to renew my subscription. Why? It starts …

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May 11 2014

The hbd delusion

A confession: I have long disliked Nicholas Wade’s science journalism. He has often written about biology in the NY Times, and every time he seems to make a botch of the reporting, because he actually doesn’t understand biology very well. For example, in his very last article for the NYT, he described some work that …

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May 10 2014

Things that correlate

Did you know that US crude oil imports from Norway correlate almost perfectly with drivers killed in collision with railway train? It’s true! Obviously, Norwegian oil magnates are murdering Americans with trains now. It’s all from a little site called Things that correlate, which takes any one set of numbers you choose, and then dredges …

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