Category Archive: Skepticism

Jan 13 2014

They’re always hucksters at heart

When I heard about Eben Alexander’s I-died-and-went-to-heaven story, my first reaction was dismissive: I’ve heard these stories so many times, and they always turn out to be confabulation. When the brain is rebooted after trauma, especially if the process is prolonged as in Alexander’s case, it tries to reconstruct the continuity of experience by building …

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Dec 05 2013

How many has Oprah killed?

Read this excellent long form expose of James Arthur Ray, the New Age guru who had been promoted by Oprah and who then ended up scamming swarms of people and killing a few of them in a ridiculous sweat lodge ceremony. Or watch the video. Or do both! Daytime talk shows do a really good …

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Dec 04 2013

I have no desire at all to visit Sedona, Arizona


But I think a movie about it could be interesting. If you’ve never heard of it, Sedona is kind of the epicenter of a whole webwork of New Age nuttiness — it’s what you get when liberals go full-on faith-head. Carrie Poppy, Brian Thompson, and Adam Isaak are running a kickstarter to make an expose …

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Dec 01 2013


So I watched this show with Anderson Cooper’s name on it; he didn’t bother to show up, so maybe he has some sense of shame. It was dreadful. It was three anecdotes about people who had experienced serious trauma, and then invented lovely narratives about a happy afterlife to make themselves feel better, or to …

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Nov 26 2013

Knockout knocked out

You know that horrible paranoid racist Robbie Cooper I mentioned yesterday? He’s got another post up about the “knockout game”, this claim that degenerate evil black youth are forming gangs to beat up random white people. He’s obsessed with this subject, despite never having experienced such an attack, claiming that his lovely state of Texas …

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Nov 03 2013

Welp, yeah, that convinced me

Those ghosthunter shows are all looking for evidence of an afterlife and of spirits hanging about to communicate with us, and finally a group of ghosthunters in Oklahoma have found it. They’ve been exploring a decrepit basement in an abandoned urban building — you know, the kind of place where teenagers might hang out and …

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Oct 21 2013

My weird weekend in St Paul

Hey, it’s Fall Break for me, which means no classes or labs, but instead, I have to buckle down and get all caught up in my grading, so that’s what I’ll be doing the next few days. I thought I’d give a quick summary of my talk at the Paradigm Symposium, though. It was an …

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Oct 20 2013

Useful instructional materials


The wave/particle duality of light is always tricky to explain to my students. If only I’d known that the Dogon priests had already figured it all out — all I have to do is put up a picture of Nummo the Fish, and wisdom shall follow. I’m listening to Laird Scranton exercising his remarkable pattern-matching …

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Oct 20 2013

My turn

Today is the last day of the Paradigm Symposium, which is good — I don’t know how much more my poor brain could take. But this afternoon, after lunch, it’s my turn to speak. And I’ve been doing my homework, looking into what kinds of things paranormalists often believe about biology and evolution, and it’s …

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Oct 19 2013



I spent my first evening at the Paradigm Symposium last night. I’ve missed virtually all of the talks so far — I got to watch a panel about new media, podcasting and that sort of thing, and there wasn’t too much novelty to it, but it was fine…except for the bits where they mentioned how …

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