HOT TOPICS


11/24/14

Monkeys mentally control virtual arms



11/23/14

This week's show was:

"Population control"

Featuring: Matt McGrath

The Science Segment was:

"Curiosity changes the brain"

Listen (16:24)
OR
Read (8 pages)

To participate in the live debate, go to:
"Talkshoe.com" on any Saturday night at 9pm (Eastern time)
and click "join a call" - then select "The Skeptic Arena" (ID#45435)
You may just listen, type in comments, or you can debate by phone (724-444-7444)



11/22/14

When Republicans go nuts over Obama's immigration action
you might want to keep in mind ...

this fact that Republicans are hiding from you

This is another example of the horror of the 2-party system that George Washington tried to warn us about. Neither side wants to see the other succeed, so both end up fighting against America. But between the two parties, only one fights for the good of the average American; the other only has an interest in protecting the profits of the rich.



11/21/14

Last year when Republicans didn't get their way
they shut down the government and threatened to destroy our economy;
all to prevent the poorest, sickest Americans from getting health care.

So how do they top that?

By inciting violence and anarchy

Now Republicans are willing to urge the country into violent chaos;
all to prevent immigration reform.

It's not like Americans didn't see this coming.
Last year Republicans gave us a sneak peak
at how far they were willing to go if not given their way.

Republicans continue to push the lie that Obama governs like a dictator knowing full well that it is their own actions which force him to take executive action; and even then, when you check the facts ...

they don't support that lie

The only presidents since the 19th century who have issued fewer executive orders than Obama were those who served fewer years. Per year, Obama has used his executive powers less than any president in well over a hundred years.

But America reelected these useless, lying sacks of shit ...
and now we have to sleep with them.



11/20/14

It turns out that our Kardashian-obsessed media
hasn't been telling us everything about ebola, like ...

It stays in the semen 3 months after it has been cleared from the blood

Personally, I'm glad our media has its priorities straight.
We wouldn't want to frighten the people with things like ...

important facts



11/19/14

In case you've ever wondered why I fight ...



Now you know. Videos like that fuel my anger and boil my blood.

Message to all religious fanatics:
It would be wise to stay the fuck out of my way for as long as you can ...

until I find you



11/18/14

Early detection method for Autism has been discovered



11/17/14

Here is a good argument for why
Catholic clergy should be allowed to have families.

Pope attacks euthanasia

Maybe if the Pope had been allowed to have a family,
and was forced to suffer through the pain
of having to watch one of his own children die slowly in agony,
as so many millions of other parents have had to do;
he might have developed that ounce of humanity
that his horrid religion has removed from his being.



11/15/14

If you've never taken the "Selective Attention Test"
try it now (1:22)



(No, I did not get to take the test, because I had already read about it first)

I sent the following email to co-author, Christopher Chabris:

"I have been unable to locate any mention of,
what I would consider to be,
the most important information of all:

1) What was the average score of those who saw the gorilla?
2) What was the average score of those who missed the gorilla?

I was unable to locate the info on the internet.
I read the abstract but could not find the info I wanted."

Here is the reply from co-author Christopher Chabris:
"There's an analysis like this on page 1069 of the article, but we did it by correlating noticing (1 for noticing, 0 for missing) with the error magnitude (# of passes away from correct count), averaged across conditions. The correlation was tiny. In our more recent paper in I-Perception we found that people who made more counting mistakes were more likely to notice the unexpected event, but only when the counting task was difficult."

Here is the excerpt from page 1069 of the article:
"Across these fifteen conditions the correlations averaged to r . 0:15, suggesting that noticing was not strongly associated with counting poorly or inattentively."

Summary

As stated in the abstract, those who noticed the gorilla did miss more passes on average than those who didn't. So why were the authors raving about the abilities of those who noticed the gorilla?

I reached the opposite conclusion:
Viewers were given a task. Those whose powers of concentration were so strong that they couldn't be distracted, even by someone in a gorilla suit, should have been praised for passing the test with flying colors; while those whose powers of concentration were not as strong, and got distracted from their assigned task, and therefore missed more passes, should have been the ones who were viewed as having performed less efficiently.

I formed these opinions about the authors:

1) When the results revealed that those, who could not be distracted by the gorilla, scored better, the authors tried to bury the accomplishment of those subjects deep in the abstract.

2) Knowing that they could not omit that fact without being accused of hiding data, they briefly mentioned it, but even then, they tried to minimize the importance of the difference in performance.

Why?

Why did the authors take a positive quality: the ability to focus and successfully complete a task, and turn it around completely backwards, and accuse the successful subjects of "inattentional blindness?"

I can only conclude that they fell prey to one of the most common weaknesses of all humans, one which all scientists must constantly be on guard against ... confirmation bias.

The authors started with a conclusion, and when the results produced a contrary result, they simply "interpreted" the results in a way that supported their original hypothesis.

Creationists do that all the time.
They start with the answers and try to force science to conform to their myths.

But we expect more from our scientists.



11/14/14

What girl wouldn't dream of scoring a guy like this?
Close-set eyes, chiseled features, powerful jaw.
And that hairline ... receding faster than the tide in Chai Wan Bay.

oooooh ... baby!



How does that hunk sound now? I guess looks aren't everything, huh?
Think about it for a moment - the best thing about that guy ... is his looks!

Psychologists have determined that guys like Tony,
who have an uncontrollable hatred of women, are almost always ...

these guys

That Wiki article was only missing one thing ... Tony's picture



11/13/14

In 2014 Republicans won the most seats in state legislatures
that they have had since 1928 ...

the year before the Great Depression

The remaining safety nets that were put in place by FDR
are the only thing preventing us from experiencing the horror
that our grandparents went through ...
and Republicans are fighting to remove those as well.



11/12/14

I sent the following email to a science writer who was reporting on a story
about a petition circulated by scientists, against ...

Brain Games (4 pages)

I wasn't defending "Brain Games." I couldn't defend or attack them because the petition was so poorly written that it didn't specify which claims were being challenged.

I was attacking the scientists who made general, vague accusations.
As scientists, they should have known better. Then I found this ...

One type of "brain game" that does improve mental functioning

So I sent a followup email:

"This study, published in PNAS, gives a great example of why
you should have been more specific when you were attacking "Brain Games."
You need to specify which claims were excessive or untrue,
otherwise you are simply mounting an assault on thinking."

(they didn't reply before, so I expect they'll ignore this one too)



11/11/14

Can a non-existent God write a letter?

Let's find out



11/9/14

This video will test your gag reflex (2:35)





11/8/14

This is taken from US Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney's opinion
in the 1857 Dred Scott decision, in which Taney stated that slaves were:
"so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

As much as we hate to admit it,
even our highest judges can be pig-ass ignorant.

Want a more modern example?

Bill Maher on Justice Scalia (4:27)



11/7/14

See if you can spot the error in this article.

New approach to explaining quantum physics


I sent this email to the author

I expected at least a 'Thank You'



11/6/14

Since I've been rather lucky with my predictions lately,
I think I will try to push my luck.

Predictions after Tuesday's disastrous Midterm elections
(for the rich: just change that adjective to "glorious")

Obama WILL BE impeached.
Republicans hate him personally with a psychopathic passion. Like Clinton (another man whom they could not beat), they know they don't have the votes to successfully remove him from office, but that's okay because, like Clinton, their purpose is only to blackmark his legacy for all of history (childish I know, but then again, that's exactly what most Conservatives are).

This will also aid them in their takeover of the only prize left, that they do not own ... the presidency. They control the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, most state legislatures, and most state governor's houses. They will send unpassable bills to Obama forcing him to use his veto power, and then grandstand in front of the American people claiming that Obama and Democrats refuse to work with them.

If they succeed in completing their takeover by winning the presidency in 2016:

Dodd-Frank will be reversed and the tax cuts that were extended to all but the wealthy, will be re-extended to the wealthy.

More tax loopholes will be opened for corporations, big banks, and Wall Street
until our tax code looks like Swiss cheese.

Conservatives will fill all the judicial nominations, that they blocked under Obama, with Conservative judges who have no intention of objectively interpreting the law, but will instead, force the Conservative agenda on Americans. We have already seen this happen many times recently under the 'Roberts' Court.

And by the way, the Conservative agenda is ... whatever "The Rich" want.

Yes America - we are screwed.
And in what has to be the greatest example of prophecy I've ever seen,
Abraham Lincoln was right ...
we did it to ourselves.

"America will never be destroyed from outside.
If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



11/5/14

In the culture war that has been tearing America apart since the Civil War, I consider Texas to be Ground Zero. Texas has come a long way since the days when its citizens were willing to kill and die for, the right to keep human slaves. Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) was known as the "Civil Rights President" and Texas recently had a Democrat as governor (a woman no less).

But the Confederacy has fought back hard, and now has control over this vast and powerful state. They have nearly eliminated abortions which will send women back into the alleys; they have refused the Medicaid expansion which will cost the lives of thousands of Texans; they have discussed succession (Perry); they attempted to crash the American economy (Cruz); and they constantly attack education through their control of school boards.

Nothing boils my onions more than seeing these Confederate bastards bullying decent, honest people; so I sent the following video to Democrats in Texas who were running for governor, the Senate, and the House. I offered free use of the video, but I'm not aware of anyone actually using it (54 seconds).

The 2014 Midterm Elections

The defenders in Texas who are fighting to modernize the state by removing this Confederate cancer, remind me of the vastly outnumbered and outgunned heroes of the Alamo. But just like at the Alamo ... reinforcements are pouring in.

Here's my message to Confederate pricks ...
"You ain't gettin' Texas"

They may hold on a little longer, but forces are mounting against them. We defeated them, militarily, 150 years ago ...

It's high time we finished the job



11/4/14

One of the greatest heroes in American history - Vashti McCollum (56:03)

McCollum v. Board of Education (Supreme Court - 1948)

We owe our freedom to that woman.
Without her courage, we would all be kneeling in the direction of Bethlehem ...

5 times a day



11/3/14

The 113th Congress has received the lowest ratings of any congress in history from American voters. They seem to be perpetually on vacation, where they accomplish just about as much as when they are in session and "working."

Question: do they deserve the title of "The Worst Legislature in U.S. History"



Well, about half of them do: the Conservative half.

It is disturbing that many blame Congress as a whole, when it couldn't be more obvious that the blame rests almost entirely on Conservative lawmakers. They have spent the last 6 years doing everything in their power to bring America to a grinding halt in a desperate attempt to regain power by fooling ignorant Americans into believing that the blame lies elsewhere.

We elected them and paid them to provide us with government. Instead all we got in return was Bible-thumping, flag-waving, and obstruction of government.

Conservative lawmakers actively work for the rich against the interests of the other 99% of Americans. The non-rich Conservative base doesn't realize that they are voting against their own self-interests when they support Conservative politicians.

Yet the polls show that brainwashed Conservative voters continue to support these seditious American politicians, plan to reelect most of them, and vote in new ones; possibly giving control of both houses of congress to Conservatives.

This means that our long national nightmare is far from over.

The only solution I can see, is that the masses must develop the rational thinking skills necessary to vote intelligently, if they are to free themselves from being so easily manipulated by greedy, evil people.



11/1/14

Abiogenesis

More evidence for an RNA world



10/31/14

Classic Emails (1 page)

Yesterday I made a prediction.
I will save you the trouble of scrolling down. I wrote:

"I'm predicting they will hide under their rock just like the CDC did"

If I get any better at predicting stuff, I'm going to open up a psychic hotline ...
and start competing with Miss Cleo.

Take a look at this bullshit, "go-away kid - you bother me" email
that they sent back to me


I took enough of that evasive crap last year from the CDC. Now it's time to ...

Let the games begin!

By the way, I found recent data - and it only makes my case ... stronger.

Recent data



10/30/14

Classic Emails (1 page)

I sent the following email to the editors at Medical News Today:



There is an error in Hannah Nichols' article

What are the top 10 leading causes of death in the US?

The #3 cause of death should be "In-Hospital Medical Errors"
with almost 200,000 per year (and that figure was from 10 years ago).

Here is the link to the article, containing supporting data
on deaths due to in-hospital medical errors


That link is from your own web site.

Last year I sent that link to the CDC, asking them why they did not include "medical errors" on their list, as it gives the impression that the medical profession is trying to hide something.

They responded that they did not understand me!
They said I needed to "elaborate further."

I replied that I could not have made it any clearer, and repeated the question:
Why did they refuse to include the #3 cause of death on their list?

The CDC then stopped communication.

The ball is in your court MNT.

You can either deal with this embarrassment or ignore it like the CDC ...
the choice is yours.

(I'm predicting they will hide under their rock just like the CDC did;
but this is one time ... I wish I were wrong)



10/29/14

Satanist destroys 10 Commandments plaque on government property

The character "Satan" is only found in the Christian Bible.
Therefore, only those who believe in the Bible can be Satanists.

Atheists don't have imaginary friends
(at least, none that originate in religion)
which highlights yet another bizarre, crazy Christian accusation:
that Atheists worship Satan.

If you read the Bible, you might be puzzled as to how anyone who finished reading the whole book could come away with the notion that between God and the Devil ...
that God was the good one.

In fact, I have offered many internet commenters this challenge:
"You post a verse from the Bible which shows the evil of Satan.
I will then reply with a verse which shows the evil of God.
We will trade verses until one of us runs out."

No one has ever accepted that challenge.
The commenter always disappears into the safety of cyberspace.



10/28/14

Where is the coldest place in the Universe?



The Boomerang Nebula (only 5,000 light years away) checks in at ... 1 degree K!



10/27/14

Why are Conservatives so desperate to rewrite American history when it comes to the Civil War? Why are they willing to tell easily disprovable lies in order to convince you that the Civil War was not fought over slavery?



Here is the reason ...

Modern humans find slavery to be one of the most repugnant, disgusting activities ever practiced by mankind. It is now illegal in every country in the world.

In order to escape the stigma that goes with having a history of fighting and dying to keep humans in bondage, Conservatives do everything in their power to try to distract your attention away from that embarrassment, and get you to believe instead, that it was really an honorable war to protect state's rights.

As the article above proved ... the facts say otherwise.



10/25/14

Certain archaea defy our understanding of biology
by replicating like cancer cells




10/24/14

More problems for Genesis





10/23/14

How does America reward its biggest charlatans, liars, and quacks?

With oodles, and oodles, and oodles of money ... and fame (2:40)





10/22/14

Senator Ted Cruz says the government may be coming for preachers who ...

oppose gay marriage

(It's hard to believe that adults actually vote for this guy)



10/21/14

Dendrites are much more than simply passive wiring in the brain



10/20/14

Do Atheists commit any of these religiously endorsed atrocities?

•raping children in their care?
•hunting for witches in Africa and then setting them on fire?
•rioting over poorly-drawn caricatures of Richard Dawkins?
•stoning women to death for adultery?
•telling Air Force cadets to prepare for Armageddon?
•chopping off the hands of thieves?
•displacing and oppressing people because they live on land Hitchens said was theirs?
•pouring money into California to suppress the rights of gay couples?
•lying to children in the educational system?
•telling women they aren’t allowed to speak at their meetings?
•flying planes into buildings?
•chopping off the end of a baby's penis?
•inculcating shame and guilt in generations of children?
•denying children medical care because disease is Hawking’s will?
•strapping bombs to their bodies and boarding buses before detonating them?
•telling poor people they aren’t allowed to use family planning?
•butchering Albinos for body parts that they then use in their secret ceremonies?
•legislating death and imprisonment for sexual practices they disapprove of?
•making women dress up in bag-like tents before allowing them to go outside?
•dynamiting ancient works of religious art?
•dismantling the social support network?
•using their tax-free income to lobby politicians in their tax-exempt buildings?
•calling for pogroms and ethnic cleansing?
•setting their critics on fire?
•crusading?

So, do Atheists commit these religious atrocities?

Yeah ... sometimes.


10/18/14

Tomorrow night a half-mile wide Comet will miss Mars by about 40 minutes

This rock is coming in at about 126,000 mph (5:07)



10/17/14

This is pure genius (2:52)



Nearly 60% of Americans now support equality for gay people.
Only 4% of Americans identify as Atheists.
So who are these Americans who are turning America into a modern, progressive society? Muslims? Hindus? Agnostics? Jews?

In America, there is only one possible answer ... Christians.

It is Christians who are rejecting the evil monster in the Old Testament and turning instead to the teachings of Jesus. They are the ones who have made this huge advancement in human rights in America possible.

Now. If only they can civilize the "Old Testament" Christians, we can finally start to make headway towards a modern society; one that lives up to the principles enshrined in our Constitution.



10/15/14

Activists fight against the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (17:05)

Kurdistan, Iraq



10/14/14

Scientific failure can sometimes contribute as much as success,
to the advancement of human knowledge.

Scientific failures plant big red flags at the front of tunnels warning people that this tunnel leads nowhere, and that their time and effort would be better spent elsewhere. One example would be the great scientist, Isaac Newton, who explored the alchemy tunnel so we don't have to.

Lesson: Honest scientific endeavor is never in vain ... even in failure.



10/13/14

Hope for patients in a vegetative state



10/11/14

Three 16-year-old girls win Google's global science competition

They discovered a naturally occurring bacteria in soil called Diazotroph.
They determined that the bacteria could be used to speed up
the germination process of certain crops, like barley and oats, by 50 percent,
potentially helping to fulfill the rising demand for food ... worldwide (4:45)





10/10/14

Christian persecution complex (4 pages)

If you find yourself getting bored with all this rationality,
and you are just looking to read something really delusional
to add some variety to your existence ...

It doesn't get much more delusional than this



10/9/14

Early bioenergetic evolution

Their definition of life:
"The harnessing of chemical energy in such a way
that the energy-harnessing device makes a copy of itself."

Most definitions of life do not take into account the evolutionary steps
that led from inorganic matter evolving into organisms that we recognize as alive.
This definition, however, recognizes that life is a process:
it is one direction that the evolution of matter can take.



10/8/14

How successful has the assault been, on FDR's New Deal?

See for yourself ...



Analysis

The first set of bars represents America under Truman (Dem).
The next two sets of bars should be combined because

1) there is little difference between them, and
2) both represent America under Eisenhower (Rep).

During this period, there was a slight, but unmistakable increase
in income going to the rich at the expense of everyone else.

Under presidents Kennedy and Johnson (Dems),
the advance of the rich stalled out and we experienced status quo.

Under Nixon (Rep) the rich were on the move again.
(that is only good news ... for the rich)

Carter (Dem) pretty much held the rich in check.

Then the Heavens opened up and the Lord sent the rich ... Ronald Reagan (Rep).
The graph tells the story better than any words ever could.
Bush senior (Rep) was able to keep the momentum going for the rich.

Clinton (Dem) succeeded in reversing the disaster slightly,
but with the election of Bush junior (Rep), the dam broke.
By the end of his presidency, America was in "The Great Recession."
The only things that prevented a repeat of the Great Depression
were the social programs instituted by FDR (Dem).

But Obama's election defied the consistency of the graph. Why?

For one thing, Republicans were able to prevent a recovery
by obstructing America in every way possible.
They even opened up a new tax loophole called "inversion"
to steal billions more from dwindling American tax revenues.

But that wasn't the only reason why this Democrat
was the only one who failed to stop the rich.
After the rich crashed the economy,
Obama sacrificed American taxpayers
by bailing out the giant corporations who had raided our nation's wealth.

So who is left to fight for us?

No one. We must fight for ourselves.

Democracy gives us the power to do so. Unfortunately, many Americans have proven themselves too stupid and gullible to use that power. When any of the 99% of Americans (the non-rich) support Republicans, they are cooperating in their own demise by voting against their own interests. Until they develop the rational thinking skills necessary to defend themselves from the lies of the "Greedy Rich," they will continue to be ... sitting ducks.



10/7/14

How expensive is German college tuition?

It's free

And the story is the same in many E.U. countries.
(and you don't even want to know about their health care)

In those two areas, education and health care,
America is 35th in literacy and 34th in life expectancy
despite being the richest nation on Earth.

I smell rats ... big ones



10/6/14

The Bible states "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them." Isaiah 11:6 (NASB).



Okay, so we've kept our part of the prophecy ...

So where's Jesus?



10/4/14

How you can catch Ebola



10/3/14

John Adams was one of our most famous founding fathers.
So naturally, Christian Nationalists try to claim him as one of their own.
So what did Adams have to say about Christianity?

Turning a lemon ... into lemonade (1 page)



10/2/14

Remember the House Republican who humiliated himself in front of the entire nation when he asked the scientist, how could melting ice cause the oceans to rise since an ice cube melting in a glass of water ... doesn't raise the water level? Remember that guy?

Well, here to remind you is Jon Stewart (10:25)

Okay, now that you've had a chance to get up off the floor and stop laughing ...

Here is something that is not so funny



10/1/14

The Conservatives on the Supreme Court no longer even bother to make a pretense of upholding their oaths. They simply defecate on our Constitution and on our Democratic principles with impunity.

Their 5-4 decision this time, proves that the Conservative justices will continue to use their power to defeat Democracy whenever it rears its ugly head.

They are "judges" in name only ...
in the same way that North Korea is a "Democratic People's Republic."

Early voting in Ohio blocked by Republicans and Conservative justices

Until the thinking half of the country can convince the non-thinking half of the country ... to start thinking; we will continue to slide further into the abyss.



Hot Topics older than 2 months can be found in the Hot Topics Archive
(categorized by topic)