RATIONALISM



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RATIONALISM PSEUDOSCIENCE
Debates Alternative Medicine
Logic Anti-Vaxxers
Psychology Food, Drink, & Vitamins
Science Quacks & Frauds
Stupidity Other Pseudoscience


Debates


5/3/15

What happens when two of the most respected intellectuals in America ... collide?

Noam Chomsky

VS.                     Sam Harris



Only one came out unscathed

I don't plan to summarize the points over which they were arguing.
But I will point out that one of them
displayed a disturbing level of intellectual dishonesty and emotional immaturity.

Why Chomsky agreed to allow Harris to publish that exchange ...
I'll never know


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6/3/14

Classic Emails (4 pages)

FatFist fights back; or at least ... he tries to




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3/5/14

Classic Emails (3 pages)

The amazing crap you can find on internet comment threads

One Determinist bitch-slapping another Determinist

This was like watching Protestants and Catholics
banging each other over the head with Bible verses.

Hence, my old saying:

"A Determinist is nothing more than a Calvinist ... without a Bible."

neo, 2014


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11/26/12

Classic Emails (3 pages)

Roger Pearse tries to come to the defense of R. Joseph Hoffmann.

That turned out to be a big mistake


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Logic


12/12/14

CSICOP sent a petition to journalists
requesting that journalists restrict their use of the word "skeptic"
only to those in the skeptical community (as defined by csicop)

My email to CSICOP (1 page)

On a similar note, chiropractors are demanding
that journalists stop referring to gynecologists as "doctors."


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11/21/11

Critical Thinking - Shifting the Burden of Proof:
the rejection of a claim does not constitute a counterclaim (14:23)

Tracie Harris of the "Atheist Experience" explains

In debates over the existence of God,
Theists often attempt to shift the burden of proof because ...
it is a burden they cannot meet.

Their strategy relies on convincing the audience
that the Atheist's rejection of God is, in itself, a claim ...

it is not


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2008

We've all heard the phrase "Correlation doesn't imply causation."

But that depends on which definition of "imply" one is using.
From Dictionary.com, imply:
1. to indicate or suggest without being explicitly stated:
"His words implied a lack of faith."
3. to involve as a necessary circumstance:
"Speech implies a speaker."

Definition #3 is the one used in logic.
The statement "Correlation doesn't imply causation" is true
when this definition of imply is used.

But the statement is not necessarily true if definition #1 is applied.
In that case, correlation often does imply (indicate or suggest) causation.
If it didn't, humans would have almost nothing to go on,
as to where to focus their scientific efforts.


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Psychology


7/27/17

Ghost Worshipers and atheists differ in how their minds work

So how do you explain people who renounce religion?

That requires learning how to put your analytical mind in control of your emotions.

Or in more simple terms ... growing up


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5/18/17

Motivated Ignorance ...

explained

I would take that excellent analysis one step further and add
that the mental disorder of being unwilling to admit they are wrong
is an even more powerful factor than motivated ignorance
because that explains why they refuse to change their beliefs
even when confronted with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.


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4/7/17

Why people refuse to admit they are wrong (2 pages)



Either we fix them, and soon, or they will fix us ...

permanently


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3/13/17

What the Hell is going on in America anyway?



Why do delusional people spread false stories?

They use them as a litmus test, to determine friend from foe,
which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint,
because having social support and knowing whom they can trust
is more important to them than knowing the truth.


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1/20/17

Psychologists are joining in the battle
to confront the insanity now gripping humanity.

The attack on enlightenment values

Whenever you are searching for an answer
the surest way to find the correct solution is to follow the money.

The masses are being manipulated,
and by the same group that has manipulated them
since the beginning of modern civilization 10,000 years ago ... the Plutocrats.

Plutocrats use well-understood techniques of brainwashing and mind control
to achieve the transfer of as much wealth as possible
from the masses, into their offshore bank accounts.

And science, logic, facts, and scientists ... are not good for business


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9/20/16

Here is an example of just how powerful
political brainwashing cults like Fox News can be ...

(2 pages)

If you ever need an example of "cognitive dissonance"
you will never find anything better than the story you just read.


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11/14/13

Essay by Guy Harrison makes important points

Confronting the World’s Great Unrecognized Crisis

In the comments that followed the article,
a displeased Commenter named "Kenii" enlightened the readers.
Here are Kenii's comments on Harrison's essay ...

followed by my replies (6 pages)


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7/8/13

Jamy Ian Swiss explains how villians can look at themselves in the mirror (8:08)




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4/26/11

Kathryn Schulz speaks at T.E.D. on "Being Wrong" (17:52)




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2009

"Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and fortitude
as a means of overcoming destructive emotions;
the philosophy holds that becoming a clear and unbiased thinker
allows one to understand the universal reason.
A primary aspect of Stoicism involves improving
the individual's ethical and moral well-being:
'Virtue consists in a will that is in agreement with Nature.'
This principle also applies to the realm of interpersonal relationships;
'to be free from anger, envy, and jealousy,'
and to accept even slaves as equals of other men,
because all men alike are products of nature."

From its founding, Stoic doctrine was popular
with a following in Greece and throughout the Roman Empire —
including the Emperor Marcus Aurelius ...


Now, here is the pertinent part:

"until the closing of all philosophy schools in 529 AD
by order of the Emperor Justinian I,
who perceived their pagan character
as being at odds with the Christian faith.
"

Yep, those ideals were certainly at odds with Christian teaching all right.

The result?

The period that followed was known as "The Dark Ages"
and lasted more than 1,000 years.
It was an era of horrible oppression and unspeakable terror.

Since "The Enlightenment," religion has been viciously enforcing
its control over society in an attempt to cling to power.
With the advent of the internet,
the Enlightenment now has the most powerful weapon, it has ever had.

Stay tuned ... things are just starting to get interesting.

Read more about Stoicism

So how did such a vile worldview like Christianity, overtake and destroy Stoicism?

By combining violence, terrorism, and murder with the threat of eternal torture
against any who dared to challenge them.

They got their first big break when Emperor Constantine elevated the cult
to the status of the offical religion of the Roman Empire.
Then, as pointed out in the article above,
200 years later they cemented their power by destroying their enemies.
Rational thinking was forced into hiding for over a thousand years.
And ever since Rationalism resurfaced,
it has faced a constant battle for survival.

Human history is a shameful disgrace.
We have brought animal extinction
and human destruction wherever we have gone.
The evil religions (omitting Buddhism, for example)
have controlled the Earth for millennia.
But Stoicism lives on through the Rationalists.
The internet is the weapon we have waited for, for over 2,300 years.
We cannot afford to fail humanity again.
We cannot lose again because ...

we may not get another chance


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Science


3/20/17

As America, and the world, descend into fascism and possibly war ...

this is the only real answer to ending this vicious cycle


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2007

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.


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1989

If you are in the mood to enjoy one of the worst ass-whoopins in history,
see what happens when some dude tried to tangle with Isaac Asimov ...

The relativity of wrong


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Stupidity


4/19/17

In less than 5 minutes,
Neil Tyson bitch-slaps the holy crap
out of everyone in America
who needs the holy crap slapped out of them ...



Ya did good Neil


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1/19/16

The state of American education is dismal.

Here is one example

If nearly 10% of recent college grads believe
that Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court,
I would hate to find out how high the percentage is
among the rest of the population.

This one is even more depressing

If 10% believe Judge Judy sits on the Supreme Court
and 25% believe the Sun circles the Earth,
then we need to desperately hope ...
that these two groups include the same people.

This is how they go through life ...




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1/29/15

So just how stupid are Americans when it comes to science?

Embarrassingly stupid





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2015

Scientists say that the Earth is being endangered
by a new strain of fact-resistant humans
By Andy Borowitz

A sobering new study reports that ...
"Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans
who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life.

The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota,
identifies a virulent strain of humans
who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge,
leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.
"

Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said ...
"These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary
to receive and process information, and yet, somehow,
they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes,
have rendered those faculties totally inactive.
More worryingly, as facts have multiplied,
their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.
"

My Reply to Andy Borowitz:

Unfortunately Mr. Borowitz, it seems as though nearly every one of them ...

has been given my email address


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5/28/11

Terrence McKenna on Relativism (5:43)

Relativism


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Alternative Medicine


9/25/17

Big Business continues its takeover of our educational system.
The University of California at Irvine has sold out its academic integrity.
How much did they get in exchange? How much was their integrity worth?

$200 million

Remember a few years back when the Koch Brothers were exposed
for doing the same thing at the economics department at Florida State University?
And then we learned that the Brothers have been very busy indeed,
taking control of collegiate economics departments all over America
by offering large donations in return for control over curriculum and personnel.

Well ... it's like that


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1/2/16

'Alternative Medicine' is a name coined by con artists
to add legitimacy to their fraudulent practices.
It is for the same reason that religious believers call their invisible ghosts ... gods.

The old name for Alternative Medicine was accurate enough ... quackery.


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9/4/15

How the cancer known as "Alternative Medicine" has metastasized in the U.S. (14:44)

How much would you give to be able to examine
Senator Harkins' offshore bank accounts?

Maybe this will give you an idea why candidates
will spend millions of dollars to win a job ...

that only pays thousands


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3/12/15

Finally ... a blunt, no-nonsense verdict on homeopathy

I guess the "blunt, no-nonsense" part must have given away the fact, that ...

this was outside the United States


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5/24/14

Is this the final nail in the coffin of the anti-fluoridation kooks?

Don't count on it. Kooks are like rubber duckies in a bathtub:
you can clobber them with a baseball bat as hard as you want,
but the little suckers will always float right back up to the surface.

Oh by the way,

here is an email exchange I had with some of the kooks (3 pages)


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12/11/13

Homeopaths in India go on hunger strike

On the plus side, if they all die of hunger,
maybe they'll reincarnate as herbs ...

and be ground up into homeopathic pills


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7/19/13

Science vs. Pseudoscience

And the winner remains ... Pseudoscience

Who was the main proponent behind the current multi-vitamin craze?

"Joseph Fortunato, chief executive of General Nutrition Centers said
"The thing to do with these reports is just ride them out.
We see no impact on our business.
"


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2010

Victims of alternative medicine are similar to the victims of Stockholm Syndrome:
in each case they bond with their abusers.
In Stockholm Syndrome, they hope to gain the trust of their abuser
and therefore, a better chance at survival.
In alternative medicine they bond because they want to regain hope for survival,
or a least an improvement in their condition,
by accepting what the frauds are offering them.

Stockholm Syndrome


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1987

In 1987 chiropractors (and other quacks)
won a big victory over the American Medical Association,
ushering in an era of legalized quackery.

Stripped of government protection, the public was now left to fend for itself.
While this sounds bad, it could be turned into a blessing in disguise
if it forces the masses to develop the rational thinking skills necessary
to defend themselves from frauds.




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Anti-Vaxxers


12/1/17

Anti-vaxxers can strike anywhere, even in the most advanced nations ...

like Japan

That story sounded like it came straight out of the U.S., didn't it?

It proves that idiocy knows no racial, gender, or national boundaries.

Battle Stations!


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8/3/17

People in some American states and foreign countries
are finally beginning to fight back against parents
who put their own children, and everyone else's, at risk
because they are too stupid and arrogant to get their kids vaccinated



If it were up to me, I would throw their asses in jail.


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10/20/16

In more advanced countries, like Australia,
they don't screw around with the Nut Jobs who threaten their children:

Australia won't tolerate nurses who push anti-vax nonsense

Australia stands up to anti-science morons
by refusing benefits to anti-vax parents ...

Vaccinate those little bundles of dribble and sputum ... or else

Australians show America what good government looks like;
taking action that will save many innocent lives.

Senate stomps on Anti-Vaxxers


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3/15/15

Classic Emails (9 pages)

My attack on anti-vaxxers
(and by mistake - one pro-vaxxer)


And just when we were all getting to know one another
and I thought I could almost feel real bonds being formed ...

they all went silent


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2/27/15

Jimmy Kimmel's attack on anti-vax loons
(with the help of some doctors) ...

is hysterical (4:57)




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2/19/15

The psychology behind the anti-vax movement

He put it a whole lot nicer than I would have.


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2/9/15

Liberal icon Bill Maher bitterly disappoints the skeptical community
with his anti-vax nonsense (12:30)

But Orac takes down both Maher and his panel ... point by point

Now THAT ... was a beautiful read.

And if you think Maher should be flogged a little more ...

this was pretty good too


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2/2/15

You are never going to believe this ...

Which state has the highest vaccination rate?

Remember this link?

Where shall I begin the list of cliches?
"Every dog has its day"
"Around every dark cloud there is a silver lining"
"There's a speck of light in the darkest night"

Okay, I made that last one up: but you get the point ...

Congratulations Mississippi!


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9/8/14

Jenny McCarthy's child didn't develop autism because of a vaccine -
that has been conclusively ruled out by scientific research.
The evidence indicates that, in most cases, autism is inherited.

However, parents do not have to be helpless bystanders.
They can have a dramatic impact on the severity of their child's autism.
But this requires a huge investment of time and love;
something that not all parents are willing, or able, to provide.

Helping kids with autism

McCarthy tried desperately to put the blame
for her son's condition on the medical profession.
Using false correlations, McCarthy could have just as well tried to blame anyone ...



But the evidence implicates, not the medical profession, but the parent's genetics;
and the study you just read heaps more blame, not on the medical field,
but on McCarthy herself, who could have done so much more,
but chose instead, to invest her time in a glamorous career.
So maybe the real motivation behind McCarthy's crusade is ... guilt?


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11/15/13

Chicken Pox Parties



My official statement:

Any parent who intentionally gets their child infected with chicken pox,
or any other communicable disease,
should have their children taken from them,
and those parents should be sent to Federal Prison.
After their release, they should be prohibited from ever raising children again.

(Unofficially ... you don't want to know what I really think should be done to them)


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6/1/13

How to go from hero to scum ... the story of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kennedy spreading anti-vax propaganda

When I saw Kennedy's work in the movie "The Last Mountain"
I believed him to be a true American hero.
As an environmental lawyer he is quite well qualified in environmental issues.
But like so many others, Kennedy assumes that his expertise in one field
automatically makes him an expert in other fields.
By that, I mean that he overrules the scientific consensus
in a field in which he is not qualified.
That is the very definition of arrogance.
Now he spreads the pseudoscientific lies of the anti-vax movement.

There is no one sitting on Death Row, in any state,
who is responsible for more deaths than Jenny McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

And another hero has fallen
(No, I didn't mean Jenny McCarthy - I was thinking of Linus Pauling)


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2/15/13

Okay, I admit it.
This slam against anti-vaxxers is a blatant steal from the web site of

The Friendly Atheist

But Hemant's comment was just too funny, not to steal:

"Remember polio?
Cases of polio have decreased 99% since 1988.
It’s been eradicated in the U.S.
Do you think it’s because God was all of a sudden bored ...
with crippling young kids?
"


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Food, Drink, & Vitamins


11/4/15

"Junk Food" is a scapegoat for obesity ...
according to many scientific studies like this one (1:51)



It's time to step away from the keyboard ... and the remote


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10/23/15

Alternative medicine supplementation continues its unblemished record of ...

failure


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7/10/15

GMO's ... explained (11:25)




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10/22/14

Dietary supplements are designed to relieve you of one thing,
and one thing only ...

that annoying wad of cash in your wallet


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10/15/14

If you consume "energy drinks" ...

you should probably read this


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9/25/14

More powerful scientific proof in support of the position that ...

GMO's are safe

UPDATE - 1/11/16

Should there be mandatory GMO labelling?

Spoiler Alert ... No


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7/24/14

Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells anti-GMO freaks to "chill out"



This brief article includes a list of the scientific organizations who agree with Tyson

Tyson's most important point:

"What most people don’t know, but they should,
is that practically every food you buy in a store
for consumption by humans is genetically modified food.
 "


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7/10/14

Antioxidants and cancer

Good rule of thumb:
When deciding on whether to take the advice of scientists or salesmen ...

Go with the scientists


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10/7/13

Should you take vitamin supplements?

With 2/3's of Americans classified as either fat or obese,
vitamin deficiencies are extremely rare.


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9/3/12

Huge meta analysis of health studies found no evidence that "organic" is better.

Pay More ... Get Basically The Same Benefits


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10/25/94

The Dietary Supplement Health And Education Act Of 1994

A great example of your government looking out for you
and not caving in to Big Business and all their money.

(at this point, sarcasm is about all I have left)


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Quacks & Frauds


6/17/14

I've been waiting for this for a long time ...

Dr. Oz finally got his ass cooked ... in the Senate

If it were up to me, Oz would be sharing a cell and shower facilities with ...

Kevin Trudeau

So how does America reward its biggest charlatans, liars, and quacks?

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



(and the show "The Doctors" isn't much better)

UPDATE

Registered quack (Dr. Oz) will fight back to preserve his empire ...

and keep the flow of money from fools ... rolling in

Quote from Oz: "We provide multiple points of view, including mine
which is offered without conflict of interest.
That doesn’t sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts.”

That quote from Oz reminds me of the old story
about the wife who comes home from work unexpectedly,
and catches her husband in bed having sex with their hot young neighbor.
When the wife protests, her husband simply denies that they are having sex.

The wife says "But I just saw you - I mean, I can see you!"

Her husband continues to deny they are having sex.
Confused and befuddled, the wife leaves the room and returns to work.

THAT, my friends ... is Dr. Oz


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3/17/14

The fall of Kevin Trudeau: from a mansion in Switzerland ...
to a 10-year lease on a tiny cell with "Bubba"





And here's the life Kevin left behind (11:01)

Must have been great ... while it lasted


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2014

Of all the people in the world,
who do you think has made the most money off quantum physics?
Niels Bohr? Paul Dirac? Richard Feynman? Werner Heisenberg?
Maybe John von Neumann? Max Planck? Or even Erwin Schrodinger?

Not even close.
That honor belongs to a mind far more powerful than any of those listed above ...

Deepak Chopra

Here is a picture of him when he was young




And here is a picture of Deepak as he looks today



Oh well, I guess the anti-aging thing didn't work out so well for him,
but quantum physics has made him filthy rich,
so at least he won't go away empty-handed ...

(I just wish he would go away)


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11/20/13

Sylvia Browne remains the epitome of consistency ...
she hasn't gotten one right yet.



Sylvia died at age 77 (11 years before the age ... she predicted)

That article made me gag. It sounded like it was written by her agent.
I don't have respect for the dead when, while alive,
they did nothing to earn that respect.

Good riddance to bad garbage ... rot in peace.


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4/23/13

Remember the millionaire businessman
who got even richer by selling fake bomb detectors in Iraq,
costing many people their lives?

Well ... he got convicted


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2013

The Burzynski Cancer Clinic files a DMCA to force a video off YouTube. Why?

Watch and find out (9:39)

UPDATE

(It looks like they've used some of their vast resources
to also remove the video above
which would have told you why they forced a video off YouTube)

Take your pick

Whenever you are trying to figure out which side the "bad guys" are on,
look to see which side is trying desperately to shut the other side up.

That is always a dead giveaway


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Other Pseudoscience


1/31/15

Classic Emails (3 pages)

What exactly is the Canadian Institute for Applied Astronomy?



It's a web site for astrology kooks


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10/27/14

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)


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2013

Do lemmings really commit mass suicide
by jumping off cliffs and drowning?

Those Disney pricks should have been the ones
who were pushed off the cliff



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10/22/12

6 Italian scientists sentenced to 6 years in prison for ...
not predicting an earthquake!



Why weren't any psychics convicted?
Why weren't any clergy convicted? (they claim to talk to God)
Instead, they convicted the ones who admit they can't predict earthquakes.
I vote that we all boycott Pizza until the conviction is overturned.
(On second thought, let's just boycott Roman Gladiator movies).


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7/11/12

No - the eyes do not tell you if a person is lying

Richard Wiseman Debunks Neuro-Linguistic Programming


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