Category Archives: woo

Michael Shermer responds to me: There’s no such thing as “the supernatural”

After Tanya Luhrmann published an egregious op-ed in the New York Times claiming that she melted a bicycle light with her mind (mentioning Michael Shermer’s experience with a dead radio that mysteriously played music on his wedding day), I first posted my own critique of Luhrmann’s woo and then wrote Shermer to let him know he was mentioned. […]

Measles-virus denialist issues 100K Euro challenge to prove viral causation, scientist wins the dough after court hearing

I’ve never heard of woomeisters or denialists who solicit “scientific” challenges to their woo—and this happens occasionally when a creationist offers big bucks to anyone who can “prove” evolution—ever paying off. But this time it happened—after the courts intervened. According to the BBC News, the Guardian, and the English language The Local.de, which provides news about Germany, Stefan Lanka, […]

A NYT debate: should parents be held liable for hurting their children through faith healing?

43 of the 50 U.S. states give some kind of civil or criminal immunity to parents who harm their children by relying on religious faith-healing rather than scientific medicine. Many also have religious exemptions from vaccination and testing for disease in newborns. In California, a teacher can even refuse to take a tuberculosis test—but only […]

Australian study: homeopathy is worthless

Here’s  some news that is not surprising—it’s of the “dog bites man” variety. But it’s still worth highlighting because it shows the persistence of faith-based woo in our world: not woo of the religious variety, but still woo that is based on faith (i.e., belief without evidence). Indeed, the evidence for the phenomenon at issue—homeopathic medicine—is […]

Shermer takes down Luhrmann’s claims of spooky forces in nature

The other day I wrote a critique of Tanya Luhrmann’s latest essay in her series of Templetonian paeans to spirituality in The New York Times. Despite these pieces being not only embarrassingly bad but full of logical errors, the Times continues to publish them—why I’ll never know. In that piece (called “When things happen that […]

Tanya Luhrmann in the NYT: I melted a bicycle light with my mind!

What on earth has happened to the New York Times? I can’t imagine that it’s suffering from a dearth of contributors, as America is full of good journalists and writers with lots to say and no place to say it. Instead, the paper hires Tanya Luhrmann to write regular pieces on its Op-Ed page, pieces that are […]

Krauss versus Chopra: No contest

How about a bit of Twi**er humor this morning to wake us up? And who better to tickle our funnybone than the inimitable Deepakity? Here Chopra tries to engage Lawrence Krauss, a move that, for a man of Chopra’s temperament and knowledge, is always a mistake. The last tw**t is a zinger! h/t: Barry

Google doodle celebrates the Year of the Sheep—or is it the Goat?

Today’s animated Google doodle (click on screenshot below to see it go) celebrates the beginning of the lunar new year with a cute sheep whose head-butting sets off fireworks that spell “Google.” In China it’s the Year of the Sheep, ergo the ram, but some say it’s the year of the goat. This has led […]

An anti-vaccination takedown by Elizabeth Warren

It’s pretty certain that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016, and it’s pretty certain that she’ll win, though a lot can happen in the next twenty months. The Republicans don’t seem to have a credible candidate, though I do worry about Jeb Bush, who I predict will get the GOP […]

Medical news: Vaccination kerfuffle and a U. S. Senator who says that Big Gubbment shouldn’t require restaurant employees to wash their hands after bathroom breaks

I haven’t said much about the latest measles outbreak or about the many ignoramuses who refuse to vaccinate their children on dubious grounds, for I take for granted that most of the readers here are smart and acquainted with the evidence for the safety and efficacy of vaccination. I will, however, just mention two bits of vaccinaton-related lunacy […]

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