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Religion - Scepticism


 
Support Simon Singh against the British Chiropractic Association. Defend the right to criticise alternative medicine.
  Alternative medicine

Astrology

Psychology, therapy, child abuse

Other topics

Conspiracy theories

9/11 conspiracy theories

Atheism

Atheism - Arguments

Science and Religion

Anti-Green

Environmentalism


Scepticism

This is closely related to the atheism page. Believers in astrology and the paranormal also believe in extraordinary things without evidence. They use the same type of logical errors, unverifiable anecdotes, lack of predictive ability, and post hoc interpretations of unrepeatable events, as are often used in support of religious claims.

And it is not just that the tools of scepticism are the only way of finding out what is true. They are also good for society. Scepticism is opposed to all totalitarianism, and is a far better defence against such than religion, which has a long history of collaboration with totalitarianism and killing on its own behalf. To teach our children to question authority, to read forbidden books, to distrust political and religious movements and leaders, and to regard faith (belief without evidence) as an intellectual failing, is the best thing we can do to ensure the future of human civilization. The values of atheism and scepticism are the values of science, freedom and liberal democracy.



"If You Open Your Mind Too Much, Your Brains Will Fall Out (Take My Wife)" by Tim Minchin.
From here. See lyrics.




Using logic and reason



Scepticism





If these things work, why don't people use them to make money?
From xkcd.com.




Alternative medicine




Comedian Dara Briain on alternative medicine.
"I'm sorry, "herbal medicine": "Oh herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years." Indeed it has. And then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became "medicine"."



"Homeopathic A & E" from That Mitchell and Webb Look.
One doctor consoles the other after a patient dies because his serious injuries did not respond to their nonsense treatment: "OK, so you kill the odd patient with cancer or heart disease ... or bronchitis, flu, chickenpox or measles. But when someone comes in with a vague sense of unease, or a touch of the nerves, or even just more money than sense, you'll be there for them."




Astrology

Astrology is based on the concept of constellations, such as Aquarius, Capricorn, Taurus, etc. It's important to note that constellations don't exist. If you have to ask why, you have obviously never thought about it.

Astrology was disproved by the discovery of Uranus by William Herschel in England in 1781. If you have to ask why, you have obviously never thought about it.





"It could just be coincidence". From QualiaSoup.
A poor understanding of probability leads many people to put forward supernatural or paranormal explanations where none are required.
I love the section on dreams!




Psychology, therapy, child abuse

Because we have no proper models of how the brain works yet, psychology lends itself (and will continue to lend itself for decades to come) to mythology and pseudoscience like Freudian theory and "ritual abuse".

Pseudo-scientific psychologists, backed by a callous state, have caused untold misery in the modern age.




Child abuse

Child abuse and rape are crimes that historically were ignored and covered up, so the modern confrontation is a welcome correction:


But we may have even over-compensated, to the extent that our response to these crimes is sometimes based on hysteria rather than reason. As a result we are susceptible (and will remain susceptible) to periodic hysterical witchhunts like the "ritual abuse" and "Munchausen Syndrome" witchhunts above. Consider the following:

  1. It sometimes seems in a world confused about morals as if child sexual abuse is the one thing we can agree on as the ultimate evil. We sometimes seem to have lost sight of the fact that killing or permanently disabling someone is worse. For example, paedophiles get burnt out of their homes, and attacked and killed in prison, and so on, in a way that murderers don't. And yet surely the murderer has committed an even worse crime.
    • Don't get me wrong. I don't have a problem with long prison sentences for child abuse and rape. I just think the sentences for murder and disabling should be even longer. To be a murderer should be a stigma even worse than being a paedophile.

  2. All sexual crimes, by their nature, lend themselves easily to miscarriage of justice. If someone says they were sexually assaulted, how can you prove them wrong? Historical claims of child abuse and rape years after the fact will have no forensic support. They may of course be true, but clearly there is a higher risk of miscarriage of justice than in other crimes.

  3. As a result of our somewhat over-the-top reaction to child abuse, we cast suspicion on all interactions of men with children (even though hardly any men are paedophiles), and we are driving away men (other than their fathers) from childrens' lives (and this at a time when more and more children do not even have their father around). Due to paranoia about child abuse, there is a steady drop in male primary school teachers, boy scout leaders, etc. And all research shows that this is really bad for boys in particular. We complain that boys have no steady male role models in their life. And yet we look with suspicion on any adult male who interacts with them.

  4. Due to fear of paedophiles, we also prevent our children playing outdoors, walking to school, etc., in a way we never did before. Yes, there is a risk. But the risk is actually small. While the negative impact on children's health is definite and large.



Arresting people for consenting sex with willing teenagers

Related to some irrational over-reactions to child sexual abuse are various injustices in how the law is applied to the grey area of willing teenagers.


Other topics



James Randi sabotages Uri Geller on The Tonight Show in 1973. Hilarious.
And search and search.




Conspiracy theories



9/11 conspiracy theories


 

Hilarious 9/11 Conspiracy video from The Onion.
"An Al Qaeda representative says that claims the U.S. government was behind the attacks on Sept. 11th are demeaning to Al Qaeda."
Also here.



Life imitates The Onion:
Al Qaeda gets angry with Iran for spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories.
This is real life, not The Onion!
This is from Al Qaeda's magazine Inspire, issue of Sept 2011.



The real life Onion guy turns up on Iranian TV:
American Islamist fanatic and conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett attacks Al Qaeda for claiming credit for 9/11: "al-Qaeda .. [has] gone around .. doing incredibly stupid things like allowing the Zionists and the US National Security State to frame it for supposedly conducting the 9/11 attacks, which were an obvious inside job, and yet these so-called al-Qaeda people are so incredibly stupid that they don't even recognize it, and then they run around trying to claim credit for it, thereby completely destroying political Islam around the world, making us look like idiots. It's really sad".
This is real life, not The Onion!




Prophecies of Mother Shipton of Yorkshire:

"In Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-six
build houses light of straw and sticks.
For then shall mighty wars be planned
and fire and swords shall sweep the land."

"The World then to an end shall come
In Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-one."

(Actually this used to read "In Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-one." Her believers modified it after that year passed uneventfully.)




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Politics      Religion      Politics feeds      Religion feeds      Maps      Since 1995.

Banned in Iran: This site is banned in Iran.

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Who I block: I will debate almost anyone. I love ideas. I will not debate (and will block) people who do the following: (a) Make threats. (b) Accuse me of crimes. (c) Comment on my appearance. (d) Drag in stuff about me not related to the topic. (My professional career, my personal life.) (e) Complain to my employer. Yes, people do all these things.