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
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
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.
Something needs to be said about the depressing modern interest in superstitious hokum like UFO's and the X-Files,
and it is this:
These things are only popular because they are not accepted by science.
That is, they are only popular because there is no good evidence that they are true.
If the existence of Atlantis was proved, it would become part of serious science and archaeology,
and it would not be interesting any more.
"Mysteries" are an attempt by the ordinary person to reclaim some area from the professionals.
Unfortunately, because the professionals are so diverse and numerous and are interested in so many things,
the only things left for you to claim are by definition rubbish.
That is why, for example,
is not science.
If there was any decent evidence (even fragmentary evidence),
it would be zoology
After all, zoologists are discovering new species all the time.
Given that every religion
and billions of people since the dawn of history
have claimed that such things exist,
of psychics and astrologers operate for money
in the world today,
you would think someone would be able to prove it
and collect this
The Skeptic's Dictionary
- "Traditional Chinese medicine is not based upon
knowledge of modern physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, anatomy or any
of the known mechanisms of healing. Nor is it based on knowledge of cell
chemistry, blood circulation, nerve function, or the existence of hormones
or other biochemical substances."
- sums up what is wrong with the idea that traditional medicine
has many potent herbs that are ignored by western medicine:
"When potent natural substances are discovered, drug companies try to isolate and synthesize the active chemical in order to provide a
- Why wouldn't they?
Why would any drug company ignore a source of easy money?
Similarly, why would any medical researcher ignore a source of
easy publications, doctorates, fame and tenure?
Dara Ó 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"
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 is based on the concept of
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.
"On a moonless night when the only clouds to be seen are
the Magellanic Clouds of the Milky Way, go out to a place far from street light pollution,
lie on the grass and gaze out at the stars.
What are you seeing? Superficially you notice constellations, but
a constellation is of no more significance
than a patch of curiously shaped damp on the bathroom ceiling.
Note, accordingly, how little it means to say something like "Uranus moves into Aquarius".
Aquarius is a miscellaneous set of stars all at different distances from us,
which have no connection with each other except that they constitute a (meaningless) pattern
when seen from a certain (not particularly special) place in the galaxy (here).
A constellation is not an entity at all, not the kind of thing that Uranus,
or anything else, can sensibly be said to "move into".
The shape of a constellation, moreover, is ephemeral. A million years ago
our Homo erectus ancestors gazed out nightly
... at a set of very different constellations.
A million years hence, our descendants will see yet other shapes in the sky,
and their astrologer ... will be fabricating their oracles on the basis of a different zodiac."
"It could just be coincidence".
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!
From Freudian theory
is a field plagued by dodgy pseudo-science
and popular but unscientific enthusiasms.
The fact is, the brain is deeply mysterious.
Not only do we lack good models of how it works,
but its own self-analysis is flawed and subject to invention.
and fake memories
do not necessarily cause harm.
But they do cause real harm when they intersect with one very serious area:
claims of historic child abuse.
Human memory is fallible,
and the brain is strange,
and while claims of historic crimes, which have left no physical evidence, could of course be true,
scepticism must always be applied to everything.
This principle has often been lost
in the modern age.
Fake claims of abuse, emerging through fake psychology,
and backed by a callous state,
have caused untold misery to innocent families.
Satanic ritual abuse is fiction,
the modern equivalent of
the ancient witch hysteria.
Hysterical social workers and public servants,
no different from their witch-burning predecessors,
have destroyed families, imprisoned innocents,
and ruined children's lives.
Lives ruined in secret
by Nick Cohen
- "Thousands of children may have been snatched from families
because of evidence given in camera
the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times
The grotesque snatching of thousands of children
was an operation conducted under conditions of the strictest secrecy.
Anyone who blew the whistle on the proceedings of the family courts faced
prosecution for contempt.
During the years of Meadow's ascendancy, the family courts resembled a
Secrecy allowed incompetence and mania to flourish, as it has done for 20
years. It is not too great an exaggeration to say that families have been forced
into a legal world whose practices and assumptions are closer to those of a
tyranny than a democracy."
(stories of child-snatching social workers in the UK)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Almost everywhere in Europe has the age of consent as 14, 15 or 16.
Romeo and Juliet situations:
Some legal injustices are caused by
an overly literal application of
age of consent to teenagers,
where a boyfriend just over the age of consent
can be jailed for sex with a girlfriend just under it.
Or even vice versa.
Or even both can be arrested if both under it.
Another source of injustice
is when the law
insists that males and females are the same,
as feminist dogma states.
So the law treats
adult females having sex with teenage males
the same as
adult males having sex with teenage females.
This is wrong.
We should discriminate,
because males and females are not the same:
A male physically can have sex with an undeveloped or unwilling female.
A female physically cannot have sex with an undeveloped or unwilling male.
The male physically has to get hard.
A female 15 year old who has willing sex (at the time) with a 30 year old male
is fairly likely to regret it later.
A male 15 year old who has willing sex with a 30 year old female
is more likely to boast about it later.
Because males and females are not the same.
I am not proposing a free-for-all law for
adult females and teenage males.
There is obviously a spectrum,
from a developed 16 year old male working hard to seduce a 20-something female
to an aggressive middle-aged female
taking advantage of a confused 14 year old male.
Like "Romeo and Juliet" laws, one needs laws that address a spectrum.
I am only proposing that they be treated differently to
adult males and teenage females.
In almost every case, the male student is (of course) developed and willing.
In most cases, sacking of the female teacher seems reasonable, but jail seems unjust.
I would feel differently about male teachers, but feminist dogma means we cannot treat the cases differently.
It is ironic.
Because of feminist dogma, women go to jail
who I would never send to jail.
28 year old Texas teacher
was arrested and got 10 years probation
for having sex with two 17 year old male students.
Below almost every article about her,
male commenters express jealousy and say they wish she had been at their school.
Because males and females are not the same.
"How have people come to be taken in by
The Phenomenon of Man? We must not underestimate the size of the market for works of
this kind, for philosophy-fiction. Just as compulsory primary education created a market catered for by cheap dailies and weeklies, so
the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and
scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought. It is through their eyes that we
must attempt to see the attractions of Teilhard"
On the claim that crashed planes did not cause the 9/11 destruction,
he asks well what happened to the passengers then?"What do Sheen and Griffin have to say to the family members of
those who were on those flights?
Were they herded away by airline officials and CIA agents to Afghanistan
where they were killed or now live as slaves?"
On the generic conspiracy:
"Do they really believe that thousands of government agents
could work in secrecy to accomplish the faking of hijacked planes,
the faking of plane crashes into buildings or fields,
and all the other fakery that must have occurred to pull off this hoax?"
And then not one of those thousands of government agents has opened his mouth?
Then there is the fact that the evil, all-powerful government
is powerless to stop ordinary people uncovering the conspiracy.
"And somehow, the devious, scheming masterminds behind the attacks can't do a thing about some ageing guy exposing their entire plot in front of a Senator's office in a major city. Ah, how easy the mighty fall!"
"if he REALLY thought about it, he'd realize that the amount of time needed to plan and execute 9/11 would mean that the CLINTON administration would have had to have been the ones to do it."
"Here is an interesting fact about the Bush Cabal. They are evil masterminds willing and able to coordinate the most complex mass murder of American citizens in the most treasonous act in history. They are the most prolific killers in this nation has ever known, ready to kill thousands to promote their evil scheme. Yet the Bush Cabal still show great respect for the First Amendment, free speech rights of those who are writing books, producing films and hosting websites detailing their crimes for all the world to see. Not a single Truther has ever "disappeared." What an interesting dichotomy is this administration willing to kill thousands but unwilling to even shut down Truther websites."
"we know the Bush Cabal invented the so-called "terrorist pilots" who supposedly flew passenger planes into the WTC and Pentagon so that they could justify invading Afghanistan. Here is the real genius of the foul Bush fascists: they didn't create fictional Taliban or Afghan terrorists. No, they created fictional terrorists from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt to justify attacking Afghanistan.
We should redouble our efforts to find out why the Bush Cabal thought fictional Arab pilots attacking the US was better justification for invading Afghanistan than if fictional Afghani pilots attacked the US. Frankly, the fact that it doesn't seem to makes sense is just more evidence that it had to be an inside job."
"or, more likely, Iraqi terrorists. It would have been so simple to justify the invasion of Iraq if they'd been Iraqi terrorists. According to the libs, GWB wanted to oust Hussein since forever, so why weren't they Iraqi terrorists?"
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."
Al Qaeda spokesman gets annoyed with 9/11 truther:
"I can assure you, we did not use
I did the research myself.
It would not have worked.
We flew an enormous airplane into a building, ok.
I think it is obvious what caused the building to crumble."
"Why are you being so closed minded to this, sir?"
Al Qaeda spokesman:
"Bush's administration, they are a den of jackals.
We certainly have common ground there.
What does not follow is
why would they kill 3,000 of their own infidels?"
The Al Qaeda guy starts producing papers about the operation.
"The voucher for the flight lessons."
"Oh come on, did President Bush give you these himself?"
I love the idea that the 9/11 truthers wouldn't believe it even if Al Qaeda was arguing with them, saying no, we did it.
Here is a similar thing, from the real world this time:
Pakistani Taliban angry that Pakistani people don't believe they are bombing Pakistan.
The Pakistani Taliban repeatedly attack Pakistan, killing thousands,
but many Pakistanis - rather than face up to their country's decades-long
support for Islamic terror -
prefer to believe conspiracy theories that
the attacks are carried out by India, America or Israel.
The Pakistani Taliban get annoyed by this:
"Those who are accusing us of working for anyone else's agenda should ask themselves what they are doing.
We are neither working for CIA, Mossad, RAW nor any other organization.
We work to get the blessing of God."
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
issue of Sept 2011.
Al Qaeda complains about 9/11 trutherism,
"a ridiculous belief
that stands in the face of all logic and
So say a group of insane religious maniacs who believe that an invisible being called "Allah"
will reward them with terrific sex with hot girls
in an invisible place called "paradise" if they kill children
while shouting how great "Allah" is.
The real life Onion guy turns up on Iranian TV:
American Islamist fanatic
and conspiracy theorist
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!
This is from 18:05 in a
debate, 12 Oct 2013 on Iranian regime TV.
The "debate" is
and Islamist fanatic
"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.)
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.