"\n\n\n\t<\/title>\n\t<atom:link href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/?feed=rss2\" rel=\"self\" type=\"application\/rss+xml\" \/>\n\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com<\/link>\n\t<description>An online magazine which exposes the pathological skepticism of the mainstream "skeptic" community.<\/description>\n\t<lastBuildDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 18:26:54 +0000<\/lastBuildDate>\n\t<language>en-US<\/language>\n\t<sy:updatePeriod>\n\thourly\t<\/sy:updatePeriod>\n\t<sy:updateFrequency>\n\t1\t<\/sy:updateFrequency>\n\t<generator>https:\/\/wordpress.org\/?v=6.0.2<\/generator>\n\t<item>\n\t\t<title>December 2019<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=638<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=638#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 17:45:07 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[General]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=638<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[Articles Science Journalism and Change Science journalists should also cover the mistakes of science. Cargo Cult Skepticism How mainstream skepticism is really just a cheap imitation. Appeal To Ockham How Fake Skeptics get Ockham’s Razor wrong. Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism? […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<h3><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-scaled.png\"><img loading=\"lazy\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-639 alignnone\" src=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-218x300.png\" alt=\"\" width=\"218\" height=\"300\" srcset=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-218x300.png 218w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-745x1024.png 745w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-768x1056.png 768w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-1117x1536.png 1117w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-1489x2048.png 1489w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Skeptopathy_Dec19-scaled.png 1862w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 218px) 100vw, 218px\" \/><\/a><\/h3>\n<h3><strong>Articles<\/strong><\/h3>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=611\">Science Journalism and Change<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>Science journalists should also cover the mistakes of science.<\/p>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=616\">Cargo Cult Skepticism<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>How mainstream skepticism is really just a cheap imitation.<\/p>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=613\">Appeal To Ockham<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>How Fake Skeptics get Ockham’s Razor wrong.<\/p>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=602\">Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism?<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>Using propaganda slogans to silence debate.<\/p>\n<p> <\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=638<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Journalists Must Also Cover The Mistakes of Science<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=611<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=611#comments<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[controscience]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 17:43:42 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[climate change]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=611<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[Science Journalists Are Only Telling the Stories Which Make Science Look Good, But Science that Guides Public Policy Must Also Be Informed By the Lessons of Science\u2019s Mistakes The unspoken truth of modern science is that many of the ideas […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<h1>Science Journalists Are Only Telling the Stories Which Make Science Look Good, But Science that Guides Public Policy Must Also Be Informed By the Lessons of Science\u2019s Mistakes<\/h1>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/11\/E870EAE9-E624-4930-82B669F976D4E086_source.jpg\"><img loading=\"lazy\" class=\"alignleft size-medium wp-image-621\" src=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/11\/E870EAE9-E624-4930-82B669F976D4E086_source-300x200.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"300\" height=\"200\" srcset=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/11\/E870EAE9-E624-4930-82B669F976D4E086_source-300x200.jpg 300w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/11\/E870EAE9-E624-4930-82B669F976D4E086_source.jpg 590w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px\" \/><\/a>The unspoken truth of modern science is that many of the ideas you are already familiar with today are rooted in remarkably un-modern concepts and propositions that became popular for the wrong reasons: prior historical mistakes. As those mistakes become recognized, scientists will tend to understandably react by applying a band-aid. In the cases where these fixer-uppers fail to subsequently prove their worth (i.e., make useful predictions), it\u2019s a dreaded signal that the theorists erred in their decision against framing a new hypothesis.<\/p>\n<p>None of this would be a huge problem if science journalists were already cultured into the habit of watching for these <i>unsettled<\/i> science signals. But, today\u2019s science journalists seem to perceive their mission less like lighthouse keepers, and more in the spirit of attorneys representing and communicating established ways of thinking. There is no apparent sense from their activities that science journalists today share responsibility in the mission to keep science on track.<\/p>\n<p>When neither scientists nor journalists take ownership of teaching the most awkward stories of our biggest scientific blunders, our culture fails to unpack the associated lessons. Were these stories more widely discussed – a problem we can solve right now – those historical mistakes would surely teach our nation to be more humble about what we think we know. And testament to the fact that these lessons were never learned, scientific beliefs amongst Americans across all sorts of big, open questions have become overtly arrogant, overconfident, and in some cases dangerously bordering on extremist.<\/p>\n<p>A curious aspect of the human mind is that it does not permit a vacuum. If awkward context that is crucial for understanding how we have arrived at our currents theories is not honestly provided, then the human mind will attempt to make do with stereotypes, narratives and other inadequate lizard brain shortcuts.<\/p>\n<p>This is actually the current situation which has played out in the space sciences, and on the current trajectory, it will one day become the story we tell our children about how science-based policy ran the American system into the ground. The American public absolutely <i>requires<\/i> access to the lessons of our former failures in science to inform our decision-making on current scientific debates. Science journalism which can be shown to leave out crucial, relevant history leaves the public vulnerable to manipulation, activism and deception.<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"the-tragic-path-weve-taken-to-get-to-climate-change-begins-in-space\"><\/a> The Tragic Path We\u2019ve Taken to Get to Climate Change Begins in Space<\/h1>\n<p>The story I\u2019m about to tell should humble us all. I\u2019m going to show foremost that you\u2019ve not been informed of even the basic sequence of events which led to this current historical moment in science. And in the place of that recent history, you\u2019ve unknowingly filled the gaps in with the narrative that has been marketed to us every day by science journalists that the path we\u2019ve taken to our current ideas has been fully intentional and planned out.<\/p>\n<p><i>Our biggest problem in the space sciences has been that we\u2019ve tended to form very strong opinions about what it is we are seeing with telescopes long before all of the data actually came in.<\/i><\/p>\n<p>It wasn\u2019t all that long ago that people thought that the Milky Way was all there was to the universe; that the space between stars and planets must be completely devoid of any matter; that the electromagnetic waves we can see with our optical telescopes are the only type of cosmic waves that exist; that Earth\u2019s \u201csister\u201d planet, Venus, should be about the same temperature as the Earth beneath its thick cloud cover; and that since rockets would have nothing in space to push against, that they couldn\u2019t possibly fly in space – not even to the Moon.<\/p>\n<p>Since all of these earlier conceptions of our surroundings have proven to be spectacularly untrue, it\u2019s imperative that Americans start to ask questions and talk about the mistakes that have led to this current moment:<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"the-first-thing-we-botched-was-the-invention-of-the-rocket\"><\/a> The First Thing We Botched Was the Invention of the Rocket<\/h1>\n<p>When Robert Goddard, a professor, suggested all the way back in 1920 that we could send a small explosive on a rocket to detonate on the surface of the Moon so that the feat could be remotely witnessed with a telescope, he was widely ridiculed. It seems inconceivable today, but Americans of all sorts – even scientists of various specializations – tragically decided that rockets were impossible and even a joke deserving mockery. Goddard was sufficiently offended that he basically disconnected from American society to create the rocket in isolation. Yet, he kept communicating for some time with Germans and Russians, and the Germans would learn enough from those exchanges to create the V2.<\/p>\n<p>The German V2 was in a sense an <i>American<\/i> rocket, in that it had all of Goddard\u2019s key inventions. The American public has never fully connected the dots on that: At a time when Americans should have been cultivating an incredible strategic advantage, the public was treating Goddard as a crackpot. By 1944, nobody was laughing. The joke had started to look more like a potential nightmare. That\u2019s when the Germans started launching thousands of V2\u2019s at Europe. These were the first man-made objects to travel into space. Goddard was decisively vindicated.<\/p>\n<p>Once American and British politicians later became aware of nuclear bombs, there was a rush behind closed doors to judge that the Russians would not be able to launch such a large weapon into space. The proposed algebra that showed the difficulty of the task proved correct, but the perseverance of the Russians was underestimated.<\/p>\n<p>A book published just this week repeats a by-now familiar pattern that Americans prefer to tell the story of the rocket starting with JFK\u2019s inspiring speech. Since the book is titled Eight Years to the Moon, I presume that the mistake of Goddard\u2019s ridicule is yet again avoided. The author has chosen to selectively tell the history that makes American science look good, and it\u2019s time that we question the wisdom of this practice.<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"at-around-the-same-time-the-british-botched-the-science-of-the-aurora\"><\/a> At Around the Same Time, the British Botched the Science of the Aurora<\/h1>\n<p>In 1908, a little-known Norwegian published a book detailing his own harrowing polar expedition to study the aurora. In this work, Kristian Birkeland proposed that the aurora is caused by charged particles emanating from the Sun. Sydney Chapman, a Royal Astronomer, reasoned that Birkeland could not be correct since it was widely believed at the time that space is an empty vacuum devoid of matter. So, whatever this fellow from Norway was trying to claim about a connection between Earth and the Sun was surely mistaken; only light and gravity can bridge the two bodies.<\/p>\n<p>In contrast to Birkeland\u2019s electrically connected solar system, Chapman\u2019s Earth stood in splendid isolation – a worldview which is suspiciously similar to what we see happening today in the climate sciences.<\/p>\n<p>Never mind that Birkeland had supplemented his expedition with experimental work which successfully replicated, at small scale, his claimed electrical connection. Chapman would later refuse to even look at the experiment when Hannes Alfven constructed a replica. And even well after Chapman\u2019s mistake had become widely recognized, he continued to publicly disparage Birkeland\u2019s work. Lucy Jago concluded her biography of Kristian Birekland with the suggestion that Chapman\u2019s ideas unnecessarily delayed the progression of geophysics by a half-century!<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"then-american-astronomers-botched-the-electromagnetic-spectrum\"><\/a> Then American Astronomers Botched the Electromagnetic Spectrum<\/h1>\n<p>When radio waves from space were first observed by radio engineers in the late 30\u2019s, astronomers initially reacted that it was either a mistake or a hoax. You see, they already felt even by <i>then<\/i> that they had a good enough sense for what was going on in the universe that there was just no need for radio waves from space.<\/p>\n<p>Today, it is recognized that most cosmic radio is of the type known as \u201csynchrotron\u201d – which is what happens when electrons spiral through a magnetic field. In <i>most<\/i> scientific disciplines today, moving electrons are today recognized as electric currents. Astrophysicists and cosmologists, by contrast, have decided to consistently avoid the \u201celectric current\u201d label to describe this same phenomenon.<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"then-we-botched-the-space-age\"><\/a>Then We Botched the Space Age<\/h1>\n<p>An undiscussed consequence of Americans ridiculing rockets all the way up to 1944 is that space theorists were given far too much freedom to imagine what space MUST BE like. Without any ability to take direct measurements, they – not surprisingly – imagined an empty vacuum; Earth essentially isolated from things happening in space; and gravity running the show at all of the largest scales.<\/p>\n<p>What we learned once we finally sent rockets up is that not only is the space between stars and planets not completely devoid of matter, but it is also permeated by an electrified gas known as plasma (electricity being the only other force which can work at the largest scales). Although the fact is rarely reported by science journalists today, many college-level textbooks today <i>do<\/i> convey the conclusion that 99% of what we see with telescopes is matter in the <i>plasma<\/i> state, and that a gas can behave as a plasma – conducting electric currents, exhibiting collective behaviors and forming into complex geometric structures – with less than 1% ionization!<\/p>\n<p>Even if the disruptive implications of these 99% and 1% figures are today widely ignored by academics, these facts are plainly suggesting a future direction for scientific discovery.<\/p>\n<p>Einstein did not even live to learn about plasma\u2019s importance to space; he died in 1955, and plasma\u2019s dominance would not be learned until 3 years later, in 1958. Very few Americans are today cognizant of this instructional chronology – probably because many experts insist to this day that there can be no significant implications.<\/p>\n<p>Since people cannot learn lessons from stories that are not told, the American public still does not understand that it helped to botch the discovery that space is permeated by an electric medium. Theorists have repeatedly patched up their gravity-based theories, with disappointing results now incredibly suggestive that this was a mistake. And now lacking any humility from those former mistakes, the public, scientists and science journalists continue to ridicule people who believe that electricity flows through space.<\/p>\n<p>Yet, that is exactly what Van Allen discovered, and what he clearly described in his April 1963 interview with Popular Science. Gravitationalists can still only account for something like 5% of the universe\u2019s matter, yet they remain absolutely convinced that plus and minus electric charges must always screen one another in space, such that the electric force\u2019s role in space must be limited (a conjecture they\u2019ve never sought to actually test). The historical treatment of this rule-of-thumb <i>Debye screening<\/i> conjecture as a law of physics should be deeply embarrassing for the astrophysics community in light of a variety of recent acknowledgments in various scientific journals that electric currents can observably span distances of kiloparsecs. Electric currents spanning such distances are not permitted by the Debye conjecture. Yet, there\u2019s never been even a discussion, to date, that a mistake has been made. It\u2019s no small matter, since this argument has been invoked countless times online to defend cosmology against the concept of an electric universe.<\/p>\n<p>That said, the electric currents which connect Earth and the Sun are now uncontroversially and routinely measured by space probes. And the poles of our solar system\u2019s planets have by now many times been observed to light up in infrared heat when these electrical connections surge. But the public, with a foot still planted in the former empty space worldview, is today none the wiser. And that is why, despite our incredible engineering achievements in space, we have nevertheless <i>botched<\/i> the Space Age: Yes, we\u2019ve learned <i>of<\/i> one of nature\u2019s deepest secrets, but the way in which this was done has completely stunted the discovery\u2019s cultural and scientific impact. Most people still don\u2019t even know what a plasma is, even as scientists acknowledge that it constitutes somewhere around 99% of what we are seeing with telescopes!<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"and-then-scientists-botched-the-greenhouse-effect\"><\/a> And Then Scientists Botched the Greenhouse Effect<\/h1>\n<p>And now we turn our attention to climate change\u2019s untold history – a story which begins as an investigation into Venus. As previously mentioned, there was once a mistaken belief amongst the scientists of the world that Venus\u2019 temperature must be similar to the Earth\u2019s beneath its thick cloud cover.<\/p>\n<p>The first bold claim that a mistake had been made did not actually come from a scientist; it came from a Jewish Bible scholar and associate of Albert Einstein who had observed repeated references in ancient documents across multiple cultures that appeared to conflate Venus with a comet using analogies like beards and long flowing hair. From these unexpected references, Immanuel Velikovsky proposed that Venus must actually still be remarkably hot beneath its cloud cover. His hot Venus prediction was proven correct using remote observations, and the scientific community\u2019s reaction was to simply reject the validity of Velikovsky\u2019s inference. It would later become revealed that some of his fiercest public critics never actually read his published arguments.<\/p>\n<p>Around this same time, the notion of a \u201cSuper Greenhouse\u201d effect had started to gain some theoretical traction and even promotion by the television scientist celebrity, Carl Sagan. If your conception of a planet is that it stands in isolation from its surroundings in empty space, then the greenhouse effect could make a lot of sense as an explanation for how a planet at a distance from the Sun comparable to Earth\u2019s might evolve to become a hellishly hot world. The scientific community decided to put together a multi-probe mission whose stated purpose would be, in part, to test this hypothesis for Venus – the Venus Pioneer mission.<\/p>\n<p>The record clearly shows that the first glimpse at the results years later greatly troubled scientists: All combined, the multiple probes were reporting back that Venus was releasing 15% more heat than it was taking in! The scientists knew that this was a huge problem for the greenhouse effect because the hypothesis assumes that heat in should more-or-less equal heat out (also known as thermal equilibrium). Data from the Venus Pioneer landers reported upward heat fluxes from the planet\u2019s surface – as if the planet was cooling down from some former event. But, the data was not completely clean; there were anomalies which a critic could use to discount the results – perhaps unexpected events that appeared to affect the probes as they neared the surface.<\/p>\n<p>The scientists decided that the data MUST be in error. The mission engineers were sent back to the laboratory to discover how the instruments MUST have failed. After considerable effort, it was decided that the dataset would be corrected to reflect the greenhouse effect\u2019s requirements. The final papers announcing the mission\u2019s results leave no doubt about this. A mission that was initially intended as a test for the greenhouse effect curiously ended with the greenhouse effect applied to the results as an <i>assumption<\/i>!<\/p>\n<p>Confirmation that this was a botched decision came just a few years later when the Russian VeGa-2 Venus lander confirmed Pioneer\u2019s original finding of anomalous heat emitted by Venus\u2019 surface. Velikovsky\u2019s original hypothesis has, despite the scientific community\u2019s best efforts, been twice vindicated.<\/p>\n<h1 class=\"western\"><a name=\"its-time-to-broaden-the-scope-of-the-climate-change-debate\"><\/a> It\u2019s Time to Broaden the Scope of the Climate Change Debate<\/h1>\n<p>The story of the botching of the greenhouse effect is one of the most incredible, untold histories in the sciences. But, when this story is told along with all of the other untold histories of science which preceded it, it seems just par for the course.<\/p>\n<p>Now that scientists and activists have decided to seek dramatic changes to our public policies, it\u2019s time to start honestly talking about the many awkward details which have led to this current scientific consensus. Defenders will predictably try to limit the scope of the conversation to just the parts which make climate science look good, but our public policy must root in the lessons of our prior (some still ongoing) failures.<\/p>\n<p>By pivoting the conversation to this expanded scope, defenders of science who are dismayed by academia\u2019s current fascination with doomsday can leverage this applied pressure of policy changes to motivate deep, lasting reformation in the sciences – and of course finally take the upper hand in this climate change debate.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=611<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>5<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Cargo Cult Skepticism<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=616<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=616#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 17:43:17 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[critical thinking]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logical fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[pathological skepticism]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[pseudo-science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[scientific consensus]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=616<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[Mainstream skepticism is for the most part what could be called cargo cult skepticism. The term comes from the practice of ritualistic acts by indigenous peoples. These acts involved the mimicking of the behaviors of colonizers in the hope that […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Mainstream skepticism is for the most part what could be called cargo cult skepticism. The term comes from the practice of ritualistic acts by indigenous peoples. These acts involved the mimicking of the behaviors of colonizers in the hope that goods (cargo) would be bestowed upon them.<a href=\"#note1\">[1]<\/a> Richard Feynman popularized the metaphorical use of the term when he coined his own term “cargo cult science” to describe works that have some superficial appearance of science but lacked the rigor of serious experimentation. Cargo cult skepticism then would involve behaviors that have some appearance of skepticism but lacks significant aspects of critical thinking<a href=\"#note2\">[2]<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>Take mainstream skeptics’ defense of science. They will defend evolution, which is good because it happens to be one of the best supported theories ever developed. However, when it comes to science which is susceptible to corruption via conflict of interest, they ignore this and defend this science just as fervently if not more. Those of us that understand the extreme dangers of conflict of interest are quite disturbed at the free reign companies get in the testing and verification of their own products. This would include pharmaceutical companies, chemical companies and large agricultural companies.<\/p>\n<p>So why do mainstream skeptics behave this way? One possibility is that they are actually shills for these companies. They are paid to support corporate pseudoscience in order to look the other way. This may be true of some of the leaders who seem to have a lot more money than they should have. But this does not explain the same behavior in their followers. The followers might be best described as “useful idiots”.<\/p>\n<p>The term “useful idiot” AKA “useful fool” originated in communist Russia<a href=\"#note3\">[3]<\/a>. It refers to a person propagandists hoodwink into furthering their goals. So if skeptic followers were blind conformists, they would simply go along with whatever their leaders convinced them to believe. The leaders could very well be useful idiots themselves following what consensus of corporate corrupted scientists tell them to believe backed by fraudulent science.<\/p>\n<p>Now the shill\/useful idiot explanation works for some areas of pathological skepticism but not all. Take human caused climate change for example. The whole concept of human caused climate change is catastrophic for some of the largest most powerful companies on Earth, Big Oil. The thing is though that, generally speaking, all of mainstream skepticism, or at least its leadership, is wholly on board with the notion of human caused climate change.<\/p>\n<p>All areas of mainstream skepticism do have one thing in common though, “consensus” view. In every area that mainstream skeptics champion, that area is supported by a consensus of authorities. Now not all consensus opinions involve an actual consensus. Take 9\/11 for example, there is not a single physicist or structural engineer on Earth that would ever believe that a building could be in free fall while also breaking up it’s lower structure as this would constitute a glaring violation of several laws of physics. Yet according to the official story, this is precisely what happened to WTC 7<a href=\"#note4\">[4]<\/a>. These physicists and engineers will not challenge this story though for fear of ridicule and worse because of an almost overwhelming consensus of politicians and business leaders.<\/p>\n<p>So cargo cult skeptics (mainstream skeptics) appear to use appeal to authority and appeal to consensus fallacies to maintain their blind faith in corporate pseudoscience. They will believe anything, no matter how unscientific, no matter how absurd as long as a consensus of authorities proclaims that it is true. They will reject the scientific method and promote logical fallacies to prop up their cultish adherence to establishment views. They are the embodiment of cargo cult skepticism.<\/p>\n<h4>Notes<\/h4>\n<p><a id=\"note1\"><\/a>1. Burridge, Kenelm (1969). New Heaven, New Earth: A study of Millenarian Activities. London: Basil Blackwell. p. 48.<br \/>\n<a id=\"note2\"><\/a>2. Feynman, Richard P. (June 1974). “Cargo Cult Science” (PDF). California Institute of Technology.<br \/>\n<a id=\"note3\"><\/a>3. 1959 Congressional Record, Vol. 105, Page A5653<br \/>\n<a id=\"note4\"><\/a>4. NIST NCSTAR1-A: Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (PDF). NIST. November 2008.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=616<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Appeal To Ockham<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=613<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=613#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 17:42:53 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[General]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[philosophy]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=613<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[Fake skepticism is a scourge. Yet I enjoy discussions with fake skeptics. Why? The same reason an entomologist studies bugs. To others, bugs are excruciatingly stupid, repulsive and boring but for whatever reason, the entomologist has developed a fascination with […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Fake skepticism is a scourge. Yet I enjoy discussions with fake skeptics. Why? The same reason an entomologist studies bugs. To others, bugs are excruciatingly stupid, repulsive and boring but for whatever reason, the entomologist has developed a fascination with them. I have a fascination with irrational people who are convinced that they are rational. Almost as interesting are propagandists that can convince others to believe whatever nonsense they choose.<\/p>\n<p>One of the things that keeps popping up in discussions with pathological skeptics is the erroneous use of Ockham’s Razor. Ockham’s Razor as you might know is the idea that “Entities should not be multiplied without necessity”<a href=\"#note1\">[1]<\/a>. In other words, explanations should involve no more assumptions than are necessary. What many pseudo-skeptics have done is butchered this notion into the idea the “the simplest explanation is the best one.” Now it is true that an explanation that avoids unnecessary assumptions is indeed simpler, but there are other important considerations as well. Such a ridiculously oversimplified version of Ockham’s Razor throws out the extremely important aspects of evidentiary support and explanatory power.<\/p>\n<p>Take for example the fall of WTC 7 building on 9\/11 2001. For those that don’t know, WTC 7 was a 47 story skyscraper that fell several hours after the Twin Towers came down. There are two basic explanations for the fall of WTC 7, the official story where fire caused the fall and the “conspiracy theory” that the building came down because it was a controlled demolition.<\/p>\n<p>For official story proponents their explanation is “simpler”. The building was on fire therefore fire must have brought it down. NIST did a comprehensive study of the building which says just that<a href=\"#note2\">[2]<\/a>. A controlled demolition would be extraordinarily difficult and would involve thousand of people that would eventually talk. They smugly propound that we should appeal to Ockham’s Razor and stick with the simpler explanation.<\/p>\n<p>The overriding problem here is that the official story of the WTC 7 fall has absolutely no scientific evidence to support it. None at all. The only “evidence” ever provided was NISTS’ computer model which looks nothing like the collapse and cannot be examined for errors or fraud because till this day, they refuse to release its data<a href=\"#note3\">[3]<\/a>. So we have two glaring purely faith-based assumptions here: 1) that models are accurate even when they don’t look anything like what they are modelling and 2) that NIST did not fudge their model to get the findings they wanted.<\/p>\n<p>The controlled demolition explanation on the other had has several key pieces of evidence to support it. Probably the most important piece of evidence is the fact that the building was in free fall for at least 2.25 seconds. The NIST report has WTC 7 in free fall while it was simultaneously breaking up structure. This is a blatant violation of the law of Conservation of Energy, among others. A falling object has only potential energy to do work. When in free fall, all its potential energy is used to accelerate downward at the rate of gravity. There is no energy available to do other work like breaking up structure. So the third glaring assumption of the official story is that the laws of physics can be violated!<\/p>\n<p>As is clearly evident, those that appeal to Ockam’s Razor as choosing the simplest solution are ignorant of the most basic foundations of science, that explanations must be supported by evidence and evidence that explanations cannot account for or predict, prove that explanation wrong. As we see again and again, mainstream skeptics have a pathological understanding of science, logic and ironically skepticism in particular.<\/p>\n<h4>Notes<\/h4>\n<p><a id=\"note1\"><\/a>1. Jonathan Schaffer (2015) What Not to Multiply Without Necessity, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 93:4, 644\u2013664.<br \/>\n<a id=\"note2\"><\/a>2. NIST NCSTAR1-A: Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 (PDF). NIST. November 2008.<br \/>\n<a id=\"note3\"><\/a>3. http:\/\/911blogger.com\/news\/2010-07-12\/nist-denies-access-wtc-collapse-data.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=613<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism?<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=602<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=602#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Sun, 15 Dec 2019 17:42:29 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Healthcare]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[autism]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logical fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[vaccines]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=602<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[How often have you heard some rabidly smug pro-vaccination fanatic proclaim that “vaccines don’t cause autism”? There are several ways that this statement is wrong. It’s Unscientific No competent conscientious scientists would ever make the claim that “vaccines don’t cause […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>How often have you heard some rabidly smug pro-vaccination fanatic proclaim that “vaccines don’t cause autism”? There are several ways that this statement is wrong.<\/p>\n<h5><strong>It’s Unscientific<\/strong><\/h5>\n<p>No competent conscientious scientists would ever make the claim that “vaccines don’t cause autism”. They definitely might say that there is no strong evidence that supports a link between vaccines and autism. This is because science is not about proclaiming absolute statements of fact but of supporting explanations with evidence.<\/p>\n<p>Imagine the steps involved in scientifically confirming that “vaccines don’t cause autism”. Every single vaccine currently being used would have to be thoroughly tested using randomized double blind placebo controlled (RDBPC) studies to determine if it could cause autism.<\/p>\n<p>Currently only the MMR vaccine has been tested for links to autism. This does not prove that the MMR cannot cause autism however, it only shows that no link between the MMR and autism has been established yet. The studies may have been deficient in some way such as not looking at the right populations. Perhaps there is only a link between autism and vaccinated children with mitochondrial disease as the Hannah Poling case suggests<a href=\"#note1\">[1]<\/a>. No studies have yet looked at whether the MMR is linked to autism in only children with mitochondrial disease.<\/p>\n<h5>It’s Illogical<\/h5>\n<p>When they say “vaccines don’t cause autism” ask them to support their claim. They’ll say something like “no link has been found” i.e. no hard evidence is there to support a link. So they are saying that the idea that vaccines cause autism is false because there is no evidence to suggest it does. This is an appeal to ignorance fallacy. The appeal to ignorance fallacy occurs when a conclusion is assumed based primarily on lack of evidence to the contrary<a href=\"#note2\">[2]<\/a>.\u00a0 \u201cabsence of evidence is not evidence of absence.\u201d The appeal to ignorance fallacy is a form of false dichotomy or false dilemma fallacy in that the link between autism and vaccines may not have been studied well. As noted above, only one vaccine has ever been tested for a link between autism and vaccines.<\/p>\n<p>So whenever someone over-confidently proclaims that “vaccines don’t cause autism” know that they are either science illiterate with a poor understanding of basic logic or that they are pretending to be science illiterate in order to further some agenda.<\/p>\n<h4>Notes<\/h4>\n<p><a id=\"note1\"><\/a>1. Poling, J. S.; Frye, R. E.; Shoffner, J.; Zimmerman, A. W. (2006). “Developmental regression and mitochondrial dysfunction in a child with autism”. Journal of Child Neurology. 21 (2): 170\u2013172.<br \/>\n<a id=\"note2\"><\/a>2. https:\/\/www.logicallyfallacious.com\/tools\/lp\/Bo\/LogicalFallacies\/56\/Argument-from-Ignorance.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=602<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>July 2018<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=539<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=539#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 05:24:49 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[General]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=539<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[Articles Pseudoskeptic Bigots How pseudoskeptics are inclined towards bigotry Proof of Homeopathy? Is homeopathy actually a real thing? Be Reasonable? My recent interview on the “Be Reasonable” skeptic podcast Reviews Review: Principles of Curiosity Critical thinking candy for corporate pseudoscience […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<h3><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/Skeptopathy_Jul18.jpg\"><img loading=\"lazy\" class=\"size-medium wp-image-541 alignnone\" src=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/Skeptopathy_Jul18-228x300.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"228\" height=\"300\" srcset=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/Skeptopathy_Jul18-228x300.jpg 228w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/Skeptopathy_Jul18-768x1012.jpg 768w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/Skeptopathy_Jul18-777x1024.jpg 777w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 228px) 100vw, 228px\" \/><\/a><\/h3>\n<h3>Articles<\/h3>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=490\">Pseudoskeptic Bigots<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>How pseudoskeptics are inclined towards bigotry<\/p>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=475\">Proof of Homeopathy?<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>Is homeopathy actually a real thing?<\/p>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=525\">Be Reasonable?<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>My recent interview on the “Be Reasonable” skeptic podcast<\/p>\n<h3>Reviews<\/h3>\n<h4><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=502\">Review: Principles of Curiosity<\/a><\/h4>\n<p>Critical thinking candy for corporate pseudoscience advocates<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=539<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Review: Principles of Curiosity<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=502<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=502#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 05:23:24 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Reviews]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[critical thinking]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[fraud]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[pseudo-science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[scientific method]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=502<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[“Principles of Curiosity”[1] is a documentary by Brian Dunning and Ryan Johnson. Brian Dunning is the “skeptic” who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for committing wire fraud[2]. Fraud in this context involves stealing from others by way of […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>“Principles of Curiosity”[<a href=\"#1\">1<\/a>] is a documentary by Brian Dunning and Ryan Johnson. Brian Dunning is the “skeptic” who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for committing wire fraud[<a href=\"#2\">2<\/a>]. Fraud in this context involves stealing from others by way of misrepresentation. This is of course different from another use of the term where someone pretends to be something they clearly are not. Rest assured though, I’m positive that there is nothing to worry about and Dunning is now completely rehabilitated.<\/p>\n<p>The film seems quite visually compelling. There is some very good camera work and great use of imagery. Where it fails horrifically is in its content.<\/p>\n<p>The first problem I noticed in the film was in the opening segment where examples of pseudoscience are listed. One of them is “people believe weird things”. What? How is believing in weird things antithetical to science? Before any new idea gets accepted by the often pigheaded guardians of establishment science, that idea is by definition, weird.<\/p>\n<p>The next odd thing we hear is Dunning explaining how to detect good studies. He draws a line which represents the history of science in a field. He draws big circles along it representing large well-designed studies. OK so far so good. He states “The better a study is, the more likely its results are to reflect the real science”. This is a very odd thing to say. Instead of “the real science” he should have said “reality”. Science is a method of inquiry not a reality. Dunning\u00a0 then draws several small circles off the line representing smaller poorly designed studies which have new and interesting results. What he’s presenting here is a false choice: either the study is well-designed and conforms with what is already known or it is poorly designed and doesn’t conform with what we know. He’s neglecting the possibility that a large well designed study shows that an existing line of research was wrong. One example are the studies disproving the established view that butter was worse for your heart than hydrogenated margarine. The idea he is shilling here is that we shouldn’t trust studies that tell us something new and exciting. Science progresses by studies showing us new things. Dunning seems to be promoting a pseudoscience status quo view that we should just expect things to largely remain just as they are.<\/p>\n<p>On examining the claim that there are toxins in our bodies [16:54] Dunning simply proclaims “They’re not”. That’s it. No studies cited, no experiments illustrated just a dogmatic pronouncement of faith. In science-based reality, aluminum is a toxin that has been found in high concentrations in the brains of people with autism.[<a href=\"#3\">3<\/a>] The herbicide Roundup contains a toxin that can be found in almost anyone.[<a href=\"#4\">4<\/a>]<\/p>\n<p>Dunning next makes the absurd claim that “There’s no such thing as boosting your immune system. Medically the words are meaningless”. These are ridiculous statements. If immune systems can be compromised, they can be boosted. Someone who is malnourished will have a compromised immune system. You boost their immune system by improving their diet. He continues “…we don’t want [our immune system] so active that it attacks our own healthy tissue.” What he’s doing here is equivocation. The term boosting your immune system relates to moving your immune system from compromised to a healthy state. He’s trying to conflate that with the idea of an immune system in overdrive like what you see in autoimmune diseases. It’s truly remarkable that you’d see such a ridiculously flawed argument used in a documentary that is supposed to be teaching critical thinking.<\/p>\n<p>The next mistake made is falsely portraying the appeal to authority fallacy. The appeal to authority fallacy occurs when claiming something is true because an authority claims it is true. An appeal to an authority is always an invalid argument, a fallacy. (Note that a fallacious argument is an invalid argument as its premises do not support its conclusion but its conclusion may very well be correct.) You can use authorities to make decisions but authorities alone never establish truth. Dunning is conflating this fallacy with the appeal to irrelevant authority fallacy which involves attempting to support an argument by citing an person who is not an expert in the related field. In this way he can trot out the establishment dogma that you can always trust “legitimate” authorities. These are the same sort of authorities that told us that the ground zero air was safe to breathe on 9\/11, that fat was bad for you and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.<\/p>\n<p>This misleading argument leads right into the next bizarre claim: “packaging experts use labels that suggest GMOs should be avoided”. An image is then shown with a bland label that says “NON GMO”. What? What does GMO labelling have to do with “packaging experts”? The purpose of GMO labels would be for those people that don’t want to eat GMO contaminated food. They can be there just as well for people like Dunning who want to eat GMO contaminated food.<\/p>\n<p>The claim is also made that people don’t want to eat GMOs because of possible health problems. The important issue ignored in all GMO propaganda, like this film, is that many people are terrified of GMOs because the patented lifeforms are resulting in megacorporations controlling our food supply. Strangely, some people want to eat food that is good for them and not solely good for a mega corporation’s profit margin. Dunning claims that the anti GMO sentiment is driven by marketing. Don’t the companies making GMO also do marketing? Like say, helping fund films that make them look good?<\/p>\n<p>The next dodgy claim made is the conflation of genetic engineering with cross pollination. So GMOs are safe because farmers have been doing the same thing for thousands of years. But they haven’t. Cross pollination involves a plant receiving pollen from another plant, and in this case another related variety. Genetic modification involves directly manipulating an organism’s genome, usually by injecting foreign DNA. These are wildly different techniques producing dramatically different results.<\/p>\n<p>Next we have the obligatory misuse of Ockham’s Razor. Ockham’s Razor is used in science only as a heuristic when developing an explanation[<a href=\"#5\">5<\/a>]. It is not used as “a tool that can help us decide which of several possibilities is most likely true.” as claimed in the film. Instead,\u00a0science\u00a0uses the explainability criterion of the scientific method to decide which explanation is superior. The explanation which can account for or explain more of the available evidence is the better explanation.<\/p>\n<p>The film also falsely claims that “Ockham’s Razor tell us that ideas which only work if some magical new thing is added to the world, are probably wrong.” Ockham’s Razor says nothing of the sort. It only says that explanations with the fewer assumptions should be used, not that competing explanations are wrong in any way. A good proper application of Occam’s Razor is deciding between the geocentric model of the solar system vs the heliocentric system to calculate positions of the sun. Both work but the heliocentric model uses far fewer calculations. The geocentric model is not wrong it’s just unnecessarily complicated.<\/p>\n<p>Next the film butchers the scientific method with gross oversimplification. “We challenge and falsify until we have a reliable observation, for which we then form provisional explanations”. The scientific method instead involves starting with a problem, looking at the available evidence surrounding the problem and then creating a provisional explanation. The explanation is then continually tested to uncover further observations. These further observations either disprove the explanation if it doesn’t predict the new observations, or supports the explanation making it stronger.<\/p>\n<p>Then we have the following banal platitude “Longer life, happiness, a cleaner planet, technology, and peace are driven by the engine of science and fired by the fuel of our curiosity.” It’s undeniable that science has given us longer life and advanced technology; but happiness, a cleaner planet and peace? Science has created the choking pollution we are now inundated with. Science is used to create advanced weapon systems that encourage ever more destructive war, not peace. Science can be driven by curiosity; it can also be driven by greed and malice. Science is not some magical source of rainbow clouds and unicorns. The cold hard reality is that science is not good or bad it’s simply a method that people use or misuse to do good or bad things.<\/p>\n<p>In short, Principles of Curiosity is critical thinking candy for corporate pseudoscience advocating pseudoskeptics. It might be enjoyable and make them feel good but it’s really not good for you. It is corporate propaganda masquerading as a critical thinking guide.\u00a0Brian Dunning was once convicted of wire fraud. Ironically,\u00a0Principles of Curiosity is a fraud in another sense, since it misrepresents pseudoscience as science and sophistry as critical thinking.<\/p>\n<h3>Notes<\/h3>\n<div id=\"1\"><\/div>\n<p>1. http:\/\/principlesofcuriosity.com\/<\/p>\n<div id=\"2\"><\/div>\n<p>2. “Laguna Niguel Man Receives 15-Month Prison Term for Defrauding eBay”. https:\/\/www.fbi.gov\/contact-us\/field-offices\/sanfrancisco\/news\/press-releases\/laguna-niguel-man-receives-15-month-prison-term-for-defrauding-ebay<\/p>\n<div id=\"3\"><\/div>\n<p>3.\u00a0Matthew Mold; Dorcas Umarb; Andrew Kingc; Christopher Exley, “Aluminium in brain tissue in autism”,\u00a0Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology Volume 46, March 2018, Pages 76-82\u00a0https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S0946672X17308763<\/p>\n<div id=\"4\"><\/div>\n<p>4.\u00a0Paul J. Mills, PhD1; Izabela Kania-Korwel, PhD2; John Fagan, PhD2; et al, “Excretion of the Herbicide Glyphosate in Older Adults Between 1993 and 2016”,\u00a0JAMA. 2017;318(16):1610\u20131611.\u00a0https:\/\/jamanetwork.com\/journals\/jama\/fullarticle\/2658306<\/p>\n<div id=\"5\"><\/div>\n<p>5. Hugh G. Gauch, Scientific Method in Practice, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-521-01708-4, ISBN 978-0-521-01708-4.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=502<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Pseudoskeptic Bigots<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=490<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=490#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 05:11:33 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[bigotry]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[critical thinking]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logical fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=490<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[A few years ago the great “skeptic” Michael Shermer publicly committed a hasty generalization fallacy[1]. In his tweet he said: ‘Sandy Hook truthers (as bad as 9\/11 truthers) vandalize memorial, taunt victim mother claiming it was a “hoax.”‘ What he […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>A few years ago the great “skeptic” Michael Shermer publicly committed a hasty generalization fallacy[<a href=\"#1\">1<\/a>]. In his tweet he said:<\/p>\n<p>‘Sandy Hook truthers (as bad as 9\/11 truthers) vandalize memorial, taunt victim mother claiming it was a “hoax.”‘<\/p>\n<p>What he is saying is that because some specific conspiracy theorists are stupid jerks all conspiracy theorists are stupid jerks. What he is doing is taking a specific incidence involving people belonging to a group of people and applying it generally to the group as a whole.<\/p>\n<p>In a great case of synchronicity he was also tweeting about bigotry for the last week or so before the tweet. This got me thinking. Do pathological skeptics tend to be bigots? It seems likely. Take racism for example. Racism involves:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races”<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>So if I am robbed by a purple man and then proclaim that all purple people are immoral thieves, I am a racist which is a form of bigotry. But this is simply a case of taking a specific incident involving a person belonging to a group of people and applying it generally to the group as a whole; a hasty generalization. This is a similar kind of thing that Shermer did. He observed an incidence of a small group of people within a much larger group doing something bad and then implied that the entire group engages in that sort of behavior. Based on most of the replies to his tweet, many of his followers possess the same flawed way of thinking.<\/p>\n<p>In case you think this is an isolated incident for Shermer look at this more recent tweet: [<a href=\"#2\">2<\/a>] “Nothing says anti-capitalism quite like taking a selfie with an iPhone at the Hamburg G20 protests”. The tweet shows protesters in the background with one fellow at the front taking a selfie in front of a debris fire. So first of all, people protesting at a G20 meeting are not necessarily anti-capitalist. You can be pro capitalism and anti-corporate greed. According to deutschland.de the largest association of protesters is the G20 Wave of Protest.[<a href=\"#3\">3<\/a>] They have four main concerns: equitable world trade, renewable energies, social justice and greater democracy. I’m hard pressed to see how this is “anti-capitalism”.<\/p>\n<p>Secondly, just because you are at a protest doesn’t mean you are a protester. The selfie taker could have been a bystander or even a reporter. In fact many have said that the photo has been photoshopped to add him in. Then again, so what if he was a staunch anti-capitalist? Are they supposed to run around naked, eating only what they themselves grow and shun all transportation? In a capitalist country pretty much every product is the result of capitalism. To protest capitalism you don’t need to shun everything produced by capitalists.<\/p>\n<p>So here again we have several faulty generalizations. Because people are protesting a G20 meeting they are anti-capitalist. This is another hasty generalization. Because someone is at a protest this makes them a protester. This is a sweeping generalization because no exceptions are being allowed. Because an anti-capitalist protester owns a product manufactured by a corporation they are a hypocrite. This is a non sequitur as shown previously.<\/p>\n<p>Here is another example. ‘Alt-Righters: mowing down pedestrians with a vehicle is what ISIS does. Is that what you’ve sunk to? Domestic terrorism? Any good ideas? No.'[<a href=\"#4\">4<\/a>] Because one alt-righter does something it now becomes one of their behaviors?<\/p>\n<p>“This is what Neo-Nazis do when confronted by the law\u2014weep like babies. Armed Christopher Cantwell still on the lam.” [<a href=\"#5\">5<\/a>] So again, because one Neo-Nazi does something, they all do it. Hasty generalization.<\/p>\n<p>This sort of behavior is not limited to Shermer. Bigotry like this is endemic to mainstream “skepticism”.<\/p>\n<p>Brian Dunning spouted this gem: ‘You should always assume any “surprising new studies” are exaggerated or spun to sound newsworthy’.[<a href=\"#6\">6<\/a>] I do understand the sentiment here, many studies are misrepresented to make them sound more revolutionary that they really are. But sometimes there actually are studies with surprising new results. Assuming that all reports of surprising new studies are misrepresented is therefore committing a sweeping generalization. A sweeping generalization occurs when using a statement in an all-inclusive way without permitting any exceptions.<\/p>\n<p>David Gorski proclaimed “…alternative medicine = fake medicine”.[<a href=\"#7\">7<\/a>] Alternative medicine is any medical therapy that is not regarded as orthodox by the medical profession. This would include herbalism, homeopathy, and acupuncture. To be fake medicine these therapies would have to have been proven to have no benefit. Herbalism is the practice of using plants as medicine. There have been some clinical tests of plants as medicine and of those plants most were found to have a therapeutic effect.[<a href=\"#8\">8<\/a>] Homeopathy is the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease. Current research has purportedly shown that no homeopathic preparation has any benefits beyond placebo.[<a href=\"#9\">9<\/a>] Yet this research has been soundly criticised for engaging in scientific misconduct.[<a href=\"#10\">10<\/a>] Acupuncture involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles. Some research shows acupuncture can alleviate pain but most research shows acupuncture’s effect are due to placebo.[<a href=\"#11\">11<\/a>]<\/p>\n<p>So it appears that none of these three groups of alternative medicine, could be said to be fake medicine generally when only specific areas have problems. So again, Gorski is making sweeping conclusions based only on a subset of studies. In other words, he’s also committing a hasty generalization fallacy.<\/p>\n<p>Here’s another hasty generalization where Gorski claims all “Anti-vaxxers” attack pro vaxxers via email.[<a href=\"#12\">12<\/a>] So because one person skeptical of vaccines issues personal insults all of them do. Note that the term anti-vaxxer is used as a personal insult. Besides being a bigot, Gorski is also a hypocrite.<\/p>\n<p>So we’ve logically established that several mainstream skeptics are bigots. Now if you are a bigot you are basically prone to faulty generalizations. You wouldn’t magically be immune from committing these errors in certain areas and not in others. You are not understanding a basic rule of critical thinking, that you can’t generalize from small samples and you have to allow exceptions to general observations. Other areas of bigotry include: racism, sexism and ageism. Note of course that I’m not saying all mainstream skeptics are bigots as that would be a faulty generalization itself. The evidence clearly shows though, that at least some of the “high ranking” ones are.<\/p>\n<h3>Notes<\/h3>\n<div id=\"1\"><\/div>\n<p>1. https:\/\/twitter.com\/michaelshermer\/status\/466345654244364290<\/p>\n<div id=\"2\"><\/div>\n<p>2. https:\/\/twitter.com\/michaelshermer\/status\/883761752516706304<\/p>\n<div id=\"3\"><\/div>\n<p>3. https:\/\/www.deutschland.de\/en\/topic\/politics\/global-issues-law\/these-are-the-arguments-of-the-opponents-of-the-g20<\/p>\n<div id=\"4\"><\/div>\n<p>4. https:\/\/twitter.com\/michaelshermer\/status\/897630678522703872<\/p>\n<div id=\"5\"><\/div>\n<p>5. https:\/\/twitter.com\/michaelshermer\/status\/898555555693740034<\/p>\n<div id=\"6\"><\/div>\n<p>6. https:\/\/twitter.com\/skeptoid\/status\/888886439383117826<\/p>\n<div id=\"7\"><\/div>\n<p>7. https:\/\/twitter.com\/gorskon\/status\/823315574386257921<\/p>\n<div id=\"8\"><\/div>\n<p>8. Cravotto G, Boffa L, Genzini L, Garella D (February 2010). “Phytotherapeutics: an evaluation of the potential of 1000 plants”. J Clin Pharm Ther. 35 (1): 11\u201348. PMID 20175810. doi:10.1111\/j.1365-2710.2009.01096.x.<\/p>\n<div id=\"9\"><\/div>\n<p>9. Ernst, E. (2010). “Homeopathy: What does the “best” evidence tell us?”. Medical Journal of Australia. 192 (8): 458\u2013460. PMID 20402610.<\/p>\n<div id=\"10\"><\/div>\n<p>10.\u00a0https:\/\/www.hri-research.org\/resources\/homeopathy-the-debate\/the-australian-report-on-homeopathy\/<\/p>\n<div id=\"11\"><\/div>\n<p>11. Ernst, E. (2006). “Acupuncture–a critical analysis”. Journal of Internal Medicine. 259 (2): 125\u2013137. ISSN 0954-6820. PMID 16420542. doi:10.1111\/j.1365-2796.2005.01584.x.<\/p>\n<div id=\"12\"><\/div>\n<p>12. https:\/\/twitter.com\/gorskon\/status\/899029868758786048<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=490<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Proof of Homeopathy?<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=475<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=475#respond<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Mon, 02 Jul 2018 00:15:56 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Healthcare]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[confirmation bias]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[homeopathy]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[immunotherapy]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logical fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[scientific method]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=475<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[I don’t know much about the topic of homeopathy. I have really only read mainstream “skeptics” railing about how ridiculous it is. I came across a twitter post by someone called Yvette with the Twitter handle of @TheSciBabe. For some […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I don’t know much about the topic of homeopathy. I have really only read mainstream “skeptics” railing about how ridiculous it is. I came across a twitter post by someone called Yvette with the Twitter handle of @TheSciBabe.<\/p>\n<figure id=\"attachment_521\" aria-describedby=\"caption-attachment-521\" style=\"width: 518px\" class=\"wp-caption alignnone\"><a href=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/yvette.png\"><img loading=\"lazy\" class=\"wp-image-521 size-full\" src=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/yvette.png\" alt=\"\" width=\"518\" height=\"169\" srcset=\"http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/yvette.png 518w, http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/06\/yvette-300x98.png 300w\" sizes=\"(max-width: 518px) 100vw, 518px\" \/><\/a><figcaption id=\"caption-attachment-521\" class=\"wp-caption-text\"><a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/TheSciBabe\/status\/851615455139594242\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">https:\/\/twitter.com\/TheSciBabe\/status\/851615455139594242<\/a><\/figcaption><\/figure>\n<p>For some reason that post got me thinking and I responded with the following question:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>Not an expert but isn’t the non BS oral immunotherapy for peanut allergies, for example, a kind of homeopathy?<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>For those that don’t know, oral immunotherapy for peanut allergies involves treating an allergy sufferer with miniscule amounts of peanut at a point where they show no allergic symptoms. Slowly over time the sufferer is given increasingly larger doses of peanut. In this way, many people are able to overcome their peanut allergy.<\/p>\n<p>Yvette responded:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>No.<\/p>\n<p>to start with, you don’t know what homeopathy is.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>I countered with the\u00a0Merriam-Webster definition of homeopathy:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>a system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in larger amounts produce in healthy persons symptoms similar to those of the disease<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>So here I show her that, despite her arrogant pronouncement to the contrary, I in fact do know what homeopathy is. And, if you look at the definition and compare that to the process of peanut allergy oral immunotherapy, it seems like I do have a point. A point which seems to suggest that her initial dogmatic pronouncement was in error.<\/p>\n<p>There is a bit of a sticking point in that with homeopathy generally, the remedy in large doses would produce symptoms in a healthy person. Whereas with peanuts, the symptoms would only be produced in those that, while otherwise healthy, have a peanut allergy. But peanut allergy sufferers are otherwise healthy people.<\/p>\n<p>That aside, oral immunotherapy appears to be a form of homeopathy. Of course she does not respond to this point. She does make several other posts though:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>Dana, I think this guy isn’t worth the time.<\/p>\n<p>I have a book to edit. You’re so adorable if you think that’s the reason why I’m leaving an argument with someone with 200 followers.<\/p>\n<p>No, you have no “rightness.”<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>This exchange is very bizarre because as I understand, Yvette has a decent science background in\u00a0chemistry and forensic science. Her Twitter profile indicates that she is interested in promoting science. Yet the way she conducts herself online is anything but someone with a rigorous scientific outlook.<\/p>\n<p>Someone that valued science would impartially look at my question and either 1) refute it in some way, 2) agree that I have a point, 3) admit that it is an interesting question but did not have an answer right now or 4) just ignore it. Yvette on the other hand chose to make the effort to attack me instead of my argument.<\/p>\n<p>In fact, a cursory search seems to show that certain homeopathic preparations have been found to have some benefit. For example, in replications of in <a href=\"https:\/\/www.sciencedirect.com\/science\/article\/pii\/S1475491615000818\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">vitro homeopathic experimental models<\/a>, a\u00a0<a href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pubmed\/25480654\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">meta analysis on individualized homeopathy<\/a> and a <a href=\"https:\/\/www.hri-research.org\/resources\/homeopathy-the-debate\/the-australian-report-on-homeopathy\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">debunking of the Australian Report<\/a>. The “Science Babe” though seems to prefer dogmatic pronouncements of faith over the scientific method.<\/p>\n<p>What we have have is a common problem with pathological skeptics, generalization error. In this particular case, hasty generalization. “Skeptics” look at a few instances of homeopathy, find little to no evidence that it is effective and come to the sweeping conclusion that it is all bunk. This becomes an ingrained belief and anything that comes along to threaten that belief, like my question or a new study, is ignored and even pompously attacked, due to their blinding rage of confirmation bias.<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=475<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>0<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t\t<item>\n\t\t<title>Be Reasonable?<\/title>\n\t\t<link>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=525<\/link>\n\t\t\t\t\t<comments>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=525#comments<\/comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t<dc:creator><![CDATA[Michael Fullerton]]><\/dc:creator>\n\t\t<pubDate>Wed, 27 Jun 2018 17:46:07 +0000<\/pubDate>\n\t\t\t\t<category><![CDATA[Articles]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[General]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Logic]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[Science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[9\/11]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[critical thinking]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[logical fallacies]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[science]]><\/category>\n\t\t<category><![CDATA[scientific method]]><\/category>\n\t\t<guid isPermaLink=\"false\">http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?p=525<\/guid>\n\n\t\t\t\t\t<description><![CDATA[This April I was excited to finally be contacted by a mainstream skeptic podcast inviting me to be on their show. I had contacted just about every such podcast and radio show I could find. The rest either ignored me […]]]><\/description>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>This April I was excited to finally be contacted by a mainstream skeptic podcast inviting me to be on their show. I had contacted just about every such podcast and radio show I could find. The rest either ignored me or claimed that they weren’t interested. Quite understandable since I wanted to discuss how the official story of the 9\/11, 2001 disaster which they all faithfully believed in without question, was a thoroughly unscientific conspiracy theory.<\/p>\n<p>The show that contacted me is called “Be Reasonable”. It’s a podcast from The Merseyside Skeptics Society and is produced and presented by Michael Marshall:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p><em>Be Reasonable<\/em>\u00a0is the monthly interview show that talks to people who believe ideas contrary to the mainstream scientific and skeptical worldview. Be Reasonable is about approaching subjects with respect and an open mind, engaging with people of differing viewpoints in an environment where debate is polite and good-natured, yet robust and intellectually rigorous.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Sounds great! A mainstream skeptic show that actually allows a rational, respectful, even-handed discussion of non-mainstream topics? Unbelievable! Or is it? As far as I know the host Michael Marshal is a decent sort and I was treated pretty much just as described in the interview. The listeners however, or at least the ones that comment online[<a href=\"#1\">1<\/a>] and on social media[<a href=\"#2\">2<\/a>][<a href=\"#3\">3<\/a>] are the typical science and logic illiterate, mean-spirited dogmatists that we all know and hate.<\/p>\n<p>If only these sort of bottom dwelling inhabitants squirming in the muck of intelligentsia regularly listen to the show, it must simply be a vehicle to find people with views that they religiously believe are false so that they can ridicule them or pontificate on their delusional rational superiority to them.<\/p>\n<p>C’est la vie. Now let’s see how the discussion fared. First of all, Marshall’s main problem in the discussion was the continual attempt to move away from science and engage in conjecture. Presumably this because the official story is supported only by conjecture with only a smattering of extremely weak facts. My hope was to talk only about science and how it applied to this event. So a lot of time was wasted by his attempted diversion into getting me to engage in conjecture instead of dealing with the important points I wanted to make.<\/p>\n<p>In terms of the science, the big problem was Marshall’s insisted reference to the plane impact and fire as evidence for how the buildings came down. Of course these two observations are evidence but only evidence that the building sustained some structural damage not that this damage in any way contributed to the falls. So he’s relying on an unsophisticated audience not being able to distinguish between the different events. I would say about almost half the interview was squandered on this silly diversion.<\/p>\n<p>Even bringing up the fact that this line of argument constitutes the post hoc ergo propter hoc (false cause) fallacy failed to phase him. Like Stephen Novella[<a href=\"#4\">4<\/a>], Marshall seemed to believe that because this fallacy is informal, it is not necessarily invalid. Again, the confusion here seems to lie in the fact that an argument is an attempt to support a conclusion. So in an informal fallacy, the conclusion may very well be correct but if you are using invalid reasoning to try to support that conclusion, it’s your argument that is wrong. So informal fallacies are always invalid arguments that may or may not have a valid conclusion.<\/p>\n<p>A very good illustration of the false cause fallacy occurred in an episode of the Simpsons. In the show we see a closeup of the top of a building. A bird lands on it and the building falls down. The camera zooms out and we see a wrecking crew congratulating each other. To people like Marshall and Novella, the bird landing on the building is evidence that the bird’s landing caused the building to fall down.\u00a0To reasonable people, it’s simply an event that happened and because it has never happened before and until we obtain evidence to the contrary, we should assume a more prosaic explanation.<\/p>\n<p>My mistake then was not knowing how to nip that diversion in the bud. In hindsight I should have simply humored him and agreed for the sake of argument that it was low grade evidence to support his belief; but, that’s all official story believers have. On the other hand we have a great deal of evidence to support controlled demolition. Which explanation would a reasonable person support, a wholly unscientific conjecture with little to no evidence that ignores evidence it can’t account for or a scientific explanation with supporting evidence that can account for every observation available?\u00a0Marshall and his followers faithfully subscribe to the former.<\/p>\n<p>Even better, I could have saved time by jumping right to the heart of the matter sooner. When I realized I was getting nowhere, I proffered that we assume that NIST is correct and that the plane and fire damage did cause an upper block of each building to come crashing down on the building below. There is absolutely no evidence that the falling blocks resulted in destruction of the buildings. When I did this\u00a0Marshall did not have a good response to this. He merely found it interesting that I would accept a valid computer model as evidence to support the official story.<\/p>\n<p>In closing and in fact throughout the interview, Marshall, as well as Novella remember, tried to paint the issue as one of conspiracy theorising. It was good fortune that I was able to conclude by pointing out the fact that the official story of 9\/11 is a conspiracy theory and that there is no evidence that controlled demolition of the buildings required a conspiracy of any kind.<\/p>\n<p>Now, onto the comments from the show’s followers. This is pretty bad, usually you get at least a few intelligent comments. Not so here, only faith based pronouncements. Again, they believe that they are entitled to make claims but feel they don’t have to support them. Particularly humorous is the comment from “Chris” on the show’s comment section[<a href=\"#1\">1<\/a>]. “Chris” is supposedly a “former structural engineer” who claimed that I know nothing about science and lack the engineering expertise to allow me to faithfully believe in the official story. Yet all he does is pontificate on his supposed qualifications but not actually what he believed I got wrong. I guess you can’t explain something that doesn’t exist.<\/p>\n<p>I was particularly shocked at how they ridiculed my preoccupation with evidence. In science after all, evidence is paramount and simple conjecture is reviled. Apparently these “skeptics” believe supporting an evidence-based reality is something to laugh at rather than revere.<\/p>\n<p>As usual, we see that those who proclaim themselves to be skeptics are in reality faith-based believers in a false reality created for them. All it takes is a consensus of authorities, real or imagined, and they will believe anything, even that science and logic is something to ignore and even ridicule. When you question their reality all they can do is redirect discussion, fabricate straw men and attack you instead of your argument.<\/p>\n<h3>Notes<\/h3>\n<div id=\"1\"><\/div>\n<p>1.\u00a0http:\/\/www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk\/2018\/05\/be-reasonable-episode-052-michael-fullerton\/<\/p>\n<div id=\"2\"><\/div>\n<p>2. https:\/\/twitter.com\/merseyskeptics\/status\/1001462961817440256<\/p>\n<div id=\"3\"><\/div>\n<p>3.\u00a0https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/bereasonablepodcast\/posts\/1636359763139950<\/p>\n<div id=\"4\"><\/div>\n<p>4.\u00a0http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/wp\/?p=330<\/p>\n]]><\/content:encoded>\n\t\t\t\t\t\n\t\t\t\t\t<wfw:commentRss>http:\/\/skeptopathy.com\/?feed=rss2&p=525<\/wfw:commentRss>\n\t\t\t<slash:comments>2<\/slash:comments>\n\t\t\n\t\t\n\t\t\t<\/item>\n\t<\/channel>\n<\/rss>\n"