Guest Post: The Fascinating World of Ghosthunting

This is a guest post written by Niels Böge Nothdurft from Denmark. Long before I learned about critical thinking and became a skeptic I was fascinated by all kinds of what I would call woo today. That fascination hasn’t stopped, just my perspective on it. One of the things that fascinated me a lot – and still does – is […]

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The Dangers of Anti-Vaxxers and Bad News Reporting (Guest Post by Niels Böge Nothdurft)

gardasil

This is another guest post written by Niels Böge Nothdurft from Denmark. In this post, Niels discusses the popular fears surrounding the Gardasil vaccine in Denmark and how inaccurate and sensationalistic reporting in the news media contributed to these fears and helped promote dangerous anti-vaccination pseudoscience.   The number of Danish women who get the HPV vaccine known as Gardasil […]

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Rock ‘n’ Reverse: Skeptical Lessons from the Backward Masking Scare

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“Just ‘cause you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s there.” ~ Radiohead, “There There”   In the campy 1986 horror film Trick or Treat, directed by Michael Martin Smith and written by Rhet Topham, a devil-worshiping rock star named Sammi Curr meets an untimely death in a mysterious hotel fire. His biggest fan, a high school student with no friends and […]

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Spirit of Paranoia: A Critical Analysis of “Zeitgeist” (Part II)

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Part II of Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist, titled “All the World’s a Stage,” describes the events of September 11, 2001 in a manner very similar to Dylan Avery’s 2005 conspiracy documentary Loose Change. In fact, many portions of Part II are pulled directly from Avery’s film. [1] In Joseph’s film, as in Loose Change, we are presented with the basic 9/11 conspiracy […]

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The Tribeca Film Festival vs. Anti-Vax Propaganda

De Niro and Tribeca

The tension between good science and conspiracy-happy fearmongering about some of the most important innovations in science has manifested itself in every aspect of social life, including and perhaps especially in popular culture. A recent instance of this tension can be seen in the kerfuffle that arose in this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Robert De Niro, […]

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A Critical Review of “GMO OMG” (Part 1): He Blinded Me with Pseudoscience

GMO OMG poster

Wasting all your time on drama, could be solving real crime Waste away your mind too. ~ My Morning Jacket, “Highly Suspicious” Independent filmmaker Jeremy Seifert chose a very apt title for the anti-GMO documentary he wrote and directed in 2013. The title, GMO OMG, is an expression of incredulity, shock, and confusion about the subject he treats. These are […]

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The Zika Virus: Debunking the Myths

Zika Virus

In January 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Zika virus is a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” They have been strongly recommending that people everywhere educate themselves on what the virus is and what it is capable of and have prescribed a few simple precautionary measures to properly protect themselves. [1] On February 2, the Centers for […]

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Physics and Philosophy: Is There a Common Ground?

Physics and Philosophy

In a famous remark touching on the difficulty of grasping physics at the quantum level, the late great physicist and science communicator Richard Feynman wrote, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” [1] I boldly differ with Feynman on this point. Thousands of people, including even some non-physicists, understand at least the basics of quantum mechanics reasonably […]

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A Physicist Calculates the Viability of Conspiracies

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For decades, science-based skeptics have been pointing out one of the most important flaws besetting grandiose conspiracy theories: the sheer number of people who must be involved in the execution of a large-scale conspiracy makes it extremely implausible that such plans would remain secret for long. Conspiracy theorists have never come up with an adequate or convincing counter-argument to answer […]

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GMO Labels Should Not Be Mandatory

After years of opposing mandatory labeling of food products that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms), the Campbell Soup Company recently announced its decision to switch sides in the debate. The American canned soup producer now says that not only will they voluntarily label all of their products that contain GMOs, but they will also “advocate for federal legislation that would require […]

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