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Articles tagged with: scepticism

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[12 Aug 2009 | No Comment | ]
How To Not Be Fooled – Part #4 – GM, Organic, Natural Food and Alternative Medicine

Probably the biggest advantage Foolery has is Stealth.  If you’re taking something on face-value without questioning it, just because it “sounds right” chances are you’re being fooled.  Unfortunately the best example of this is in relation to health-care.
The “Complimentary and Alternative Medicine” or CAM movement is big business. It seems the “in-thing” to shun western medicine as being primarily driven by “big pharma”. Big pharma is a conspiracy which holds that there are cures for things like Cancer or Neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinsons which are being withheld by the evil …

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[4 Aug 2009 | 4 Comments | ]
How to Not Be Fooled – Part #2 – Psychics, Horoscopes and Cold Reading

It’s unfortunate but there are many folks out there who are knowingly fooling or lying to the public. The best example I could give would be so-called-psychics John Edwards, Sylvia Browne or most recently Lisa Williams. These people generate incredible disgust in me and I will explain why.
James Randi has long offered the princely sum of $1,000,000 to anyone who can submit to clinical testing in a controlled environment (of their choosing) and demonstrate supernatural powers [LINK]. This has been called the “Million Dollar Challenge”. It’d be easy money if …

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[31 Jul 2009 | 2 Comments | ]
How to Not Be Fooled – Part #1 – Confirmation Bias

Sorry, you can always be fooled. In fact the moment you think you can’t is when you’re at the highest risk. That said, there are things we can learn that can help. The mind works in certain unconscious ways and once you know about these they’ll set off your critical thinking red-flags next time you encounter a hoaxer.
I’ve been pondering the universe these past two+ years and trying to research various different aspects of humanity (from my armchair). In this series of blogs I’ll try to share or regurgitate what …

Life & Introspection, Science »

[8 May 2008 | 2 Comments | ]

A terrific article on the "Quackometer" here [LINK]. It talks about the lack of clinical testing and scientific evidence to backup the incredible claims made by the alternative medicine community.
Why do I care about this? Actually normally I wouldn’t care. Just that Karen has cancer.
When a loved one is ill, you’ll do anything to improve the situation. When Karen was diagnosed (over a year ago), I quickly set about researching her form of cancer, trying to uncover a potential cure or complimentary therapy.
I quickly became overwhelmed with …

Life & Introspection »

[27 Apr 2008 | No Comment | ]

I’ve written in the past on how we as humans are hard-wired to "believe", that is accept things without question. There have been volumes written on the inherent tendency we have to "trick" ourselves. I’m sure there are evolutionary advantages to this in some ways but that’s not the focus of this post.
This post is about the tangible dangers of unquestioning belief + group dynamics. Two recent articles highlight what I’m talking about:

a)’Penis Thefts’ Cause Panic In The Congo [LINK]

"Congolese police have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused …

Life & Introspection »

[7 Apr 2008 | 2 Comments | ]

"When a man finds a conclusion agreeable, he accepts it without argument, but when he finds it disagreeable, he will bring against it all the forces of logic and reason."  –Thucydides

Being a skeptic is hard. We are a breed of believers. Our brains are hard-wired to prohibit skepticism.
 
The world is over-populated with information. Our brains have to make sense of it ALL and over time have adapted to take "shortcuts" that prevent information overload. This makes it hard to exhibit good judgment.
 
Everything’s an approximation. We don’t truly …