Category Archives: Skepticism

Possessed by Demons, Animals, and Nonsense

Green Snake hand art

“Japan doesn’t have that stuff. That’s more of a Western thing.” Just like I constantly have to remind Westerners how they’re horribly wrong about the bizarre and ridiculous stereotypes of Japan, I had to show my Japanese friend that she was totally wrong in her idea about “us” and “them.” The notion that only Westerners believe in exorcisms and demonic possessions is simply wrong. In addition to the many stories I mentioned in an earlier post about exorcisms in Japan, yet another case occurred recently in Japan where the belief in possessions reared its ugly head.

Posted in Abnormal & Clinical Psych, Culture, Japan, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Brain is Not Simply Split into Two Totally Separate Halves, and Other Lessons on Skepticism

left brain right brain WRONG

One year ago, I wrote an article that skewered the infographic that one website had been sending to the public. I showed the evidence that contradicted what was claimed, and I ended up busting two persistent myths in that article. The first myth was that the two hemispheres of the brain (right and left) were radically different sections of the brain; the second myth was that people have distinct learning styles, which make some people “visual learners,” while others are “audial learners,” etc. I don’t mind explaining this stuff to laypeople, but there’s something unnerving about the email I got from one of the creators of the infographic.

Posted in Blogging, Media, Neuroscience, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Skeptikai’s 2012 Year-End Review (July – December)

containing art space photo background wallpaper winter color fantasy

The year has come to an end, and it’s time to look back at some of my favourite pieces from 2012. The latter half of the year has been full of fear, stupidity, and hysteria; but even when it seems that times are the most bleak, it’s best to stay optimistic about our current situation and about the future. So the following articles are my favorites for each month. Click the picture if you want to see the article.

 

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Skeptikai’s 2012 Year-End Review (January – June)

Awesome 'water-color portrait'

The year has come to an end, and it’s time to look back at some of my favourite pieces from 2012. The first half of 2012 saw lots of misconceptions. For example, hypnosis, neuroscience, intelligence, etc. These are some of the things people constantly misunderstand because of the way they are being reported in the media by people who likewise have only a rudimentary understanding of it.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Blogging, Culture, Japan, Media, Psychology, Science, Sex and Sexuality, Skepticism | Leave a comment

Should Parents Tell Their Kids “The Truth” About Santa?

The whole truth about Santa Claus

Spoiler Alert! Santa is a dangerous alcoholic, suffering from obesity, and doesn’t exist.

Actually only one of those is true. Well, maybe two… but if you pass the age-test, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Japan, Skepticism | 7 Comments

The Apocalypse 2012 is Real (…but not at all what you think)

Apocalypse background

If a credible source told you the precise day you were going to die, it would presumably cause a great deal of anxiety. So maybe you decide to take actions to minimize the chance of this happening. You watch what you eat more carefully, you exercise intensively to stay fit – just in case you need to act swiftly – and you otherwise change your daily routine to stay prepared for any possible difficulties that might befall you on your predicted date of death. This existential preoccupation may alone be the difference between life and death. For example, maybe you were mentally distracted while crossing a street and got hit by a car, or you worked out so much to keep fit that your heart failed because it didn’t have enough time to rest. Or perhaps you couldn’t take the suspense and decide to end your own life. Regardless of the details, it’s this type of anxiety that makes doomsday prophecies come true for individuals.

Posted in Activism, Astronomy & Cosmos, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Say “Tata” to Unwanted Wrinkles and Slap the Years Right Off Your Face!

Are you willing to pay $350 in the name of beauty? Do you have no sense of scientific literacy and want to get a quick fix? Do believe that anything coming from the “mythical land of the East” is magical? Then welcome to Tata Massage, where trained specialists are waiting to literally slap the wrinkles away! These Thai specialists are waiting to smack some sense into you, and some wrinkles out of you. So come on down to the new store in San Francisco, California, where Tata Massage celebrated their grand opening on October 23rd! Or, you know… don’t.

Posted in Biographical, Culture, Medicine & Health, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 5 Quotes of Stupid America’s War on Smart People

The American war on smart people is incredible. For some reason, there has been a growing disdain for intellect and distrust for education in the “Greatest Country in the World,” and this year’s presidential election has never ceased to amaze me at every turn. The idea that people should not be educated, think critically, or be honest is ridiculous, foolish, and dangerous. Obviously not all education is equal (i.e,. unaccredited universities are garbage) and not all smart people are educated (nor are all educated people smart). But in general, no one should dismiss or denigrate education. So here is a list of the five most egregious quotes that demonstrate the growing animosity towards intelligence and education in America.

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Biology & Evolution, Culture, Featured, Legal Issues, Media, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

God on Trial (A BBC Masterpiece)

With a day before the next batch of Jews are to be dragged off to the gas chambers in another day during the Holocaust, a group of learned prisoners decided to conduct a trial. Perhaps it was to distract themselves, perhaps it was to vent, or maybe it was to feel some semblance of control or power before meeting their ultimate demise, being left to the memories of those who might live on. Whatever the case, the suspect in the trial was God. The charges? Breaking the covenant. The film “God on Trial” tells the story of these prisoners, and ends with a conclusive verdict, after a trial that completely engrosses everyone who would watch.

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The Ten Most Educated and Smartest Countries in 2012

An interesting ranking was recently reported by Yahoo! Finance, on the ten most educated countries of the world. That is, which countries have the highest percentage of people with post-secondary education. Apparently college and university graduation rates have increased in half a century by almost 200%, but the rates among countries vary greatly. And while it’s not surprising to see countries that spend a great deal of their GDPs on education, many of the countries on the list spend comparably little, and yet see high numbers of graduates. So after you check to see if your country made the list, be sure to ask yourself: Just what does this really mean?

Posted in Aggregators/lists/rankings, Culture, Japan, Media, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 62 Comments