Archive for the ‘Sketicism’ category

Vatican Creates Rules for Virgin Mary Sightings

May 24, 2012

According to Religions News Service, the Vatican has all it can take with all the “bogus” Virgin Mary sightings, and is creating a set of rules and guild-lines to authenticate future visions.

The Vatican has published rules to evaluate the authenticity of the dozens of apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported each year.

The rules also require an evaluation of the “personal qualities” of the alleged seer, including his or her “psychological equilibrium,” “rectitude of moral life” and “docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority.” The contents of the “revelation” must be “immune” from theological error, and the apparition must bear “abundant… spiritual fruit,” such as conversions.

The authenticity of the vision should be rejected if, among other factors, the alleged seer shows “psychological disorder” or “evidence of a search for profit.”

Ah, come on. If you’re going to rule out people with psychological disorders and those seeking profit, who’s going to be left? That’ll wipe out  pretty much all of them.

Drug Sniffing Dogs

January 5, 2012

We’re all aware of drug sniffing dogs. Only from the movies and TV, of course. Whenever someone foolishly tries to walk around public land with drugs on them, the dogs are there, signaling drug task forces by barking wildly.

As it turns out, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the dogs are correct less than half the time: 44% to be exact. And, if the occupants of the car are Hispanic, it’s even worse: 27% accuracy. While this may look bad, handlers and trainers don’t think we should pay much attention.

‘Dog-handling officers and trainers argue the canine teams’ accuracy shouldn’t be measured in the number of alerts that turn up drugs.’

Need I mention, that not alternative method of determining the dog’s accuracy is offered.

Turns out, there isn’t even any standard the dogs accuracy are held to. But, the dog’s behavior can give what the officers what they are most likely looking for: probably cause.

Skepticon IV: The Wrath of Woo

June 17, 2011

Ok, it should probably be subtitle “the Voyage to” something or other. But, I couldn’t think of anything that worked.

Anywoo, Skepticon 4, the Midwest’s largest skeptic convention, is now open for registration.

Check it out.



Bio-Station Alpha

June 10, 2011

Some guy spots a mysterious space station on Mars, and what does he have to say about it? “Whoever put it up there had a purpose, I’m sure.” Come on, be skeptical! We don’t  know they had a purpose! People do things for no reason all the time. It’s entirely possible that someone built Bio-Station Alpha on Mars just to pass some time.

Other than that, the guy does make a lot of sense. It is clearly a space station of some sort. Constructed entirely of blurry digital pixels.

William Lane Craig Debates a Teddy Bear

November 17, 2010

Unbelievers Growing in Numbers

November 10, 2010

Evidence For God

November 8, 2010

There’s been some discussion around the atheist blogsphere about what exactly one would accept as evidence for the existence of god, PZ Myers, and Greta Christina famously weigning in. So, there’s no reason for me to do so. But I will.

And just to be a dick, I’m not going to pick anything grandiose. I’ll pick an extremely small, very simple piece of evidence that anything that even comes close to be called a god should be able to do. Certainly one that has the ability to communicate with these petty little creatures down here on earth. Now, by itself, this piece of hypothetical evidence wouldn’t really prove the existence of a god, but it is something that would make me start taking the concept a little more seriously. And, it is a piece of evidence that, from my experience, a lot of Christians either aren’t aware of, or they just don’t really think much about.

Here it is:If every single copy of a religious writing we had and, since I live in American, let’s say the 27 works that make up the New Testament and, let’s narrow it down further to every single ancient copy, were identical, without copyist errors, like many Christian believe that they are, that would strike me as being really weird. It would be the kind of weird that makes you go, “Oh, that’s really weird. That doesn’t follow the normal set of circumstances that you would expect to see from human copyists”. As it is, they look very much like any other ancient writings of a secular nature that people are trying to preserve, with mostly careful well intended work, but quite a few blunders all over the place. There are spelling errors, translation errors, and weird errors that have been given specific names like parablepsis, and homoeoteleuton, that makes them all seem so … not supernatural.

I think Bart Ehrman said something like (paraphrase) why would god perform the miracle of inspiring the texts if he wasn’t going to perform the miracle of preserving the texts.

Or,even if the method of “God some supernatural being transmitting his “word” took some other form than one that human beings had already been doing for a few thousand years, writing it down, usually in the form of edifying stories, on paper/papyrus/stone. I don’t now nor have ever seen anything even slightly eye brow raising about any religious writing. Some of the stories are fun, but then again, I love Zardoz. Have you ever seen it? Fun movie. And, nobody would ever claim that it’s divinely inspired. In fact, me liking something is pretty good proof that it’s not divinely inspired.