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Examining claims that humans can “absorb energy from one another”, a pseudo-scientific idea that exploits genuine research.

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Of all the publications I expected a nasty dose of ‘quantum-woo’ from, it was not PC Magazine. And yet there it was today. Nestled amongst reviews of smartphones and news of Facebook glitches, the claim that consciousness can cause changes in matter and that this is demonstrated in Young’s double-slit experiment. Time for a quantum debunking.

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So my friend who is super paranoid about EMFs and is a true believer in all things pseudoscientific (homeopathy, etc.), sent me this link. Anybody got any up to date skeptical links on this subject?

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Psychic's, Mediums; people who claim to do the incredible, boasting they have performed feats such as; predicting outcomes to events as well as seeing or hearing spirits of the deceased. Today's theory will be an examination of world renown psychic; Sylvia Browne.

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James Randi (+James Randi Educational Foundation) and Steven "Banachek" Shaw (+Banachek Shaw) work together to expose the fraudulent nature of self-proclaimed psychics while introducing James Randi's world-famous $1-million challenge.

Video duration:  7 minutes 35 seconds.

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"Atheism Disproved" by James F. McGrath (+James McGrath).

The argument presented in this article doesn't make sense.  How does one disprove a classification?  If the author was targeting anti-theism, then that would make sense since anti-theism is a position, but atheism is nothing other than the classification of "absence of belief in deities" (

Because atheism proffers no claims nor assumptions, it is therefore logically exempt from any burden of proof and cannot be disproven (or proven).

[Transcription of text from featured image:  "1. Cats exist.  2. Cats were gods for the Egyptians.  3. Therefore, gods exist.  4. Therefore, atheism is false."]

From the attached article...

Atheism is easy to disprove. Watch:

1. Cats exist
2. Ancient Egyptians (as well as some current cat owners) worship cats as gods
3. Therefore, gods exist
4. Therefore, atheism is false

[See attached article for the remaining paragraphs...]

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Something to keep in mind about skepticism...

This video provides an important point about the media -- it's not uncommon for different media organizations to provide varying perspectives in their productions, which is important to keep in mind because this helps to justify applying skepticism to media reports in the context of understanding that news reports can be (and probably usually are) incomplete (and for many different reasons).

In this video example, the President of China was protected by a large contingent of bodyguards, and some media choose to focus on this aspect of the Chinese President's visit to Hong Kong (perhaps to instill a bias that makes the President appear more militant?) instead of the visit itself.  One thing I did like was that the presenter at the beginning of this video specifically emphasized the presentation of different perspectives (and I'd very much like for all the media to do this more often).

Although it was interesting to see the few glimpses of the bodyguards carrying out their duties (and driving their cars with the doors open so as to help reduce the time required for "jumping into action" should the need arise, etc), near the end of the video an additional perspective that seems out of place and somewhat demeaning of Chinese women was introduced -- according to the subtitles (which don't provide a grammatically perfect English translation), "These bodyguards are not only young but also handsome, really turn the female journalists on."  (If this was an attempt at humour, as I suspect it might have been, it failed to entertain me.)

If you ever needed an example of applying Occam's Razor, then that final statement about the bodyguards being handsome and turning on female journalists is a very easy place to start because, in addition to revealing the irrelevant point about the peculiar mindset of the media producers, how handsome the bodyguards are is also irrelevant, hence these points may be trivially discarded.

And to raise further doubt, the media report did not seem to include any interviews with any female journalists who were allegedly "turned on at the sight of handsome male bodyguards" nor any other supporting information, and so the assertion about female journalists therefore lacks credibility.

In the context of the Presidential visit, the whole focus on the bodyguards is also generally irrelevant to the event (although not as irrelevant as how handsome the bodyguards are and how that turns on female journalists), and merely mentioning that the Chinese President was accompanied by bodyguards would have been sufficient since the highlight was obviously the fact that the President was visiting Hong Kong.

Of course this leaves me wondering about the quality of journalism amidst my appreciation for the diversity of perspective (and to be fair, "different perspectives" were stated as a focal point at the beginning of the media report), and so I chalk it up to freedom of expression being helpful yet again in facilitating the revealing of where any given media organization's priorities seem to be.

For more information about Occam's Razor, please see this RationalWiki (+RationalWiki) article:'s_razor

See also (how to "step up your intellectual game"):

See also (information about China's President and Vice President):

Video duration:  1 minute 35 seconds.

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"Does China's Cat-Eyed Boy Really Have Night Vision?" by Natalie Wolchover (+Natalie Wolchover).

[Caption with featured image:  "Nong You-hui's teachers and parents claim he can see in the dark.  Credit: YouTube | ADG (UK)."]

This article provides a fairly thorough example of using scientific knowledge in the application of skepticism.  But before you read this article, think about whether you would like to have the ability to see in the dark, and attempt to analyze your emotions -- if any human could see in the dark as well as nearly all cats without negative side effects during daylight hours, etc., they would clearly have a very useful advantage...

With such an advantage, how might you feel in the context of other members of the species progressing on what appears to be the evolutionary stage?  Or if you don't feel any negativity or hostility or jealousy, what about others who might have such feelings?  Now with that in mind, consider how intelligent inventors of the distant past might have been mistreated by society "just because they were different."

"Science was never a part of religion.  Religion sought to control science, not foster it.  Science is a methodology of experimentation and testing founded on skepticism.  That is the opposite of a religious worldview.  Science and religion are not 'overlapping magisteria.'"
   -- Bruce Lindman (August 13, 2013) +Bruce Lindman

Understanding how emotions can play into biasing belief may be therapeutic if you have a desire to become both a better skeptic and better at explaining the application of skepticism to others.

"The truth isn't always an easy pill to swallow, but that doesn't mean you don't tell the truth."
   -- Armoured Skeptic (2014-Apr-04) +Armoured Skeptic +Skeptalot Skeptic

I would very much like for such evolutionary progress to be real because, to me, it would be an exciting advancement to observe in this lifetime.  By the same token, I'm delighted that skeptics are also debunking such claims because false hope, in my strong opinion, causes more problems in society than it solves.

While reading this article, I suggest not losing sight of an important frame of mind by repeatedly asking yourself a question:  "How can I continue to be better at not getting skepticism wrong?  Are there some parallels insights that can be gained from this process of examining the problems with this claim that I might apply to the areas of expertise and unique knowledge of facts that are in my possession?"

"The people who are constantly striving to apply skepticism to everything in their lives, the ones who actually care enough about truth and [care to try to] avoid being wrong, and biased, and prejudiced, and clueless; those are the people we need, and need to be."
   -- Matt Dillahunty (AACON 2013) +Matt Dillahunty +Matt Dillahunty

"Skeptics and people who promote disbelief or lack of belief in general can't get followers to commit atrocities in their cause, which we wouldn't want anyway (unlike communists) because the first principle of skepticism is to question everything, including the person who's telling you to question everything."
   -- Solomon Eraut (2015-Nov-27) +Solomon Eraut

From the attached article...

According to a news reel from China, a young boy there possesses the ability to see in the dark. Like a Siamese cat's, his sky-blue eyes flash neon green when illuminated by a flashlight, and his night vision is good enough to enable him to fill out questionnaires while sitting in a pitch black room — or so say the reporters who visited Nong Yousui in his hometown of Dahua three years ago.

The footage of Nong and his strange-looking eyes originally surfaced in 2009; it got little attention at the time, but is now making a splash all over the Web. If the boy really does have a genetic mutation that confers night vision, then he would be an interesting subject for analysis by vision scientists, evolutionary biologists, and genetic engineers alike — but does he? 

The experts we shared the video with say Nong does have unusually colored irises considering his ethnicity, but he's not the next step in human evolution.

Night vision is made possible by a layer of cells, called the tapetum lucidum, in the eyes of cats and other nocturnal animals. This thin layer is a "retroreflector" — when a beam of light hits it, it reflects the light directly back along its incoming path. The reflected beam constructively interferes with the incoming light beam, amplifying the overall signal that hits the retina and enabling the animal to see in very low-light conditions. Retroreflection also causes cat eyes to flash when they are lit upon at night, and experts say Nong's eyes, if they are truly catlike, should do the same. [Red-Green & Blue-Yellow: The Stunning Colors You Can't See]

"It would be easy to test the boy’s eyes for retroreflection (eyeshine), which would be indicative of a tapetum lucidum," said Nathaniel Greene, a physicist at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania who has studied retroreflection.

In fact, such a test is run in the video.

In the footage, Nong's teacher claims the boy's eyes flash when shined with a flashlight in the dark, but the reporters don't seem to be able to catch the effect on camera. When Nong's eyes are illuminated in the dark, they appear normal. James Reynolds, a pediatric ophthalmologist at State University of New York in Buffalo, noted, "A video could capture [eyeshine] easily, just like in nature films of leopards at night."

[See attached article for the remaining paragraphs...]

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Imagine a #skepticism #podcast made up of people sending in episodes they have done on their favourite skeptical topic, sort of like how +365 Days of Astronomy​ was crowd-sourced.

votes visible to Public
I would listen
I would submit
I would do both
Not interested

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Some predictably hilarious read to NASA’s Pluto pics.
Check out the links in the article for a good laugh.
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