"A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." - Dr. Steven Novella of The New England Skeptics and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.

The Press: 'More ghosts' after earthquake

Gah... Here's one of the reasons I dislike reporters. :/ Or maybe editors. Not sure. Anyway, last night I was called by a reporter at The Press to comment on the supposed increase in paranormal events since #eqnz.

http://goo.gl/w7YWI

I'm quoted at the end and they miss the important bit. The bit where I point out that there is, to date, no credible evidence of an afterlife. :/

Skeptember

Hi all

A couple of months ago the idea was raised to rebrand September as Skeptember, in much the same vain as this month is Movember, and organise a series of events of a skepical nature.

I am happy to spearhead the effort and am looking for volunteers to form some sort of 'committee' of organisers.

My initial thoughts are to have a series of [insert topic!]awareness weeks with people organising local activities around the country. Topics could include:

1. (S)CAM awareness week with another mass homeopathic overdose amongst other things....

More facts about vaccines....

In order to carry on with the theme of

Vaccine Awareness Week,

this post intends to selectively address some of the "talking points" made by anti-vaccination groups, mainly addressing misinformation about the immune system. If you know of any more facts, add them in the comments with appropriate links.

"Natural immunity is far superior to artificial immunity."

Natural immunity

Rebecca Watson NZ Tour :: Christchurch

2010-12-07 19:00

Rebecca Watson leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears regularly on the Curiosity Aroused podcast, the weekly Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and the Little Atoms radio show. She currently lives in London but travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it.

XKCD : The Economic Argument

XKCD just rocks. :)
The Economic Argument

Near certainty vs absolute certainty

So I was recently reading about Kullback-Leibler divergence in the hopes of finding something to help me with the problem I'm working on (I have a feeling my next presentation will need the subtitle "My descent into statistics") when I found a passage on wikipedia that resonated quite well with me (appropriate links mostly added by me):

A Handy Alternative Therapy Flowchart

@Crispian_Jago has produced a fantastic flowchart to assist you with determining which Alt-Med option is best suited for you. Click through to see the full sized version on his blog.

Final nail in the coffin for the AVN?

Anti-vaccination group stripped of status

A CONTROVERSIAL NSW-based anti-vaccination group has been stripped of its charitable status after the state government found its appeals had not been conducted in good faith.

The Australian Vaccination Network (AVN) was ordered in July to publish a disclaimer on its website stating the group was anti-vaccination and its material shouldn't be read as medical advice.

Papal Irony

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/technologies+confuse+reality+fiction...
"New technologies and the progress they bring can make it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion and can lead to confusion between reality and virtual reality," the pope said.

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