Skeptical Thoughts

09th November 2020

Here are the topics I chose to talk about on RadioLive for the week. Some of them may not have been mentioned on the radio due to a lack of time.


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  • Can a jade amulet protect against COVID?

    The above title is my paraphrasing of a recent paper published in an Elsevier-owned scientific journal, Science of The Total Environment. The paper’s actual title is:

    3 min read, 486 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Election, Trump

  • NZ’s Luminate Festival is moving away from reality

    The Luminate festival, held each year outside of Nelson, has always been a little out of touch with science. But, as David Farrier shows, things appear to be getting worse. The festival has been flirting with conspiracy theories and woo peddlers, in a list they published on the Luminate website called the “13 Crystal Seeds of Positive Change”. The list included the names of people who have inspired the festival’s organisers. You get one point for each of the following names you recognise:

    2 min read, 370 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: NZ, Luminate

  • Not everyone loved Randi

    If the US election hasn’t caused you enough stress, you could read a recent “take down” of James Randi titled The man who destroyed skepticism, published soon after his death on the popular Boing Boing blog, that is sure to make your blood boil. I for one was very surprised and disappointed to see the Boing Boing website, which normally has a reputation for good quality reporting, hosting this hit piece written by Mitch Horowitz. Mitch is a believer in the spiritual realm, and his own website describes him as “a historian of alternative spirituality and one of today's most literate voices of esoterica, mysticism, and the occult”. The article includes such gems as:

    3 min read, 449 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Community, Randi

  • WWG1WGA

    I’m sure most people will have heard of QAnon by now - the anonymously named Q who posts online about shadowy organisations, and talks about how president Trump is fighting dark forces in the US. QAnon tends to use lots of code names and obscure references, including the oft used acronym as the title of this section - it means Where We Go 1, We Go All. Here are a couple of examples of QAnon messages:

    3 min read, 438 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Politics, QAnon