Skeptical Thoughts

14th April 2021

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.

  • New COVID misinformation pamphlet

    Kyle Chapman, ex head of the New Zealand National Front, is planning to distribute leaflets about the COVID vaccine in New Zealand:

    2 min read, 314 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Conspiracy, COVID

  • How to help those who have lost their way

    A work colleague reached out to me the other day with an interesting question. One of his close family members has fallen down a conspiracy rabbit hole, and now spends a lot of time talking about QAnon, the “Deep State”, etc. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with these kinds of rabbit holes, it’s not entirely benign - the family member has now branched into COVID vaccine denial, which has a real chance of negatively impacting on their health.

    5 min read, 872 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Conspiracy

  • The Prince Philip Movement

    On the news of Prince Philip’s death, my thoughts go out not just to the British Royal Family, but also to the members of the Prince Philip Movement in Vanuatu. This movement, a very small religious group, believe that Prince Philip is the son of a local mountain god who traveled overseas and married a powerful woman. The group has been described as a cargo cult, and there’s even a suggestion that Philip was John Frum’s brother - John Frum is a mythical American military man, around which a cargo cult religion started in the late 1930s.

    2 min read, 225 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Religion

  • The Pope is a hologram

    I’m a bit late to the party with this one, but there is footage on YouTube from last year where the pope gives a blessing from an upper floor window. After the blessing the pope turns around and starts walking away from the window. After a couple of steps, he suddenly just pops out of existence - disappears into thin air. Some people have taken this as evidence that the pope was never actually physically at the window, but instead had been replaced with a hologram - and that this hologram had been turned off prematurely, before it had moved out of sight. Maybe a decision was taken not to risk the pope’s health during a pandemic. Maybe the pope is a lie? It does look pretty weird.

    2 min read, 332 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Religion, Conspiracy

  • Sue Grey update

    After talking about Sue Grey’s threat to sue the government last week, I found out that Sue was planning to give a talk on the steps of parliament the next day. So during my lunch break last Thursday I wandered up to the Beehive, to see more about why Sue thinks the government’s rollout of the COVID vaccine needs to be stopped.

    3 min read, 403 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Politics, COVID

  • UFOs over Melbourne?

    Disappointingly, despite the excitement, I’m sure many listeners will already have figured out what the rational explanation for this string of lights in the sky over Melbourne was: Elon Musk’s Starlink, a company that is providing satellite based internet - with a few tens of thousands of satellites planned to be deployed over the next few years. There are valid questions about whether these devices are damaging to astronomy, and have the potential to clutter earth’s orbit, but they’re definitely not visiting aliens. If you are able to get out and see these satellites as they maneuver themselves into their operational orbits, I’d definitely recommend it. I saw them late last year, and it was an impressive sight - a real testament to modern technology.

    1 min read, 128 words. Continue Reading...

    Categories: Skepticism , Tags: UFO