Month: December 2010

The paranormal is always with us

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While browsing New Scientist the other day, I came across this article – a report on a recent paper by one Daryl Bem, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It seems Bem is psychologist of some note, but also an amateur magician, who has now moved onto things paranormal after hooking up with a guy called Chuck Honorton (now deceased) who seems to have been one of the major contributors to paranormal research (such as it is).

In his paper, Bem claims to have measured precognition – the ability to perceive future events. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elmore marketing at work

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One of the red flags about the whole Elmore Oil thing is that the marketing hype and anecdotal evidence is clearly more important to the vendors than demonstrating efficacy via some basic testing.

The marketing machine obviously scours the internet, and has tracked down this humble little blog. One of the responses to my original article gave me chapter and verse on the magic substance, but didn’t really address the issues I raised, about demonstrating efficacy, so my bullshit antennae started twitching and I didn’t publish it immediately. Rather, I emailed the (anonymous) sender to inquire whether they had any connection to Elmore Oil. Needless to say, I have not received a response.

Anyway, here it is – you be the judge – comment or sales pitch? Read the rest of this entry »

Elmore Oil – Does it work?

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While watching TV today (the cricket if you must know), I saw a promo for ‘A Current Affair’, featuring the typical line-up you’d expect, but one caught my sceptical eye – Elmore Oil. I seem to recall this from days past, and sure enough a quick google revealed the same story on Channel 7 (Today Tonight) in 2007.

The claims made for this stuff are pretty extraordinary, so I thought I would do some quick investigation, and the findings are interesting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Down the Religiati

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It seems I’ve now written a few items on religion, and that subject is emerging as one which really gets me going. I’ve been particularly motivated by the discussion relating to education, another of my areas of interest.

Having read many pieces by the religiati, I am now getting a fuller picture of the religious ‘universe’, as well as the tactics being employed. I have enthusiastically dissected a couple of articles now, which is actually very satisfying. But now it’s time to make some general observations. Read the rest of this entry »

More on Ethics in Schools

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At the risk of over-cooking this subject, I’ve become fascinated by the debate that this generally harmless proposal has created. See my earlier post on this.

In a recent article by Neil Ormerod, we see once again the arrogance of religious scholars on display. Read the rest of this entry »

A small victory…

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For all those who’ve been outraged by the success of crappy little ‘powerbalance’ bands, here is some good news.

This is a brand of ‘woo’ that very much taps into the placebo effect, using some key tech terms such as energy, balance, and holograms which “work with your body’s natural energy field”. Yeah, right.

Trouble is gazillions of people bought them.

Now the ACCC has slapped them down, and ordered them to refund all customers who feel they were misled! That should be most of them.

More on Oprah and Kim Tinkham

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Well it seems that my link to Orac’s article on Kim Tinkham has created a stir, mainly because of the explicit slight on Oprah. Rather than leaving it at a simple one-liner as I did, I now need to go on record with my views. Read the rest of this entry »