Stupid Atheist Memes, Part…I Don’t Remember

This edition of Stupid Atheist Memes is kind of mixed, actually. The meme does make a very good point about prayer and how confirmation bias leads believers to consider absolutely any outcome as a successful test of its efficacy. But then it goes and ruins it in the last line by pretending that confirmation bias is an indicator of a "cult mentality" rather than of routine human thought processes. … [Read more...]

No, Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason

Tim Lawrence writes at some length about what I consider one of the most irritating phrases in the English language: "Everything happens for a reason." My response to hearing someone say that ranges from eye rolling to rage, depending on what they're talking about. Lawrence takes his opposition to this platitude a lot further than I would, saying that you should remove those who say it from your life: … [Read more...]

‘Witches’ Gather to Cast Spells on Donald Trump

A group of "witches" offended by Donald Trump's anti-immigrant racism and xenophobia has decided that the best way to fight against him and keep him from becoming president is to cast spells and put curses on him. They've even cast a spell that would, they say, destroy his ridiculous combover. … [Read more...]

Rod Parsley’s Prosperity Gospel and Faith Healing Nonsense

About 20 years ago, I first encountered Rod Parsley on one of the half dozen Christian TV networks on my cable. He's a standard issue prosperity gospel-preaching and faith-healing con artist, but he's particularly charismatic and incredibly good at keeping his audience enraptured as he spews the dumbest things imaginable. Here's video of him claiming that a woman's baby was healed of brain tumors because she gave him money: … [Read more...]

Donald Trump’s Amway-Style Naturopathic Health Scam

In addition to his Trump University, which was determined to be an unaccredited scam by the state of New York, Donald Trump also had a short-lived multi-level marketing company that sold both get rich quick dreams (what MLM doesn't?) and a completely useless set of naturopathic "remedies," vitamins and work-free weight loss products. Britt Hermes, a former naturopath turned legitimate biomedical researcher, nails him for it: … [Read more...]

Jennifer LeClaire is Not Happy With John Oliver

You've probably seen by now John Oliver's brilliant take down of the "prosperity gospel" that is preached by most of the nation's (world's?) televangelist con men and women from last week. Jennifer LeClaire, editor of Charisma News, is quite displeased with Mr. Oliver for making fun of what she claims he doesn't understand, but I'm afraid she rather obviously misses the point of his critique. … [Read more...]

Pat Robertson Explains His Faith Healing Scam

As a teenager, I watched the 700 Club nearly every day. Even as a Christian then, it always seemed weird to me that he would spend several minutes on every show calling out unspecified healings. He would declare that someone out there is being healed of a respiratory infection or a bad back, and then once a week or so they would do a segment on someone who saw that on TV and was just sure they were the one being healed. On a recent show, Robertson explained this decades-old practice. … [Read more...]

Really, CNN?

Man, it must be a really slow news day over at CNN. Or maybe they're just waiting for another Malaysian airliner to disappear or get shot down. So what are they reporting in the meantime? They're reporting on what "psychics" think about where the stock market is going. … [Read more...]

WGN Anchor Hammers a ‘Psychic’

WGN anchor Larry Potash slammed a "psychic" who failed completely at a cold reading in the studio. When she offered to do a private reading for him, he said she did, "Awful! Not even close! I mean, if you're going to sell yourself as a psychic, at least be good at it! It's an old parlor trick." Yep, it is. Here's the video: … [Read more...]

News Station Tells How to Avoid ‘Psychic Scammers’

WGCL, the CBS affiliate TV station in Atlanta, clearly wants to help its readers. To that end, they published an article on "how to avoid psychic scammers" in reference to a recent case there. I think the article pretty obviously misses the relevant facts. … [Read more...]

Shocker: Long Island Medium a Fraud

I'm sure this will come as a huge shock, but it appears that Teresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, might actually be a fraud. Radar Online has a report on some of the fans who went to her shows coming away disappointed and skeptical that she might not be telling the truth about her magical powers. … [Read more...]

Does Irrationality Undermine Rationalism?

Greta Christina writes about one of the vexxing issues for those of us who advocate reason and rationality, the fact that the human brain is only partly capable of those things. We are more prone to rationalization than we are to rationality. So what does this mean for the fight for a more rational society? … [Read more...]