Skepticism, Science, and Scholarship

P. Z. Myers has seen the dark side of skepticism, the fact that its tools can be applied not just to fringe bunk but to anything and everything. And so he has written in an effort to distinguish science and skepticism. Here is an excerpt from his recent post on the topic: A short while [Read More...]

Religion, Sci-Fi, and Conspiracy Theories

In reading Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood in my science fiction class this semester, one of the topics that it raised pertains to conspiracy theories. How do we avoid the shoddy thinking that typical conspiracy theories cultivate? And if we do that, being skeptical even of those so-called skeptics, then will we be [Read More...]

Whom Can We Trust?

Yesterday in my class on religion and science fiction, we began discussing Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Year of the Flood. On the same day, news broke of a salmonella outbreak in multiple states involving some seven different strains of the illness, with CDC workers returning to work despite the so-called government shutdown. News also [Read More...]

Fundamentalism and Conspiracy Theories

Jeri Massi has been blogging about the connection between Christian fundamentalism and conspiracy theories. Here is a taste from her second post about this subject: [C]onspiracy theories are launched and spread by people who need an excuse for their powerlessness. And some psychologists warn that avid fans of conspiracy theories: those who go from one [Read More...]

Ender’s Game

It was a longstanding gap in my reading of science fiction literature that I had never read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. With my religion and science fiction class soon to begin, and Ender’s Game being turned into a movie, I knew it was time to rectify things. I already owned a copy, and so it [Read More...]

Mandaean Roots of Christianity?

This book came to my attention recently via Facebook. There is also a promotional video which contains only text plus images that can be found on the internet. This self-published book is unlikely to offer anything useful to scholars interested in the Mandaeans. That doesn’t mean, however, that it is impossible there were connections between [Read More...]

Sandy Hook and Jesus Mythicisms

Most of us have watched in horror and dismay as a small handful of people have spun conspiracy theories around the tragic shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Andii Bowsher has noted the connection with another sort of denialism, that which one encounters in Biblical studies. Andii quotes an article from The Guardian which [Read More...]

Paranoid Hype in Political Discourse

I wonder how many of those who make ridiculous paranoid claims about presidential candidates actually believe them, and how many of those who originate them do so knowing full well that they are false, but hoping that enough gullible people will fall for them to help swing the election. Fred Clark has a nice round-up [Read More...]

Mythicism as Conspiracy Theory

That’s the title of an article in Slate by Evgeny Morozov, and there are a couple of quotes in which a simple substitution can be made so that they apply equally well to creationists, mythicists, and other denialists. Here’s an example: “In other words, mere exposure to the current state of the scientific historical consensus [Read More...]

Tim Tebow Have I Loved, The Metric System Have I Hated?

I was going to refrain from posting anything on the topic of Tim Tebow throwing 316 yards. But since it is 2012, and in addition to the Mayan calendar, apparently Ronald Weinland (formerly of the Worldwide Church of God) is predicting the end of the world this year, it seems worth mentioning both, since they [Read More...]

Intelligent Design is Counter-Evidence to Intelligent Design

This XKCD cartoon is not new, but seeing it again after a commenter shared a link to it, it struck me in a new way. Read the comic, then see my thoughts below it… The Intelligent Design movement, like young-earth creationism, mythicism, moon landing hoaxers, 9/11 conspiracy theorists and so many others, illustrate the way [Read More...]


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