Learning to Paraphrase

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Applying the Baloney-Detection Kit

Skeptic magazine recently shared the Baloney-Detection Kit infographic below. I would challenge P. Z. Myers and Jerry Coyne to apply it to the mythicist bunk that they so gullibly embrace and promulgate. See also Paul Braterman’s recent article on the limits of logic, and Alison Head and John Wihbey’s article “The Importance of Truth Workers [Read More…]

Why Do We Believe Stuff That’s Not True?

‘Why do we believe stuff that’s not true?’ he said, and I said, ‘because it’s easier than admitting we don’t know. Which is a lot closer to reality. That’s what we humans do, we make up things about everything. There’s very little we really know, so we make it up and then believe it, until reality [Read More…]

Fake News is Old News in Religious Studies

It was recently drawn to my attention that the fact-checking and debunking website Snopes links to a blog post of mine, on the subject of the hoax that regularly circulates about chariot wheels allegedly being found in the Red Sea. It struck me not long after that that hoax is in fact an example of [Read More…]

Using Wikipedia

Via Butler University Libraries on Twitter. [Read more…]

Skepticism vs. Scholarship

Jonathan Bernier sums things up nicely: There is an unfortunate tendency in many circles to suppose that critical scholarship consists of pronouncing negative judgments on early Christians’ own self-understanding of their origins. I would suggest that this is a misunderstanding of what it means to be a critical historian. The critical historian is one who [Read More…]

Avoiding Plagiarism

Dear students, here’s a super-simple tip on how to avoid plagiarism. Imagine someone reading your sentence and asking, “How do you know that?” If the answer is something like “I read/heard/saw it somewhere” or “somebody told me,” you should acknowledge that source. If the answer is something like “everybody knows that,” you probably don’t need [Read More…]

Brief Quotes and Simple Explanations

The above cartoon from Abstruse Goose is called “Special Relativity Simply Explained.” But somewhat amusingly, if you download the image, it is called “How to ruin a scientist’s career overnight.” The comic illustrates an important point: a big issue in our time is not merely fake news, but looking to the news at all, even [Read More…]

What’s Your Source?

Dawn Trautman shared this image on Facebook. Does it match your perception of these sources? If not, do you assume that the issue is with the chart, or with your perception?   Also, does the infographic itself convey the message that being a political centrist is more correct than leaning to the right or left? Isn’t [Read More…]

Which Sci-Fi Dystopia Are You Living In?

To help with processing the election results, we connected them to a discussion (in my class on religion and science fiction) of dystopias. First, I should probably highlight the fact that people around Indianapolis today were depressed and disheartened, with some even weeping. How can this be, you might ask, when Indiana voted for Trump [Read More…]