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Posts Tagged with ÔBuntingŐ


Everyone Must Die at Lily Dale

August 29th, 2010 by

Medium burned by poorly-Photoshopped ghost of James Randi

BY JOSH BUNTING


In the mid-19th century, three sisters from a sleepy upstate NY community managed to convince the world that they could communicate with the dead. Late in their lives, two of the Fox sisters demonstrated how they pulled off this fraud (one of them simply cracked the knuckle in her big toe). Unfortunately, their confession wasn’t enough to change the minds of true “spirit world” believers, and the legend continues to the present. So does the tradition of bilking the gullible. (more…)

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The 5 Worst Quacks Around Today

August 17th, 2010 by
quacks

I’m going to have to limit this list to people who are currently practicing some form of quackery, because if I tried to make a historical list I’d feel compelled to handicap for that person’s period in history. So Isaac Newton, who was literally one of the smartest people ever, believed in alchemy. The great 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler believed in astrology. Lots of the ancient Greek philosophers believed in demons. Demons that controlled their thoughts. Seriously. But you’ve really got to cut them some slack because of how primitive human understanding was in their times. If you’re living in a technologically advanced society today, as the five below are, you really have no excuse for that kind of ignorance. So to make it a level playing field, here are what I think are the worst purveyors of antiscientific pseudomedicine around today. (more…)

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The 5 Best Cases of Religious Schadenfreude

August 12th, 2010 by

Schadenfreude isn’t even the best word to describe what you feel when you hear about cases like these. It’s a very specific kind of schadenfreude: one where you know that the subject’s irrational beliefs somehow shaped their own downfall, so that their own life becomes a case study against the very worldview they had adopted. We’re all happy that Hitler killed himself in the end, but how much sweeter would it have been if rumors of him being part Jewish had sent him to his own gas chambers? Clearly, that would have been awesome. So let’s look at some cases like that.

(more…)

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"Bob" is Dead

July 6th, 2010 by

X-DAY-SUCKED

Church of the Subgenius X Day disappoints the faithless

BY JOSH BUNTING


The naked old man on the dirt road in the middle of the Brushwood Folklore Center didn’t seem like he was going from one place to another. He and his shriveled up dick were just out there, on display for anyone driving around or whose eyes happened to wander around the huge open field, where he was one of a very few people walking around. So we turned away from him and started to explore the layout of the festivities before setting up some kind of base camp. (more…)

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Government bailouts of Christianity

June 1st, 2010 by

BY JOSH BUNTING

That’s what I think we ought to start calling these state/church separation issues. A phrase like “violation of the Establishment Clause” might interest nerds who are into constitutional law and secularism, but it’s the kind of phrase that causes everyone else’s eyes to just gloss over when spoken. (more…)

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Book review: Pygmy

December 8th, 2009 by

BY JOSH BUNTINGpygmy-chuck-palahniuk-hardcover-cover-art

OK, first of all, this book is much better than his previous one, so those who were disappointed by Snuff and thought Palahniuk was in decline can probably write that off as an anomaly.

But Pygmy is written in a very different, Engrish-y style. And it’s relentless. It almost never stops. The only escape from the narrator’s voice is through other characters when they speak. And unlike other books with a lot of slang (A Clockwork Orange, Irvine Welsh), it’s not something you can just put aside and hope it all starts to make more sense as you go. You really have to understand what the narrator means to say by syncing yourself up with his way of thinking or else the plot will escape you completely. (more…)

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Critical Massimo

October 7th, 2007 by

BY JOSH BUNTING

Massimo Pigliucci, Ph D., is a professor of evolution and of philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook. He has three doctorates – in genetics, botany, and philosophy. He contributes to Skeptical Inquirer and Philosophy Now, and his musings can be found at rationallyspeaking.org . We wrote to him and he wrote back.

It seems that people who are secular and/or have an understanding of evolution tend to procreate less. Does knowledge about evolution demystify the “miracle of birth,” and if so, doesn’t that indicate natural selection working against itself?

No, I don’t think demystification or natural selection have much to do with it. Certainly a naturalistic understanding of human reproduction does make one disinclined to think of life as a “miracle,” but that doesn’t mean it has less value, or that procreation becomes less of a strong instinct and a source of joy (and plenty of pain, of course). (more…)

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CULT CLASSIC

November 15th, 2006 by

Pseudoscience and Psychedelics in the Church of Scientology
by Ian Murphy

“I’m going to invent a religion that’s going to make me a fortune. I’m tired of writing for a penny a word.”
- L. Ron Hubbard

“If you leave this room after seeing this film, and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid, but you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge, or blow your brains out; that is your choice.”
- From the Scientology recruitment film Orientation.

“Hulk want PARTY!!!”
- The Incredible Hulk, upon being denied entrance to the Scientology Halloween party. (more…)

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