More detail on homoeopathic dilution
Forer, B “The fallacy of personal validation: a classroom demonstration of gullibility” 1949 Journal of Abnormal Psychology 44 (1): 118—123
Kaptchuk, T et al “Placebos without deception” 2010 PLoS ONE 5(12)*
Skinner, B F “Superstition in the pigeon” 1948 Journal of Experimental Psychology 38 (2): 168-172
*Though the notion of placebos without deception opens up an interesting line of enquiry, the methodology of Kaptchuk’s particular study has attracted some criticism which seems valid and reasonable.
This is one of the smaller and more superstitious Lutheran splinter groups.
A conservative Lutheran group is reprimanding its pastor in Newtown, Connecticut, for participating in an interfaith vigil after the Sandy Hook massacre.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod says the Reverend Rob Morris inadvertently gave the impression that he was involved in joint worship with clergy from other religions. The denomination bars joint worship because it doesn’t want to appear to mix its beliefs with those of other churches.
The December 16th vigil included Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other leaders. President Barack Obama and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy attended.
The church says Morris has apologized for taking part in the event.
Helen Ukpabio, head of the Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries in Nigeria, is a notorious witch hunter who targets children with accusations of witchcraft. This filth is coming to the United States this summer to spread her poison to a well already sick with superstition and myth.
Yeah, the faitheists and believers think I’m a bad guy, for the reasons above (and I’m OK with that). My other sin, though, is that I encourage other atheists to join me, I reinforce my kind of rudeness in a large group of people, and I do that community building stuff. I foster my tribe. We grow stronger and louder and bolder, we are all bad guys together.
Of course, the kind of bad guys we are are the ones encouraged by Carl Sagan: the critics of mysticism and foolishness who do not sit silent when a god-botherer says something stupid. We misbehave because it’s about damn time someone did.
“…if we offer too much silent assent about mysticism and superstition ‐ even when it seems to be doing a little good ‐ we abet a general climate in which skepticism is considered impolite, science tiresome, and rigorous thinking somehow stuffy and inappropriate. Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom.”
That’s us. No silence. We fight the idea that skepticism might be impolite by being impolite all the time, making the questioning of dogma commonplace and frequent. After all, why should it be considered so awful for a horde of atheists to point out that Christianity or Islam or Judaism or Hinduism are ridiculous? The are ridiculous and are going to get ridiculed.
Here’s something else I think atheists should be:
The Operative: Do you know what your sin is, Mal?
Mal: Aw, hell, I’m a fan of all seven. But right now, I’m gonna have to go with wrath.
I see priests raping children. I see a publicity-seeking nun praising pain and suffering, poverty and sickness. I see politicians pandering for votes by demanding the persecution of gays in the name of Jesus. I see godly men declaring that the role of women is to be silent and subservient…and brood a quiverful of children. I see fanatics strapping explosives to their bodies and killing randomly in the name of their god. I see lobbyists hard at work, trying to dilute science education, and suggesting that we teach the Flintstones as fact in our biology classes. I see a pope in fancy silks and gold-bedecked palace urging people to shun materialism and savor the simple life. I see deluded people opposing work to alleviate climate change because they’re sure God wouldn’t let it happen. I see ordinary people certain that these are the End Times, rejoicing in our imagined imminent apocalypse, and actively working to bring it about.
If you aren’t angry, there’s something wrong with you.
Vehicle licensing officials in troubled Afghanistan have hit a new pothole - a curious aversion for registrations containing the number 39.
The new plates are stacking up at the Kabul traffic police department and car prices and sales have been hit.
For some reason number 39 is held as a mark of great shame by Afghans.
It is thought the taboo started because a pimp had 39 on his number plate. Others say it dates from an old way of calculating numbers called “Abjad”.
Whatever the explanation, the aversion has spread around the country and seems to be growing.
“I am gutted that my car has a 39 number plate. I have had enough of people’s taunts,” said Ahmad Ghafor, a taxi driver in Kabul.
They see ‘em rolling, they hating…
This model tests the robustness of superstitions, and how they might persist in the face of contradictory evidence. The more times you carry a lucky charm the more likely you will be convinced it doesn’t work, surprisingly only if you originally believed it would. If you doubted it in the first place, a large number of trials might present you with enough positive experiences so that you might very well begin to believe.
“Their work is helpful,” said Marc Mangel, an applied mathematics and statistics professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “It shows how these adaptive learning mechanisms can be leading us to places we shouldn’t go.”
But Killeen thinks something is left out of their model, elegant as he thinks it is.
“Sometimes simpler answers suffice; for beasts like us who are never quite sure that we are well enough informed, taking that multivitamin and knocking wood puts the semblance of control back in our hands, and that feels good,” Killeen said.
From “The Journal Gazette”
Latisha Lawson still believes she did what God told her to do in November 2009 when she forced her toddler to drink a mixture of vinegar and olive oil.
Even though it killed him. Even though she was convicted of murder and other charges in Jezaih King’s death.
Magical thinking and baseless superstition kills.
But her attorney said she was obviously under the power of some type of delusion, having given herself over completely to a religious fervor that supplanted reality.
Birtherism and Bircherism apparently aren’t crazy enough, so World Nut Drooly has decided to go Apocalypto on us. While acknowledging that Pastor Camping’s Rapture predictions were “misguided,” Joe Farah goes him one better in the superstition hyperbole sweepstakes by suggesting that recent weather disasters are God’s wrath over Obama’s mideast policies. For real. I’m sure the battered residents of Joplin will appreciate this. The link is to a Freep posting.
Bible prophecy may have a bad name in the light of Harold Camping’s misguided date-setting, but the biggest sign of the end may have been overlooked in all the rapture hysteria of last weekend.
Once again, we’ve seen the U.S. hit with a series of deadly superstorms following Barack Obama’s pledge to return Israel to pre-1967 borders.
Just days after Obama insisted Israel must give up lands it won through military victory with its enemies, some 200 people were killed by a tornado in Joplin, Mo.
There’s a pattern here.
We saw it in Katrina, when George Bush forced Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. In fact, as everyone from Israeli rabbis to U.S. senators have noted, it seems to happen every single time the U.S. pressures Israel to divide the land.
The phenomenon was best documented by Bill Koenig, author of “Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel.”
JEDDAH: A total of 30 officials of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) have been trained on how to deal with cases of black magic.
The three-day training program was held in the Eastern Province city of Al-Ahsa.
The commission has achieved remarkable successes in combating black magic in various parts of the country. It has set up nine specialized centers in the main cities to deal with black magicians.
The majority of people arrested for practicing black magic in the Kingdom are Africans and Indonesians.
According to a report received by Arab News, a single specialized center had dealt with 586 cases involving black magic, showing the enormity of the problem.
About 50 cases were reported in Jeddah alone in the first half of 2009. Gurayat and Qunfuda also reported high rates of black magic cases during that year.
The Riyadh governorate last year launched a campaign against black magicians and those who illegally treat people by reading from the Qur’an.
Only qualified Saudis are allowed to practice Qur’anic treatment methods. Expatriates practicing such treatments would be caught and deported.