Skepchick Quickies, 5.18


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Ghost Hunters:
    “Bond [the property owner] seemed ambivalent about whether the property is haunted. ‘These people [West Coast Ghost and Paranormal Society]claim to debunk it scientifically. I write it off to coincidence many times in my mind, but I’d like to see it proved scientifically,’ he said.”

    “Only about 5 percent of the group’s investigations can’t be explained by electromagnetic radiation, thin walls, faulty wiring, lights from passing cars or other normal explanations, said Rice, who called his investigators not ghost hunters, but ghost debunkers.”

    I’m getting my hopes up…

    “Other than the push down the stairs, Rice said he’s heard or seen a few strange things, like the ‘full-body apparition’ of a woman he saw move across Monti’s La Casa Vieja restaurant in Tempe, Ariz., which is housed in the city’s original pioneer home. Did he capture the image? ‘It was exactly where we didn’t have a camera placed,’ Rice said, but a camera did record his and the other investigator’s reactions to the figure.”


  2. @durnett: basically how I felt when I read the article.

    ‘Call to arms for the “real” psychics to weed out all the quacks.’ I couldn’t stop laughing enough to even read this. It reads like an Onion News Network headline.

  3. “Former Fundamentalist…”

    I’ve read several of Bart Ehrman’s books. The CNN headline doesn’t really tell the story (surprise!).

    He doesn’t “delve into the past to challenge some of Christianity’s central claims.” He is a scholar who traces the changes that the Bible has gone through with the ultimate goal of trying to find which parts came from the earliest versions and – by finding these bits – determine what the original authors were trying to say and what audience they were writing for.

    I don’t know how much science these is in literary scholarship of this kind, but he does seem to follow the “1) Observe. 2) Hypothesize. 3)Test.” parts of the scientific method.

  4. From the “real psychics”…

    “(8) Avoid the people who live as parasites such as general nonsense-mongers and Pseudo-psychologists like super-quack James Randi, who take money to continually give derogatory comments on the psychic sciences and alternative medicine, they really should just get a proper jobs.”

    Other than the fact that there’s so much wrong with this statement, I’m imagining Randi with a duck mask and wearing a cape… Um, no.

  5. Re: Bart Ehrman
    It amazes me the fury provoked by a former believer from fundies. They simply cannot imagine someone questioning their beliefs and having the audacity to start refuting them. I assume it’s like being stabbed in the back but in reality way less melodramatic.

  6. Okay, the whole fish pedicure thing is giving me the creeps. Ewwww………How can they possibly change the water and clean between people with the fish? Ewwwwwwwwww……….

  7. @Outsider:

    It’s the questioning period of their beliefs. It doesn’t even have to be a former believer. I was raised Mormon and there are conflicts between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but oh heavens, don’t question that, just believe it and accept it!!

  8. The problem with Randi swimming in his vat of gold coins is that a million dollars in gold coins probably wouldn’t fill a small tub.

    A million dollars is less than 3 standard 400 ounce bars. If we take 1933 era $20 dollar gold coins they sell for over 1500 dollars on the internet today. Thats about 667 coins, enough for a good pile, but not a good swim.

  9. @Anthony: Maybe he mixes them with a ton of wooden nickels to homeopathically amplify his fortune. Or else it’s supplemented by all those “derogatory comments on the psychic sciences” he’s getting paid for.

  10. I read Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” and was impressed with his scholarship. If we can believe the genesis of his self-reported theological skepticism, he started out as a true-believer, but, when the evidence led him elsewhere, he abandoned his previous facts and pursued the new facts.
    I was shocked at my own disappointment when he said that my favorite Jesus story (the woman taken in the act of adultery) was a later edition to the Bible written by a scribe into the margins of a copy. My sacred cow marched off to slaughter. Ah well…

  11. @Gabrielbrawley: Only if you combine the homeopathic aspirin with Tylenol.

    As for the homeopathic rest, I can’t recommend it. All of my leisure time has been thoroughly diluted, and I have to say that I am not getting an increased amount of rest from that.

  12. @Anthony: here I was picturing those “gold” Sacagawea one dollar coins from a few years ago or the similar newer presidents series… that’s got to fill a decent sized money bin, right?

  13. @tiger kitty:

    That was my thought. Not the actual fish thing, but the ick-factor of the water.

    @Blake Stacey:

    Because chocolate and hazelnut isn’t tempting enough? I’ll just stick to sneaking the occasional spoonful of Nutella, thanks.

  14. I have a friend who believes herself to be a ghost hunter. I’ve yet to discuss with her my views on ghosts; it’s going to be a bit awkward.

  15. I always wonder how people can have no problem swimming in a natural pond, with fish, where essentially cows might have pissed in the water when they weren’t looking (not to mention fish f**k in it), but heaven forbid they should stick their own smely, sweaty feet in water that already had someone else’s smelly, sweaty feet in it. Or not, as apparently the tank is drained and refilled with fresh water between sessions.

    I guess it’s the same reaon people would not mind picking up some food item that fell on the floor of their own kitchen, but would hesitate to even touch something that fell of their plate and onto the table at someone else’s place.

    It’s the same reason people think that even after rinsing a bottle two dozen times, little leftover bits of the original fluid are still inside the bottle and cause something. And lo and behold, homeopathy was born.

    It’s all in the head …

  16. @exarch:

    You might be right about it all being in your head. Even though they drain the water, they are supposed to bleach between stinky feet, which obviously is not good for the fish. Somehow, I think the fish get the raw end of the deal.

  17. @exarch:

    You’re assuming I don’t have a problem swimming in a natural pond ;)

    One field season I had to bathe in a reservoir that was filled with algae…and other people who swam in it. When I got back to the hotel before my flight and took a shower, my hair actually shed water for about two minutes before it would wet down.

    A constantly moving and circulating body of water I can live with. Ponds with low to no circulation? Not this girl raised by the microbiology obsessed mother ;)

  18. This part of the Randi article is made of awesome:

    One supporter of the psychic with a particularly intense hatred of Randi immediately objected to this suggestion, pointing out that Randi is a skilled conjuror and as such would know dozens of ways to make the coin fall the way he wanted it to. That may be true, but as Randi would be in Florida when the coin toss was taking place, it did not seem reasonable to be too concerned about that issue. As far as I was concerned, if Randi could make a coin fall the way he wanted it to while on the opposite side of the Atlantic, he deserved to keep the million dollars.

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