Skepchick Quickies, 12.16


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. Jen, the aura of your link to the science terminology abuse article appears to be filled with harmful toxic energy. I suggest homeopathic treatment, or getting rid of those two extraneous quotation marks at the end of the link :)

  2. bigfoot in minnesota link seems 404 as well – unless it is a bit of meta-humor on the existence of bigfoot.

  3. Weird. It seems to be not breaking for me, even though it was breaking yesterday. Take the question mark, and everything after it out of the link, and it’ll work more consistently.

  4. Jesus. Well, I tweaked the link, but, yes, it doesn’t seem to be a problem just on our side. That one at least appears to be the link’s fault.

  5. I think “nature” should have been #1 on that list. The appeal to nature fallacy is probably the most common one that I encounter, even within the skeptical community.

  6. I hate “Natural”. Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate.

    No really. I do.

    It is everywhere. It is absurd. It pains me. And I used to fall to it all the time. Which of course frustrates me too.

    There is a pizza commercial (some how in the like 2 hours of tv and 4 of hulu a month with ads this is the only commercial it feels like I see) that talks about the evils of chemical leveners. Then of course I see all these cleaning products talking about the natural cleansers. Of course they are talking about the same damn thing. Baking soda. In one product it is evil and chemical. In another all natural.


  7. @loudlyquiet:

    What I find especially frustrating/hilarious is anything that is labeled as “chemical-free”. Every type of matter is a chemical, so chemical-free anything would be a vacuum.

  8. “I think ‘nature’ should have been #1 on that list.”

    That’s the trouble with making lists. They’re inherently subjective which is why I’m going to defend my stance on giving quantum the top. I write about physics quite a bit and see constant references to quantum mechanics to justify every kind of crankery from homeopathy to existential, New Age woo.

    Though I suppose that those skeptics most interested in fact checking homeopathic and alt med issues would probably have a very different perspective on what should be the top spot on that list than me…

  9. I have a big problem with the “climate sceptic” article, since three of the names they mentioned (Lomborg, Levitt and Dubner) aren’t climate sceptics, they disagree with the mainstream policy prescriptions for dealing with climate change, they do not deny climate change is happening. Accusing everyone who disagrees with you of being a flat-earther is not a sign of intellectual integrity.

    It is very important not to treat policy debates as if they were cut an dried as scientific debates. Policy has a lot of ambiguity and values matter in a way they don’t when discussing facts about the world.

    I don’t like the mainstream approach to climate changes, and that has nothing to do with the science of climate change, but rather certain facts about global political institutions that are being overlooked or ignored by those who believe the current approach has any reasonable chance of working.

  10. @James K: “I don’t like the mainstream approach to climate changes, and that has nothing to do with the science of climate change”


    Mine do. Our theoretical understanding of the global climate is pretty lousy and our practical experience with trying to alter it is even worse. Given the state of the science, there isn’t much reason to believe that any given policy solution that focuses on changing the climate in some way will yield the predicted results even if we ignore the political reality that no current solution can possibly be implemented.

    The real questions are: when those islands go under water, what will we do with the refugees? When we run out of oil, how will we power our civilization?

    Things like that are worth worrying about. Trying to curb China’s emissions is just tilting at windmills.

  11. Spot on in the list with the term “Natural”.

    When one goes on about something being “all natural” (be it in a TV ad or whatever), I’d love to say “Uranium is natural, so is THAT better for you too?”

    Oh for fun…

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