I took this video while I was out at my local bookstore browsing through the bargain section. Take a look at these books, you can clearly see that they've been placed in the "Fiction" section. There's no new sign to label the start of a new section, and the next sign on has nothing to do with the paranormal or new age or anything like that.
Clearly, the store has it exactly right in placing these books firmly in the "Fiction" section! Win for our side!
CFI Canada has been watching the actions of Peter Popoff, who came to Toronto recently in order to peddle his healing schtick, and now he provides financial miracles as well - what a deal!
As a member of CASS (the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism), I had the privilege of being able to Skype into the meeting with James Randi where they discussed this issue, and I've been waiting for the news on how it turned out. Well, the wait's over! CFI has released a video of the results of the investigation into what Mr Popoff has been up to:
Perhaps it's my prejudice, knowing that this man is a complete fraud, but when I watch him speak, I can't help but feel that he just looks deceitful and conniving. I can almost feel the oily, oozing miasma of nefariousness emanating from his every glance.
If you paid attention to my last podcast, you'll remember that I promoted the book The Invisible Gorilla by by
Christopher Chabris, and Daniel Simon. If you haven't looked into the book as I suggested, and you've never heard of the experiment that it references, take a look at this video before continuing:
It's a fascinating book, and to get it in audiobook format simply follow this link, and if you don't have an audible.com account you can get one here, along with a 14 day free trial and a free audiobook. The book is fascinating, and I highly recommend reading it. What I want to talk about today involves another subject mentioned in the book, and I have a couple of videos that illustrate the concept. If you've already seen these first videos, you might still want to scroll past them to the other funny videos I'm posting because I think you'll enjoy them. The first one is from Richard Wiseman's Quirkology channel:
You've got to love the crystal skulls. They're little skulls that started showing up only in the past 100 - 200 years or so. They've never actually been discovered by any documented archaeological dig, they seem to just be sold to tourists for fun. But that doesn't stop people from claiming without any evidence that they're ancient in origin:
I'm not aware of these myths of crystal skulls among ancient people, I'd really like to know where that's coming from. But I love this idea that there are 13 skulls hidden in remote and hazardous areas of the earth waiting until mankind is ready to discover them. That's the plot of a movie right there!
They love to just make up stuff and hope that nobody notices. For example, they say that the famous Mitchell-Hedges skull was verified as being over 12,000 years old by scientists at the Hewlett-Packard labs. The skull was brought to the lab, but the scientists never did any tests to determine it's age. All they found out was that the skull was all made from the same piece of crystal.
So they can truthfully say that they took it in for scientific testing, then fib about the results hoping that nobody would look into it too deeply.
The crystal skulls are really one area where proponents really don't have a single shred of evidence to go on. All they manage to come up with is speculation. I mean, they claim that if you put them together they'll form a computer? That didn't come from any evidence, that's just something that some guy pulled out of thin air!
It's an entertaining theory though, so at least it's got that going for it. Good fiction should ideally be entertaining, after all.
This is a PSA that ran here in Canada that people from other places around the world might not have gotten the chance to see. I particularly enjoy it because it encourages critical thinking, and I thought some of you might get a kick out of it as well:
This is a great illustration of how simple techniques can be used to manipulate remarkably heavy stones. In my last blog entry I discussed how it was possible to move incredibly heavy blocks around if you have enough manpower, and it's certainly the case that ancient people made use of vast manpower in order to move large stones.
But here's a man moving incredibly heavy blocks all by himself - and for a finale he raises a close to 9 ton block by himself using nothing but simple tools. I'd like to see those who say that building the pyramids was impossible without alien help respond to this:
This video is particularly funny when you remember the quote by stone sculptor Roger Hopkins:
This stone came off of a
project in Palm Springs, where they had one of the largest excavators
they could rent. They had trouble loading it into the
truck. It's well in excess of five tons, ten thousand
pounds. Small in megalithic terms, but basically what we can
handle with modern
Hopkins, your big powerful excavator just got it's ass handed to it by a guy with some rocks and sticks!
My thanks to Narpak from Reddit for calling attention to this remarkable video.
Being the dumbass that I am, I only just realized that this Ancient Aliens show that I've been criticizing (Click on "ancient alien theory" under keywords above to see all the articles) is probably on YouTube.
The thing is, I realize that these kinds of videos can often be deleted from YouTube without notice, leaving all blogs that have embedded them with broken links. So it's not ideal for writing articles that you hope to be accessible well into the future.
But, at least while it's available, I'll display these videos for your viewing pleasure. You can make sure that I'm being fair in my analysis and criticisms of the show, and make comments on statements that I have yet to cover.
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