Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Quack Watch

04/20/2011

Quackwatch is a non-profit organization that aims to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. It is affiliated with the National Council Against Health Fraud. The website, quackwatch.org, has been on the internet since 1996, during which time it has issued warnings to the public about numerous unproven or ineffective medical products, practices and treatments.

According to the site, Quackwatch uses the services of over 150 scientific and technical advisors. Many reputable professionals contribute to the site in their field of expertise. There are no salaried employees, and the entire operation is funded mainly by small individual donations, with additional income derived from sponsored links.

The site contains many articles written for the non-specialist consumer. These discuss health-related products, treatments, and providers which Quackwatch considers to be fraudulent, ineffective, or even dangerous or life-threatening. Also included are links to resources that contain information for further study. The site is especially critical of products and services in areas such as homeopathy, acupuincture, herbal medicine, kinesiology, faith healing, magnet therapy, hair analysis, and growth hormones.

To visit this site, go to Quackwatch. In addition to reading the articles, a visitor can ask questions, report suspected frauds, participate in a forum, and subscribe to a news letter.

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Museum of Hoaxes

01/11/2011

This very large site covers numerous types of hoaxes, including fake photographs, hoax websites, tall-tale animals, publicity stunts, forged documents and books, faked deaths, forged paintings, fake news reports, fictitious people, scams, pseudoscience, fake UFOs, and urban legends.

The section on fictitious people includes an article about Debbie Swenson, a forty year old woman who in 2001 started an online diary in which she pretended to be a nineteen year old girl dying of leukemia. Thousands of people visited her website daily to read the latest entry about her struggle to survive. Concerned people communicated with her by email, chatted with her in online chatrooms, and even phoned her. Finally after more than a year, an entry by her “mother” reported that she had died, causing many people to become distraught. Suspicions began to arise when people wanting to attend her funeral couldn’t find any information about it. The hoax was finally revealed after an extensive investigation.

An article about fake religious relics says that many churches and monasteries still display fake artifacts that were purchased during the Middle Ages. Examples include the milk of the Virgin Mary, the preserved brain of Saint Peter, and pieces of wood from the true cross. The article mentions that three different churches claim to have the skull of Mary Magdalene.

To visit this site, go to Museum of Hoaxes.

Capella’s Guide to Religion

06/05/2010

Although this site calls itself a “guide to atheism”, most of its focus is on problems with religion, especially Christianity. This is reflected in the numerous articles about supposed contradictions in the bible and inconsistencies in the Christian belief system. These articles are grouped into sections with titles such as “Atrocities and deviant behavior by key Bible figures”, “Peculiar Bible verses”, “Problems with common Christian doctrines”, “Recognizing false and illogical arguments”, “Problems with the Bible flood story”, and “The Greek roots of Christianity”.

A special section contains critiques of common arguments that Christians use to support creationism and intelligent design theories. There is also a section about failed prophesies.

At this point I will give a warning about this site, because many Christians will find some parts of it to be offensive. For example, an article called “Was Jesus just another Doomsday Cult Leader?” tries to point out similarities between Jesus and modern cult leaders such as Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and David Koresh. This is obviously wrong, since Jesus was against the use of violence, whereas Manson, Jones, and Koresh caused the deaths of many people.

If, despite my warning, you still want to visit this website, you can find it at Capella’s Guide to Atheism.