Tuesday 31 May 2011

Inspirational Irrational Nonsense

I'm rather delighted that the Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense is proving such an inspiration to people. Shortly after posting the YouTube video of @rossexton's Irrational Nonsense Blues, I received Bob Hale's Woo Continuum.

Any more for any more?

Monday 30 May 2011

Irrational Nonsense Blues

I received the following tweet yesterday from @rossexton:

@Crispian_Jago Inspired by the fantastic Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense, I wrote a blues song:

And it really is rather excellent, so here it is ...

Saturday 28 May 2011

European Union Irrational Nonsense Labelling Regulations

New European Union labelling directives will soon ensure that individuals irresponsibly promoting potentially harmful misinformation will need to be clearly labelled. 

The directive will require the clear identification of individuals who endorse ideas and information based on potentially harmful and unproven pseudoscientific concepts or supernatural beliefs.

In order to comply with the regulations, Science, Reason and Critical thinking has developed the “Woo Woo Wheel”.  

The Woo Woo Wheel will enable consumers to immediately and clearly identify the key irrational nonsense content of each individual at a glance.

The Woo Woo Wheel is divided into 5 segments coloured in either red, amber or green to denote the level of danger for each of the 5 segments:
  • Harm Potential: Identifies the potential level of harm that could be caused by uncritically accepting the misinformation espoused by the individual.
  • Influence: Identifies the influential power or perceived authority of the individual
  • Conscious Con-Artist: Identifies whether the individual knowingly deceives or promotes false information for financial gain or ideological reasons
  • Supernatural Delusions: Identifies whether the individuals information is likely to be based on indoctrinated supernatural or superstitious traditions rather than unbiased, rational and reasoned inquiry
  • Pseudo-Scientific: Identifies whether the individuals information is likely to be based on pseudoscientific beliefs not consistently demonstrable by the scientific method
As an example of I have picked some notable enemies of reason and clearly labelled them with the Woo Woo Wheel

You get the idea. Feel free to send me any un-labelled enemies of reason you spot, and I’ll be happy to slap a label on them.

Hat tip to @Zeno001 for pointing me in the general direction of inspiration.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

How the New Rapture Date Was Calculated

Thousands of Christians were rather disappointed on Saturday when the much-anticipated supernatural genocide failed to occur.
But never fear, undercover operatives at Science, Reason and Critical Thinking have uncovered the following photograph of a dartboard from Harold Camping’s basement.

I’ve got the date in my diary already. How can it possibly fail this time?



Skeptic Trumps: Nate Phelps

Click Here for the full deck of cards

Saturday 21 May 2011

The Certainty of Harold Camping and the Oncoming Rapture

It is the morning of the Rapture.

If we are to believe Harold Camping, later on today Jesus Christ will return to earth and all the true believers will be raptured up into heaven. How very exciting for them.

According to Harold’s book of rules, I don’t qualify, so I’ll have to stay here with all the other heathens and suffer the giant earthquakes that will eventually lead to the complete and utter destructing of the earth by 21st October 2011. At first glance this sounds a tad inconvenient.

Despite previously predicting the rapture in 1994, Harold is quite certain he’s got the date nailed this time. He is completely convinced, he is über sure. There is no doubt in his mind. It is without question. It’s not up for debate. He’s double-checked his sums and it all adds up. The evidence is absolute. The rapture is assured. In Harold’s mind, and many of his followers, this is it, the big one, the end of the world as we know it.

But never fear. Harold hasn’t even been proved wrong yet and mainstream Christianity is already dismissing him as just another nut job. He’s just another Stephen Green, Pastor Fred Phelps or Pastor Terry Jones whose literal interpretations of the Bible sit uncomfortably with mainstream Christianity.

As freethinking humanists, secularists and atheists we should of course not be judging the nice friendly Christian who lives down the street by the actions of these fundamentalist fruitcakes. There is however one attributes these extremist share with the more acceptable face of Christianity, their unwavering certainty.

Harold Camping’s revelation seems all the more ridiculous because it is delivered with a straight face and unwavering certainty. The exact same certainty that many Christians have that their God will provide. The exact same unfounded and un-evidenced certainty that by chance they have been born into the one true faith.

So on one side we have a small bunch of ridiculous nutters and on the other we have a deeply respected and revered faith, but surely it must be the same neural processes that can so utterly hoodwink the human brain into such certainty without a shred of credible evidence.


Well there's a surprise, its gone 6pm and I haven't seen a single soul being raptured skywards yet. But before we all knock Rev Harold Camping, and I'm sure he's in for a pretty good knocking, lets not forget that his beliefs in heaven and hell aren't really that different from the mainstream Christian views. Organised religion has  just learnt that there's less chance of looking like a bunch of pillocks if you don't actually name any specific dates, keep it vague, avoid easy testable or falsifiable claims, and you can can keep them believing.

Thursday 19 May 2011

A Closer Look at the England Cricket Team’s “Power Balance” Bracelets

Maybe it’s a trifle condescending to judge a person by their irrational beliefs, but whenever I see someone wearing a "Power Balance" bracelet, it’s very hard not to jump to the immediate conclusion that they’re not perhaps just one scotch egg shy of a picnic.
As the English cricket team prepare for their first home test of the year against Sri Lanka, I am reminded again of how my euphoria at their Ashes victory at the start of the year was seriously marred by the revelation of the team’s uncritical belief in pseudoscientific flim-flam.
Although it wasn’t too much of a surprise to learn that David Beckham is rather weak minded when it comes to the belief in bewitched bangles, I had rather hoped for better from the English cricket team.
So, use your mouse to position the sceptical magnifying glass over the power balance bracelets sported by the cricketing numpties below, and take a closer look at how they appear to anyone with an ounce of logical thought.

Still on the flipside, I guess the Darwin fish on the back of my car doesn’t speak too kindly of me in the eyes of a true believer.

Saturday 14 May 2011

The Periodic Table of Urban Biscuit Myths

A random selection of 120 urban biscuit myths, legends, superstitions and popular misconceptions that hold equal validity to the more familiar myths on which they are based.

Click the image below, then hover the mouse of each piece of delicious biscuity goodness to reveal the myth.

Monday 2 May 2011

How to Celebrate Justice

I find this image:

of celebrations in Washington last night at the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, rather reminiscent of this image:

of a another woman celebrating what she equally perceived as "justice", almost 10 years earlier on a bright September morning.

Personally I see no cause to celebrate "justice" in either of the events that inspired these impromptu jubilations.

Of course I am pleased that a particularly nasty ideological hydra has had its most venomous head removed. And perhaps it really was the only way that this could have been accomplished, but I had always equated justice with some sort of trial.

I'm afraid each of the celebrations above look to me worryingly more like retribution, and I've got an uncomfortable feeling that that has a rather circular element to it. I hope I'm wrong.