Friday, 21 June 2013

Pseudoscience stuff from the period 28/1 - 21/6/13

It's been quite a while since i've posted News under any section, so there's quite a plethora of stories for you to choose from.

There is a variety of article-types - videos and written, as well as some podcasts - and i've stratified the stories so that the post's not just a looooooong list of titles, descriptions and URLs. I find that very tiring to read!

The sections will be:

General (6 articles about pseudoscience and how it works)

What's New in Pseudoscience? (7 articles about general changes and developments in the world of made-up nonsense)

Paranoia and conspiracy (7 articles about psychogenic illness and conspiracy 'theories')

Steiner-Waldorf (5 articles about the anthroposophical cult that controls various schools)

Non-alt Non-med (14 articles about non-alternative non-medicine)

Diets (11 articles about non-alt non-med and other dietary pseudosciences)

James McCormick (4 articles about the guy who sold dowsing rods as bomb detectors)

Marketing nonsense (8 articles about spurious claims in marketing)

The anti-vaccine cult (9 articles about the ant.. yeah, you guessed it)

Assorted other rubbish (9 articles about assor... yeah, you got that one too)

Doubtful News (links to all of Swift (on the JREF site) blog's catch-ups with what's been reported on the Doubtful News site, written by Sharon Hill herself (she runs over the last 20 weeks.

Oh, btw, the chronological order of the stories got scrambled in the editing process, so if that kind of thing bothers you... sorry.


[video] ''science' of the gaps' - Theramin Trees
I classify Religion under pseudoscience, and pseudoscience under superstition. Other than that slight difference in classification, i opine that Theramin Trees has produced another astounding video.

[video] "From Witch Burning to'God-men: Supporting Skepticism Around the World" - TAM 2012'
Leo Igwe and Eran Segev discuss with Brian Thompson, about what's been going on in the world - from Leo, across Africa - and from Eran, across Australia.
Leo talks emotively about the problem of witchcraft, and all kinds of Religion-anchored beliefs which lead to murder, violence, and abuse, across the continent, including blasphemy laws, but also how the activities are not limited to Africa - the problem is global.
Eran talks about anti-vaccers, water diviners, how much harder it is for Leo, with the immediate threat of physical violence, free speech in Australia, and pharmaceutical companies.

This one came up on - naughty naughty!
'How to get a great night’s sleep: could less mean more?'
This 'study' is from 'The Sleep Council'. Who are The Sleep Council? They're a front group for the bed industry, of course!
And what do they advise? Well, they waffle on a bit about CBT and anxiety, and then they eventually advise that you should replace your bed every seven years. The side-effect of inflating their turnover is irrelevant, i suppose! <s>

Here's a criticial thinking skills test, for you. What's wrong with this study?
'Preference to save the best for last fades with age, study finds'
The answer: It didn't test for changes - it took a snapshot, and assumed that the older people's preferences were as a result of ageing, which they could easily not have been.
The only way to find out how people change as they age, is to watch them change as they age! This would require a longitudinal study - not a sample of 90 people, one afternoon.
What you'd really need is a study like this one:

[video] 'inFact: 5 Ways to Tell Science from Pseudoscience'
Brian 'Brian Dunning of' Dunning shows us five ways to identify pseudoscience. It's not a concise list, but it's a useful one for novices.

'Bailing out of conspiracy ideas'
The intellectually suffocating environment of a superstition, in this case a superstition of conspiracy  - a 'conspiracy theory' - is a difficult one to break free from. But sometimes people are responsive to evidence. So don't give up on humanity!

'Another Acupuncture Meta-Analysis – Low Back Pain'
Steven takes a chance to explain how the scientific method works, in the epidemiological context of pseudo-medicine.
"The current data show that acupuncture is ineffective for low back pain, as it is indistinguishable from sham treatments in blinded comparisons. Acupuncture is therefore not recommended as a treatment and has no role to play in a science-based treatment plan for low back pain. Given the amount and quality of existing data, in addition to the low prior probability, no further research is warranted and in fact would be ethically dubious at this point. In view of the refractory nature of chronic low back pain it would be extremely counterproductive to waste any more time or resources on this dead end."

And here are a couple of comic guides to pseudoscience, both by Crispian Jago:

‘The Venn Diagram Of Irrational Nonsense’

‘Find Your Ideal Alternative Therapy’

What's New in Pseudoscience?

[video] There's a relatively new line in quackery - doing things medical people should be doing, but without really knowing how, and still taking wodges of cash for it.
Teeth-whitening, Botox, LASER treatments - these are all dangerous procedures that should be done by qualified, practiced medical professionals, and not by goons in salons, or parlours, or by nurses in their spare-time, or... you get the idea.
{The Checkout is an Australian public service show involving three of The Chaser (so it takes a satirical stance).}
'YOU BEAUTY | The Checkout'

'The deceptive rebranding of naturopaths'
Naturopaths are rebranding real medicine so that they can claim it as their own.

'The death-throes of AIDS denial'
The denial that AIDS is caused by HIV is dying off... as the proponents die off, of course!
That hasn't stopped Peter Duesberg from trying. All these years later, he's still trotting out counter-factual claims, in the superstitious hysteria that AIDS has 'got to be' something else.
"The identification and characterization of HIV followed by the development of highly effective ART to treat it is one of the stunning science success stories of the last 30 years. In one generation HIV has gone from a death sentence to a manageable chronic illness. 
Instead of celebrating this triumph of modern medical science, denialists make up conspiracy fantasies, and then desperately cling to their absurd beliefs while the rest of the world moves on. Along the way, however, they were responsible for many premature deaths (most notably in Africa where both HIV and HIV denial remain a serious problem)."

'China And Superstitions'
Chinese culture is one that exhibits many and powerful superstitions, not least Communism itself.
The Chinese State is still struggling to overcome various superstitions, an example given here being the case of now-disgraced former Rail Minister Liu Zhijun, who commissioned a Feng Shui charlatan for guidance as to 'auspicious dates' for beginning major construction projects!
Let's not pretend superstition is peculiar to Asian States, though - stock-marketeers in 'The West' still believe in nonsense techniques to model economic growth - HR departments still use graphology - the current Health Minister in the UK believes in magic (shaken) water - the list goes on.

'Journalist and psychiatrist awarded prize for bravery'
"DEATH threats and libel suits are not usually the stuff of a career in science. But this week two people who have faced violence and intimidation simply for trying to uphold scientific values became the first recipients of the John Maddox prize, an award that recognises exceptional courage and bravery in science anywhere in the world."
An interview with one of them: 'Fraud fighter: 'Faked research is endemic in China''

'WDDTY #9 - Taking Stock'
The Nightingale Collaboration takes stock of cases dealt with, dodgy supplements, and finally, some positive action from Holland & Barrett:

In a post last month, i cajoled UK readers to follow me in assisting the Nightingale Collaboration to report CNHC-registered (that's the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council) quacks who breach their own guidelines.
Well, the NC doesn't need any more - they've already submitted more than a 100 select reports to the CNHC - those reports cover every area of quackery that the CNHC attempts to make legitimate.
"Some, we believe, are even illegal, with claims about cancer and using the protected title 'physician'. Most proudly display the CNHC's 'quality mark'."
No surprise there, for Skeptical Rationalists, who are familiar with pseudo-scientific behaviour!
Here's the full report:
'Endemic Problems With CNHC Registrants'

Paranoia and conspiracy

'The sickening truth about wind farm syndrome'
It's strange, but it's true - people manage to convince themselves into generic illness (headaches, nausea, joint-pain - that kind of thing) from fear of all kinds of things.
Wind-farms are the most recent in a long-list of new technologies that have become the victim of pseudo-maladies, created and exacerbated by superstition and propaganda.
"Opponents readily concede that only a minority of those exposed report being ill but explain this via the analogy of motion sickness: it only happens to those who are susceptible. How then to explain that whole regions and indeed nations, have no susceptible people? The key factor seems to be the presence or absence of anti-wind activists, generally from outside the area."

'Study concludes wind-farm syndrome's psychogenic'
Australian windmill study concludes health complaints are psychological and determined by people telling each other that they should be getting sick.

'Death as a Foodborne Illness Curable by Veganism'
Red meat might be bad for your bowels and heart, but fruit is bad for your teeth. The standard advice since time began has always been "eat a healthy, balanced diet".
There is no such thing as 'a diet'; there is no such thing as 'a superfood'; no-one should eradicate an entire food-group from their diet unless they're severely allergic to all of it, which is incredibly unlikely.
Vegetarianism is generally not a good idea; and veganism is positively dangerous - it can make women severely ill, and kills children.

Hold it, though - the danger of eating red meat might have been over-estimated - there are covariant variables that might be making red and 'processed' meat look more dangerous than it really is ('processed' usually just means it's got more salt in it - the salt obscures blandness of taste).
'Death by Meat'

'What happens when you study conspiracy theories? The conspiracy theorists make up conspiracy theories about you!'

[video] 'Conspiracy theories conspiracy'
The wonderful potholer54 talks about how commonplace conspiracy theories are, and how lazy 'conspiracy theorists' are at validating them. There have been real conspiracies, and there are probably some going on right now, but a 'conspiracy theorist' will not be the guy to find out about them!

'Alternative Medicine and the Vulnerable Child'
VCS is a disturbing psychological phenomenon, deriving from the anxiety of parents who get over-protective of their progeny. Protectiveness is understandable, and reasonable, but irrational degrees of it can be, and sometimes are, harmful to their children.
Where non-medicine comes in to it, is that they proponents are all too willing to 'confirm' the parents' suspicions that there is something not-quite-perfect about their little darling, and the quack always has a cure for that problem.
'Alt-med'-ers always 'have' a cure - their fields are supposedly panaceic - and there is always something wrong... supposedly. In VCS, there is not. This is disastrous for both the mental health of the parents, and the health of the child who is at the centre of the phenomenon.


[video] "Biodynamic" farming: Steiner nonsense from the BBC
A lunatic farmer, in one of the most nutrient-rich regions of the world, attributes his success to some bizarre superstition!
{Listen out for the scornful condemnation of chemicals, while carrying a massive bag full of thousands of chemicals, in the form of cow shit!}

'Tories offer state funding to schools linked to ‘occult society’'

'The true nature of Steiner (Waldorf) education. Mystical barmpottery at taxpayers’ expense'
'The Steiner Waldorf cult uses bait and switch to get state funding'
'Steiner Waldorf Schools Part 3. The problem of racism'
{Thank you heartily to Professor David Colquhoun for writing these articles}

Non-alt Non-med

[+ video] I suppose you have to laugh:
'Face-slapping, a Thai beauty treatment, supposed to shrink pores, combat wrinkles'

[video] 'COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINES | Ep1 | The Checkout'
In this skit, Craig takes a look at the way 'Complementary Medicines' (which are neither) are treated by businesses and, more importantly, by regulatory bodies.

...a follow-up:
'Nicole Kidman Joins The Checkout + Dodgy Swisse Labelling'

'Acupuncturist sued for giving people HIV with standard acupuncture'
A quack-upuncturist is being sued, having given some HIV with their needles. Are we really surprised? Acupuncture is not science, so should we expect those who practice it to keep to medical standards? When do you see them wearing gloves? When do you see the massive pile of empty packets, from which they got the sterilised needles? You don't. Why? Because they don't undergo such safety procedures. Medical standards were never in contention in this, another, realm of quackery.
I wouldn't be surprised if he'd transferred the HIV from one -patient- victim to another, by re-using the needles! Incompetence is everywhere, in the quasi-world of pseudo-science.

'Dr. Oz sued for typically-dodgy advice'
Dr. Oz is being sued because he advised his listeners to cook their feet in rice... and then one of them got burned! This is another inevitability - if you hand out dodgy medical advice, that involves people performing procedures on themselves, and involve cooking parts of their bodies, you're going to get cases like this.
For those who have never heard of Dr. Oz, he's a one-time proper doctor who wandered into the world of pop pseudoscience, and now uses his radio show to mis-advise people, into the world of non-medicine.

[+ audio] 'Cupping for the Cure'
Brian 'Brian Dunning of' Dunning explores the baffling background behind the pseudo-medical practice of Cupping - the modern-day bloodletting.
Modern-day bloodletting (not for the squeamish):

Lying in a coffin to make yourself feel better? Riiiight... [backs away slowly]

Very pretty; can potentially cause burns; and certainly has no medical benefit whatsoever!
'Fire Facials – Setting Your Face on Fire in the Name of Beauty'

Alternatively, you can go to Japan, and get baked instead of roasted:
'Bathing in Fermented Sawdust – The Latest Bizarre Beauty Treatment from Japan'

Whereas in 'western' bullshit, you can get gassed and tumourised to health, with a dose of radon gas!
'Healing caves that give you cancer'
Follow the link through, if you will, to a credulous article at the Daily Fail.
If you're exposed to radon gas, at work or at home, evacuate - it's not safe!

An introduction to 'therapeutic touch' which is neither therapeutic, nor does it involve touch!
'TT' is basically like Reiki (the eastern equivalent of 'faith healing') but without even touching the patient. Ludicrous!

Here's another non-medical superstition that's new to me: Gua Sha (called 'coining' or 'spooning' in English).
The superstition involves rubbing areas of skin with a heated spoon or coin, until the area burns red, and is used in attempts to treat cold, flu, headache, fever, pain, cough, or low energy.

See how quackery and scamming go hand in hand -- by posing as market researchers, they hunted down the vulnerable in order to sell them their nonsense products:
'Quacks a-calling'


[video] 'Debunking The Detox Myth'

'The mysterious origins of the “8 glasses of water a day” rule'

'Does the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet work?'
A cursory review of the literature, by people at the NHS, has found that claims regarding the 5:2 diet have not been researched i.e. they are superstitious - not based on evidence.
This means you're best-off sticking to the simple rules of: consume fewer calories; use more calories in daily activity; eat a healthy, balanced diet; keep a record of your weight, and join a weight-loss group, which will help you achieve your goal.

Cranberry juice for urinary tract infections? Nope.

[+ audio] Can shrink-wrapping help you lose weight? Nope.

[video] 'SUPERFOODS | The Checkout'

'Coffee Pseudoscience'
From pick-me-ups to enemas, whichever orifice you put your coffee in, there will be accompanying and utterly bogus claims about it.
The fact that caffeine is an addictive and legal component is one that allows quacks to access a burgeoning market. The 'high' amplifies placebic effects when added to concoctions (we've likely all seen it mixed in with aspirin, on supermarket shelves) and the withdrawal effects keep us going back for more.

'Cranberry, the alt-med zombie « Science-Based Medicine'
Does cranberry juice, extract, or supplement help people who have UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)? No - they don't.
The proposed mechanism is insufficient to deal with the whole infection - it effects only uncommon bacteria, and so can't deal with the whole UTI.
The best available meta-analysed data says that it doesn't work; and the quantities that would have to be consumed, under the vendors' claims, would give you a 1 in 12 chance of avoiding a UTI, cost $180, and fill you with 45,000 calories - several pounds' worth of fat.
"Finally, let’s look at the alternatives to the alternative. Antibiotics taken for the prevention of UTIs are very effective, reducing the risk of an infection by up to 95%."
Cranberries for UTIs? Na-ah. Use the anti-biotics... as long as the bacteria aren't resistant, of course.

'Kombucha: A symbiotic mix of yeast, bacteria and the naturalistic fallacy'
Now here's something i'd never heard of before! Kombucha - a heady, fermented concoction that poses no known medical benefit, usually doesn't taste nice, and might just kill you off with anthrax infection! No benefit, but with a risk of death - what does that remind me of? But even Russian Roulette doesn't leave a nasty taste in your mouth.

'Coconut Oil'
Coconut oil is touted as a healthy alternative to animal and trans fats in cooking, and is claimed to treat (take a mental breath, now!) "viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi, and candida; boosts thyroid function; improves blood sugar control and reduces the need for insulin; increases energy and endurance; increases digestion and improves absorption of vitamins; lowers cholesterol; helps control weight; has anti-aging effects; is good for skin and hair; and is quite safe to take in reasonable amounts. The Wellness Mama website lists 101 uses for coconut oil, including treating sunburns, athlete’s foot, Alzheimer’s disease, nasal allergies, arthritis, insomnia, autism, heartburn, hemorrhoids, depression, acne, cellulite, mosquito bites, and lice."
The trouble is, there is no evidence regarding its application in medical situations, apart from as a sterile alternative to distilled water, and although not considered to be as harmful to health as it used to be, it's still not considered to be as healthy as claimed.

'How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked'
The Paleo Diet is fanciful because we don't know how/whether our biology's changed in the last few hundred thousand years, and we don't know what homo sapiens' diet was really like back then. I mean, they obviously didn't eat Mars bars, or drink Coca Cola, but we have no idea what proportions they ate different food-types in, or whether species have been lost in the intervening years, which used to be a staple.
Need i remind that there is no such thing as 'a diet'? Always eat "a healthy, balanced diet".

James McCormick

'James McCormick guilty of selling fake bomb detectors'
While the article condemns McCormick profusely, for deceiving them, it was an astounding display of incompetence - an astounding lack of skepticism - that led to them falling, hook line and sinker, for his scam.
All he did was to replace the stickers on a golf-ball finder. The 'devices' are still being used in Iraq, today. The reason: staggering incompetence at distinguishing truth from fiction.

'The Randi Show - ADE 651'
"McCormick is responsible for many deaths... and yet the UK government could only convict him on charges of fraud... he goes to jail for five years and he will make over seven and a half million dollars a year, just waiting in jail for his sentence to come up!"

'Bomb detection device procurement under investigation in Thailand'

'Iraqis Continue To Use Fake Bomb Detectors'
Superstitionists in both Iraq and Kenya are still very willing to use McCormick's dowsing rods as if they work. They do not. They never will. To convince themselves otherwise is pure self-deception.

Marketing nonsense

[video] 'Molly Crockett: Beware neuro-bunk'
No-one wants to be stupid. No-one wants to be thought stupid. So there's a big market in cognitive enhancement. Unfortunately, all the products are pseudo-scientific - there's no verified mechanism to enhance all-cognition abilities by food/Nintendo!

Incidentally, i did a mini-essay about Lumosity's particular brand of brain-training bunk, to vent my frustration. In science, 'brain training' is called... 'learning'.
'Comment #20: -- Lumosity And The Brain-Training Bunk'

[video] Nurofen 'targeted' pain relief? It does nothing of the kind - it's not 'targeted' at all!
'CHRONIC PAIN | The Checkout'

'Tobacco industry myths'
Cancer Research UK has been pushing the UK government to go through with legislation to compel tobacco companies to remove the colourful packaging from their packets, and instead colour them plain grey.
Unfortunately, the current UK government is a bunch of soppy-minded conservatives, easily manipulable by industry lobbyists, who've propagandised in favour of their heinous industry - making people sick via addiction, for profit - for more than a century.
If you're UK-based, you can e-mail your local MP, as part of Cancer Research UK's campaign, here:

Feeling poorly? Maybe you've not been earthed properly. It's the brown cable, you know - not the blue one or the green and yellow one!
'WDDTY #7 - Going to Ground?'

'WDDTY #8 - Quantum Flapdoodle'
Quantum flapdoodles and quantum competence:
"[The] ad claimed: Melatonin Zn Se is freely available in Italy and is now available for the first time under article 1 of the treaty of Rome direct from Italy to you!
This is odd given that, according to the ASA, the advertiser is based in Belize in Central America, they have a PO Box on Sark in the Channel Islands, their domain name is registered in Panama and their parent company is also based in Panama, yet give a London contact phone number. The website mentioned in the ad,, is registered to an address on Sark and gives the same London telephone number.
Regardless, because it is an unlicensed medicine in the UK, it is prohibited to market it in the UK, regardless of where it comes from."

[video] Baldness treatments: do the claims stack up, or are they just pulling the wig over your eyes?
'THE BALD FACTS | The Checkout'

Grapefruit juice boosts cancer drugs, claims the Daily Express. Are they right?
No. The study showed no such thing, and the researchers didn't claim it. The hacks on the Health column have to take responsibility for this dangerous claim.
If they aren't shills for the quackery industry, they're doing a damn good impression!

The anti-vaccine cult

[video] 'Flu Vaccine Statistics and NaturalNews'
An example of how pseudo-scientific propagandists, like those at Natural News, mis-state (i.e. lie) to make their superstitious, prejudicial beliefs look good, rather than to identify/communicate the truth.

'An Introduction To The AVN Through Dr. Rachie's Reports'
[audio] Major advances have been made against the ludicrously-named AVN - Australian Vaccination Network - which is the organisation that's responsible for thousands of global deaths and millions of unnecessary disease contractions, through their anti-vaccination propaganda, largely orienting around autism.
Hear Dr Rachie recount the story to Richard Saunders, on The Skeptic Zone:
Further update, from Dr Rachie:
And in this episode she reports on the AVN's recent court case, in Adelaide:

The AVN have been encouraging their followers to join their 'Church of Conscious Living' to bypass law (which Religious organisations are allowed to do, like no other) so that they can continue to cause suffering to millions.
'The Church of Anti-vax in Australia'

Like all superstitions, antivaccine pseudoscience propaganda is geographically specific. Science is Science everywhere.
'How vaccine scares respect local cultural boundaries.' - Ben Goldacre
"…Before we begin, it’s worth taking a moment to look at vaccine scares around the world, because I’m always struck by how circumscribed these panics are, and how poorly they propagate themselves in different soils. The MMR and autism scare, for example, is practically non-existent outside Britain, even in Europe and America. But throughout the 1990s France was in the grip of a scare that hepatitis B vaccine caused multiple sclerosis (it wouldn’t surprise me if I was the first person to tell you that).
In the US, the major vaccine fear has been around the use of a preservative called thiomersal, although somehow this hasn’t caught on here, even though that same preservative was used in Britain. And in the 1970s – since the past is another country too – there was a widespread concern in the UK, driven again by a single doctor, that whooping-cough vaccine was causing neurological damage."
"And in an article from Scientific American in 1888 you can find the very same arguments which modern antivaccination campaigners continue to use today..."

'Austrialia’s Daily Telegraph launches vaccination campaign'
In the wake (wake-field?) of recent anti-vaccine propaganda, it has become necessary to make a concerted effort to step-up our checks against diseases. I didn't expect a Newspaper to to do that stepping up though - they usually come down on the side of fatuous controversy and facetious balance.
It is simply unacceptable for people to go unvaccinated, when the healthcare organisations have vaccines hanging around, waiting to be used, and the diseases they would immunise against are so dangerous.
As the article outlines, it is a matter of importance that individuals are immunised when they can be, to protect everyone else along with them. Libertarianism be damned - diseases are dangerous - the bigotry of individuals should not be allowed to endanger their peers.

'Anti-vaccination campaigns is a major threat to WHO hopes to eradicate measles'

'Measles in the UK'
The current measles epidemic in the UK has been caused, almost single-handedly, by ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield (he was struck off for his crimes). He produced a fraudulent paper, pushed it under the media's nose, and caused an epidemic that is still worsening, even as vaccination rates rise back.
You would have thought that someone in his situation would show some contrition, some remorse, for what he's done. But no - he's kept right on, ordering the UK government to give him a multi-million pound contract for the single measles vaccine that he owns a patent for (as opposed to the joint MMR - measles, mumps and rubella jab) and has continued to support the vaccine cult.
"Wakefield continues to claim that MMR is not safe, that it causes autism, and that the government is to blame for unfairly silencing him. He wants to use this episode to continue to spread his nonsense and fearmongering, but the UK government wisely won’t let him. So now he is desperately trying to paint himself as the victim... Apparently he has not realized or accepted that he is now nothing more than a comic sideshow – a cautionary tale of science and ethics gone horribly wrong, and the public harm it can cause. That is his legacy. It is insufficient punishment, in my opinion, for the public harm he has caused."

Assorted other rubbish

'A Toilet-Like Vortex of Bad Astronomy'
Corkscrew solar system, in a corkscrew galaxy? Na-ah! Spiritualist bullshit again - people running with what gives them a warm, fuzzy glow, despite being utterly wrong:

[+ audio] 'Facts and Fiction of the Schumann Resonance'

'11 Most Bizarre Hoaxes People Actually Believed' -

'Mayo Clinic Study Finds Electric Car Does Not Interfere with Implanted Cardiac Devices'

Yet more pseudoscience in the Journal Of Cosmology. Algae in meteorites? Puh-lease...
'Astrobiologists claim meteorite carried space algae'

'Monday’s medical myth: crossing your legs is bad for your health'
Chiropractic tells you it's bad for your health; Religion tells you its immoral. That's pretty-much all the proof you need that leg-crossing is either not bad for you, or is actually good for you.

'Monday’s medical myth: stress can turn hair grey overnight'
"The biology of the phenomenon suggests that a mixture of hormones and cognitive bias is responsible for the myth."

[+ video] 'The Aquatic Ape Theory' -
Not a theory! Just an idea. And a wrong one.

'Is An Alien Message Embedded In Our Genetic Code?'
Um... no! piling on the bullshit, yet again...

Doubtful News

(this section is in chronological order, starting with the oldest report)

Psychic fails to foresee she wouldn't get the prizemoney from a psychic competition; Buddhism leaves a woman defrauded and holding a paper bag; acupuncture makes celebrity ears bumpy; and more.

USS Hornet Museum tries to promote Science with a 'paranormal investigation' (ghost hunt); the egos of pseudo-scientists the Van Praags and Dr Oz are shown at full mast; superstitionists confuse hydrogel beads for alien eggs; Zimbabweans claim a beheaded goblin exploded, destroying their house and killing five; and more.

Theist considers redundancy over filling out a tax form with 'the number of the beast' on it; asian astrological wisdom delivers bullshit claims of disaster for 2013; Islamic factionalists in Nigeria kill 9 women for providing polio vaccines; four charged for selling bleach as miracle medicine; Daily Mail claims there's an "evil patch" in the brain that makes people eeeeeeviiiiilll.

Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot paper stalks the land, but we only know so by its footprints and the fibres it leaves behind; God sends lightning for displeasure with himself for making his Pope resign; more psychics facing legal bills for their immoral activities; Mercola says fluoride makes you stupid on the Huff Poo, then gets Slated; and more.

More psychic shenanigans - psychic store robbery goes unpredicted, two arrested for fraud, and the UK TV channel Psychic Today breached regulations; three stories of mass psychogenic illness from around the world; frogspawn mistaken for alien 'green goo' after Russian meteor strike; and more.

Dowsing for hepatitis-C in Egypt; the bizarre beliefs of ufologists; Melba's study trashed by scientifically literate people who read it, apart from the April Fools' jokes she mistakenly used as references; Jesus appears to mankind again... in birdshit; and more.

Russell Crowe does the UFO thing; edible shampoo - anti-gluten hysteria; the hoaxful chemistry of the crystal skulls; the fortune-tellers who evaded fraud charges by giving their criminal gains back; and more.

Obstreperous acupuncturist throws his toys out of the pram at being criticised; lawyers fall for Nigerian scam to the tune of at least $70 million; no, there are not dolphins with guns on their heads loose in the Black Sea; rap artist tries to sacrifice his friend to appease the Illuminati; and more.

Chicken lays giant three-egg egg; the dangerous ingredients in herbal medicine; penis thefts in the CAR; HIV transfer to widows in Malawi through 'cleansing'; the shape-shifting alien in the US' Secret Service; 'real' psychic fraudsters condemn 'fake' psychic fraudsters; and more.
On the subject of eggs, here's one that was laid without a shell:

A bunch of thoroughly unmysterious mysteries; 'Animal Planet' who have never found Bigfoot, release their oh-so-ironically-titled book 'Finding Bigfoot'; people who get wet for the Turin Shroud need reminding that it was made in the 13th/14th century CE; naturopath sued for dangerous 'natural' birth; the camera that always comes back... eventually; and more.

Loads of non-miraculous miracles; Bigfooters fooled by April Fools' prank claiming the 'Animal Legal Defense Fund' wants Bigfoot to be a protected species; cooking with Gwyneth Paltrow's new quackbook; and more.

A 22-foot wasp nest; aeroelastic flutter makes plant wave for attention; Andrew Wakefield shamelessly exploits the UK's measles outbreak, which he caused; stinky demons cause a theological mess in Romania; a $1,000,000 Bigfoot hunt that the Bigfooters won't win; and more.

The Noah's Ark zoo; Forbes contrasts Burzynski’s clinic with respected medical center; astrologer postdicts MIT shooting; Faith-healer family lose second child to prayer; the Elvis impersonator who sent ricin letters to Obama believed he had uncovered a conspiracy to sell body parts; and more.

The Wakefield Effect kills a baby in Florida; Christian infant sacrifice in Chile; the people who don't have cancer but do have your money; a real Latvian whirlpool; heading down the Hudson river; that 4th grade Religionist Science test; and more.

The 6" alien that isn't, but might be human; McCormick's dowsing rods still being exhorted in Iraq and Kenya, with the cost of lives, and millions of dollars; Graphology is alive and well in France and Canada, despite being the proverbial posterior animal emission; and more.

A piece of 100 million year old land is not ANYTHING like ATLANTIS; San Francisco gives up on cell phone radiation warnings; tongue acupuncture child abuse; charlatan 'healer' poisons two women in Zimbabwe; paranormal group in Brazil offers $1000 to be human bait for the 'Caboclo D’Água'; and more.

Pigeon-blood wart cure that only works for Jews; the Swedish man who didn't have sex with a hornets' nest; interminable apocalypse predictor Harold Camping fails to predict demise of own radio show; herbal non-medicine cancer quack sentenced for fraud, tax evasion, and witness tampering (bullying); Hollywood psychics rebranding; Bigfoot in Science class; and more.

The 'faith healing' Churches that have killed 22 children through prayer; Nigerian herbal non-medicinist child trafficking; Religionist Templeton Foundation gives $2.4 million to research immortality; man arrested for calling 911 more than a hundred times in a month, about the satellites that are not controlling his body; have some cinnabar mercury pills to cure your insomnia... permanently; and more.

A 'natural' birth in the presence of a huge marine predator; the supplement and herbal medicine takers who emburden poison control centres; the 23 pregnant Nigerian girls murdered by herbal medicine; Kent Hovind still thinks the law of dehydrated desert goat-sacrificers trumps the federal law of the USA; the mammalian animals of Mars; and more.

The Turkish “Barbie doll” giggle girls being used to sell Islamic Creationism; the devil in the details... of yoga; the woman who believes she's a plant; more goblins in Zimbabwe; and more.

Well, if you read through all of that in one go... you probably need some sleep. Now go to bed :-P

Prolix posts in the other sections will appear in turn.

That turn being completely random and liable to change at the whim of... pretty much anything, actually. But they will come. Promise ;-)

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