In the latest installment of our ongoing video series The Randi Show, James Randi goes in-depth on Dr. Oz's recent support of homeopathy. Should a medical doctor with a large television audience promote baseless pseudoscience? Randi thinks not.
For more episodes of The Randi Show and a host of other educational videos, visit our YouTube page.
As research for an upcoming presentation a group of us decided to try cold reading some strangers. On our first day, skeptic Mathew Baxter became “psychic medium” Mathias. He chose to tackle the hardest clients of all: psychics. Wearing more rings than Ringo Starr and an eye of Horus pendant, he visited Spirit Wise, a metaphysical bookstore in Denver. Connie, the owner of the store and her friend Tim agreed to have readings from Mathias. Both work as “professional” psychics.
Connie set up a reading room for us downstairs. This was a cozy setting of couches complete with props, including a lemon-scented candle and an enormous amethyst cathedral geode. The geode was shaped like the hooded Mother Mary, and was an excellent example of pareidolia.
The following is a contribution to the JREF’s ongoing blog series on skepticism and education. If you are an educator and would like to contribute to this series, please contact Bob Blaskiewicz.
One of the most common impediments to learning is our seemingly innate tendency to overemphasize the usefulness of common sense. Although it may be quite useful with the mundane decisions of daily life, more complicated issues often contradict what seems intuitively likely. Thus, an important critical thinking exercise is convincing students that common sense can fail you.
In my experience, the three most instructive themes in this regard are: 1. Demonstrating the difference between correlation and causation; 2. Emphasizing the difference in value between anecdotal evidence and. replicated, peer-reviewed research; and 3. The importance of control groups and placebos.