Links to discussions of science, pseudoscience, and issues regarding science and faith...

Exposing pseudoscience and "bad" science


describing what science is and does

An editorial from the Kalamazoo Gazette  March 12, 1998, illustrating a common misunderstanding of how science works (and a poor understanding of cosmology - which they criticize).
Here is my response to the Kalamazoo Gazette  editorial, Viewpoint March 25, 1998.

The anti-vax hysteria movement: an example of how ignorance and "woo-ful" thinking can kill...If you're curious or confused about how evidence-based medical science differs from belief-based woo, become an avid reader of these three blogs: Respectful Insolence, Science Based Medicine, and A Photon in the Darkness. And don't even think about taking this doctors office magazine seriously. More credulous medical reporting in the TV news media.
The antidote for the "2012" nonsense, and several articles on how to arm oneself against BS.

Isaac Asimov's Relativity of Wrong (or how science progresses through the refinement of its model based on data).

Why We Need Science: "I saw it with my own eyes" Is Not Enough.
"There must be a reason," or how we support our own false beliefs.
Many more examples of "what's the harm?" in magical thinking.
Here is another letter to the Kalamazoo Gazette, published in part August 2000, in regards to the teaching of Creationism in science classes.
An excellent essay on Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience
Nick Strobel's fantastic description of how science works, plus discussions of astrology
The Skeptic's Dictionary Definition of Science
Astronomer Sten Odenwald describes the scientific process, while answering a layman's question
Defining what science means by "fact" and "theory"
Evolution is indeed a scientific theory - dispelling misinformation about what that really means
An excellent essay describing the importance of both theory and data to science

Resources in debunking pseudoscience, from the Austin Society to Oppose Pseudoscience.

Does Reality Kick Back?  An essay on what  science has to say about reality
A wonderful on-line book: Science and the Human Prospect
Your Baloney Detection Kit
The Collected Works of astronomer Tim Thompson

The Alternative Science Respectability Checklist - written by an active researcher in theoretical physics, and a list of curricula to master in becoming a Good Theoretical Physicist.

the growth of a snow flake
Randomly moving water molecules in the gas phase condense at
sufficiently low temperature to form a snowflake. Zillions of these fall on
Kalamazoo, MI every winter
. We understand that this growth of structure and beauty
are the result of the interaction of the electric fields within a system minimizing its free energy.
Go here for the whole story (with scads of wonderfully beautiful pictures of snowflakes).
Gif animation of time-lapse images by Vicky Tanusheva and physicist Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht.
The interaction of force (and quantum) fields within a system minimizing free energy,
often accompanied by spontaneous phase transitions, produces the observed
structure and complexity within our universe, from atoms to clusters of galaxies.

Mystified by coincidences? Are they remarkable or random? This is another excellent essay. How well do you think you understand randomness?
Struck by the Full Moon, are you? Then have a careful look at this link, and this one which nicely explains how people (and sometimes even scientists) fool themselves. Here is a study by astronomers of 70 million American births over a twenty year period, in acrobat pdf format (1, 2, 3, 4). Here is another resource by the education people at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Here is another study, and yet another.

Physicist Alan Sokal's page concerning his prank pulled on postmodernism; his "paper" submitted to and accepted for publication in the journal Social Text; his revelation of the hoax and motivations for pulling it.
Speaking of which - can you tell the difference between this nonsense (see also Table of Contents; this is for real) and this nonsense (look at the disclaimer near the bottom of the page)? Poe's Law, anyone?
Here is a dictionary for those with wooly thinking, and another one of euphemisms and obfuscations.

A nice essay on understanding the "crank" phenomenon.
When "debating" cranks you can expect to be bowled-over by the Dunning-Kruger Effect (original journal article, here) often coupled with the Gish Gallop.

Fear of Albert Einstein
Cranks on the net...your guide to junk "science" as well as links to anti-crank sites
Donald Simanek's pages of pseudoscience (much satire and humor)
Are you a quack?  A humorous page from a physicist relating his encounters with crank science, and giving a good tutuorial as to how  science is really done.
Defining "woo-woo".
Here is an article that illuminates the inanities of the anti-Einstein crackpots, and illustrates the common threads that weave the the pattern of anti-science/pseudoscience crankery, from creationism to UFOism to ... the list is almost endless.

A once-respected physicist has posted his own picture in the dictionary next to the word "crackpot" (it's a mystery of the human mind as to how this happens all too often).
This is an excellent essay on the mistakes in critical thinking that we are all susceptible to...James Randi, skeptic extraordinaire falls prey.
A bunch of links on pseudoscience, paranormal phenomena, and skepticism
The Fallacy Files - lots of good stuff here describing fallacies in logic and argument
Fallacies - from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Here is another good link listing and explaining faulty thinking

Bad Astronomy - where misconceptions and just plain bunk are set straight
Catching bad physics in the act, and the right answers
Mystery Investigators: using the method of science to investigate the strange and mysterious
Read some of the editorials by astrophysicist and popular science author Lawrence Krauss
Bob Park at the American Physical Society tackles pseudoscience nonsense in the news
Astronomical Pseudoscience: A skeptic's resource list

The challenge of Mr. Michael Drosnin (author of the Bible Code) is met and then some...and met again.

Think we didn't go to the Moon? Think again...and again, and yet again, and it doesn't really hurt to think again. And why not think again? Aw, come on, think again! And how did we get all of those Moon rocks? A graphic novelist lays it all out in cartoon panels. And let's all laugh a little at conspiracy "theories".

Harmonic Con(game)vergence: planetary "alignments"

Determining Distances to Astronomical Objects
How geologists determine the age of the Earth & solar system
Frequently asked questions and their answers, regarding the Sun's age
Evidence of age from several simultaneous scientific fronts
More astronomical evidence of a big, old universe
A Radiometric Dating  Resource List
Another page discussing radiometric dating
How astronomers determine the age of the cosmos
An Ancient Universe: How Astronomers Know the Vast Scale of Cosmic Time
Are the Earth and Universe Young? Refutations of Creationist "arguments"
Here is a page refuting more faulty claims from the Institute of Creation Research (a bit technical)
A webpage devoted to refuting vacuous claims of rapidly a decaying value of the speed of light, and another one here.

"...breathtaking inanity...."
(Judge John E. Jones III, Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District, December 20, 2005)

The editor of Scientific American states the case well
John Rennie's (editor of Scientific American) 15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense
Evolution Outreach Projects, from Swarthmore College
Talk.Origins: mainstream scientific responses to questions on biological evolution and cosmic, earth and human origins
An Index to Creationist Claims and their scientific responses (additional links below)
29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent
Several essays concerning science, evolution, and Creationism
From the journal, Nature, January 2009 - 15 Evolutionary Gems: a succint briefing on why evolution by natural selection is an empirically validated principle.
A superb journal (requires subscription - libraries often have them) for learning and teaching of evolutionary biology: Evolution: Education & Outreach.
Your Inner Fish
- a wonderful set of illustrated webpages of evolution.
Evolution's Bottom Line - an article touting the the usefulness of successful scientific theories of nature
EvoWiki: web information resource for understanding the scientific theory of evolution, inspired by Wikipedia and Talk.Origins
Understanding Evolution: an evolution website for teachers K-12

A superb analogy illustrating the inanity that science finds itself defending against.
          A collection of links to essays concerning the issues of science, evolution, Creationism
A webpage critically examining the "Intelligent Design" movement
Antievolutionism and Creationism in the United States
An excellent essay discussing the history of and fallacies behind the "Intelligent Design" movement
What's wrong with teaching intelligent design in the science classroom? and where's the science in ID?
Devolution: Why ID Isn't
Is Intelligent Design a valid scientific idea?
An essay explaining why Intelligent Design hasn't any place within science

Several links to essays refuting Michael Behe's "Irreducible Complexity" nonsense, and here is another
Two reviews (1, 2) of Michael Behe's latest inability to see past his self-imposed "horizon", written by prominent biologists who remain engaged in research.
A critical review of Jonathan Wells' Icons of Evolution, from the NCSE
A critical review of a "paper" by Jonathan Wells.
A humorous review of a recent book by Dembski & Wells (although in my opinion it gives them too much credit in that these guys have never made a credible "calculation" or prediction of anything).

Ben Stein's sham of a documentary concerning evolutionary biology and ID(Expelled) is exposed here.
A summary of the landmark Dover case "Kitzmiller vs. the Dover Area School District"

Four excellent essays on the science/evolution/Creationism controversy:
1. Introduction to the Evolution vs. Creation Debate
          2. Evolution: Converging Lines of Evidence (also an excellent primer on how science works)
3. Article Review: "The Scientific Case Against Evolution"
          4. Complexity, Probability, and God

Archive of science/Creationism controversy
Another archive of science/Creationism controversy
A web site specializing in the evidence for evolution
          Talk.Reason: a forum for the publication of short papers against Creationism and ID

Frequently Encountered Criticisms in Science & Evolution vs. Creationism, and here is another site, and another.
More frequently encountered Creationist criticisms and their answers
Yet more frequent Creationist criticisms and their answers - one of the best resources out there, and a related set answering the inanities of a Mr. Kent Hovind.

A level-headed discussion of the Creationism vs. science debate
A site by a Christian geologist that reviews some of the bodies of evidence completely at odds with Creationism
A website at the confluence of evolutionary and medical sciences

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (from the National Academy of Sciences)
 Science & Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences resource links for battling Creationism non-sense
National Center for Science Education resource links for battling Creationism non-sense

An article in Astronomy Education Review on how to deal with beliefs in Creationism in the classroom (and misunderstandings of science and its findings), and another: The Challenge of Creationism and Intelligent Design: An Introduction. Both provide several excellent links for more information.

Molecular biologist Kenneth Miller's site on Evolution Resources
Kenneth Miller's detailed overview of the inaccuracies and dangers of the Oklahoma textbook disclaimer - and all the rest of them as well
Ken Miller rebuts Casey Luskin and skewers "intelligent" design.

Creationism and ID in the media - The Christian Pseudoscience Monitor
Dealing with Creationism in astronomy

"This isn't right. This isn't even wrong."
(Wolfgang Pauli

Two short and silly essays illustrating the faulty arguments of Creationists
A humorous (or not?) piece of satire concerning the position of Creationists, and here is another, and another (it's  difficult to distinguish parody from "reality" when it comes to the ill-informed and inane arguments)
And this group wants its ideas taught along with science and ID as well.
More sad satire here on the Creationist/ID movement to displace science education
The "reDiscovery Institute" (more parody and satire, but golly it's getting harder to tell)

Hah! I knew it; this parody of anti-science phenomenon has a name: Poe's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism (anti-science of any sort) that someone won't mistake for the real thing." From RationalWiki: Poe's Law makes the clear point that it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both seem equally insane. Poe's Law also functions in its converse: real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism.

Intelligent Falling

Astronomer Sten Odenwald answers question on Nature's physical constants and discusses the problem posed by teaching Creationism alongside science
Creationism: Bad Science or Immoral Pseudoscience? An expose of Creationist Duane Gish
Astronomer Sten Odenwald answers: "Do you believe in the Big Bang theory, or Creation?"
A short discussion of Cosmology & Religion
The "Bad Astronomer" addresses the merits (or lack thereof) of astrology
Your Astrology Defense Kit
Test the validity of astrology in the classroom
Scientific Tests on Astrology
Horoscopes Versus Telescopes: A Focus on Astrology
A bibliography of works that examine pseudoscience
Astronomer Gary Ferland's extensive set of pages arguing against nonsense Michael Shermer's group
The Amazing Randi - James Randi's web site
The Rocky Mountain Skeptics webpage, and resource links page
The New England Skeptical Society 
The Skeptical Inquirer On-line
The Skeptic's Dictionary: a guide for the new millenium
          Two excellent resoureces in critical thinking: Skeptico and UK Skeptics.

A Photon in the Darkness, Propter hoc, Denialism Blog, EvolutionBlog, Rationally Speaking, Skeptico, Respectful Insolence, and Science Based Medicine - a sample of scientists blogging against nonsense (see also ScienceBlogs)
Butterflies and Wheels - fighting fashionable nonsense

An example of what happens when blind ignorance and megalomania win out and lead to total self delusion...

If it smells like an Urban Legend, look here first. While Urban Legends are generally not associated with pseudoscience, the lack of critical evaluation that goes with their propagation is.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves..."

(Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar)

Those who seek to reconcile the findings of science with personal faith without twisting science

Can science and religion coexist harmoniously? "A Non-Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems"
A PBS discussion of Faith & Reason
Catholic Perspectives in Faith & Science
This is a statement from the National Council on Churches

A Christian theologian's view of biblical literalism
Some thoughts on biblical literalism from St. Augustine
A Christian geologist argues against using the Bible as a science book, and that Christianity and science should not be contradictory
An Open Letter Concerning Religion & Science, and the Clergy Letter Project

A short essay from a Christian biologist, Asking for Trouble
An organization dedicated to bridging Christian theology to science
Science and Spirituality: Is Harmony Possible?
Science & Christianity: Allies or Enemies?
Some essays from "Science and Faith: Perspectives on Christianity and science"
Cosmology and Religion: an astronomer's perspective
God and the Big Bang - and other arguments about science and faith
A Christian scientist describes his struggle to understand the world around him
A Christian vicar discusses reconciling Darwin with Christianity
Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective

A Christian astronomer comments on the dangers to Christianity of touting disproven ideas to reconcile the astronomical distance-age "problem"
A Christian professor of geology discusses Creation, Time, and "Apparent Age"
A Christian physicist/astronomer describes: The Legend of the Shrinking Sun - A Case Study Comparing Professional Science and "Creation Science" in Action
A Christian physicist/astronomer discusses: Basil, Augustine, and the Doctrine of Creation's Functional Integrity
The personal and professional struggles of a Christian geophysicist arguing against young Earth Creationism. Here are some other related articles of his.

This is a discussion of Creationism by a devout Christian who is also a respected research astronomer. He has no problems with a 15 billion year old universe, and he argues that the devout Christian should not either.

An on-line periodical:  Science & Spirit
Another on-line periodical: Science & Theology News

One was an evangelical Christian who wanted to be a theologian until he found science and became skeptical of religion. The other studied biology and chemistry, deducing God was an illusion until faith brought him a deeper understanding of the natural world. Now, the doubter and the believer go head-to-head on faith, fidelity, and that dirty little word: atheism.

"Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve about these suns in a manner similar to the way the six planets revolve around our sun. Living beings inhabit these worlds."

(Giordano Bruno; a Christian theologean and thinker who was imprisoned
then burned at the stake in 1600 for these and other "heresies")

And here are some other points of view regarding religion and science

The Secular Web
Professor Steven Weinberg's essay: A Designer Universe?
Links from the homepage of physicist Victor Stenger. This link is particularly interesting.
Professor Adolf Gruenbaum's essay: "Theological Misinterpretations of Current Physical Cosmology"
Indeces of essays on the irreconcilability between Science & Religion
Biologist Richard Dawkins and neuro-scientist Sam Harris
Biologist P.Z. Myers - he's also writes some really nice articles on the frontlines of evolutionary biology

  • Finally, whether you agree with him or not, Albert Einstein had some interesting thoughts on the subject of religion and science

    Kirk T. Korista
    Professor of Astronomy
    Department of Physics
    Western Michigan University
    Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5252
    last updated 30 July 2010
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