PSEUDOSCIENCE AND PARANORMAL LIBRARY

The Pseudoscience and Paranormal Library (PP Library) contains links to fun and useful online videos and webpages on pseudoscience and the paranormal. Links are selected to compliment my book, Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker’s Toolkit. When possible, I have added annotations. You may not copy this library without written permission from the author. However, you are free to use and copy the link to this library and access its contents on the web, either in private or in public/classroom settings.

© 2011, Jonathan C. Smith, PhD


VIDEO AND WEBPAGE LIBRARY


♥ = VIDEO

A = AUDIO or PODCAST

⊕ = WEBPAGE

$ = Not on the web. Purchase or rent.

P = I play this in class

OTHER ONLINE VIDEO LIBRARIES

CENTER FOR INQUIRY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

THE BAD ASTRONOMER YOUTUBE CHANNEL


THE JAMES RANDI FOUNDATION YOUTUBE CHANNEL

QUIRKOLOGY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

VIDEOJUG.COM

Videojug is a library of thousands of videos. It is a goldmine of paranormal videos, just type in How to get good at . . . the paranormal (or astrology, psychic readings etc.) Warning: This is an uncritical website

THE KNOWN UNIVERSE

James Randi Comes Out




CHAPTER 3
QUESTIONABLE SOURCES

Anecdotal evidence

Jenny McCarthy and Anecdotal Evidence (1:45)

P Anecdotal Evidence: the problem with anecdotes (9:02)

Questionable authorities

The Ten Most Wanted Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience — 1 — Montel Williams, Chuck Norris, Ben Stein, (6:43)

Ten Most Wanted Celebrities who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience – 2 From Larry King to Oprah (6:28)





CHAPTER 4
LOGICAL / SCIENTIFIC FALLACIES

Technobabble


Star Trek Technobabble Generator

P John Cleese and Neuroreductionism
Another Star Trek Technobabble Generator

Yet another Star Trek Technobabble Generator

Dr. Who Technobabble Generator

Closed-Mindedness


P <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI&eurl=

  • http%3A%2F%2Fskeptoid%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded”>Logical Fallacy of Closed-Mindedness (9:40)

    Examples of Logical Errors (Quantum Consciousness)


    Deepak Chopra and Weasel Words (4:00)

    Don’t Drink the Quantum KoolAid (4:00)

    Examples of Subjective Realism and Logical Errors in The Secret and quantum consciousness


    P The Secret (first 20 minutes)

    This is an excellent video for introducing subjective relativism, as well as the misapplication of sources, logic, and scientific observation. One premise of The Secret is that one can directly modify emotions, and that rewards or punishments will magically follow (for positive or negative emotion). This might seem similar to some of the ideas of positive psychology, or cognitive-behavior therapy. Actually, professional scientific psychology presents a view of emotion that is the very opposite of that presented in the Secret. For psychology, one cannot directly turn off or turn on feelings. Instead, feelings (and rewards and punishments) flow from choices we make, specifically from effective and problem-solving efforts as well as rational thinking. Indeed researchers have actually compared the type of “positive imagery” advocated by the secret (“just visualize the positive end result you desire”) with “coping” and “relapse prevention” imagery in which one visualizes and rehearses the specific steps, setbacks, challenges, and recoveries one might make in a forthcoming challenge (interview, first date). In every case, positive imagery doesn’t work, whereas coping /relapse-prevention does. See Smith’s book, “Stress Management Today” and “RMM2″ in www.lulu.com/stress


    P The Secret, Visualization Tool (2:00)

    What the Bleep do we know? Debunked!(9:02)

    Quantum quackery: Skeptical Inquirer

    Review of “What the Bleep do we know?

    Correlations and Causality

    What’s the Harm?


    P Michael Specter: The Danger of Science Denialism / also on youtube (16:29)

    Other Scientific and Logical Errors


    A Scientific Publication Bias

    P Bill Nye on Astrology (1:20)

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Astrology,” Season 7, Episode 2

    Carl Sagan on Astrology (8:55)

    Peanut Butter is Proof that the Theory of Evolution is Wrong (2:00)

    Brilliant Skeptical Music from Bill Cain




    CHAPTER 5
    SCIENCE AND OBSERVATION

    NOTE: Search for “Secrets of the Psychics James Randi” (generally available in 6 parts). This is part of an excellent NOVA PBS documentary, no longer available.

    Secrets of the Psychics (NOVA)

    This classic NOVA series staring James Randi is no longer available from PBS. It emerges from time to time on the internet. PBS should post it on their site. I find Secrets of the Psychics to be a good introduction to my course on Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. It grabs student interest, and serves as a tempting preview to many of the topics considered later.


    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 1 of 6) 9:55

    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 2 of 6); 9:55

    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 3 of 6) 9:55

    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 4 of 6) 9:55

    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 5 of 6) 9:55

    P Secrets of the Psychics (Part 6 of 6) 9:55

    Discussions on Science


    P Open-Mindedness (9:40)

    Don’t be deceived by the cartoons and friendly voice! This is a complex video that illustrates many points introduced in the first three chapters of my book. I recommend viewing it more than once, and hitting the “pause” key often.


    Michael Shermer on Strange Beliefs (fun overview; 13:41)

    Faith and Science (8:48

    Science is Wrong. DUH! Look for logical / scientific mistakes (2:45)

    Occam’s Razor is Simply Wrong (Look for logical and scientific mistakes 4:45).





    CHAPTER 6
    ODDITIES OF NATURE AND THE WORLD OF NUMBERS

    Some Coincidences

    P The Number 23 (4:03)

    P Coincidental images in US Dollar Bills (2:31)

    God Winks and Coincidences

    God Winks: There Are No Coincidences (5:16)

    More God Winks (Click Emmett Kelly’s Audio)

    Deepak Chopra on Coincidences

    P Deepak Chopra’s Wisdom on Coincidence: Part 1 (3:13)

    Deepak Chopra’s Wisdom on Coincidence: Part 2 (2:46)

    Benny Hinn on Coincidences

    Benny Hinn on Dream Prophecy (4:08)

    Lectures on Coincidence

    P Birthday Paradox, coincidences, large numbers, selective attention / memory, dream premonitions, (9:05)

    Flawed thinking by numbers (8:12)

    How Randomness Rules our lives – Mlodinow (41:49)

    Monkeys Typing Shakespeare

    Analyses of Specific Statistical Oddities

    P Gambler’s Fallacy / Friday fallacy (6:32)

    P Michael Shermer Decodes the Bible Code: 1 (6:48)

    Bible Code: 2 (6:48)




    CHAPTER 7
    PERCEPTUAL ERROR AND TRICKERY




    THE INVISIBLE GORILLA (How our everyday intuition deceives us)


    ♥ P
    Daniel Simons gives a talk on counter-intuition (19:30)
    ♥ P Whodunnit? (3.00)

    ♥ P The Invisible Gorilla Videos (each about 2 minutes)

    ♥ P Dateline: Did you see that? (60:00)

    Selective attention: Did you see that? (0:30)
    Gorilla explains selective attention (:30)


    PAREIDOLIA



    P Michael Shermer,Patternicity, Type 1/2 Errors, Superstitions (19:00)
    Excellent Examples of Pareidolia! (2:10)

    Faces of Belmez (2:12)

    GOD GIVES HIGH FIVE (or reaches for cosmic burrito)

    WEB PAGE: Examples of Pareidolia

    WEB PAGE: Pareidolia Examples

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Signs from Heaven,” Season 3, Episode 13


    MAGIC AND ILLUSION


    There are many similarities between the slights of hand of magicians and the tools used in cold reading. Consider the following videos on magic. How might a psychic use them to convince a client?


    Paul Daniels Mind Reading Card Trick (4;44)

    You can find many magic tricks on YouTube. Check “Paul Daniels”


    Turning Magic Tricks into Research

    Magic and the Brain

    Color changing Card Trick Video

    James Randi, Magic, and Seve Novella (10:00)

    Rolling Eye Illusion (2:03)

    5 Best Optical Illusion videos

    Al Seckel, illusion, pareidolia (14:33)

    WEB PAGE: Size Constancy Illusion: Terra Suberrranea

    WEB PAGE: Color After Image Illusion

    WEB PAGE: Castle Over Water

    WEB PAGE: Motion After Effect: Stare at image, then quickly look at world

    10 Optical Illusions in 2 minutes

    Which Circle is Bigger? (Very subtle. Play close attetion)

    WEB PAGE Black and White (?) castle Illusion

    WEB PAGE: Is Rotating Square Pulsating and Throbbing?

    WEB PAGE: Motion Induced Blindness



    COLD READINGS IN THE RAW

    These clips provide an excellent opportunity to look for examples of perceptual distortion and error, and to apply ideas from the Cold Reading Toolkit in the text. Although many are from “world class psychics,” careful study will reveal the very simple tools they use. In fact, students routinely surpass the cold reading proficiency of famous psychics by applying Toolkit ideas.

    What’s the harm?

    General, Astrology

    PsychicBabble Pt. 2<br

    Randi performs the Foyer Test(1:35)

    $ Penn & Teller Bullshit, Season 7, Episode 1, Astrology

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Talking to the Dead,” Season 1, Episode 1 — Collins, Edwards(24:00)

    Dorris Collins

    P James Randi: Dorris Collins (16:06)

    Nostradamus

    WEB PAGE: Nostradamus Quatrain Generator

    James Van Praagh

    P Michael Shermer: James van Praagh (4:38)

    P Barara Walters exposes James Van Praagh (2:19)

    P Cold Readings from James Van Praagh on The Circle (5:17)

    Joesph Tittel

    P Joseph Tittel (9:50)

    Joseph Tittel (6:20)

    Joseph Tittel(6:21)

    Joseph Tittel Phone Reading (9:56)

    Darren Brown

    P Darren Brown and Richard Dawkins Cold Reading (9:36)

    P Darren Brown Cold Reading (10:09)

    P Darren Brown Astrology Reading (8:24)

    Rosemary Altea

    P Penn & Teller: Rosemary Altea (2:58)

    Rosemary Altea and Evil (3:53)
    James Randi, Rosemary Altea on Larry King Live; comment on Sylvia Browne’s Hornbeck prediction — “We all make mistakes. Don’t throw the baby out of the bathwater. Let me talk, now. I am educating people all the time. People have to be skeptical.”(8:22)

    John Edward

    P Michael Shermer: John Edward (9:14)

    WEB PAGE: Transcript of edited John Edward performance (reading)

    John Edward Cold Reading (3:14)

    P Sylvia Brown(e)

    Anderson Cooper: Sylvia Browne: 1 (5:42)

    P Anderson Cooper: Sylvia Browne: 2 (9:14)

    Sylva Browne and Drowning Reading (2:42)

    Psychic Detective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure


    JAMES RANDI PSYCHIC INVESTIGATOR (1991 Granada TV series on various paranormal topics)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 1, Police Psychic Remote Viewing, Spiritualism and fairies, (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 2, Nella Jones, Police Psychic, Live Reading (10:00))

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 3, Police Psychic, starting watches, astrologer (10:00))

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 4, Police psychic live reading (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 5, Live Astrological Readings(10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 6, Psychic Surgery (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 7, Psychic Healing discussion (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 8, Dowsing (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 9, Dowsing (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 11, Spoon Bending, Remote Viewing, Thought Reading Machine (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 12, Thought Reading Machine (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 13, Viewing auras, reading possessions (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 14, reading possessions, graphology (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 15, graphology, reading photographs (10:00)



    EXPERT DISCUSSIONS OF COLD READING

    Richard Dawkins on Astrology — excellent(9:01)

    Richard Dawkins on Astrology, continuation of above (9:42)

    David Frost and Orson Welles on Cold Reading (3:43)

    HYPNOSIS AND POST-HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION

    P Darren Brown: How to get drunk (or high) without drinking (8:00).

    This brief video from Darren Brown is excellent for many reasons.
    1. It illustrates key concepts of hypnosis. Darren has introduced classic “hypnotic suggestion.” Notice that hypnosis does not involve some otherworldly “trance state.” A person can be hypnotized without knowing it. A person can be hypnotized while being wide awake.
    2. Darren also illustrates the idea of the “post-hypnotic suggestion,” a time-delayed suggestion set up to take effect when a specific stimulus is present (a text message from a cell phone, in the example).

    Excellent Webpage (with videos) on hypnosis from the American Psychological Association. Read this first.

    Hypnosis and Suggestion, reading plus videos, excellent overview




    CHAPTER 8
    MEMORY ERROR


    THE INVISIBLE GORILLA (How our everyday intuition deceives us. Also in Perceptual Errors section. The invisible gorilla videos are very relevant for an understanding of memory errors.)


    ♥ P
    Daniel Simons gives a talk on counter-intuition (19:30)

    ♥ P The Invisible Gorilla Videos (each about 2 minutes)

    ♥ P Dateline: Did you see that? (60:00)

    Selective attention: Did you see that? (0:30)
    Gorilla explains selective attention (:30)

    Memory Lectures

    Memory Lectures (audio and reading)

    Elizabeth Loftus / False Memories

    P Elizabeth Loftus on False Implanted Memories (5:41)

    P How to implant false memories (4:20)

    P Elizabeth Loftus Lost in a Shopping Mall Study (1:34)

    Eyewitness Testimony

    How can perceptual and memory error contribute to false eyewitness testimony. Discuss using the following video clips.

    P Demonstration of False Memory and Eyewitness Testimony (9:02)

    P Eyewitness Testimony, 60 minutes, Part 1 (13:14)

    P Eyewitness Testimony, 60 minutes, part II (1:52)

    P Eyewitness Testimony, 60 minutes, part III (1:51)

    Priming

    Priming (5:18)

    P Darren Brown and Priming (6:48)

    Alien Abductions and Memory

    Alien Abductions, Conspiracy theories, False memory (2:50)

    Alien Abudction Interviews (10:12)

    Interviews with abductees. Interpret in terms of text concepts including sleep hypnosis

    P How to tell if you’ve been abducted (2:40)

    Larry King UFO video Government cover-up(10:49)

    Memory error? Discuss conspiracy theory claim. Where do conspiracy theories come from? What happens if 3 people have a false memory (perhaps of an abduction), and hold it fervently? However, since the memory is false, they can find no firm external support. Applying the concept of cognitive dissonance, how might these true believers deal with their dilemma, perhaps using conspiracy theories?


    Space Alien Abduction and Memory Error: Richard McNally Lecture (10:00)

    Regression and hypnosis

    Past Life Regression of Jerry Springer (1:29)

    Boy’s reincarnation memories (9:50, a bit hard to follow the accent)






    CHAPTER 9
    PLACEBOS (SEE ALSO ENERGY TREATMENTS)


    The following 60 minutes video provides an excellent, current, and most brazen introduction to placebo controversies. It involves a very recent treatment modality, stem cell therapy. More interesting is how the promoter continues to sell his treatment. Although his claims may seem laughable and extreme, they are typical of what many well-meant placebo sellers use. So what’s the harm?


    21st Century Snake Oil, stem cell fraud 60 minutes (13 minutes, part 1)

    21st Century Snake Oil (part 2, 12 min)

    How the Placebo Effect Works

    P Penn & Teller Placebo Effect (7:33)

    P Penn & Teller and the Truth about Bottled Water (12:45)

    The above Penn & Teller videos illustrate key placebo concepts. Can you find examples of suggestion, possible classical conditioning, opioids, and self-stressing? How are these placebos augmented (“pumped up”) with textbook concepts?


    P Darren Brown: How to get drunk (or high) without drinking (8:00).

    (Also presented above) This brief video from Darren Brown is excellent for many reasons.
    1. It illustrates key concepts of hypnosis. Darren has introduced classic “hypnotic suggestion.” Notice that hypnosis does not involve some otherworldly “trance state.” A person can be hypnotized without knowing it. A person can be hypnotized while being wide awake.
    2. Darren also illustrates the idea of the “post-hypnotic suggestion,” a time-delayed suggestion set up to take effect when a specific stimulus is present (a text message from a cell phone, in the example).
    3. Finally, this video illustrates my point that placebo suggestion and hypnotic suggestion are not all that different. Indeed, I think they are the same. If Darren had his subject consume a placebo “inebriation pill” before uttering suggestion, we would have a classic placebo.

    Deepak Chopra and Quantum Healing, Interview with Richard Dawkins (4:25)

    This video illustrates many book concepts, including placebogenic factors as well as errors in logic. Can you find them?





    CHAPTER 10
    SENSORY ANOMALIES AND HALLUCINATIONS

    Ideomotor Effect

    P Richard Weisman and the Ideomotor Effect (0:58)

    P James Randi, Dowsing and the Ideomotor Effect (6:42)

    P Ideomotor Effect and Hypnotic Induction (2:38)

    Synaesthetes

    Extraordinary people-Synaesthetes (9:59)

    Synaesthesia in Mystical traditions (1:00:00)


    Migraine Art

    WEB PAGE: New York Times Migraine Art Slide Show

    WEB PAGE: Migraine Aura Art Images

    WEB PAGE: Migraine Art Gallery

    WEB PAGE: Migraine Images

    P Migraine Aura (2:15)

    WEB PAGE: Fortification Illusions

    WEB PAGE: Migraine Images

    Illusion of Motion effect (Illusions of Movement)

    Illusion of Motion Effect

    Tunnel Experience and art exhibit at National Gallery of Art. This exhibit consists of 41,000 LEDS in a tunnel. Nothing is moving. All apparent movement is due to the programmed flickering of LED lights. If these lights were brain cells , you would have something like a tunnel experience

    Tunnel Experience in National Gallery of Art Light Show (2:00)

    P National Gallery of Art Light Show and Tunnel Experiences (2:00)

    Sleep Paralysis

    WEB PAGE: Fuseli: The Nightmare

    P Sleep Paralysis, Out of Body Experience, Memory Error; lecture on alien abductions (10:00)


    Sleep Paralysis (1:44)

    Out of Body Experiences


    P Virtual Out of Body Experience in New Scientist (2:24)

    P Michael Shermer out of Body Experiment (6:13)

    Out of Body Experience, Personal Account (9:43)

    James Randi Out of Body Experience lecture (7:01)

    Sense Anomalies and Hauntings

    Artifically haunted house

    Religious and Mystical Experiences

    God in the Brain

    God in the Brain Commentary





    CHAPTER 11
    SPIRITUALISM, LIFE AFTER DEATH, COMMUNICATING WITH THE DEAD

    Ghosts

    Ghost analysis

    Ghost Hunter “tools” (4:12)

    Sylvia Browne pans Ouiji Boards

    Mystery of Ghost-Possessed Car

    In this video a ghost has possessed a car, causing it to speed out of control. Nothing the driver does can slow the car down. Stopping it and putting it in neutral has no effect. (Any alternative explanations? Consider the make of car.)


    Paranormal TV: Ghosts (50:00)

    P Babysitter Cam Catches Ghost. Difficult to see, you may have to play several times. (1:59)

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Ouija Boards / Near Death Experiences,” Season 1, Episode 12

    This episode is a good overview of some concepts related to sense anomalies and hallucinations as well as spiritualism. Includes: Ouija boards, seances, near-death experiences, out of body experiences, hallucinations, interviews with scientists, and alternative explanations.


    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Ghostbusters,” Season 3, Episode 11

    Seances and Houdini

    Seance Photo Library

    Recommended: Richard Wiseman Seance Illustration (5:05)

    Harrry Houdini; overview of life, lot’s of interviews and analysis; so-so (3:38)

    P *Recommended: Houdini Documentary; origins, early history, straightjacket stunts hanging from buildings, pre-spiritualism. (2); 8:58

    P *Recommended: Houdini Documentary; fitness; role of mother; underwater stunts; rise to fame; locked in water barrel (3) 8:37

    Somewhat recommended: Houdini Documentary; escape from drowning in river; pain resistance; scientific explanation (4) 8:33

    P *Recommended: Houdini Documentary; Spiritualism and Houdini’s fatal accident (5) 8:37

    Houdini Documentary: death and funeral(6) 8:12

    Spiritualist Camp Chesterfield (3:01)

    Have Fun with the Afterlife!

    WEB PAGE: Find Out what you will be reincarnated as. Fun game!

    WEB PAGE: Dante’s Inferno Test. Another afterlife game. Take test and find out where you will end up in the afterlife. Results guaranteed, or money back!




    CHAPTER 12
    PARAPSYCHOLOGY


    Of the following videos, those featuring DEAN RADIN and REMOTE VIEWING are the most challenging. At first viewing, they may appear to be remarkably presuasive. However, do not accept at face value what you see or hear. Not only are these presentations biased, but they beg for confirmation using what the book calls the “FEDS Standard.” View the critical clips that follow, and examine the critical web pages, especially those on skeptic.com.

    DEAN RADIN ON PSI

    Dean Radin and “taboo of psi” (1:34:58)

    Dean Radin etc. (8:04)

    Dean Radin on PK research (9:45)

    What skeptic.com says about Radin

    ESP EXPERIMENTS

    P WEB Pickover Online ESP Experiment

    Remote Viewing Experiment (Can you see how it is flawed?)

    Demonstration of traditional remote viewing with ganzfeld (1:51)

    P Joseph Tittel Remote Viewing (6:30)

    Moulton and Kosslyn experiment, with diagram


    REMOTE VIEWING and the STARGATE PROGRAM

    Michael Shermer Documentary

    P Michael Shermer Remote Viewing Experiment Pt 1 (7:30)

    P Michael Shermer Remote Viewing Experiment Pt. 2 (4:44)

    Uri Geller and the SRI / Stargate Programs

    Targ and Puthoff talk about successful subject, Uri Geller(3:15)

    SRI Experiments on Uri Geller Pt 1 (2:14)

    P SRI Experiments on Uri Geller Pt 2 (9:34)

    P SRI Experiments on Uri Geller Pt 3 (9:51)

    P SRI Experiments on Uri Geller Pt 4 (10:10)

    Targ and Puthoff Discussing Uri Geller (3:13)

    P Uri Geller on Johnny Carson (8:16)

    P James Randi, Uri Geller and Peter Popoff (12:01)

    P Uri Geller and Rames Randi, Part 1 (10:04)

    P Uri Geller and James Randi, Part 2 (10:13)

    Read what Skeptic.com says about Stargate and Precognition Studies.

    Lior Suchard, the Next Uri Geller (6:04)

    BENDING SPOONS

    Spoon Bending Record (3:01)

    Geller Bends Spoons (3:255)

    Geller Bends Spoon (1:22)

    Randi Bends a Spoon (4)

    P James Randi, Uri Geller and Peter Popoff (12:01)

    Spoon Bending Science (1:34)

    P How to Bend a Spoon by Michael Shermer (3:28)

    How to Bend a Fork using distraction (1:23)

    P BBC on How It’s Done (7:00)

    Spoon Bending Tutorial (3:43)

    Spoon Bending Tutorial: 2 (1:51)

    Spoon Bending Tutorial: Ian Rowland: 3 (3:30)

    Cheap Spoons for Bending (cookin⊕
    g.com)

    SEEING THROUGH ENVELOPES




    P Randi Explains Geller’s ability to see through envelopes (10:00)

    PSYCHOKINESIS

    P PK and Ninel Kulagina. Can you figure this out? (5:33)

    Psychokinesis Demo (6 min)

    P Here is a very intelligent scientific explanation of psychokinesis . . . (2:00)

    P James Randi and Ninel (1:56)

    MILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE



    James Randi Million Dollar Challenge; intro (1:32)

    Rames Randi discussing million dollar challenge (8:03)

    Penn and Million Dollar Challenge (3:44)

    Connie Sonne Paranormal Challenge, Part 1 (10:29)

    Connie Sonne Paranormal challenge, Part2 (10:18)

    Connie Sonne Paranormal Challenge, Part 3 (10:29)

    Connie Sonne Paranormal Challenge, Part 4 (10:07)

    Connie Sonne Paranormal Challenge, Part 5, News Conference (6:22)

    PROJECT ALPHA

    Project Alpha is the classic demonstration of how magicians can trick even the most sincere scientists into accepting paranormal explanations for simple slights of hand. Consider what tricks the magicians used, and what mistakes the scientists made. How could the biases of the scientists have distorted or interfered with their “objective” tests?


    P James Randi interviews Edwards, Part 1 (10:00)

    P James Randi Interviews Edwards, Part 2 (10:00)

    Wikipedia account of Project Alpha (cited by Randi)

    P James Randi Interview, Project Alpha (7:10)

    P Project Alpha, with Randi, Shaw, and Edwards explaining setup (5:01)

    P James Randi Interview, Project Alpha, Part 2 (7:28)

    P James Randi Interview, Project Alpha, Part 3 (7:15)

    HOAXES

    James Randi andthe Carlos Hoax (10:59)

    James Randi and the Hydrick PK Hoax (6:03)

    Hydrick confesses (3:05)




    CHAPTER 13
    ENERGY TREATMENTS

    These clips are best viewed after reading Chapter 9, “Reality Checking for the Placebo Effect.” For each video, see if you can find evidence that the claimed effectiveness of a treatment might be due to the placebo effect. First consider the major factors that underlie the placebo effect: suggestion, classical conditioning, the opioid system, and self-stressing. The look for evidence of any “placebo pump-up” variables known to enhance the placebo effect. These include:

    1. Patient motivation (enhanced by motivating treatment presentations)
    2. Positive presentation of a treatment
    3. Colored pills
    4. Big pills rather than small pills
    5. Capsules, not pills
    6. Injections, not pills
    7. Frequent administration
    8. Expense
    9. Belief of presenter in treatment
    10. Presence of side effects
    11. Complexity and plausibility of treatment procedures
    12. Complexity and plausibility of treatment rationale
    13. Reliance on recall (delayed reports) of effectiveness

    Feng Shui

    Feng Shui for Nurses, Qi (Part 1: 40:02)

    Feng Shui for Nurses (Part 2: 23:13)

    P Feng Shui and Chi Flow (2:08)

    Feng Shui Design Tips (2:36)

    What’s the harm?

    $ P Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Feng Shui / Bottled Water,” Season 1, Episode 7 (first 16 minutes only)

    Acupuncture

    Quackwatch: Oriental Medicine

    Quackwatch: Oriental Medicine

    P News report demo of acupuncture (5:58)

    Acupuncture is practiced in may ways. This version illustrates a mixture of sound science, pseudoscience, and the placebo effect. Claims that acupuncture activate the “opioid” system are genuine; however, these also support the case that acupuncture is a placebo. Other claims that acupuncture “blocks pain” are based on the “gate control” theory of pain (mentioned in the book), a valid psychological, nonplacebo perspective. Any relief the practice patient might experience could entirely be the result of the placebo effect. Note the brief insert of the “ear chart,” showing extraordinary links between portions of the ear and diverse parts of the body. This is pure pseudoscientific nonsense, based on ancient chi theory. Note how the presenter avoids all mention of ancient Chinese notions such as chi and meridians.

    How Stuff Works: Acupuncture

    Amusing Acupuncture Commercial (1:12)

    P Michael Shermer and Acupuncture (9:32)

    Chinese man with chi. Can you see where the FEDS standard might be helpful? (9:51)
    What’s the harm?

    Kirlian Photography (19:38)

    Chiropractic

    P Chripractic Adjustments (8:55)

    What’s the harm?

    Quackwatch:Chiropractic

    Homeopathy

    Quackwatch: Homeopathy

    P Homeopathy (8:28)

    James Randi and “head-on” (1:40)

    What’s the harm?

    Crystals

    Randi on Crystal Power (5:37)
    What’s the harm?

    Reflexology and healing touch

    Quackwatch: Reflexology
    Quackwatch: Healing Touch

    P Reflexology (6:20)

    Reflexology Foot Map
    What’s the harm?

    P Strossel Testing Therapeutic Touch (5:30)

    P Nurse duped by therapeutic touch (10:12)

    Scientific American on Therapeutic Touch (7:34)
    What’s the harm?

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls**t, Season 1, Episode 2

    National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Website


    Alphabetical and uncritical summary of treatment approaches




    CHAPTER 14
    FAITH HEALING

    THE FAITH HEALERS

    What’s the Harm?


    What’s the harm?

    Teen Dies after Faith Healing (1:06)

    Girl Dies after Faith Healing (4:06)

    Marjoe Gortner

    Marjoe Gortner Confession (1:10)

    Faith Healer Marjoe Gortner Confession (8:00)

    Peter Popoff

    P James Randi, Uri Geller and Peter Popoff (12:01)

    P Peter Popoff Exposed, Part 1(4:00)

    P Peter Popoff Exposed Part 2 (4:00)

    Peter Popoff (10:37)

    P Interview with James Randi, Peter Popoff

    Benny Hinn

    P Benny Hinn (7:57)

    P Benny Hinn promo (4:36)

    Benny Hinn Let the Bodies Hit the Floor (2:07)

    Benny Hinn claims not to heal people “Benny Hinn: Divine Impulses” also “Benny Hinn Sally Quinn”(16:00)

    Benny Hinn ABC Nightline Intevview (8:00)

    Benny Hinn “I would not do this for the money” Part 1 (9:01)

    Benny Hinn “I would not do this for the money” Part 2 (7:44)

    P Benny Hinn and CBS News

    P Benny Hinn and Dateline (9:30)

    Benny Hinn Lying (5:00)

    PSYCHIC SURGERY

    P Psychic Surgery Documentary (6:00)

    P James Randi and Psychic Surgery (1:20)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 6, Psychic Surgery (10:00)

    James Randi Psychic Investigator, Part 7, Psychic Healing discussion (10:00)

    EXORCISMS

    P Exorcisms in Phillapines (5:00)

    P Penn & Teller Exorcisms (7)

    P Excorcisms Part 1 (9:00)

    P Exorcisms Par 2 (9:00)

    Exorcisms Part 3 (9:00)


    Exorcisms Part 4 (9:00)

    Exorcisms Part 5 (9:00)

    Bob Larson Exorcisms

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Exorcism,” Season 5, Episode 6




    CHAPTER 15
    CREATIONISM, INTELLIGENT DESIGN, EVOLUTION

    Creationism


    ♥ PDover Trial, BBC Horizon Documentary (30 min)

    P NOVA PBS Documentary on Dover Trial: Judgment day (90 min)

    P
    Richard Dawkins on Science, Evolution, andCreationism (8:34)

    P Ben Stein on Creationism (1:30)

    Michael Shermer on Ben Stein


    Creationism in the Classroom: A National Portrait

    Perspectives from Believers.

    These videos appear to offer various responses from the perspective of believers. Can you detect any biases?


    Peanut Butter Disproves Atheism
    ATHEIST!!!

    P Argument from Design; Banana version (2:00)

    Argument from Design (3:45)

    Science is the Dumbest Religion (3:25)

    God only Seems Nonexistent (4:24)

    People are not Animals (3:45)

    Argument from Ignorance

    Pascal’s Dilemma (3:25)

    Christopher Hitchens on the Ten Commandments (6:34)
    Why did God create atheists?

    Here’s a reading to tax and test your critical thinking skills. The author takes the perspective of an atheist. For the sake of argument, pretend he is not an atheist, but a devout Christian, Jew, or Mulsim. How might his points apply to paranormal claims rejected by many theists? For example, many theists do not accept claims that psychics can read minds or astrologers see into the future. How might the arguments of this author be used to evaluate paranormal claims rejected by theistic believers?

    Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Pastafarian Quatrains


    The Flying Spaghetti Monster vs the Invisible Pink Unicorn

    Richard Dawkins, Russell’s Teapot, Pink Unicorn, Flying Spaghetti Monster. Dawkins announces the reformed FSM (mine!!!) is the only god he can believe in

    P GOOD INTRO: Flying Spaghetti Monster Revealed; Part One (7:04)

    P The Flying Spaghetti Monster Revealed; Part Two (7:38)


    The Pastafarian Quatrains

    Statue of Flying Spaghetti Monster on Courthouse Lawn (3:12)

    © 2010, Jonathan C. Smith, PhD


    ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
    SPECIAL TOPICS
    PRACTICE VIDEOS

    General Videos



    Paranoral TV: Here are dozens of feature-length “documentaries” on various paranormal topics, including ghosts, UFOs, miracles, and healing. Uncritical.
    Paranormal TV (44:00)

    This presentation offers uncritical examples of many paranormal phenomena discussed in the text. Can you think of alternative explanations for those offered?

    Paranormal TV: Angels (50:00)


    Aliens, UFOS, Alien Abductions

    History Channel Ancient Aliens, 1 (9:45)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens, 2 (9:45)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens, 3 (9:45)
    History Channel Ancient Aliens, 4 (9:45)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009, 1 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009, 2 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009, 3 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009,4 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009,5 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009,6 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009, 7 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009, 8 (10:00)

    History Channel Ancient Aliens 2009,9 (10:00)

    Clear thinkers need to know how to critically examine the many television documentaries on paranormal topics. Although most appear on mainstream cable and network channels, many, perhaps 80%, are seriously deficient. One might call them junk. As an example, I offer links to “Ancient Aliens,” a classic “documentary” that aired a few years ago. I also offer links to the 2009 version. To the uncritical viewer, this presentation might appear to be quite convincing. However, it is permeated with many flaws. I offer a variety of additional links to videos and web pages to assist your critical thinking efforts.

    A CRASH COURSE on UFOs
    (required reading for those who believe as well as those who are skeptical)

    UFOlogy 2009: A Six-Decade Perspective (excellent overview)

    UFOs and Aliens in Space

    The Minsk UFO Case

    UFO Skeptic’s Page

    Skeptic.com’s discussion of ancient astronauts

    Ancient Aliens, Wikipedia. Although I generally discourage use of Wikipedia, this entry (as of March 19, 2010) is relatively useful)

    SKEPTIC magazine’s article on alien astronauts

    Michale Shermer, Larry King Live, UFOs (55:00)

    Shermer on Larry King Live with some “famous UFO experts” (40:00)

    NOVA discussion of Ancient Aliens claims

    Links to UFO information

    Collected UFO writings of Philip J. Klass

    $ See also Penn & Teller Bulls*** “Alien Abductions,” Season 1, Episode 3

    Aliens (50:00)

    How to tell you have been abducted by an alien

    DISCUSSIONS ON GOD, SATAN, SCIENCE, and ATHEISM


    ABC Nightline Faceoff: Does God exist (12 segments, each about 11 minutes

    Here is an excellent collection of of several dozen videos of ABC’s Nightline /Faceoff series. The topic is God and Science (as well as satan and atheism). Major contemporary thinkers are featured, including Sam Harris, Deepack Chopra, Michael Shermer, and Jean Houston. Look for errors in clear thinking.


    ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
    WEBSITES

    Advocates of the paranormal often challenge their skeptical friends with the question, “What is the harm of holding a paranormal belief?” While this is addressed in my book, some excellent websites provide additional answers.

    WHAT’S THE HARM (Of Paranormal Beliefs?)

    Interactive website, directs you to articles

    There are many excellent websites for questioning students of the paranormal, so many it is difficult to know where to begin. I start with the following

    The Skeptic’s Dictionary

    Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

    The Skeptics Society

    James Randi Educational Foundation

    How Stuff Works (Analyses of many specific paranormal topics. Some analyses are quite good, others have obvious flaws when seen in light of theCritical Thinker’s ToolkitGood for practice in critical thinking

    Quackwatch

    The following excellent sites have a more focused mission.

    The Skeptic Report

    U.K. Skeptics and The Skeptic magazine

    Bad Science

    Good articles and videos from the perspective of Richard Dawkins. Some resources not available elsewhere

    Here are some more general websites that offer more extensive information about paranormal topics.

    Contains the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology

    The following websites offer a less critical but still comprehensive survey of paranormal topics. Some are written by sincere paranormal researchers and advocates.

    About.com. Many useful paranormal articles

    Parapsychological Association

    Koestler Parapsychological Lab

    Students of the paranormal inevitably confront serious spiritual and religious issues. The following helpful websites are not limited to one religious point of view.

    Atheist website

    Religious Tolerance

    beliefnet


    ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦
    PODCASTS

    For Good Reason

    Skeptoid

    Canadian Broadcasting System weekly science show

    Good science

    A blog that examines latest medical news and controversies

    A wiki of skeptics.

    Check for legends and folklore

    Hoaxes and dubious claims in the news.

    Cecil Adams column, the “Straight Dope,”debunks a lot in a humorous way.


    ♠ ♣ ♥ ♦

    stress and relaxation

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  • About Jonathan Smith

    Jonathan C. Smith PhD is an international expert on stress, relaxation, and mindfulness; and recently a leader in the critical thinking movement where he thoughtfully exams anti-gay attitudes, pseudoscience, the paranormal, and destructive religiosity. Dr Smith is also devout Founder of the True Word (New Apocalyptic Reformed) Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. "May You be Touched by His Noodly Appendage." Dr. Smith is Out and Open. Obtained PhD in Personality Psychology at Michigan State University. Undergraduate of Oberlin College. Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Psychology at Chicago's Roosevelt University, Director of the University's Stress Institute, Head of the Pseudoscience and Paranormal Laboratory. Pubs: 20 books, 36 articles. His 2 major books (on mindfulness / relaxation; critical thinking, pseudoscience, and the paranormal) were rated by American Psychological Association reviewers as "the best" in their respective fields.
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