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Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

confirmation bias

"It is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives." --Francis Bacon

Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one's beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one's beliefs. For example, if you believe that during a full moon there is an increase in admissions to the emergency room where you work, you will take notice of admissions during a full moon, but be inattentive to the moon when admissions occur during other nights of the month. A tendency to do this over time unjustifiably strengthens your belief in the relationship between the full moon and accidents and other lunar effects.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

full moon

In a nutshell: The full moon and other phases of the moon have been linked to all kinds of things, but so far the science hasn't supported folk beliefs about the full moon.

The full moon has been linked to crime, mental illness, disasters, accidents, werewolves, and many other things. Does the scientific evidence support any of these links? Not really. Well, the science does favor one link: when the moon is waning (when the part we can see gets smaller), you would be well advised to stay out of the reach of hungry lions in the jungle. In the dark they can see us better than we can see them.>>more

a blast from the past

The Super Bowl and violence against women

On January 18, 1993, a media "watchdog" group called Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) put out a news release that stated: "The Super Bowl is one of the most widely viewed television events every year. Unfortunately, women's shelters report that Super Bowl Sunday is also one of the worst days of the year for violence against women in the home." According to Laura Flanders of FAIR, the release cited press reports from the New York Times (1/5/92 and 1/22/92) and the Chicago Tribune(1/27/91), which were based on accounts of those who work with battered women.>>more

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