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Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

zombie idea

According to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, a zombie idea is "a proposition that has been thoroughly refuted by analysis and evidence, and should be dead — but won’t stay dead because it serves a political purpose, appeals to prejudices, or both." Examples include the idea of a flat Earth, a hollow Earth, and a geocentric universe. Further examples include belief in homeopathy and various forms of energy medicine that involve claims about a vital force or subtle energy that is somehow related to health and disease. (Krugman says that he first saw the phrase 'zombie idea' in the context of myths about Canadian health care.)>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)


In a nutshell: Monsters are freaks of nature or scary creatures in stories that are ugly and mean.

The word 'monster' comes from the Latin monstrum, which means two-headed snake something like a freak of nature. So, technically, something like a two-headed snake would be a monster. Two-headed snakes happen when there is an incomplete splitting of the egg.

Animals are made up of cells, which are like chemical factories. One of the most important strings of chemicals in cells is the one that copies itself to make more cells. These chemical strings are called chromosomes. Chromosomes come in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father. Each chromosome has several genes. The genes help make different kinds of cells in an animal's body. Sometimes when genes are copied the chemicals get mixed up. Sometimes the chemicals get mixed up when an egg splits to make twins. That's what happens when a two-headed snake is made.>>more

a blast from the past

Natural Thinking: A Case Study

18 Dec 2011.....This is a story about a mother trying to understand why her firstborn suffered from a neurological disorder and after a short and miserable existence died soon after his first birthday. It is the story of how a powerful emotional experience affected her judgment to the point where she became unable to see anything good in medicine or anything bad in the anti-vaccination movement. I can't say I have all the details right, but the general picture is clear enough from what information is available about the case. >>more

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