WHAT?! — What’s the Harm?!

Quantifying the damage.

What’sTheHarm is designed to make a point about the dangers of not thinking critically. Namely that you can easily be injured or killed by neglecting this important skill.  – At last glance, the casualties, injuries, and cost of not thinking critically came to:

368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages

The website is operated by Tim Farley, who also does a segment on the Skepticality Podcast on History relevant to skeptics.

It’s a number that can only get bigger, and is far from exhaustive – I would suggest that it barely scratches the surface. Check out the topics available:

Medical

Acupuncture
Alphabiotics
Alternative dentistry
Alternative medicine
Applied kinesiology
Autism denial
Ayurvedic medicine
Chelation therapy
Chiropractic
Colloidal silver
Colon cleansing
Cranio-sacral therapy
Cupping
Detoxification
Ear candling
Energy medicine
Escharotics
Folk remedies
Herbal remedies
HIV/AIDS denial
Holistic medicine
Home childbirth
Homeopathy
Iridology
Naturopathy
Osteopathy
Ozone therapy
Psychic surgery
Vaccine denial
Vitamin megadoses

Supernatural & Paranormal

Astral projection
Curses
Exorcisms
Faith healing
Ghosts
Magick
Psychics
Vampires
Voodoo
Witchcraft

Religion

Breatharianism
Christian Science
Cults
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Religious fundamentalism
Scientology
Transcendental Meditation

Fears

Apocalypse fear
Metal toxicity fear
Satanic ritual abuse
Terrorism fear

Pseudo-Science

Astrology
Attachment therapy
Dowsing
Dream interpretation
Evolution denial
Expert witnesses
Facilitated communication
Feng shui
Hypnosis
Numerology
Reparative therapy
Repressed memory therapy

Misinformation

GPS navigation systems
Internet misinformation

Miscellaneous

Child vegetarianism
Conspiracy theories
Holocaust denial
IRS denial
Moon landing denial
Multi-level marketing
Nigerian emails
Rituals
UFOs

Audience Call for “The One”

As noted in a previous post “Unemployed? Here’s Training, and a Free Toss to a Job Application!” Australia’s Channel 7 is recreating their psychic-search for “Australia’s most gifted Psychic” in a reality-format show called “The One”.

During the last airing of “The One” Richard Saunders of Australian Skeptics appeared as the shows’ voice of reason.

If you’re on the fence about it and unsure, before you go, I recommend researching “cold-reading“. You may have heard about this from TV series’ such as “The Mentalist”, in which the main character was a former cold-reading mentalist pretending that he was psychic, and TV series “Psych”, in which the main character uses logic and reason to solve cases for the local police whilst also pretending that he was psychic.

There are some excellent references to things such as the Barnum Effect and how it relates to cold-reading on the internet, such as this one from Dennis Dutton.

Cold Reading is the term of art used in the magician’s trade to describe the practical use of the Barnum Effect in the give-and-take of an interview situation. Though interest in the technique by professional psychologists dates from the late 1940’s, it has long been put to profitable use by fortune-tellers, clairvoyants, tarot card readers, astrologers, tea leaf readers, spirit mediums, and others who wish to convey the impression that they possess paranormal insight into the client’s personality, current life situation, and future.

There is this video of about Derren Brown giving an “astrology” reading.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haP7Ys9ocTk

And I highly recommend the following video of Brian Brushwood
of “Scam School” at his “Scams, Sasquatch, and the Supernatural” lecture.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDfTLSb01xs

You can become a member of the audience for “The One”, and I would encourage it, as I will be considering putting in an application for some tickets myself. – Just go HERE. Ticket Applications close June 28th, 2011.