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Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Pseudoscience

Well, that was an experience

After a talk at the Blackheath Philosophy Forum I was having what seemed to be a rational discussion about climate change with someone who had brought it up. I mentioned the systematic changes in plant flowering and animal reproduction that had been occurring as rainfall and temperature patterns had changed over the last few decades. […]

Book – The Bear’s Progress: SkeptoBear’s World Tour 2004

In January 2004, at the invitation of Mr James Randi, I was a speaker at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas. At the time I was Vice President of Australian Skeptics and I went as a representative of that organisation, accompanied by the other Vice President. Also in the party was SkeptoBear, a bear of […]

Book – Things I Think About – Volume 1

I have been writing and speaking in public for a long time, so I decided to collect all the speeches and articles together in a handy anthology. The first volume, covering late 1999 to mid 2003 is now available. I had been writing for newspapers long before this, but a lot of the words have […]

Talk is cheap, but not always free

A continual complaint from nonsense peddlers is that their right of free speech is infringed by media outlets that won’t print their opinions. They overlook the fundamental issue that private owners of publications have no obligation to provide platforms for people who disagree with them. It is not a restriction on freedom of speech if […]

Where can I buy food with extra gluten?

If you ever mention anywhere on the Internet that you have computer problems, within a short period of time you will receive the very useful advice to “Get a Mac”. A similar Pavlovian response occurs if you mention the diet fad du jour, as people (often self-diagnosed) with dreadful allergies and food intolerances tell you […]

Confirmation bias, denialism and Morton’s Demon.

Anyone who has ever done research will be familiar with the problem of confirmation bias – hearing what you want to hear. Anybody doing research in the social sciences has to be constantly aware of the possibility of confirmation bias, of selecting results and readings that fit the hypothesis and either ignoring or eliminating things […]

The anti-vaccination lobby

This article was published as the Naked Skeptic column in the October 2009 edition of Australasian Science. It has not lost an iota of relevance. For many years the anti-vaccination lobby had the respect of the media. Any story on a television current affairs program about a disease where anyone had suggested vaccination would include […]

MindBodySpirit Festival 2012

To save everyone else the pain I went to the Sydney MindBodySpirit Festival on Friday, November 9. I’ve been going to these things for some years and they are always great fun as long as you stay away from the medical quackery. That seems to be reducing over time and most of the ones still […]

I try not to know what just ain’t so

Everyone must be familiar with the quote “It ain’t so much the things we know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so”. I once used it in something I was writing and being a pedant I went looking for the original author of the saying. Something in my […]

Let’s be balanced!

Every now and then I receive an email which accuses me of bias against the things which I list at The Millenium Project and declare I don’t like, to which I can only answer “Guilty, your honour”. The funny ones are those which suggest that I should show some balance by presenting the views of […]

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