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Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Science

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 […]

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 […]

Genetic modification

You know how GM is a plot by Monsanto to create sterile seed so farmers can’t keep back part of their crop for planting next season and have to buy new seed? Twenty-five years ago I worked for a distributor of agricultural products and we had a man whose full-time job was seed sales because […]

Polio vaccination – thank you very much!

I recently spent a few weeks on crutches because of a broken ankle, and I had a vaccination against pneumonia today. These reminded me of my earliest memory of being vaccinated. Shortly after my twelfth birthday I was rushed to hospital to have my appendix removed. Back in those days it wasn’t the simple keyhole job […]

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 […]

No, it’s not the “God Particle”

Like thousands of other people (including, it seemed, 99% of the people I associate with on Twitter) I watched entranced at the announcement from CERN this week that the two teams working with the Large Hadron Collider had independently found better evidence for the existence of the postulated Higgs Boson than they had announced a […]

Experimenting on skeptics

At SkeptiCamp Sydney on May 26 I conducted a small experiment to show that even people motivated to attend a skeptical conference can have their actions influenced by things they read. It was not intended to be a scientific experiment so no statistical analysis of the results has been or will be attempted. It was […]