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Skeptic Summary #396

By The Staff
Posted on: 1/26/2014

Holocaust denial, rape apologetics, resolution time, unemployment gone, peel my orange, the Museum of Hoaxes and more!

Week ending January 26, 2014 (Vol 11, #2)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick, bi-weekly review of the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Archaeological fraud at Treblinka - Watch a troll carefully following a script from which he must not deviate.

Creationist rape apologetics with John Mackay - A lot of evil can be permitted with support of the Bible.

A New Year’s resolution - The promise to question theists about the omnipotence of God.

Unemployment benefits run out on Dec 28th - But Republican’s trickle-down economy hasn’t start working yet.

Editor’s Choice: Can someone peel this orange for me? - Go help out!

Kil’s Evil Pick:
[Oldie but goodie] The Museum of Hoaxes — Before we go on, I must first admit to stealing this pick from myself. It was my featured pick in our Skeptic Summary #48. Check out my effusive description of The Museum of Hoaxes, back in July, 2005. Things sure have changed around here. This might be the beginning of a series of revisits to some of my Stone Age picks. I’m not sure. I guess you’ll find out when and if I decide to bring another one back. As for this one, the decision to highlight the site again was an easy one to make.

I suppose the first thing I should mention is that while the The Museum of Hoaxes website is extensive, the actual museum exists in downtown San Diego, California, out there in the non-virtual world, and one day, I will visit it. But for now, its online existence will have to do for me. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

Not caught in San Diego. Or anywhere else for that matter.

Here’s a description of the site from the ABOUT page:
The Museum of Hoaxes was established in 1997. It explores deception, mischief, and misinformation throughout history, playing host to a variety of humbugs and hoodwinks — from ancient fakery all the way up to modern schemes, dupes, and dodges that circulate online.

The museum is divided into a variety of different sections. The historical wing presents a selection of history’s most notorious hoaxes, from the Middle Ages right up to the present. Our Gallery of April Fool’s Day hoaxes celebrates that one day of the year devoted to pranks and practical jokes. The Hoax Photo Archive demonstrates that photography has never been an entirely trustworthy medium of information. And the Tall-Tale Creature Gallery delves into the natural history of species such as the Jackalope and Fur-Bearing Trout.

Take a look around and check out the exhibits. Marvel at the woman who gave birth to rabbits, be astounded by the Swiss spaghetti trees, and shocked by the Bonsai Kittens. Try to decide if you would have fallen for any of the hoaxes. Just remember that there’s no claim so stupid that someone, somewhere won’t believe it!

Whoa! Brace yourselves. It seems I also featured The Museum of Hoaxes in our Skeptic Summary #185 in April, 2008. Welp. I guess the joke is on me! But there’s no turning back now. Plus, that one didn’t contain nearly as much text, and no photos at all. And If I couldn’t remember picking it again back then, why should I expect that you do? (Actually, it’s been mentioned several times in threads on this site, but who’s counting?)

The Cottingley Fairies

The site is the work of Alex Boese, who says this about it:
I created the Museum of Hoaxes back in 1997. It began as research notes for my doctoral dissertation but soon made its way onto the web where it rapidly transformed into a full-time means for me to procrastinate. As proof of this, I never finished the dissertation, but the Museum, during the same period of time, grew enormously. It’s hard to determine exactly how many people have visited the site, but it averages a little over one million page views every month. Theoretically that could be from my mother hitting the refresh button a million times every month.
Well we know it’s not just his mother hitting the refresh button because The Museum of Hoaxes seems to get mentioned enough around here. That alone should be of some comfort to Alex…

Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

Please come join us for chat every Wednesday at 10 PM Eastern time (7PM Pacific). More information can be found in this forum post.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Burzynski violates federal law with misleading claims about his research

Discovery Canada Serves up the Kecksburg Crash Yarn

Does Target sell the most irresponsible homeopathic remedy ever?

Doubtful News

Elves (Yes, Elves) Spark Road-Building Protest in Iceland

Evidence for Reincarnation

In 2009, Half the World’s Polio Cases Were in India: Today, There Are None

Jessica Ahlquist looks back — and ahead — 2 years after Ahlquist v. Cranston

Kevin Trudeau Tops the List of the Dirtiest Dozen Ducktors of 2013

Of seizures and celebrity: Evan’s grandmother speaks up

Psychic-scam defendant gets 4 years in prison and ordered to repay $2.2 million

Quantum Snake Oil — A Primer

Radioactive Fukushima claims live on despite scientific findings

Skepticality #221 — Out of Iraq

Skepticality #222 — Just A Skeptical Holiday

Skepticality #223 — Pieces of You

Skepticality #224 — Test For Intelligence?

Skeptics and Claims of “Earthquake Lights”

Society for Science-based Medicine is launched!

Stanislaw Burzynski: Using 1990s techniques to battle the FDA today

Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks

Why anti-vaxxers might be creating a world of more dangerous viruses

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.

Book of the Week:
Chiropractic Abuse: An Insider’s Lament, by Preston H. Long, D.C., Ph.D..

Chiropractic Abuse is a very important and timely contribution to the critical evaluation of chiropractic. It provides a most valuable perspective on the education, training, thinking, misunderstandings, wrongdoings and unethical behaviours of chiropractors. Anyone who consults a chiropractor or is considering doing so should study it thoroughly. Preston Long has been a chiropractor himself, and therefore his authority and expertise cannot be undermined by labeling him an outsider. His thoughtful insights and hands-on experiences reflect the very heart of chiropractic. It is this fact that makes this book unique. It would be nice to think that his outstanding and in many ways constructive criticism might contribute to a much-needed and long overdue reformation of chiropractic; but I would not hold my breath.”

— Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD.

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Archaeological fraud at Treblinka
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Does Creationism explain Iridium-rich KT-strata?
  4. Not sure about anti-vax parents…
  5. Strangest freeman on the land movement yet?
  6. Unbelievable
  7. Introduce yourself
  8. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  9. The Illuminati are actually a force for good
  10. The Skeptic Summary
  1. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  2. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  3. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults
  4. Evolving a Venom or Two
  5. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Skeptic Summary #389
  8. The Legend of the Shrinking Sun
  9. Cold Reading
  10. Skeptic Summary #395
There were 8,382 daily visitors this week.

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2013, all rights reserved.

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