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Skeptical Manifesto
This is taken from a now defunct website. I liked it so much I've reproduced it here ...[comments in parentheses are mine]

Many, many people believe in many, many things that are complete nonsense. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, people believe in these things and use them as guideposts in their lives. People believe in many things just because they want to believe in them. I choose to forgo my personal feelings and reject many things that I want to believe in because they just aren't true. Below is a list of the most common things that people believe in the realms of the supernatural, the pseudoscientific and the mystical that are complete bunk.

Human beings do not have extrasensory perception. People cannot bend spoons and forks with their minds. There is no telepathy, no telekinesis and no pyrokinesis. Human beings do not have psychic powers of any kind. People cannot astrally project themselves and out-of-body experiences are hallucinations. People and objects do not have mystical auras. Human beings do not have clairaudience, clairvoyance, dermo-optical perception, xenoglossy, vinyl vision, precognition, psi powers, psychokinesis, remote viewing powers, retrocognition, second sight, a sixth sense or teleportation.

Human beings cannot talk to the dead. Seances and scrying are fake. Ouija boards are fake. Channeling is a trick. Automatic and trance writing is a hoax. Papyromancy is a joke. Tarot cards and cartomancy are fake as is any type of fortune telling, whether it be from tea leaves, runes, pig entrails or any other source. Electronic voice phenomenon is not a sign of otherworldly visitors. Geomancy is bunk. People cannot levitate. Magick is not real and people cannot manifest. The Marfa lights are not aliens or ghosts or swamp gas or radioactivity or ball lightining. There are no real mediums, mentalists, oracles, victim souls, prophets, psychics, psychic detectives, pet psychics or psychic photographers. Nostradamus was a fraud. The occult is not real. Past life regression is fake. Psychometry is false. Reverse speech is false.

Human beings do not have the power to heal others through mystical or psychic means. Crystals do not work. Magnets do not work. Acupuncture and acupressure do not work. Massage is not a legitimate form of treatment. Chiropractors are not real doctors and they do not practice legitimate medicine. Aromatherapy, biofeedback, herbal medicine, naturopathy and reflexology do not work. Alphabiotics, applied kinesiology, astrotherapy, aura therapy, Ayurvedic treatment, bio-ching, chelation therapy, palmistry, colloidal minerals, coning, craniometry, craniosacral therapy, EMDR, facilitated communication, holistic medicine, homeopathy, intuitive healing, iridology, joy touch, Large Group Awareness Training, macrobiotics, ortho-bionomy, mesmerism, metoposcopy, naturopathy, neuro-linguistic programming, numerology, osteopathy, vitalism, urine therapy, personology, phrenology, physiognomy, psychic surgery, psychoanalysis, reflexology, reiki, rolfing, shark cartilage, coral calcium, therapeutic touch, thought field therapy, transcendental meditation and trepanation are all bunk.

There are currently no theories of everything that work. Electromagnetic fields do not cause cancer. Cryonics serves no useful purpose and we won't be bringing people back from a frozen death to a new life once we find a cure for whatever it is that ails them. Bioharmonics and biorhythms are junk science. Human beings do not have cellular memories. There is no cold fusion. There are no free energy devices that allow us unlimited pollution-free energy sources. There are no perpetual motion machines. There are no n-rays or e-rays. Human beings cannot live without food, water or sleep. Ley lines are not sources of energy or power. Zermatism is nonsense. There is no spontaneous human combustion. [HAARP (I now have a page on it) doesn't cause earthquakes, change the weather or control minds]

Alchemy doesn't work. Witchcraft doesn't work. There are no Satanic cults kidnapping children, indoctrinating children or making human sacrifices. There are no backwards Satanic messages of any power on musical albums. Astrology does not work and human beings' lives are not dependent on celestial bodies. Cosmobiology is bunk. Human beings are not descendant from aquatic apes. The Indian Rope Trick is a hoax. There is no instrumental transcommunication.

There are no ghosts, spooks, spectres, banshees, wraiths, ghouls, goblins, zombies, werewolves, walking mummies or other things that go bump in the night. There is no bigfoot, no yeti, no abominable snowman, no sasquatch. There is no Loch Ness monster, no chupacabra, no Jersey devil, no Mothman. There are no bunyips, ectoplasm, fairies, haunted houses, Cardiff Giant, jinni, lycanthropes, mokele mbembe, orbs, vampires, unicorns or wendigo. Plants don't have perception, emotions or thoughts. There is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy.

There are no real-world uses of charms, spells, incantation, dowsing rods, conjuring, crystal skulls, curses, enneagrams, the evil eye, fakirs, witch doctors, feng shui, glossolalia, graphology, herbal fuel, the hundredth monkey phenomenon, the Inset Fuel Stabilizer, invocation, Kirlian photography, direct lie tests, control question tests, lucid dreams, the Mozart effect, orgone energy, wizards, witches, warlocks, vastu, paratrinkets, penile plethysmograph, pentagrams, philosopher's stones, the Quadro-Tracker, scapulimancy, shamans, sorcery, stichomancy, sympathetic magic, talismans, superstitions or tarot cards.

There is a strong possibility that life exists on other planets. There are no aliens visiting us currently. UFOs are not alien spacecraft. There are no flying saucers. Crop circles are not created by aliens (nor are they complex weather phenomenon). Cattle aren't being mutilated by aliens. Aliens did not build the pyramids or other ancient civilizations on Earth, nor did they make the Nazca lines. Beings who have discovered how to defy the laws of physics are not flying from light years away to Earth, kidnapping Bubba and Jethro and anally probing them. Area 51 does not hide an alien spacecraft. An alien spacecraft did not crash at Roswell, New Mexico. Aliens did not visit the Dogon in Africa. There is no alien face on the surface of Mars. There are no men in black controlling what we know about aliens. Rods are just flying insects caught on film.

Neither the government, nor aliens, nor hypnotists nor anyone or anything else can effectively control a human being's mind and force them to do things that are against their will through magical or mystical means. The government, media, liberals, conservatives, Communists, socialists nor anyone else is effectively brainwashing individuals into believing things that they don't want to believe. Hypnosis does not take people to altered states and does not lead to repressed memories or mystical experiences. Silva Mind Control doesn't work.

The Earth is not a conscious biological organism. The Earth is not going to be destroyed a comet or asteroid at some distant date in the future. The Earth is not flat nor is it hollow. Atlantis never existed. The Bermuda Triangle isn't any more dangerous than the rest of the ocean. The moon doesn't cause people to do strange things. The "Mars effect" doesn't produce great athletes. Nothing big or important is going to happen at the beginning of the new millennium - any new millennium by any reckoning method. [This piece was written before 2000 - and, surprise, nothing did happen]

[The Rapture won't take place on May 21, 2011, and Harold Camping will have egg on his face... again]

Religion is bunk. Prayer does nothing. There is no evidence that human beings have souls. Intelligent Design Theory and creationism are not true. There are no miracles. The Virgin Mary and Jesus do not appear on trees or tortillas or any other mundane places. There is no God, no Satan, no devil. There are no guardian angels or angels of any sort. There are no demons, no possessions and no need for exorcisms. There are no houri. There are no incorruptible bodies, St. Gennaro's blood doesn't mystically liquefy every year, there is no truth to the Biblical story of Noah and nobody has found Noah's Ark. The Shroud of Turin is a fake. Cabala is made up. The Bible Code is nonsense. There is no real-world truth to devadasi, dianetics, Scientology, falun gong, I ching, the Kabalarian philosophy, karma, the Urantia book, prana, chi, stigmata or transubstantiation.

There is no luck, no destiny, no predestination and no evidence for reincarnation. There is nothing special about Friday the 13th. There is no time travel and there will never be time travel. There is no collective unconscious or morphic resonance. No one has harnessed the power of tachyons.

Amway doesn't work for most people. Chain letters don't work for anyone, nor do chain e-mail messages. Nor do multi-level marketing, Pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes or network marketing.

The Holocaust did happen. We did land on the moon. [9/11 wasn't a government plot or false flag operation] Ica stones don't tell us our true history. There are no Illuminati ruling the world and there is no New World Order. The Philadelphia Experiment did not teleport a naval ship. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a fake.

Feel free to believe in any of these things if you choose, just don't pretend that they really work or that they are really true. The positive benefits that are seen from these things come from the placebo effect or from random chance. The negative effects that result from these things come from the nocebo effect, natural processes or random chance. Science either can or will be able eventually to explain all things that happen here in the real world. If you have problems, your best bet is to look to science or to yourself for solutions, not to pseudoscience and phony mysticism.

To read more about any of these things, go to The Skeptic's Dictionary.

 

Copyright © Stephen Tapply