Skepticism, Facts and Evidence. Your Keys to Not Getting Scammed.

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1. Video “Here Be Dragons” by Brian Dunning (4/15/14) is a fresh and critical overlook on the huge variety of so called “dragons” which exist in abundance even in our civilized society. This video promotes critical thinking and demonstrates the “red flags” that one has to look out for in order to detect pseudosciences. A pseudoscience is an idea that claims to be real but is not backed by any real science or evidence. For instance, hair analysis, feng shui, psychokinesis, homeopathy, numerology, aura analysis, the list could go on forever. The warning signs for such “sciences” are - appeal to authority, ancient wisdom, confirmation bias, confuse correlation with causation, red herring, proof by verbosity, mystical energy, suppression by authority, all natural and ideological support. The one “red flag” I have always been skeptical about and this video confirmed it for me is “appeal to authority”. It is hard for me to understand how people actually trust advertisements that are simply screaming “we are specialists, look at our white lab coats and and all the certificates and the celebrities that support our product”. It is simply pathetic. As Brian says - “Good science presents good data, it does not aim to impress”. However, the one “red flag” that I have to be careful about myself is confusing correlation with causation. It is the natural human tendency to assume that, if two events or phenomena consistently occur at about the same time, then one is the cause of the other. Our weakness for this tactic is often exploited by scammers and bogus scientists when they want to persuade us that a relationship exists between two variables without providing supporting evidence. In order to secure ourselves from falling for all the nonsense... ... middle of paper ... ...he diseases they are aimed to protect from. Within the United States, vaccines have reduced the incidence of measles by 98 percent and invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b infection in children by more than 99 percent. Because of immunization, the incidence of diphtheria dropped from 206,000 cases and 15,520 deaths in 1921 to an average of just two to three reported cases each year since 1980. Despite the success in eradicating diseases, some people tend to doubt the safety of vaccination, by believing misleading information about the ingredients of vaccines. Brian Dunning in his video clears out all the nonsense arguments associated with vaccine ingredients people use to avoid getting vaccinated. The ingredients that are present in every vaccine are listed and are available to anyone who is interested. As Brian says - “Everything there is there for a reason”.

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