Posted by mattusmaximus on October 27, 2011
My favorite time of the year is almost upon us: Halloween!
I love Halloween not just because of the candy, the costumes, and the decorations (when else can you be a complete freak and it be socially acceptable?) but also because of the wonderful potential for promoting skepticism and critical thinking about various paranormal claims. Let’s face it: at this time of the year, ghosts, witchcraft, psychics, and various other kinds of woo are on everyone’s minds, so why not take advantage of that fact and use it to inject the skeptical viewpoint on things? I have found this to be a very effective teaching technique over the years, so that’s why I pass it along to you.
So in the spirit of the season (pardon the pun), allow me to share with you some links to various Halloween-ish skeptical resources that you can use, including a few of my earlier blog posts on the subject…
Posted in aliens & UFOs, education, ghosts & paranormal, humor, magic tricks, physics denial/woo, psychics, skeptical community | Tagged: 1938, AAPT, aliens, American Association of Physics Teachers, broadcast, cartoon, critical thinking, delusion, detectors, education, electromagnetic fields, EMF, equipment, esp, extrasensory perception, Flim Flam, ghost hunter, ghost hunters, ghost hunting, ghost meter, ghosts, Halloween, Haunted Physics Lab, high school, hoax, humor, hysteria, infrared, invaders, invasion, James Randi, Lake Forest, lesson, magic, mars, Martians, mass hysteria, media, Mercury Theater, meters, NOVA, orb, Orson Welles, Ouija, Ouija board, panic, paranoraml, paranormal, PBS, physics, pseudoscience, psychics, radio, Randi, science, Secrets of the Psychics, skeptic, Skeptic's Dictionary, skepticism, Snopes, South Park, spacecraft, spirit, spirits, TAPS, teacher, teaching, temperature, The Amazing One, The Amazing Randi, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, UFO, war, War of the Worlds, waves, woo | 4 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 23, 2011
Whoo-hoo! I’ve been waiting for a long time for this: the famous Skeptic’s Dictionary – that amazing online resource on all things paranormal, pseudoscientific, and full-of-woo – has come to the iTunes store (actually, it came to iTunes earlier this year, I’m just a little behind). This means that you can download it to your mobile smart phone and have the entire resources of the Dictionary available at your fingertips for when someone with whom you are speaking makes a less-than-skeptical claim
It’s not free, but in my opinion for $0.99 it is quite a bargain. Check it out…
Images courtesy of iTunes.
Posted in internet, skeptical community | Tagged: app, claims, dictionary, encyclopedia, internet, iPhone, iPod Touch, iTouch, iTunes, paranormal, pseudoscience, reference, religion, science, skeptic, Skeptic's Dictionary, skepticism | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 28, 2010
I want to share with you all a couple of Halloween-related lessons I give to my students every year. That’s because this time of year is the perfect time to inject some explicit critical thinking & skepticism of all things spooky that go “bump” in the night. I also tie it all in to scientific inquiry…
The first lesson I give my students is that I show them James Randi’s “Secrets of the Psychics” video from NOVA. Though it was released in 1993, it is still one of the most well-done videos on the topic, and it is the perfect length & tone for a high school or college class. Below is a link to Youtube where you can access the entire episode (50-60 minutes long), and I would also like to share with you the notesheet that I have my students fill in as they’re watching the video – Secrets of the Psychics Notesheet
Over the next few days, I will share with you part 2 of my Halloween lesson. I’m certain you’ll enjoy it, so stay tuned
Addendum: In addition, I share some good Halloween & skeptically-themed weblinks with my students on the course website. They are the Snopes.com page on Halloween urban legends and the Skeptic’s Dictionary entry on Halloween – I highly recommend sharing these with your friends, family, and students.
Posted in astrology, education, ghosts & paranormal, magic tricks, psychics | Tagged: critical thinking, education, ghosts, Halloween, James Randi, lesson, magic, NOVA, paranoraml, PBS, psychics, Randi, science, Secrets of the Psychics, Skeptic's Dictionary, skepticism, Snopes, teacher, teaching | 3 Comments »