Monthly Archives: February 2010

Science and Pseudoscience.

In the familiar ongoing battle of Science vs Pseudoscience it would seem that the Pseudoscientists and Wooists have an unfair advantage because unlike Science they are not restricted by the laws of Physics and do not carry the inherent burden of proof that real scientists and skeptics require in order to support their claims.

The pseudoscientists have a bottomless bag of bullshit from which they can pull all sorts of absurd claim from. Homeopaths for example make the absurd claim that water has “memory” and that it can remember a substance after that substance has long since disappeared. Psychics like to use the term “Energy” as I discussed briefly in an earlier post to try and describe a magical force that they can somehow tap into. There are countless examples of “perpetual motion” machines such as the LUTEC Engine which in theory violates the laws of thermal dynamics, which is an impossibility and such laws of nature have been well established by the collective of scientific knowledge. 

On the other hand scientists are restricted by facts. Whenever they make a claim they must provide evidence to support it and that evidence must then stand up to the scrutiny of peer-review. A pseudoscientist can just keep on making things up but a real scientist or skeptic simply cannot.

However despite the notable advantage of limitless bullshit the pseudoscience quacks and frauds are still having a hard time. Just this week the UK’s National Health Service has been met with calls to drop the funding of Homeopathic remedies.

Today the Science and Technology Select Committee delivered its verdict on homeopathy and it was devastating. The committee has called for the complete withdrawal of NHS funding and official licensing of

In addition to this triumph over the fraud of Homeopathy another battle has also been won against pseudoscience, but at the cost of countless lives. Some pseudoscientist frauds are so morally bankrupt  that nothing will get in the way of their ill-gotten cash flow.

A BBC Newsnight investigation has exposed a “useless” bomb detector device currently being used at security check points in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK Government has now banned the export of the British made device and the device’s maker, Jim McCormack, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

The Iraqi government has spent 85 million dollars, at a cost of 40 thousand dollars each, on the dowsing-like ADE-651 devices, but there are now fears that they failed to prevent bomb attacks which killed hundreds of military personal and civilians. Sidney Alford a leading explosives expert, said the sale of the devices was “absolutely immoral”.

He told Newsnight; “It could result in people being killed in the dozens, if not hundreds.”

This comes after three recent suicide car bomb attacks in Baghdad, with one attack in December killing over 120 Iraqis. The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh

Just another example of the harm these fraudsters can cause when they use fake science to try and sell a product. If you spend enough time debunking unscientific claims you will find that more often than not the pseudoscientist has something to sell, while the Skeptic who exposes them often has nothing to sell yet still carries the burden of evidence founded on real scientific principles.

While pseudoscience may at first appear to have a significant advantage over science it is only possible to invent so much bullshit before you are exposed for whatever con you are trying to pull. In the end real science always triumphs over pseudoscience no matter how much bullshit they can invent.

Whats the harm in Alternative Medicine?

People keep telling me that quackery is harmless. It’s all a bit of fun, they aren’t harming anyone. However this could not be further from the truth, purveyors of Woo are not only defrauding vulnerable people but they can also contributing to serious health issues and even death. The worst offenders are the Alternative Medicine scams.

Alternative Medicine is any healing process that has not been scientifically proven to work. This includes, but is not limited to: Homeopathy, Crystal Healing, Naturopathy, Meditation, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hypnosis and Acupuncture. An Alternative Medicine is one that has not passed clinical trials or has failed it’s clinical trials. Alternative Medicine that has passed clinical trials and been proven to work is no longer alternative and is simply called “Medicine” or “Science Based Medicine” as many Skeptics like to call it in order to further distinguish it from the quackery. There is allot of money to be made in Alternative Medicines due to the ignorance of the general public and I consider this business to be nothing short of fraud, but it is far worse than selling a fraudulent device such as the Moletech Fuel-​​Saver because selling fake medicines can cost lives.

Recently in Australia a child suffering from cancer was denied chemotherapy by her parents who instead chose to heal her with Mud Therapy.

In this case, a 10 year old girl Tamar, was recently diagnosed with liver cancer which required immediate and aggressive chemotherapy. But her parents have shunned conventional treatment in favour of “mud” therapy. A team of oncologists at Princes Margaret Childrens’ Hospital advised that a seven week course of chemotherapy would give Tamar a 50-60% chance of survival. Despite the treating hospital pleading with the parents to consent to chemotherapy, eventually seeking the involvement of the WA legal system, the parents fled Australia to El Salvador. -The Skeptics’ Book of Pooh-Pooh

This is just one example of Alternative Medicine causing harm to an innocent person by offering false hope in place of a real treatment that could save their life. Not only do purveyors of false medicine defraud vulnerable and often desperate people out of money, but they do so at the expense of their victims health. I find it baffling that our government can ban a fraudulent device such as the Mtech Fuel-Saver while at the same time allowing frauds who actually do real harm to continue.

The next time you hear someone claim that Alternative Medicine is “harmless” I hope that you will correct them. I found a fantastic online resource called “What’s the Harm?” that lists many other examples of Alternative Medicines causing harm to patients.

Senator Conroy involved in more secret meetings with special interest groups.

As if Senator Conroy’s previous secret meeting with the the Australian Christian Lobby has not already caused plenty of controversy the minister is at it again holding secret meeting with special interest groups.

This time Conroy has gone snow-skiing with Seven’s billionaire owner Kerry Stokes. Innocent enough at first glance, why shouldn’t he be able to have a social life after all. But when he later announces huge huge benefits for TV networks, that’s more than just a little suspicious.

The meeting came a month before the Victorian-based Senator Conroy cut licence fees paid by Seven, Ten and Nine for the next two years, depriving the Government of about $250 million in revenue.

The decision was controversial because Senator Conroy said it was to protect Australian content – but it included no binding requirement for the networks to spend the money on Australian content.

Instead, it went directly to their bottom line.

Both Mr Stokes and Senator Conroy refused to say what was discussed.

This is the same Senator who argues that the Government Censorship Regime will have propper oversight, the same department that has exemption from Freedom-of-Information requests. The minister has also called for a Piracy Code of Conduct.

The biggest problem for copyright holders at present is that they can’t easily access the contact details of people who are caught pirating content through protocols like BitTorrent, which advertise their IP address, but nothing else. ISPs do not give up the details of which customer was using what IP address at particular times without a court order.

One of the key concerns about the Government having the authority to control content and speech on the Internet is that special interest groups will be lining up to have there personal distastes eradicated, in fact they already are. Do big media already have Conroy feeding out of their hand because it sure seems that way.

Can we really trust a man who looks after special interest groups at the expense of everyone else? What shenanigans will Conroy be upto next?


Why the Moon Landing is NOT fake.

Of all the events that took place in the 20th century perhaps none is greater than setting foot on the moon however like many great achievements the moon landings are haunted by conspiracy nut jobs who insist that the landings cannot have taken place despite indisputable scientific evidence to the contrary. The lunar hoaxers like to use poor and even ludicrous arguments to refute history.

One of the most commonly used photographs is the one displaying the American flag and one of the two astronauts, either Neil Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin it’s hard to tell in this photo.


The hoaxers argument goes like this

When the astronauts are putting up the American flag it waves. There is no wind on the Moon.

The movement of the flag is caused by vibrations during it’s planting. This movement of the flag does not indicate the presence of wind but instead proves that the flag is in a vacuum. Here on Earth the flag would cease movement considerably faster due to resistance from the atmosphere the lack of air resistance in the vacuum of space allows this vibration movement to continue considerably longer than if the flag was surrounded by an atmosphere. You should also note the flag in this photograph is supported by a horizontal bar across the top which allows the flag to remain upright instead of falling flat against the pole, surprisingly many people fail to notice this in the photo.


No stars are visible in the pictures taken by the Apollo astronauts from the surface of the Moon.

Stars are not visible on the moon during daylight hours for the same reason that they are not visible on Earth during daylight hours. It is not the Earth’s atmosphere that prevents stars from being visible during the day and this is evident by the fact that we can see them at night. The reason we don’t see stars during the day on Earth is because the light from the Sun is simply too bright, this is called Light Pollution and it is the same reason we can see the night sky much more clearly in rural locations than we can around big cities. The daytime sky on the Moon is no different from Earth in this respect.


The footprints in the fine lunar dust, with no moisture or atmosphere or strong gravity, are unexpectedly well preserved, as if made in wet sand.

This one is a no brainer. Without wind or rain the footprints may last for centuries without erosion. This argument is often used by the same crackpots who claim that the flag shouldn’t be moving because there’s no wind on the Moon. So first they argue that there is no wind and then try to argue that the footprints could not possible remain preserved as if they suddenly changed their mind about not having wind on the moon.


The rocks brought back from the Moon are identical to rocks collected by scientific expeditions to Antarctica.

Some Moon rocks have been found on Earth, but they are rare and are often scorched from their entry into Earths atmosphere. The rocks brought back from the Apollo missions do not contain this scorching. Given that the Earth, Moon and many other planets formed from the same mass of particles many billions of years ago it should not be any surprise to find substances on Earth that are also found elsewhere in our galaxy.


No blast crater is visible in the pictures taken of the lunar landing module.

The landing module touches down on a surface of solid rock that is covered by a thin layer of dust, when the Lander takes off it’s thrust is much smaller than would be needed on Earth due to the Moons lower gravitational pull. This results in a significantly smaller blast radius. Which is why you don’t see any blast crater. Although the thin layer of dust is blasted away the solid rock beneath it remains.


Shadows in the photographs indicate that there are multiple light sources similar to studio lighting.

If you have ever looked at a Full Moon you will know that the lunar surface is highly reflective. So there is certainly more than one light source to cast shadows, both the Sun and the Moon that reflects it. This also happens on Earth, you can cast a shadow on the ground without being in darkness yourself.


Apollo astronauts could not have travelled to the moon as a giant belt of lethal space radiation would have frazzled them.

The Van Allen Radiation Belt is a favorite for the conspiracy nuts. The radiation is lethal to Humans but so are X-Rays and yet people have X-Rays all the time. The solution is to not hang-out in the radiation field. The astronauts passed through the belt in just a few hours and were exposed to the same radiation as a normal X-Ray patient.



On one hand we have mountains of evidence from reputable Scientific organisations and on the other we have a bunch of conspiracy nuts presenting absurd unscientific evidence despite the Scientific Consensus that man has landed on the Moon. I know who I’d rather place money on.

Three simple quotes to accompany my ideology.

I found the following quotes that accompany my ideology of freespeech.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. –Evelyn Beatrice Hall

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. –George Washington

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. –Benjamin Franklin




Why is it acceptable to sell Woo-Woo

Why is is ok to sell one type of scam but not the other?

If I were to sell bottles of Hair Tonic, concocted from urine and ink on the street corner I am sure I would very soon run a foul of the Department of Consumer Protection for selling a product that does not and has not been proven to work. The most common term for such a product is “fraud” and it is against the law to sell such products to the consumer for financial gain.

However Psychics and Clairvoyants frequently engage in such activities whereby they sell a service that does not work. Even with a prize of $100,000 AUD on offer from Australian Skeptics and One Million USD from The James Randi Educational Foundation not one Psychic has ever come forward to verify their extraordinary claims. This reluctance comes as no surprise to anyone of a Skeptical mindset but anyone who is not a Skeptic should be asking why these people cannot verify their own claims to have such psychic powers particularly when there is a significant financial incentive to do so. The all to obvious truth is that Psychics, Clairvoyants, Mediums and all the other New Age powers are nothing more than a fallacy.

Unlike my earlier hypothetical scenario with the “hair tonic” when it comes to Psychics and Clairvoyants the Department of Consumer Protection is content with standing on the sidelines and allowing ignorant people to be parted with their cash. There is a monthly “Psychic Awareness Magical Fair” here in Perth and I felt it was only fitting that Consumer Protection should know about the fraudulent practices taking place here. So I visited their Scamnet website where I stumbled upon an interesting page about Psychics and Clairvoyants.

Psychic scams prey on people’s vulnerabilities by promising to change their lives through lucky charms and winning lottery numbers.

Often these so-called psychics do not exist. They are fictional characters created by mailing companies to fleece you of your money. The pictures accompanying the psychics’ biographies are purchased from commercial photography libraries. The models in these photographs probably have no idea that their image is being used to scam people.

So it seems that you are not allowed to pretend to be a Psychic but it’s ok to be an actual Psychic. What is the difference, Psychics are frauds so how can it be ok to be a Psychic so long as you aren’t just pretending to be a Psychic? That simply doesn’t make sense. So I emailed them to ask about it and this is the response I got.


Dear Mr Buzzard

Thank you for your enquiry regarding Psychic and clairvoyant scams.

WAScamNet reports on a range of matters that are currently being marketed to the public of Western Australia.  In many instances the wording and style of information presented to members of the public falls into the category of material that Consumer Protection considers likely to mislead the recipient of the material.

One of these instances is what we define as psychic scams. Often these scams will involve a claim that simply by sending money to a particular person some defined result, e.g. personal wealth or happiness, will follow. In many cases, no readily identifiable service is actually provided.

The Department’s particular concern in relation to clairvoyants and psychics is where generic information or material is published which gives an impression to the reader that the publisher of the material has particular knowledge of the circumstances of the individual, potentially causing the reader to be misled into acting in a way that they would not normally do. However, we take the view that material published by way of general invitation or information allows the reader to make an informed choice about whether to participate.

WAScamNet does not purport to support, deny or define the existence of the ability to foretell the future or issues that may affect individuals. There are a wide range of individuals and groups, including psychics, clairvoyants, and even religious organisations, that may claim knowledge of aspects of the future or that may provide guidance to individuals on how to act based on their values and beliefs. Consumer Protection considers that where the material published by these individuals or groups is sufficient for the reader to make an informed decision about whether or not to engage a particular service or to participate in a particular activity or belief system, there is unlikely to have been misleading conduct in breach of the Fair Trading Act 1987.

Consumer Protection will receive and consider all complaints about information published by any person or company.

I trust this information is of assistance.

Kind Regards

<Name Omitted>
A/WA ScamNet Research Officer
Retail and Service Industries Branch


Will they attempt to support deny or define the effectiveness of my fraudulent  “Hair Tonic” if I start to sell it on the street corner, or is this special acceptance reserved only for the Psychics. The stance taken by the Department of Consumer Protection is deeply disappointing, as far as I’m concerned Fraud is Fraud and the authorities should not pick and choose between them. Psychic’s cheat the consumer just like any other scam and the authorities should deal with them accordingly.

Who has the right to speak?

Do Neo-Nazi’s, White Supremacists or Jihadist Muslim groups have the right to free-speech?

In my opinion they absolutely have the right to speak no matter how hateful or offensive their speech may be. However that does not mean I have to agree with them nor lend them my platform to speak from. However if I do not respect their right to freespeech then I cannot reasonably expect society to respect my right to freespeech in return. It is not alway’s easy to defend the rights of people that we so thoroughly disagree with but supporting those rights does not mean we have to agree with them and can in turn exercise our own rights when we speak out against opposing view points.

When we deny free-speech to one particular group of people we eradicate the justification for our own and the downward slide towards totalitarianism begins. First we block the neo-nazi’s then the white supremacists and who’s next, Atheist’s? we do have allot of religious politicians so is it really that far fetched to expect that Atheist websites may one day find their way onto the blacklist.


Who is going to decide what should or should not be added to the blacklist? What if the person adding sites to the blacklist has an opposing opinion to that of your own, what if they are a Muslim and you are a Jew, what if they find violent video games offensive but you enjoy playing those games, what if you hate opera but they love it. This list is potentially limitless, the Human race is so diverse that any attempt to have a Human decide what is or is not desirable content is a complete failure of logic. The blacklist is inherently flawed due to the vast differences in interest and opinions within Human society.


Censorship is cumulative it may well start by blocking only the “worst of the worst” but is it really that hard to imagine a gradual expansion of the list, especially with all the special interest groups lobbying like crazy to have their personal dislikes added? I find it especially alarming, although not surprising that the Australian Christian Lobby has been very pro-censorship and has an especially powerful influence over religious politicians. This is demonstrated by the fact that Senator Conroy, a Catholic provides the Christian Lobby with special privileges.


This is only the beginning of Australia’s landslide towards totalitarianism.

Censorship in Australia: A quick overview.

This is just a brief over view of a critical situation that affects all Australian citizens please check the link the the bottom of the page.


As some of you may or may not know the Australian government is planning to introduce Mandatory Internet Censorship here in Australia, similar to that used by China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. We will be the first Western “Democracy” in the world to have such a system.

Here are a few known facts.


  • No other Western Democracy in the world has mandatory Internet Censorship


This filter will set an incredibly dangerous precedent for the future by providing future governments and corporations with a powerful weapon against free-speech.


Click Here To Find Out What You Can Do

or Read More about censorship in Australia.