Thursday, June 07, 2007

Killer Alien Non-invasions

Belief in Aliens Can Turn Deadly LiveScience

People who don't like my scepticism sometimes ask me "What's the harm?"

This is the harm.

I realise that these are extreme cases, but surely you can see that for every "moderate" person who tolerates this sort of thing and grants believers the right to retain their delusions contributes to the atmosphere of acceptance of credulity in society, and ultimately to unecessary harm to innocent people.

There's no convincing some people that aliens aren't probing their anuses (ani?), but if we don't at least try, aren't we negelecting our human obligations?

As Mr Randi once put it: (I'm paraphrasing) If you know someone is in a burning building and will die if you don't try to save them, shouldn't you try to save them? Sure, if after you haul them out of the inferno they determinedly crawl back into the flames, there's not much you can do... but don't you at least have to make the effort?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I knew it!

Up in Trendy Smoke: Hookah Myths Debunked LiveScience

According to the above article, hookah smoke (more commonly known as a "shisha" or "hubbly-bubbly" in South Africa) is potentially just as bad for you, if not worse, than cigarette smoke.

I don't know how many times I've argued with people who produce this disgusting contraption at dinner parties as an alternative to dessert. Every time I decline to partake, I hear "What's wrong with it? It's not as bad as cigarettes... the water filters out all the bad stuff."
And every time I give the same response: "How can inhaling any particulate matter be good for you?"
I've never received a satisfactory answer to that question, but I was almost always dismissed as a crackpot or a square at that point.

Finally, I have something to back it up. I may not win any such arguments in future either, but at least I'm secure in the knowledge that I was right all along.