Category Archives: Religion

A Whole New Level of Weirdness: Book Review of “Live Pterosaurs In America” (3rd Edition)

The book contains 35 contemporary eye witness accounts from the USA of what appear to be live pterosaur sightings, and a great deal of analysis. Undeterred by the intrinsic seeming absurdity of believing that Pterosaurs can remain undetected in the USA (which as Whitcomb points out is a fallacious argument: they have not remained undetected at all, or he would not have eyewitness testimony — “largely undetected” perhaps?) the author has actually taken seriously and tracked down people who claim to have seen these things, talking to them on the phone and by email. He is not alone – as well as the various expeditions to PNG to look for the alleged pterosaurs there, there appears to be a small but very active research community looking for live pterosaurs in the USA. I get the impression form the book it is rather competitive, and political, and perhaps as backstabbing as any other part of cryptozoology seems to be — but then again maybe not. You see Whitcomb, and the majority of the researchers are Creationists, and not shy about proclaiming the fact. Continue reading


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A 5 million dollar question: Is Life after Death real? The Immortality Project.

Today I should be working, but about the time I’m writing this my Becky is finally submitting her PhD thesis at Coventry University, entitled something like A Century of Apparitions: The Census of Hallucinations in the 21st Century. I have … Continue reading

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Ghosts, God and the Trouble With Ghosthunters.

So as Martin Gardner said, I think the decline of traditional religious belief may actually underlie, rather than be the opposite of, this explosion of popular ghosthunting. Still a great article by Hayley, and got me thinking as normal. Now I really must go do some work! Continue reading

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Half- Baked Review: What has Philosophy Got to do with Religion?, a talk by Mark Vernon

I often get invited to events through groups I have joined on Facebook or my membership of email lists, and have only the very vaguest idea of who it was who asked me. Tonight was one of those – my … Continue reading

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When Psychics Fail — Beyond Sally Morgan

OK, last week I wrote a short piece on Sally Morgan, in which I critiqued the evidence that she was using a well known fraud trick, that is having accomplices gather information in the crowd (or prepare information from public sources like newspapers), and then being fed it by hidden assistants using a radio connection. (I almost wrote “wireless” there for “radio”; astonishing how the meaning of that word, so common in my youth, has changed forty years on!). I doubted this partly on the fallibility of witness testimony, partly because the Theatre manager had came forward with a fairly convincing “alibi” involving two theatre techs being overheard being the cause of the whole matter. I lay out all the facts as I had them in my previous piece, which may be worth reading as it links to the RTE broadcast and the Irish Independent article, if you have not been following the case. Continue reading

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Responding to Hayley: The Medium & The Message Revisited

OK, two things. This will be short, because I’m writing it in a break. I will not have time to do the issues justice, but at least it won’t drag on. Secondly, I have not blogged on events in Norway, … Continue reading

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On Being A Sceptic: the Third Sermon of the Reverend Jerome

Good morning all. It will come as no surprise to regular attendees here at St. Dawkens that I am late: I do wish however that the parish newsletter would stop referring to me as the “late Rev. Jerome”. I am not quite ready for the Elysian fields yet.

Today is of course the feast of three of our most important saints, and that shall set the tone for this mornings discourse, away from the “niceness of God”, and in to more controversial territory. I think we all must first pause for a moment, and meditate silently upon the Bearded One who watches over us — St. James the Randi (1), whose thaumurturgical miracles are known to all of us, and let us first praise his works —

Priest: May he deliver us from Woo. Continue reading

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JSPR January 2011: Religious Experience, Mysticism & the Psychical Researchers

Furthermore, two of the papers come from the annual Exploring the Extraordinary conference at York which I have long wished to attend; this is run by the Anomalous Experiences Research Unit (AERU) and I actually met many of the lovely folks from there at the conference where I developed a misguided sense of lack of knowledge of the field of religious experience amongst psychical researchers! So I owe them an apology, a big thumbs up, and have revised my opinions — it seems there is a strong research in this field after all: something I knew formed part of the MSc at Coventry University (Hume & Lawrence) but which I felt was generally neglected. As so often I was wrong, and I withdraw my critical remarks! I have not so far read completed reading the papers, but they look very interesting indeed. I just felt an apology to those whose research I had accidently overlooked was clearly in order first! Continue reading

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The Triumph of Skepticism?

So what has all this got to do with Skepticism (yes I know that is the American spelling, but it’s what most sceptical groups here use) in the UK? I actually think British Skeptics may end up like American Christians, complaining of a persecution that does not exist, and with messianic and apocalyptic motifs in their thinking and writing, unless they realise a very simple fact. They won many years ago — the battle for the public’s mind is over, done and dusted. Continue reading

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On Thin Ice? The Blessed Bishop of Lincoln!

Well snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow. The roads were impassable, or so the media said, in large parts of the country. Panic buying has set in in some places, as the tabloids helpfully said, reassuring the public with useful headlines about food running out in the shops. In short much like last winter!

So it comes as a relief to hear that the Church has at last decided to lend a hand, and the following rather fun story from the BBC last week made me smile.

The Bishop of Lincoln will bless Lincolnshire’s gritters in the hope of cutting the number of winter crashes. Continue reading

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