Stories tagged skepticism

Dec
03
2009


PJ the Cat
It is with bitter disappointment that I share this link: it’s the end of the line for hypoallergenic cats. Remember the promise of the hypoallergenic cat? People who would enjoy sharing their home with a cat but who were previously unable due to allergies (I count myself among this number) were given hope with the $4,000 felines, “guaranteed” to not cause allergic reactions.

No more.

Allerca Lifestyle Pets, the provider, announced on its website recently that due to its recent acquisition that it will no longer produce the hypoallergenic cats (and dogs) to customers.

Further, one wonders if Allerca was actually producing the cats (and dogs) as they promised. According to The Scientist, despite many testimonials they were never able to produce any scientific evidence that their cats were actually hypoallergenic and apparently there are a number of blogs out there decrying Allerca for non-delivery and non-performance. So it may have all been wishful thinking anyway.

My current plan is to find the smallest short hair cat possible – small animal, less spit to be allergic to. That’ll work, right?

What I find of ancillary interest is that internally here at the museum we have been looking at scientific denialism and fraudulent science. If I applied a skeptic’s “filter” to my examination of the claims on the Allerca web site, the heavy dependence on testimonials rather than scientific data, the attacks on groups who are skeptical of their claims, the use of lots of scientific jargon and that fact that they are shutting down even though their product was claimed to be effective makes me lean to an opinion that they may not be able to deliver what they say they can. However, as with anything be your own skeptic. Don’t form an opinion based on what I am saying alone – do some research, and use the evidence you collect – especially the evidence that is supported by scientific research – to make your own conclusions.

Feb
27
2007

Family tomb of Jesus?

Jesus of Nazareth?
Jesus of Nazareth?

If you think the Da Vinci Code was controversial, wait until you learn about "The Lost Tomb of Jesus". Combining the popularity of CSI and NUMB3RS, Academy Award winner James Cameron has put together a documentary about a family crypt possibly containing the bones of Jesus. Ten ossuaries (stone boxes) were labeled with the names of Jesus and those believed to refer to his mother, father, brothers, wife, and son. Amos Kloner estimated that the tomb contained 35 bodies. (Antiquot,Jerusalem, Vol. 29, pp. 22)

Put on your thinking caps

Faith does not require evidence. If you wish to review the evidence, though, you can start by going to http://www.discovery.com/tomb. Discovery also has a web site with flash navigation to maps, family trees, videos, etc. Be sure to click on "Download Documents" found by choosing "explore tomb" then "enter the tomb". The link is the middle one at the bottom (pdf). There is a discussion forum, too.

How scientific is the evidence?

Please use our comments box to discuss this event as it unfolds. I find I can learn about critical thinking and scientific methods by listening in.

Timeline of events

March 28, 1980

Talpiot, Jerusalem Construction work uncovers untouched tomb.

March 28- April 14

Israeli Antiquities Authority excavate tomb. Site survey and mapmade by Shimon Gibson

1996

"A Tomb with Inscribed Ossuaries in the East Talpiot" published by Amos Kloner

2002

Simcha Jacobovici researches "James son of Joseph, broher of Jesus" ossuary

2003

Jacobovici meets Kloner and learns of "Jesus son of Joseph" ossuary

June 18, 2003

"James" ossuary declared a forgery by Israel Antiquities Authority

2004

Jacobovici discovers futher information about other ossuaries related to New Testament

March 21, 2005

James Cameron discusses financing a film

September 15-16, 2006

Robotic cameras lowered down "breathing pipes" capture images of a different tomb - one that has not been excavated and still holds numerous ossuaries.