Website: Blogroll & Links
The Salty Droid might be a bit hard at first to comprehend, but in my opinion it’s the best site on the internet, run by the funniest person I’ve ever come across.
A former lawyer from Chicago has the good grace to morph into a robot before unleashing a torrent of the most hilarious and virulent insults at his (not-so-innocent) victims. His “victims” are usually high profile motivational speakers and “Internet Marketers”, selling what can only be called pyramid schemes presented as legit business opportunities. In fact the industry is a massive cartel with undisclosed links and interests. Salty Droid uses his unique form of literary combat to expose the facts and the tricks behind a fundamentally corrupt “industry” that has ruined far too many lives all around the world.
I discovered “Salty” through his brilliant coverage of James Ray’s crimes.
UPDATE Excellent and detailed article on The Salty Droid and internet marketing scams on The Verge (a popular techie online mag). Also see the 15 minute “movie” (featuring Jason Jones aka Salty Droid) which accompanies the article.
Criticism of New Age “Spirituality”:
Whirled Musings by “Cosmic” Connie deals with a vast array of “New Wage” teachers.
The (f)Law of Attraction is an ongoing horror story explaining the financial consequences of trusting “Law of Attraction” based financial programs.
Responsible Spirituality “Thinking critically about the Teachings of Abraham-Hicks” by a former “Aber”.
David Schirmer Exposed Australian star of The Secret who steals peoples money (lots of it) and hides in toilets.
Mr Fire’s Pyre Joe Vitale calls himself “Mr Fire” because he’s fat,balding and talentless. (I’m not being rude. I’m kindly listing his best qualities.) He appeared in The Secret (where he described the universe as a vast mail order catalog) and seems to be running every New Age scam ever invented. I probably won’t deal with him much on this blog, because I just don’t want to even think about him. So I’m glad someone else is doing such a fine job of it.
The James Ray Manslaughter Trial
LaVaughn at Celestial Reflections covered the trial daily in extraordinary depth. She offers an astute and devastating analysis of Ray’s disgraceful behavior and the pathetic and desperate antics of his attorneys. (The rest of the site often differs considerably from my perspective, but her James Ray coverage is unassailable.)
UPDATE: LaVaughn is in the process of editing all her trial coverage and posting links and summaries on this index page. Before buying anything from James Arthur Ray, read this. It’s a practical demonstration of his attitude to his customers.)
Connie Joy’s book Tragedy in Sedona – My Life in James Arthur Ray’s Inner Circle covers events leading up to James Ray’s deadly fake sweat lodge. The website for the book contains extensive reference material including police interviews and witness statements. See also Connie Joy’s facebook page.
Tom McFeeley, journalist and cousin of one of James Ray’s victims, has also written movingly and covered the trial as it happened.
Salty Droid also has a category for James Ray and related crooks.
And of course there’s also the James Ray category here on Spirituality is No Excuse.
Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message hoax/fraud
Daughters of the Dreaming [book] by Diane Bell — In contrast Marlo Morgan’s racist fakery, this is really is a true story. It’s the account of a young Australian anthropology student living in an Aboriginal community in Outback Australia. No bizarre miracles, no wind chimes or crystal caves, just a bunch of ordinary people living out their daily lives. It’s a fascinating insight into the past and present of both cultures.
Skepticism – General
Happily, no shortage of sites exploring deceit and the foibles of the human brain. Here are a few…
Terrible Truth, Beautiful Lie Covers many topics, including powerful work confronting Christian political ideology. See especially this excellent piece of writing about the “Personhood” Movement‘s vicious and insane views on abortion.
The Bronze Blog See also the excellent “Doggerel” series about common logical fallacies. NB; It’s being rewritten and transfered to BD’s new blog site, where they are indexed here. There are over two hundred, so this will take a while!
Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy Plenty of real astronomy from the site owner’s professional astronomical work, as well as extensive coverage on confusions, misconceptions and hoaxes. Excellent podcast every couple of weeks too!
Alternative Medicine & Quackery
Edzard Ernst’s blog
Trick or Treatment by Edzard Ernst & Simon Singh — A thorough investigation of the most popular forms of alternative medicine. It examines some general issues like the commonly misunderstood placebo effect(s), explains why controlled, blinded, randomized studies are the most effective way of judging claims efficacy, before examining the evidence for and against different healing modalities. Objective and emotionally neutral in tone, carefully and thoroughly argued, this book will be hated by most alt med practitioners.
The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins — This is an imagined “pilgrimage” backwards in time, starting from today and traveling back down our evolutionary family tree, eventually reaching the beginning of life. Along the way we come to junctions where we encounter our common ancestors, first meeting earlier forms of humans, then onto the apes, and more distantly related mammalian cousins. (There’s a clear synopsis of the “travel plan“ here.) At each meeting the newly encountered common ancestor tells its “tale” about its significance for evolutionary science. Obviously, it’s a long book, but it offers a quite stunning insight into life on this planet and into the way science works.
Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne — A short (250 pp) overview of evidence for evolution. It’s more succinct than Dawkins’ Greatest Show on Earth (though the latter’s chapter on embryology is as fine a piece of popular science writing as exists anywhere), nevertheless, Coyne’s has the depth and breadth of writing that reveals his life long work in the field of evolutionary biology and genetics. Coyne contrasts creationist speculations with the explanatory and “predictive” power of theory solidly grounded scientific knowledge. One example explains how scientists realized that continental drift dictated that marsupials must have wandered over the then connected continent of Antarctica before reaching Australia. They traveled there and indeed dug up fossils of archaic kangaroos!
Science Tales by Darryl Cunningham — A collection of incisive cartoon presentations on lies, hoaxes and scams. Cartoon guides to this or have become popular lately, often succeeding only in dumbing down and trivializing the information with silly drawings, the quality of which is similarly compromised by their being forced into service of tricky ideas. Cunningham’s work, however is in a totally different category. He seems to get the best out of cartooning on an artistic level (creating true works of art), as well as presenting quite complicated information in a visual form. Here are two fine examples from the book, which Cunningham placed freely on his website some time ago: an excellent explanation of homeopathy, and a stark and devastating look at the evil Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who faked results and whipped up a frenzy about the MMR vaccine.