The ABCs of skepticism

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March 30 2009 4:06 AM

The ABCs of skepticism

A Poem Beyond Belief by Phil Plait

A is Ad hominem, attacks quite insulting,
They may feel good but no good is resulting.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


B is for Bible, they swear it's all true,
But which version's right? The Muslim's, Mormon's, or Jew's?

C is Creation, 6000 years past;
But when looked at the evidence is always half-assed.

D is Debunker, it's said with a jeer.
But we cannot debunk without bunk, that is clear.

E: EVP, hearing voices of dead,
but it's really just patterns of sound you are fed.

F: The Face that's on Mars is really a butte,
Is there on the obverse a giant patoot?

G's Uri Geller, a spoon he will bend,
Is it magic or powers, or more likely pretend?

H, Homeopathy, infinite dilution,
Perhaps better known as persistent delusion.

I, Ideomotor, the dowser's director,
It fallaciously points on a randomized vector.

J is Junk science, it's always reforming,
from alt med to New Age, and anti-global warming.

K is for Karma, you reap what you sow,
but if it's not coincidence, then how would you know?

L's Levitation, they claim that they float
but I think it's just bouncing they're trying to promote.

M: Mayans said: doom in Twenty Oh Twelve,
In 2013 those predictions we'll shelve.

N is Nibiru, a planet of vapor,
It never shows up but it looks good on paper.

O: Oxygen water, marks can't get their fill,
What they don't understand is that they don't have gills.

P: Faces in patterns is called Pareidolia,
In clouds it's mundane but in pastry it's holier?

Q is for Quacks, their science is lacking,
They'll sell you snake oil with the government's backing.

R: Repressed memories, bad things you've forgotten,
But it's really the premise behind it that's rotten.

S: Sylvia Browne, who randomly guesses,
That people believe her is why it depresses.

T's for Trudeau, and the trash that he's sellin',
But credit card fraud? FTC: "He's a felon."

U, Unidentified, the definition's specific,
But it doesn't stop cranks thinking they're scientific.

V is Vaccines, which clear germs up quick,
But some folks don't like them, they fight little pricks.

W's for Woo-woo, Randi's favorite word choice,
And who'll argue with him? He gave us our voice!

X is for Xenu, scientologist's Satan,
Give us all of your money, your engrams we'll straighten.

Y is for Yeti, the Bigfoot, Sasquatch,
A whole lot of nonsense without a single hair swatch.

Z is for Zetans, those E.T. mind readers,
But they disappeared as they followed the Lieder.

Now you know your ABCs,
Don't fall prey to fallacies.


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