SCIENCE (from the Latin for 'knowledge') informs wisdom, reason and humanism. This is a 4-legged worldview within reality that maximizes well-being for individuals and society.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Resources For Information And Checking Claims

The internet is probably the best resource for finding the truth regarding any matter for the lay person. However, some of the information there is less than unbiased and trustworthy.

A principle to keep in mind regarding information and opinion is that the consensus of opinion by experts actually working in the fields of study under discussion is probably the best opinion available. After all, what other opinion is liable to be closer to the truth of reality?

One BIG exception to the above principle, however, is in the area of religion/theology. Since the so-called "experts" in support of a god are not scientists and have presuppositions of a god, miracles, etc., it is unwise to accept their conclusions. In this area, there are unbiased researchers using scientific methods but they are in the minority.

I recommend the following to maximize the probability that one is getting the best information available. Using more than one website and, perhaps, actually reading the primary research cited, should also be considered.

http://www.wikipedia.org/
Although some people may discount this resource, there is ample evidence that Wikipedia is at least as reliable as other encyclopedias. This article (http://library.blogs.delaware.gov/2013/05/05/is-wikipedia-a-reliable-source/) supports that contention and gives advise on how to best use it. It is my recommendation that one should consider it an initial resource, with the further use of the cited links, or one or more of the links below, as additional sources if questions still remain. If there are still lingering concerns regarding Wikipedia, this link presents its policy on science and pseudoscience: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Fringe_theories#Pseudoscience_and_other_fringe_theories

https://www.google.com/
Google is your friend. Sometimes simply entering a search on a subject with the additional word(s) of "denial" and/or "debunked" will give you a host of links to web sites containing evidence in support of valid scientific conclusions on the subject in question. Another thing to consider: Find the organization representing the scientists doing the research in the subject you are interested in, and look that organization up (i.e. "evolution" "science organizations"). If you choose this process, be careful and read several of the websites. If the links include a website listed below under **WARNING**, do not consider the contents.

http://www.snopes.com/
The go-to site to check the validity of statements and claims on virtually any matter.

www.skepdic.com
 This site is The Skeptic’s Dictionary and is a great resource against any claim that challenges legitimate science.

http://urbanlegends.about.com/

http://ctrlq.org/google/images/
Searching for similar images on the internet.

http://rationalwiki.org
Analysis and refuting of pseudoscience and the anti-science movement. It is easy to search by subject.

www.quackwatch.org
Quackwatch is a great site for exposing the claims of the “Alternative Medicine”/CAM folks.

www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/
The Science-Based Medicine blog is a great resource for answers regarding controversial medical practices.

http://www.who.int/en/
The World Health Organization has position papers on virtually every health issue and its opinion is the consensus of the medical experts around the world.

http://whatstheharm.net/
What's The Harm is a great site against claims stating such.

www.mayoclinic.com
The Mayo Clinic is a highly respected clinical medicine organization and also is a good resource for general health information.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites. This is a great resource if you want to do more in-depth research on medical issues yourself.
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/A_comparative_guide_to_science_denial
A guide to the methods of science deniers. A must-read to understand the efforts to blunt the truth of reality revealed by science.

http://www.scibabe.com/
A website addressing the BS from the Food Babe
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The following websites focus on countering religious claims:

http://www.infidels.org/

http://wiki.ironchariots.org/

https://www.youtube.com/user/AgatanFoundation (NOTE: this is an excellent series of 15-minute videos of aggregate statements by prominent activists in the atheist community)
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politifact.com and factcheck.org are excellent sources against false political statements.
This website presents a full spectrum of bias websites: http://mediabiasfactcheck.com/2016/01/07/website-updates-2/
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A comprehensive article on evaluating internet research sources:
http://www.virtualsalt.com/evalu8it.htm
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Following are some of the Podcasts I listen to. They are interesting and informative regarding atheism, skepticism, science, reason and humanism.

The Atheist Experience

Brain Science with Ginger Campbell, MD

Freethought Radio

The Humanist Hour

Inquisitive Minds

The legion of Reason

The Non-Prophets

Point of Inquiry

Skepticality

Skeptics Guide to the Universe
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** WARNING **
The following are known to be anti-science and should be avoided:
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/ George Noory (a wide variety of paranormal topics)
http://www.naturalcures.com/ Kevin Trudeau (medical quackery)
http://www.naturalnews.com/ Mike Adams (medical quackery)
http://www.infowars.com/ Alex Jones (conspiracy theories and other pseudosciences)
http://www.answersingenesis.org/ Ken Ham (Young-Earth Creationism)
http://www.icr.org/ major Creationist website
http://www.discovery.org/ The Discovery Institute’s Intelligent Design website
http://www.latitudes.org/ neurological quackery
http://www.rense.com/ general pseudoscience
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ medical pseudoscience
http://conservapedia.com general scientific misinformation
http://www.mercola.com/ Joseph Mercola (general alternative medicine)
https://www.heartland.org/ partic8larly climate change denial
http://www.christiananswers.net/
www.chopra.com Deepak Chopra
http://foodbabe.com/ anti-science regarding food
http://www.disclose.tv/ promotion of the paranormal and strange stuff
http://www.doctoroz.com/ Dr Oz TV show
http://www.drweil.com/ Dr Weil
http://www.sheldrake.org/ Robert Sheldrade: anti-science and paranormal stuff
http://www.russellblaylockmd.com/ Russell Blaylock: general pseudoscience
ageofautism.com anti-vaccination
http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/ anti-skeptic with an air of science
http://www.skeptiko.com/ anti-skeptic/anti-science podcast and forum
http://www.oprah.com/index.html The Queen who spawn many pseudoscience practitioners
https://hsionline.com/about-hsi/ pseudoscience for profit by politically conservative politicians

A unique warning on the Union of Concerned Scientists (http://www.ucsusa.org/) Generally, it is a respected organization. However, it is left-leaning politically, thus there is some concern regarding being unbiased, and has opinions regarding GMOs that have been discredited.

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