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  1. page Education, teaching, and learning edited ... Unfortunately, a study performed by Robert Loo (2001) also suggests that the general public st…
    Unfortunately, a study performed by Robert Loo (2001) also suggests that the general public still has an overwhelmingly negative attitude towards those with intellectual handicaps. Loo used the Interaction with Disabled Person’s Scale to record factors including fear of the unknown and threat to security to help measure the general attitude towards college undergraduates with intellectual disabilities. He specifically used college undergraduates that were studying a form of management in order to see their likelihood of hiring someone with an intellectual disability to their program, firm, or company staff. While many of the themes measured reflected positive attitudes such as sympathy for unfair treatment, or admiration, the negative attitudes are still something to pay close attention to. Many claimed fear of unknown situations would keep them from hiring a person with an intellectual disability . Also, the idea that they would have to give preferential treatment to someone with a disability was also a turn off for employment (Loo, 2001). This study suggests that despite the increased rate of inclusion since the installation of the American Disabilities Act, the overall attitudes of non-disabled Americans towards those with intellectual disabilities is negative.
    I. No Child Left Behind
    {} The signing of the No Child Left Behind Act via Wikimedia Commons
    In 2001, the United States government enacted a bill called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). NCLB claims to base itself of four solid pillars. These pillars include giving states and school districts more choices, giving parents more choices, using proven educational practices, and gaining more accountability ("Four pillars of," 2004. This modern reform is something that many of us have been bombarded with over the past decade. While there are many praises and complaints of The No Child Left Behind Act, it is imperative that we explore the initial purpose of the act, and what possible suggestions may cause it to become more successful.
    The No Child Left Behind Act requires states to implement accountability systems for all students and public schools. The state must challenge students in grades three and eight in both reading and mathematics to ensure all students reach a level of proficiency within their 12 years of schooling. Assessment results and objectives must be broken out by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, and limited English skills to make certain that no group is left behind (Nlbc, 2004). Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress toward their states proficiency goals will be required to make improvements, by corrective action and reconstructing measurements, in order to get them back on track to meeting the standards of their state. Schools that meet the adequate yearly progress objectives, or considerably close achievement gaps, will be eligible for Academic Achievement Awards (Nlbc, 2004).
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  2. page Education, teaching, and learning edited The Psuedoscience of Education, Teaching, and Learning By: Ashley Hyde Abstract I. Abstract…

    The Psuedoscience of Education, Teaching, and Learning
    By: Ashley Hyde
    AbstractI. Abstract
    This paper defines pseudoscience and a few of the reasons humans believe strange things including non-science ideas, the social validation rule, confirmation bias, and the self-fulfilling prophecy. Then we explore ways to combat these ways of thinking with science through use of the scientific method, skepticism, and critical thinking. The highlights of American educational reforms are introduced starting with compulsory education and ending with the more recent No Child Left Behind Act. Along with reform we present a push for a new reform of educating our nation’s teachers. The present day classroom is then explored through classroom type, social interaction, and homework practices.
    IntroductionII. Introduction
    In the following passage, pseudoscientific thinking within education will be explored. First, we must establish what pseudoscience is and why all of us fall prey to it. Secondly, it is essential to explore important elements of science and how we can combat pseudoscientific ideas within our everyday lives. America’s educational system is filled with both scientific and pseudoscientific reasoning and has since its inception. Traveling through our educational history, and its many reforms, will assist us in evaluating the hows and whys of our educational background. Then we will dissect each major decision and whether it is scientifically sound, or a systematic change based simply on flawed reasoning. This passage includes an in depth look at a few of today’s most relatable and debatable educational topics and reforms.
    WhyIII. Why We Believe
    What is pseudoscience? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pseudoscience as a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific (Merriam-webster, 2010). In layman’s terms, pseudoscience is the belief and/or procedure that attempts to legitimizes itself as something scientific. Pseudoscience is, at its core, a stagnant group of practices that refuse to advance due to their lack of proof through scientific experimentation. It relies on personal studies and statements, supernatural experiences, and continues despite blatant exposure to their false ideas and inconsistencies. These false statements can be seen all around us in our everyday lives. The media constantly surrounds us with phrases such as “clinically tested”, “proven to work”, and “it worked for me”; but can such statements be held as truths?
    Non-ScienceA. Non-Science
    Non-science comes in many forms, and pseudoscience is just one of them. While we are now familiar with pseudoscience, it would behoove us to explore the other main ideas that construct non-science, as they may help us to better understand why we are so easily fooled. When someone speaks of a particular event that they observed, but their statement cannot be tested, we call this a construct. This is a very common route to take when falling into non-science, and it goes hand in hand with something called mysticism (Shermer, 1997). With mysticism, we hear statements made by personal insight that often claim to have external validation from other people. These ideas can most commonly be found through self-proclaimed mediums or psychics. They claim to see or experience phenomenon that cannot be tested; therefore they cannot be scientific. Another similar idea is junk science, or theories that are based off of what may be true instead of what has been empirically tested. We can also fall prey to non-science by listening to authority figures instead of evaluating the facts; this is known as dogmatism (Shermer, 1997). Dogmatism is an idea that begins early in life. We are often expected to believe what our parents or elders tell us. Unfortunately, those things may not always be true.
    Fortunately for us, non-science is not always so easily disguised as purely scientific. An idea known as postmodernism is a very prevalent in the non-scientific community. While its distant ties relate back to some forms of science, in the form of physics, postmodernism is the idea that each of us creates our own reality. This fragmented idea believes that, because each of us is different and experiences the world in different ways, there really is no measureable external world. If humans observe reality as we know it, we will each come up with different conclusions because we each intake, record, and process the world differently (William, Chasse, & Vincente, 2004). While initially appealing, our comprehension of science eliminates this idea. As you will see in the following section, science is constantly self-correcting, and there for self-confirming, based on repeated testing and observable evidence. This is also a great example of junk science; a term found earlier in this section. Lastly, people just make stuff up! Some people will come up with anything for money, praise, attention, etc. Fraudulent science is just made up stuff, used by others to infect, persuade, and steal from the gullible people in our world.
    SocialB. Social Validation Rule
    Humans never want to be wrong. Social comparison theory states that people have a drive to evaluate themselves and they wish to do so objectively. If they cannot find objective evidence, they rely on social comparisons to self-evaluate. If those around you are acting a certain way or believing a certain way, you are likely to follow their lead so that you do not appear to be wrong (Festinger, 1954). While this is likely derived through evolution as a survival mechanism, it also has the possibility to be harmful to humans in the present time.
    The social validation rule is often the reason that some fall prey to cults and other radical groups. While this is undoubtedly one of the most drastic examples of social validation, it is still one to be aware of. Radical groups have often swayed good people into doing or participating in irrational, illogical, and just plain bad things. Cults and science have often been compared to one another when describing one’s philosophical outlooks. Taylor perhaps said it best, “The intellectual attitude of the pure scientist is, characteristically, hypothesis; the attitude of the pure cultist is unhypothetical conviction.” Amazingly, some 80 years ago, Taylor nailed down a solid definition for that of pure scientist. “The scientist, though living always in the presence of possibility, lives and works on the hearty basis of probability” (1930). Unfortunately, 80 years later we are still struggling with how to tell the world how to use these scientific methods.
    ConfirmationC. Confirmation Bias
    The confirmation bias stems from the idea that we somehow need to interpret evidence in a way that confirms our existing beliefs, schema, expectations, hypotheses, etc. (Nickerson, 1998). There are two types of bias that we are likely to fall prey to; both motivated and unmotivated confirmation bias. Though neither is done intentionally, both can greatly alter our route to becoming scientific thinkers. A motivated bias is an individual’s inherent drive to interpret evidence based upon their own beliefs. This is the most common form of bias, and is used so one can defend and maintain their current ideas about the world around them. People may also display unmotivated forms of bias. This is when someone favors the use of particular evidence despite their lack of interest in the outcome or the question (Nickerson, 1998).
    It is still unclear why people form confirmation bias over questions they have no investment in. One possible theory is known at the primacy effect. When making a decision based on facts that we have acquired over time, the facts that we accumulated first are likely to hold a substantial amount of weight when making our decision (Sherman, Zehner, Johnson, & Hirt, 1983). Confirmation bias also follows the social rule known as consistency; if we take a position on a certain idea, we are likely to be radically consistent with that belief (Deutsch and Gerard, 1995). Not only are we likely to radically think along the lines of an idea to which me commit, but we are also likely to be willing to perform behaviors that go along with the given idea.
    Self-FulfillingD. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
    Many of us have heard some version of the self-fulfilling prophecy; by expecting a certain idea, we lead ourselves to act in ways that confirm our beliefs and change the world that we intake through observation. The reality behind this idea relies on human thinking and expectation. If we accept a situation as it is without thinking of what could have happened or how we could have acted differently, we are likely to fulfill our own expectations (Kida, 2006). There are both true and seemingly true self-fulfilled prophecies. Seemingly true fulfilled prophecies are examples of when we don’t allow ourselves to explore the other option(s). When looking at a self-fulfilling prophecy, we find that they usually exaggerate some form of truth. Also, negative prophecies are more easily fulfilled(Kida, 2006).
    Madon, Jussin, and Eccles explore this process of the self-fullfilling prophecy in middle school mathematics classrooms. Their findings show that the teachers of the classes influenced the self-fulfilling prophecy. Teacher patterns predicted the achievement of low achievers more so than it did for high achievers. Overestimates by educators were also more likely to predict the patterns of low achievers than was underestimates (1997). This confirms our earlier statement that negative prophecies are more easily filled.
    OtherE. Other Problems in
    While many of our faulty information processing routes have been studied in depth, not all of them have been coined with common terms. These items are important to mention, because you will undoubtedly think of many example of each. As humans, we want to find patterns in everything that we do. We do this naturally to ensure cognitive efficiency. Because of this, we tend to remember thinks that prove a certain idea, while forgetting the things that do not. If we cannot think of answer for a mystery or a statement, we tend to believe it to be true. Why? Because flawed logic believes that not being able to prove something false, means that it must actually be truth. Our desire to find patterns also causes us to compartmentalize and place ideas in one of two categories. For example, something must either be this or that; something must either be right or wrong; black or white. Our species does not deal well with the color grey.
    HowIV. How Do We
    What is truth, what is fact, and what is science? We cannot simply rely on statements from the media, or authority, even if they claim to be scientific. Even some scientific statements may not always be truth or fact, but they are a step in the correct direction. Science is an empirically tested process that is self-correcting, and it is the clearest form of truth that we have. As more information and discoveries become available, current truths can be adapted and corrected to form a new, updated scientific truth. Essentially, it is both cumulative and progressive. This process is more commonly known as the scientific method. Because of the idea that not everything we hear is in fact truth, we must look closely at ideas such as chiropractic practices, astrology, homeopathic remedies, and psychics. Individuals in this realm often claim to be scientific, while also using scientific jargon to impress possible followers, but how many of them have scientific studies to back them up?
    ScientificA. Scientific Method
    The scientific method is the process of steps that lead to thinking scientifically. These steps are there to guide us and help us to become more objective in our observations of the world. Though these steps are helpful, they are not always set in stone. Like many, the phrase scientific method may cause you to think of beakers, test tubes, and safety goggles. While these items can be used in the process of the scientific method, they definitely do not have to be. There are four basic steps or ideas behind the use of the scientific method. The first is induction, which includes the intake of existing data in order to form a general hypothesis. Next, based on the hypothesis, one must us deduction to make a specific prediction about the outcome of an empirical test. After observing or gathering data, one must use verification to test the hypothesis against all previous observations. This process will then allow for someone to either verify or falsify their initial hypothesis.
    Easy though it may seem, the scientific method is a never ending process. Observations must be able to be replicated, and therefore scientists must be willing to share their data, and possible have that data discarded due to a flaw in their experiment. A good scientist accepts that possibility, with the hope that humanity will be one step close to the truth. This disinterest keeps them from being influenced by personal investments. Scientist strive to explore and understand for the good of man-kind, not themselves.
    SkepticismB. Skepticism
    The thought of a skeptic in modern day society is often associated with someone who is not very friendly, likable, or open-minded. When asked about a skeptic, many would describe some grumpy old man who argued with everyone about every story that came out of their mouth. While it sounds like that old man may be skeptical, he is also a cynic. This is known as pathological skepticism (Shermer, 1997). A scientific skeptic is simply someone who employs the scientific method and always requests evidence for claims. While I can’t guarantee that all skeptics are friendly and likeable, I can say that a good, scientific skeptic is open-minded to new ideas. They are willing to change all of the world’s theories, laws, truths, and absolutes, as long as they have empirical evidence to support doing so. When presented with new information, we are likely to analyze it only if it differs from our current beliefs and expectations, but a skeptic has practiced evaluating all statements, despite their own interests and confounds.
    CriticalC. Critical Thinking
    We must employ both skepticism and the scientific method in order to call ourselves critical thinkers. A critical thinking takes all claims and passes them through a rigorous formulation of tests. When presented with a claim we must first realize that it must also have evidence. If evidence for the claim does not exist, we should be then formulate an experiment that makes the claim able to be falsified. If an experiment can be formulated, it must also be able to be replicated. Upon finding results of a claim, we must then analyze what was found. If multiple results can explain something with equal certainty, one should generally accept the simpler explanation. If two ideas seem to be associated to the claim, it does not mean that one of those ideas caused the other, or vice versa. If one can continue with research than they should do so; rarely is an idea exhausted within the realm of science.
    EducationalD. Educational Reform
    All of us are exposed to proclaimed truths every day. In a world full of anecdotal evidence, we must employ critical thinking on a regular basis instead of simply taking statements at face value. The predicament is how we educate ourselves to do this. From the day we are born, we are exposed to individuals who are trying to teach us things. Just like astrology and homeopathology, we must evaluate, through reason and scientific experimentation, what will accurately teach us accurate facts. The following passage explores scientific evidence, or lack thereof, within the backbone of America’s past and present educational systems. This includes support for some of our most beloved school events, and conflicting evidence for some of education’s most daunting tasks.
    Educational reform is a phrase that many of us have heard multiple times throughout our lifetime, but what exactly does it mean? Reform is defined as: to change and improve something by correcting faults, removing inconsistencies and abuses, and imposing modern methods or values (Encarta, 2009). While the definition may be clear cut, the actual process of educational reform is not. Like any process, there are supporters and protesters, of every idea, at any given turn. From compulsory education to No Child Left Behind, our country has undoubtedly been subject to many phases of reform. As we explore the history of American education, we will take the time to dissect the scientific reasoning, or lack thereof, behind each of the major reformations. Hopefully, this will give us a better understanding of the position our educational system is in today and what we can do to make it more effective for all students.
    CompulsoryE. Compulsory Education and
    Compulsory education is the legal requirement for student to attend school. Most countries establish this requirement by age; our country allows states to determine at which age students are required to attend . While children start school at age five in most states, the legal amount of time that they must stay in school differs greatly. Some states, with written permission of the parent, allow children to leave school as early as age 14. Others are require students to stay until they are legal adults, despite any wishes of the parents that may exist (Nolan, 2010). While there isn’t much scientifically sound research on the area of compulsory education, it has become a norm across the westernized cultures of the world.
    The idea of cultural literacy is based on the idea that it is a country’s duty to educate its citizen to a certain criteria of facts. For nearly a century, this idea has been the underlying reason for the United States’ push towards an educated society, but in the late 1960’s education began to take a nosedive. During his presidency, Ronald Reagan wrote “A Nation at Risk”; a book that helped spur an educational reform that nearly eliminated the national office of The Department of Education. States became more dedicated to the ideas of mandated standardized testing and specific cumulative curriculum, including emphasis on mathematics, language, and science.
    ScientificF. Scientific Education
    Perhaps the most pertinent and influential reform of our century is that of the push for scientific education. Educational professionals, before the 1950s, were adamant about preparing their students for everyday life. American began to realize their scientific prowess was lacking when the Soviet Union began to push our country into a competitiveness of scientific discovery in the mid to late 50s (Nolan, 2010). The study of science in schools became of increasing importance. By the 1980s science began to encompass modern technology, and classrooms around the nation were equipped with computers. Computers were used to implement ideas to individual students and their own pace, help with teacher’s lesson plans, and provide educational resources to an entire classroom at once. In the 1990s, the spread of the internet led to the easy access of vast amount of knowledge (Nolan, 2010).
    Standardized testing has the best proven track record for accurately selecting individuals for a positions, than any other means out there. Unfortunately, there is a high level of group differences among most standardized, objective, tests. Because test scores are used to select individuals for a determined position, we are unable to accurately assess how effectively those who fell into a different range of scores would have performed if given the opportunity to do so. This idea is known as the missing data problem. We would hope that standardized testing accurately chose the correct candidates for a given job, school, or project, but the reality is that not all standardized exams are free of bias.
    Many standardized exams generally have one low scoring group. The higher the cut score for the test, the higher the discrepancy will be against this particular group. A group that is usually most affected by this test bias is African Americans. During the 50s, this problem was not recognized due to the high level of racism still employed in our country. While standardized testing is a great scientific advancement in our educational system, it does have its problems, and they still continue into today’s most common reform issues.
    GiftedG. Gifted and Talented
    As early at the 1970’s schools in America started to realize that students who excelled faster than others were not being pushed with the current educational standards. During our country’s push towards the cultural literacy of science, more gifted and talented classrooms were made available to students. School districts, though mostly focused on the general education of the average student, realized that the current system was neglecting the brightest group of individuals (Nolan, 2010). The realization of neglecting a group of students, though seemingly small, has led nearly every major reform since. Lack of equality is an issue that our educational system has been trying to tackle since banning segregation. While many thought we had resolved the issue with the end of segregated schools, finding that there were still inequalities among students has led us to a continuous cycle of reform.
    SpecialH. Special Education
    Previous to instating the American Disabilities Act of 1990, Americans with intellectual disabilities did not legally have rights of their own that were equal to those of the everyday American. Because this law was not in place, those with intellectual disabilities were discriminated against in schools, the work place, and in everyday settings such your local grocery store. Discrimination of this intensity led to negative attitudes and outlooks about those who were victims of intellectual handicaps. Seeing the need for change, the United States government passed a law in 1990 called the American Disabilities Act. This act was instated so that those with mental handicaps would have equal civil rights such as equality in classroom or workplace. “The American Disabilities Act of 1990 is estimated to apply to 43 million individuals” (Berry & Meyer, 1995).
    Being immersed in an environment where there are those with intellectual disabilities may help us to have a better understanding of their day to day struggles, and may increase our amount of positive attitudes towards them. This idea is most commonly known as inclusion. Inclusion is the act of integrating those with intellectual disabilities into everyday life. This idea also applies to the adaptations of everyday individuals to those with mental handicaps, and how they both interact with one another. Unfortunately, not every American has had or will have the opportunity to experience those with intellectual disabilities and what they have to offer our society.
    Since the passing of the American Disability Act our country has been fortunate enough to experience higher rates of inclusion between the disabled and those that live an ordinary American lifestyle. A study conducted by Krajewski suggests that because of this idea of inclusion negative attitudes towards those with mental handicaps are declining (Krajewski & Hyde, 2000). In Krajewski’s initial study students from an area high school were tested using the Mental Retardation Attitude Inventory Scale. Eleven years later Krajewski and a new colleague, Hyde, used a revised version of the Mental Retardation Attitude Inventory Scale to survey another group of high school students from the same high school (Krajewski & Hyde, 2000). The results of their study suggest that the amount of negative attitudes was reduced over time, and that the main cause for this decline was the amount of inclusion the students encountered (Krajewski & Hyde, 2000). Another study performed by Jaffe (1967) reinforces this idea. After surveying 119 high school seniors, it was determined that 52 had previous contact with someone in the intellectually disabled community while the remainder (67) had not (Jaffe, 1967). The 52 students that had experienced some form of inclusion prior to the study were more likely to have a greater number of positive outlooks than someone who had no previous contact with anyone who had a mental handicap (Jaffe, 1967).
    Unfortunately, a study performed by Robert Loo (2001) also suggests that the general public still has an overwhelmingly negative attitude towards those with intellectual handicaps. Loo used the Interaction with Disabled Person’s Scale to record factors including fear of the unknown and threat to security to help measure the general attitude towards college undergraduates with intellectual disabilities. He specifically used college undergraduates that were studying a form of management in order to see their likelihood of hiring someone with an intellectual disability to their program, firm, or company staff. While many of the themes measured reflected positive attitudes such as sympathy for unfair treatment, or admiration, the negative attitudes are still something to pay close attention to. Many claimed fear of unknown situations would keep them from hiring a person with an intellectual disability . Also, the idea that they would have to give preferential treatment to someone with a disability was also a turn off for employment (Loo, 2001). This study suggests that despite the increased rate of inclusion since the installation of the American Disabilities Act, the overall attitudes of non-disabled Americans towards those with intellectual disabilities is negative.
    NoI. No Child Left
    Behind Act (NCLB).(NCLB). NCLB claims
    The No Child Left Behind Act requires states to implement accountability systems for all students and public schools. The state must challenge students in grades three and eight in both reading and mathematics to ensure all students reach a level of proficiency within their 12 years of schooling. Assessment results and objectives must be broken out by poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, and limited English skills to make certain that no group is left behind (Nlbc, 2004). Schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress toward their states proficiency goals will be required to make improvements, by corrective action and reconstructing measurements, in order to get them back on track to meeting the standards of their state. Schools that meet the adequate yearly progress objectives, or considerably close achievement gaps, will be eligible for Academic Achievement Awards (Nlbc, 2004).
    NCLB concentrates on the statistics of groups (ex. By grade, school, district, county, and state), instead of looking at the individual assessment of students. Again, we must touch on the area of standardized testing, as that is a major strong hold of the NCLB act. Not all children test well. If you are a bad test taker or have severe test anxiety, the test score may not accurately reflect your actual knowledge of a given subject. This may give unclear assessments, such as when a student passes the class but fails the test. A test does not assess all of the students’ specific needs. Because everyone learns differently, everyone also portrays the amount of knowledge they have obtained differently. A complaint of NCLB is if you are going to base assessment solely on a test, the test should have different areas that measure the different ways that people learn. Standardized Testing may cause teachers to “teach to the test”, and, in turn, this may cause them to bypass some important things that may help students to understand the required test material better. By giving a standardized test that measures a student’s ability to retain specific information from a particular area, those subjects may automatically become more important to educators while other subjects take a back seat. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately and efficiently access which teachers are skipping important subject matter. Aside from skipping over important and specific information some worry that teachers may find themselves skipping daily breaks so that they can be sure to squeeze in all of the test’s subjects. Exhausting our teacher’s will only continue to hurt their performance which most likely will affect the performance of their students.
    If we are going to force our students to reach a certain standard we should also make our educators meet one. Teachers should be well knowledgeable in the subject that they are teaching and should also be required to take some form of assessment to make sure that they are staying familiar with the information. While university teaching programs do have student teaching practicums, additional environments of side by side teaching should be required so that teachers can learn from their fellow co-workers, become familiar with multiple possible environment that they will be teaching in, and have more effective strategies for teaching and dealing with classroom situations. Teachers should also be equipped to pass a more strict academic and verbal ability test in order to be considered for a university education program. While we are in desperate need for good teachers, lowering the standards of those we accept, will do nothing but hinder the children of our future and lower the overall quality of the American educational system.
    Behind Act. AA standardized test
    Perhaps most importantly, a standardized curriculum would not only help the national government to equally test all states, but it would raise the overall education of our county so that everyone is set to the same standard. The problem with a standardized curriculum is that it is currently illegal in the United States to have a flat line standard for education (Nlbc, 2004). Not only would we have to pass new laws to do so, but also the national government would have to come up with significantly more money for education. As long as the local/state level is paying for most of their student’s education, they are going to want the most say as to what their students are being taught.
    people in them.
    J. Educating
    our Educators
    Educators in America come from all walks of life, and it is this diversity that helps to accommodate all types of students in our educational system. Before we segue into an ordinary day in American education, it is important to end our look at reform with the current methods in which we are teaching our educators, and what the research says about their achievements and downfalls in educating our students. Perhaps our next reform will take a dig deeply into enhancing and guaranteeing a solid, well rounded education for our nation’s teachers.Perhaps the most important issue that is plaguing the American educational system is our educators’ lack of education in the area of pseudoscience. Eve and Dunn explore the prevalence of pseudoscientific beliefs in our society and then attempt to find a source. They pinpoint academia and the beliefs of science teachers in the average American high school as the launching pad for pseudoscientific beliefs. While such beliefs may arise from ones upbringing, the ability for a “scientist” to give credit to such idea may be what makes it concrete to an individual.
    Knowing that it is a large portion of educators who begin and fuel these beliefs, what can we do to protect ourselves from nonsense? While there is little academic research in this area, it is safe to say that even educators need educating. If those trained in recognizing the differences between science and pseudoscience can lend their expertise to other educators, we can begin to spread a wealth of accurate information to generations of thirsty students.
    Every educator in the country must obtain, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in the field that they wish to study. Each education department at a university is bound to be different, but hopefully with studies like that of Lengyel and Vernon-Dotson, we can employ case methodology and more practicum opportunities for students who wish to become educators. Luckily, states administer exams following graduation to ensure that all educators reach a standard, set forth by the state, that hopes to create a unity across all school districts in that given state.
    It may be beneficial for state education leaders to research some of the studies we’ve covered in order to increase the demands of education and competency in their state. If we can create higher standards for education, we can guarantee that teachers are educated in all appropriate fields, and therefore hope to eliminate the issues that the research has presented.
    AV. A Day in
    A typical day in the life of today’s students is fairly easy to imagine. They get to school, study different subjects for roughly an hour at a time, get a few breaks, eat some lunch, gain a pile of homework, and head home, just to do it all again tomorrow. Either you are someone who does not miss it or cannot wait for it to be over. As routine as these days seem to us, it has not always been that way. While we will explore the changes of a one-room schoolhouse to classrooms packed with too many kids, it is all pertinent to evaluate the flaws in the monotony we find so familiar.
    TraditionalA. Traditional vs. Open
    The idea of open classrooms has been around since the inceptions of American education. In our beginnings, students of all ages would come together, in one school house, in order to get a better education. Somewhere in the mid to late 1960s, the idea emerged that coming back to this single or open classroom idea would push students and promote creativity. Students in open classrooms are also supposed be more well disciplined and less likely to misbehave. Solomon and Kendall studied this idea back in 1975, and what they found is much different than the previous assumptions. While children from both open and traditional classrooms perceived the same relative amount of disruptiveness among students, it was actually the teachers who’s perceptions were skewed differently. Educators in the traditional classrooms were not more critical of their students, but perceived there to be more student disruptiveness than that of the open classroom educators (Solomon & Kendall, 1975).
    Despite knowledge that was acquired 35 years ago, there are still a multitude of schools that revolved around the open classroom concept. There was a huge push for schools of this kind in the early 1980s, and the steady decline of their production has been slowed by none other than the No Child Left Behind Act. Because of NCLB, school districts are focusing their money, time, and attention into products and processes that will better help their student perform well on governmental standardized testing, instead of reformatting the classroom.Excessive noise is another complaint of open classroom settings. Shield et al. assessed the current noise conditions of open classrooms. Though the classrooms all met international noise guidelines, the level of noise recorded was still reported as distracting (2010). Along with intrusive noise, lack of privacy is also a factor of open classrooms. Because of this open plan, finding places to conduct private meeting and conversations become difficult for faculty, staff, volunteers, students, and parents (Shield et al., 2010).
    SocialB. Social Interaction
    Recess. I am hoping you got a little excited at the mention of this word. We all remember the days of staring at the clock, counting down the minutes until we were able to escape the confines of the classroom and head out to the great unknowns of recess. Maybe you cannot quite remember back far enough for recess. How about counting the seconds left until class was out and you could escape to the hallway? Maybe you remember the minutes left until you could feed your starving adolescent body and socialize in the cafeteria. These were the moments that we wished we had more of in school, but it seems like, in today’s society, these memory makers are fewer and farther between. After all, the more time we spend in the classroom, the more we are going to absorb, right?
    While recess has been a part of our educational system since its inception, it is a vastly understudied concept due to its variability. Recess usually takes the form of a break, either indoor or outdoor, where children are able to interact with one another, and freely choose an activity that best suits them (Pellegrini & Bjorklund, 1997). We have known, for over a century, that humans and some animals learn more information, at a faster pace, when presented with a distributed task instead of one that is concentrated. Despite this well-known fact, educators today are trying to eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of free time given to students in order to give them more time in the classroom, and in turn, more time to increase learning. Given the evidence presented, we should allow students breaks between stages. This brings us to another important reason for taking breaks in an educational setting; because of the cognitive immaturity of most students, taking breaks from structured cognitive teaching may, in fact, reduce cognitive overload and interference (Pellegrini & Bjorklund, 1997).
    HomeworkC. Homework
    Homework. Your stomach just got a little queasy at that dreaded word didn't it? We all remember the days when our teachers would hand us stacks of assignments to complete overnight and hand in the next day. For some of you who are reading this, that is exactly what you are doing right now. I am sure you have heard, time and time again, that the more time you spend doing homework and the less time you spend out tending to your social life will only make you more intelligent. In fact, many Americans would regard this as common knowledge. Is this idea scientific fact, or simply an old wives tale?
    Homework is defined as “Tasks assigned to students by school, teachers that are meant to be performed during non school hours” (Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, & Greathouse, 1998). Trautwein discusses the threats to validity associated with previous correlational studies of homework and achievement. These include how homework can affect the classroom and how it can affect the individual student, how many previous studies do not control for confounds between different schools, and how much research specifically deals with the amount of time a student spends on a homework assignment (2007).
    Trautwein, among others, has separated effects of homework assignment and their completion, to find that students who spend more time on their homework do not out perform their peers. While it is important to point out that homework frequency and increased homework tasks does improved achievement, actually time spent does not. One study found that teachers who have poorer achieving students, and students who scored lower on standardized test, in their class are likely to give more homework to improve achievement (Cooper et. Al, 1998). While this may be beneficial, depending on the number of homework tasks given, educators should be careful to keep from simply increasing the amount of time spent on tasks.
    Patall et al. explored the effects of choice on students’ homework tasks; they broke students into two groups; one group was assigned a specific homework option while the other group was given the choice to pick from multiple homework options. These groups were then switched for a within groups designed experiment (2010). Researchers found that students who were given options for their homework assignment had higher levels of intrinsic motivation, assessed themselves as more competent of completing the tasks, and scored higher on an ending exam, compared to when they were not given an option. This information can tie into our previous assessment of standardized testing. By giving students options, teachers can allow for different types of learning styles and reinforce information by presenting it in multiple forms (Patall et al., 2010).
    ConclusionVI. Conclusion
    This passage takes an in depth looking into the pseudoscientific thinking of the American educational system. Unfortunately, confounds of education are difficult control for, and therefore there are extremely small numbers of scientifically valid studies for us to explore. Luckily, by establishing what pseudoscience is and the possible ways our world and brain can fool us, we have taken the first and most important step to discovering fallacies within our world. After we establish what we deem to be fallacy (with our newly found skepticism), we can then use what we have learned about the scientific method to test the possible fallacy against scientifically sound truths.
    A journey through America’s educational time-table assisted us in covering our history’s major reforms and how they molded our outlook on today’s educational practices. By exploring the most recent practices that we are also most familiar with, (and which there is the most empirically based research) we are able to get a glimpse of the many facts and fallacies that face our education system today. Hopefully, this passage will not only highlight the mass need for scientific educational studies, but enlighten others to take a second look at not only what they are being taught, but how those teaching them are going about doing so.
    (view changes)
    5:38 pm
  3. page The apocalypse and end of the world theories edited Chapter 21: The Apocalypse and End of the World Theories. David By: David B. Weed Abstract …

    Chapter 21: The Apocalypse and End of the World Theories.
    DavidBy: David B. Weed

    I. Abstract

    By Zygmunt Kubasiak (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    It is the end of the world as we know it, these are lyrics to a popular song as well as the subject matter of this chapter. The following chapter instigates a detailed investigation into the pseudoscience of predicting the end of the world. From a definition and separation of terms to a look at the fallacies that comprise them, to a roll call through the ages of failed beliefs, this chapter explores the reasoning behind some popular and obscure apocalyptic predictions, and why they all fall firmly under the domain of pseudoscience. Finally, the readers are given a warning, a final prediction, and the only one that is supported by the scientific community.
    IntroductionII. Introduction
    Welcome to the apocalypse; please note the location of the survival bunkers located at the sides and rear of the civilization. In the event of an end of the world phenomenon, please proceed calmly towards the exits in an orderly fashion. If such an exit is unavailable, please take cover under the closest desk or table or next to a solid wall or outcropping of rock or concrete. Once cover has been achieved, remember to place you head between your knees and… you know the rest. Sing and dance, it’s the end of the world as we know it! What, no R.E.M.? Very well, let us try that again.
    Welcome to the apocalypse; the end, almost, of the book and the world. In this chapter, we will be discussing the pseudoscience of Apocalypse and End of the World Theories. Hopefully by now the term pseudoscience should be an old hat, but to be thorough, the question must be asked again; what is pseudoscience? Pseudoscience is the term used to describe, in this chapter, predictions based on procedures and methods that sound scientific and thus deserving of the respect and authority usually reserved for science. The key differences between pseudoscience and science for end of the world predictions include the strengths of the hypotheses, failure to accept disconfirming information, and the misapplication of the burden of proof (Shermer, 1997). Again, what do these mean?
    Before we really get into the end of the world theories, there are a few terms we need to discuss that will be used throughout this chapter. These terms are Apocalypse, Armageddon, and End-of-the-World. Why do we need to define these terms you ask? Because according to the dictionary, even though they started out with different meanings, the first two terms currently mean the same thing; a great war between good and evil and/or a group of writings from widespread religions depicting a great war between good and evil (Apocalypse, n.d.; Armageddon, n.d.). Both definitions are not very helpful for the current endeavor, and both include the terms End of the World, which in this chapter we will use to describe something else, so we need to change them a bit.
    For the purpose of this chapter, we will use the term Apocalypse to describe an event of such magnitude that it ends civilization as we know it. The way of life as we currently know it will cease to be a viable option and the survivors of the apocalypse event must adapt to a new world, or die. The difference between this and Armageddon, as defined for the purpose of this chapter, is that Armageddon will refer to an event of such magnitude that it ends all life as we know it. No more humans, most of the plant and animal life is gone, and more than likely the highest form of life left is somewhere in the cockroach area, if the Earth remains at all. This is an important distinction that in their normal meanings the terms do not possess but in the context of this chapter are necessary with different flavors of the end of the world theories. Finally, we have the term End-of-the-World. For the chapter we will use End-of-the-World to describe a theory does not require massive amounts of devastation to bring about a change in the world as we know it, most often the change results in an event which increases enlightenment and brings humanity into a golden age or a higher plane of existence. Interestingly enough, through a study of world ending theories, we see that most fall under the categories of Apocalypse and End of the World. Apparently, even though it is supposed to be the end, the doomsayers still like to have a little hope.
    TheIII. The basics of
    So what makes a prediction an end of the world theory? Well, naturally as the section title suggests, the prediction is something bad will happen. But it is more than that, it is not just something bad, it is the end of society, people, life, and the world as we know it, or as anyone not of this planet would know it. The prevalent belief of this chapter is that at least the majority of readers would agree that these events would fall under the heading of a bad day.
    As shown later in this chapter, the earliest recorded examples that survive to this day are based mainly off what the predictors seen as signs of the degradation of their society. For most predictors, this perceived degradation is a signal that the predictions made by prominent religious texts are about to occur. The most commonly referenced religious text for these predictions is the book of Revelation in the bible. In the book of Revelation are the predictions about the coming of the arch-enemy, or antichrist, his rise to dominance, the return of Jesus, his rally of the remaining faithful and then the epic battle between the forces of good and evil and the subsequent changing of the earth into a paradise for the surviving forces of good. Based on our earlier terms, all of the predictions made by reference of the book of Revelation are classified under the Apocalypse term, which is thought by some to be the origin of this term in its common use. Indeed, in its original intent, the term Apocalypse, derived from the Latin apokalypto, means to reveal, leading to the book of Revelations, or the Apocalypse of John (Van de Blessen, 1907), and from the contents of that chapter we have derived the term Apocalypse to mean the final battle between the forces of heaven and hell.
    That explains the Apocalypse term under the heading of something bad happening, what about the other two terms. The term Armageddon also originally came from the description of battles between good and evil resulting in a total change of life as we know it. Recently however, there have come predictions that needed a new term. These predictions stem from knowledge of powers, gained originally though sciences, which have the potential to completely wipe out all life on the planet earth or remove it from the cosmos completely. These powers include, but are not limited to; nuclear power, nuclear weapons, super diseases, viral weapons, asteroid collisions, planetary collisions, radiation emissions, supernovae, solar expansion, etc. The term End-of-the-World is necessitated because of relatively recent developments in predictions that could be related to the advancement of scientific and pseudoscientific theories about the existence of extraterrestrial life and psychic phenomenon, as well as the popularity of the consumption of science fiction as a leisure activity. This is the optimistic category: through some action of our own or intervention from an outside force, the world is changed to a better place, with little to no bloodshed on the part of humanity, peace and love for all. Examples of this include, but are not limited to; visitation and adoption by friendly extraterrestrial life forms, discovery of a link to the Akashic Field, or repository of all knowledge, the development of psychic powers, etc., which brings about a golden age for humanity. Unfortunately for humanity, this last category is the least populated, it would appear that most predictors think that humanity must shed some blood for its golden age, if it gets one at all.
    WhyA. Why are end
    By (Photograph used by permission of the USDA Forest Service.) [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
    As shall be investigated later in this chapter, there are many examples through the ages of predictions about the end of the world being made. Also further in, this chapter describes the multitude of people who believed these predictions. One of the biggest questions is why are these beliefs so popular? Do people really just want to see the world burn? The evidence would point towards no, thankfully. However, humanity is often the unwitting subject of both fear and fallacies in thinking. Fear can be easily understood in this context, fear of an end, of an unknown. People want to know when the end is coming to hopefully either prepare for it or avoid it completely, this sense of knowing could provide a sense of security and control over the future. This fear affects everyone, and, combined with the fallacies in thinking discussed next, lead often to predictions that have all so far been proven false.
    FallaciesB. Fallacies in Thinking
    The phrase fallacies in thinking refer to the common mistakes in reasoning and argument that humanity commonly makes. More than likely, the mental mechanisms that allow the fallacies to occur developed along humanities evolutionary pathway to make the lives easier of those who used them. They would reduce the amount of energy required to think about problems and let people use that left over energy in the process of living. However, as can be seen throughout history, these fallacies cause us harm as well as save us energy, especially when exploited, whether knowingly or not (Shermer, 1997). While there are many logical fallacies that are used, and exploited, by humanity, there are only a few that show up repeatedly with doomsday theories.
    Appeal1. Appeal to authority
    By Steve Jurvetson (Flickr: Goring Bush) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
    Appeal to authority is a common fallacy present in many doomsday predictions. In early times, the people making the predictions borrowed their authority from prominent sources of the day such as the pseudoscience of astronomy, analysis of religious texts like the bible, and direct communication with a deity. As human knowledge and science progressed, the sources of authority changed to mathematics, scientific observation, psychic powers, communication with extraterrestrial life, and the near mythic status of the high intelligence quotient. Even though the sources change, the process of the prophecy stays the same; because the prophet has consulted this source of authority, whatever that prophet says gains that authority. This leads to what Michael Shermer calls an over reliance on authority and a failure to examine the evidence (1997). Because these doomsayers have this perceived authority, the population as a whole is more likely to believe what is said instead of examining the evidence for themselves. It should also be noted that the ability to examine evidence personally is a relatively recent luxury, which as shall be shown, does not always let people disprove doomsayers, but add their own flavor to the next top Armageddon.
    Ad2. Ad populum -“Next
    By Wikimania2009 Beatrice Murch (originally posted to Flickr as Audience) [CC-BY-2.0 ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
    Appeal to the people, to the masses, to everyone else. This is the bandwagon of humanity’s fallacies in thinking (Carroll, 2009). This aspect of thought could be a holdover from humanity’s social nature and need to fit in; if everyone else believes something, the person is likely to adopt the same belief to fit into the group and not become an outcast. This fallacy is often seen as the next step from the previous, an authority figure makes a prediction, and because of this person’s authority, the group starts to believe it, any newcomers to the group are then given a prediction on a second hand basis, merely because everyone else believes something, they should too. This adds another obstacle in the path of self-examination of evidence that the otherwise rational individuals might use to protect themselves from the belief in the end of the world.
    Groupthink3. Groupthink – “Well,
    By White House (Eric Draper) (White house) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Groupthink is the fallacy in logic that appears in a highly cohesive group that fails to check their internal reasoning against the external world. Because of this failure, the group ignores alternative actions or ways of thought, they become locked into their own reasoning and see it as the only logical conclusion to whatever they are facing. A well known example of this include the United States failing to anticipate an attack on Pearl Harbor in the face of evidence that it was a possibility because they were locked into the notion that Japan would never attack them. Other examples of this are the Bay of Pigs invasion, escalation of the Vietnam War, and multiple decisions made during the Bush administration. Groupthink is also seen in the formation and decisions of some of the cults in the following sections. They are examples of like minded individuals in a group setting with high group cohesion, and more often than not think highly of each other, that make bad decisions because of a failure to think of alternatives (Kida, 2006). The murder of a congressional representative and four others, followed by the murder/suicide of the rest of the cult in Jonestown is one example, as is the mass suicide of the Heavens Gate.
    Appeal4. Appeal to age
    See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    While not a formal fallacy as such, this is a common occurrence in pseudoscience in general and doomsday theories in particular. This way of thinking assumes that peoples of an ancient civilization, the Mayans for example, had access to special knowledge back then that society today does not possess (Morrison2009). This also ties into the appeal to authority because it is common to co-attribute age and authority, therefore granting ancient civilizations and prophets of old with an almost mythic status when it comes to predictions. Unfortunately, it is also the case that if one thinks things through, which so rarely happens, that if ancient civilizations knew more than we did, they would probably still be around and if ancient prophets knew what was going to happen, why are there so many misses in their predictions.
    DoomsdayIV. Doomsday Cults and Examples.
    Before we get into examples we must, once again, define the term. So, what is a doomsday cult? For the purpose of this endeavor, a doomsday cult is defined as the cult following of a leader who has tendencies to announce that the end is nigh, or a group of people who, using any of the fallacies above, have come to the group decision that the world will end on a specific date or just plain soon. Michael Shermer has an excellent definition of a cult that we will borrow from for clarification of the term. The characteristics include the veneration, inerrancy, and omniscience of the leader; the person is the best and never wrong, about anything. The group employs persuasive techniques to gain and retain membership. They have hidden agendas and employ deceit and often include exploitation of group members including financial resources and sexual favors. A final component of these groups is that they have discovered as a whole absolute truth and morality (Shermer, 1997). Another interesting piece of information from Shermer about cults, both regular and doomsday, is that members tend to be on the young side of the age scale.
    The1. The Montanists, 2nd Century CE
    Founded by a man known as Montanus, this is the first recorded doomsday cult of the Christian persuasion. Based on prophecies made by Montanus and others within the cult, the Montanists believed that Jesus would return within their lifetime and establish the promised New Jerusalem within a city called Pepuza. Even though the timetable predictions failed to pan out, this cult is interesting in that it remained a viable movement for long years (one reference states centuries) after the death of the founder (Moran, 2008; Nelson, 2005; Robinson, 2010). One can conjecture from the readings that this group materialized through appeal to authority, the bible passed to Montanus, and maintained through groupthink, predictions made by others and longevity, during their times.
    The2. The Woman in
    Founded by German prophet Johann Jacob Zimmerman in the year 1694, this cult‘s original purpose was to travel to the America and welcome Jesus back to the world based on their founder’s predictions. Leadership of the group passed to Johannes Kelpius when the cult founder died on the day they were to depart for the new world. Kelpius successfully led the group of forty scholars to America, where they founded a small settlement in the wilderness of Germantown, on the very spot that was predicted where Jesus was to return. The settlement was originally a small tabernacle where the group lived, worshiped, and taught the children of neighboring settlements for free. After the expected season of Jesus’ return had passed and still no sign of the son of God, Kelpius revised the date of the second coming multiple times, until his death in 1708. The small settlement was said to have lasted until the end of 1740, when the remainder disbanded to join conventional groups in the surrounding settlements (, 2010; Nelson, 2005; Rupp, 2010). Again, a group founded on appeal to authority, the scholarship of Zimmerman, moved based upon groupthink, moving to America, and founding a settlement, and remained due to the group cohesiveness of the previous decision, they liked each other to move across an ocean after all.
    The3. The Millerites, 1840-1845
    The Millerites, founded by William Miller, were a cult based upon Miller’s interpretation of the bible leading to specific dates for the second coming of Jesus to this world. The cult gained significant nationwide membership after the distribution of Millers work in 1840. Miller originally posited that the second coming would occur between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. When the final date passed without any sign, the prediction was revised by a Millerite by the name of Samuel S. Snow to October 22, 1844. When the predicted date came and went without any sign of the second coming, an event called the Great Disappointment, there was much turmoil within the Millerite movement. Three major factions formed with different theories about why Miller’s predictions failed. Out of the three splinter groups, at two have survived and became the Advent Christian Church and the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Arnn, 2000; Nelson, 2005, Crocombe, 2007). Appeal to authority yet again infers the founding of this group, Miller through scholastics and the bible, and groupthink held it together, at least until it tore it apart.
    Jehovah’s4. Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1874 CE -present
    While this group is a currently practicing and respected sect of Christianity, they also fall under the heading of doomsday cult because of specific predictions made about the end of the world. Founded by Charles Russell, the Jehovah’s Witness movement could be considered a theological offspring of the Millerite movement, as Russell was said to have been inspired by Miller and motivated by the Great Disappointment. Russell made his first prediction in that he felt that the end times had started in 1874 and that the end of the world, according to the events in the book of Revelation, would occur in 1914. Russell and others later revised this date, many times. The revised dates include 1915, 1925, 1936, 1953, 1973, and 1995. Somewhere in this string of failed predictions (the 1995 prediction was made at the same time as the 1915 prediction) the Jehovah’s Witnesses officially changed their stance on the events in revelations to something along the lines of, God said no man would know before it happened, but that the end times were occurring now (, 2010; Nelson, 2005; Moran, 2008; Abba II, 2003). This is an interesting case in that it is the first offshoot discussed, and thus has some ad populum and appeal to age aspects, all of those people could not be wrong, and they believed it way back when. Also present, of course, is appeal to authority through its founding, Russell, via Miller from the bible, and aspects of groupthink would be necessary for cohesion.
    The5. The People’s Temple,
    Founded in the 1950’s by Jim Jones, the People’s Temple originally started out as a mission to help the sick, homeless, and jobless in Indiana. The People’s Temple earned the status of a cult of personality because of the massive charisma of Jim Jones. Under his leadership, the People’s Temple over 900 member while in Indiana, and kept that as a mostly constant figure throughout the majority of the time the cult was in existence and through at least three relocations. Cult status combined with Jones’s penchant for prediction that the world would end in nuclear fire, such as one prediction stating the summer of 1967 would see the bombs fall, earns the People’s Temple the exalted status of doomsday cult. After establishing the settlement of Jonestown in Guyana, Jones developed a belief called translation, which stated that the followers of the People’s Temple would all die together and in this death be transported to another planet, which resembled a new Eden, peace and love for all. The end of the People’s Temple is well known, in November of 1978, after the shooting death of a congressional representative and four others, the inhabitants of Jonestown committed mass murder and suicide with very few survivors (Nelson, 2005; Robinson, 2007). The argument can be made that this is a cult not founded with appeal to authority, rather from just the massive charisma of its leader and his observation and knowledge of established religion and its practices. There is evidence of groupthink present in the move to a different country, and the events which led to the demise of the cult as a whole.
    Branch6. Branch Davidian 1950
    - present
    Famous for the siege at Waco in the spring of 1993, the Branch Davidians are another intellectual offshoot of the Millerites, being a splinter group of the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, themselves a splinter of the Seventh Day Adventist church. Both splinters of the Seventh Day Adventists believed that prophecy was a necessary part of the church leadership, and the further split came from disagreements over diet, observance of the Sabbath and family structure. They earned the status of doomsday cult when in 1981, Vernon Wayne, who would later become known as David Koresh, joined the church. By 1985, Koresh and his followers had split from the rest of the Brach, calling themselves the Davidian Branch Davidians, but did not publically splint with the Branch, indeed no differences were known until after the 1993 raid. Koresh claimed that he was a prophet and seized control of the Branch and their compound in Waco, Texas. There he practiced polygamy, stored weapons, ate meat, and made prophecies about the end times, going so far as to rename the Waco compound to the Ranch Apocalypse because he foretold that the final battle mentioned in the book of Revelation would start there (Robinson, 2008). Appeal to authority and groupthink are once more found within this example.
    Heaven’s7. Heaven’s Gate 1975
    Beginning in 1975 with the near death experience of Marshall Herff Applewhite, this doomsday cult experienced three iterations before its demise in 1997. With the help of his nurse and later partner, Bonnie Trusdale Nettles, Applewhite founded the Human Individual Metamorphosis movement based on the Applewhite’s belief that aliens had visited him during his near death experience, and they had told him the true history of the Christian faith and how the world was going to end or be recycled. According to Applewood, Jesus was in fact a host for an alien sent by a High Father to spread the word of what must be done to survive the recycling. The aliens again appeared in the 1920’s inhabiting Applewood and Nettles, and they were on a quest to reunite their crew and save as many of the people of the earth as they could. The method of this saving humanity was to leave the mortal shell behind and be picked up by the founder’s ship. An interesting note, the cult did not believe in suicide and advocated that their belief was merely an abandonment of one form of transportation for another, not death or self killing. The members of the cult put their belief into practice during the month of March in 1997. Reports by an amateur astronomer of an object trailing behind comet Halle-Bopp were taken by the group as a sign that their new transport had arrived; the group committed mass suicide in three groups over three days in March, with two more members committing suicide two months later. In total, forty-one people died in this year following the teaching of Applewood (Robinson, 2009; Nelson, 2005). This appeal to authority comes from an interesting source, Applewhite through aliens, and groupthink is tragically evident in the mass suicide.
    Prophets,V. Prophets, mystics, and
    These are the people who have been perceived with the authority granted by science, science substitutes, math, visions from god, visions from drugs, etc., to make predictions about disastrous events and the end of the world that should be heeded by the masses. A good indicator of what grants a person the label of prophet is their vagueness. Some take their observations about what they view as a decline in the world around them and make a connection to a perceived greater authority, the bible, or scientific findings and hypotheses. Then, using that borrowed authority, they make a prediction, most often with no specific date, and lay the burden of proof on their detractors. Others make numerous vague predictions about disasters and end of the world scenarios, most often die, and then future generations take these vague words and find occurrences, after the fact, that, with only the slightest application of mental gymnastics, are then seen as an accurate prediction of that event. These kinds of prophets also benefit from the fallacy in thinking that allows people to remember hits yet forget the misses when specific dates are tied to predictions.
    Girolamo1. Girolamo Savonarola
    Fra Bartolomeo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Girolamo Savonarola was a Dominican Friar who lived in the 15th century and made predictions that the world would end soon. These predictions were based on the combination of his observations of what he felt was the degradation of Italian society, the invading French armies of the time, and his own belief that God would soon no longer tolerate the wicked ways of the people of the world. To help save the people of Florence from the coming judgment he advocated their surrender to the invading French forces, which naturally went over well. This, combined with his declaration that Florence was the city favored of God, instead of Rome, brought about his capture and death in 1498 (Weber, 1999).
    Pierre2. Pierre Turrel
    Pierre Turrel was a French astrologer who, in 1537, made several end of the world predictions based on his observations and guestimations combined with his knowledge of astrology. His predictions were centered on the years 1537, 1544, 1801, and 1814 (, 2010; Nelson, 2005). This wide range of predictions, some clearly long after he would have any hope of survival, are what earn Pierre a spot under this section.
    Johann3. Johann Jacob Zimmerman
    Johann Jacob Zimmerman was a German student of theology and astrology who turned prophet in 1694 when, based on his studies, he predicted that Jesus would return to earth, somewhere in America in the fall of the same year. Armed with this prediction, Zimmerman organized a group of pilgrims to sail to America to welcome Jesus back to the world. Unfortunately, Zimmerman died on the day of his group’s departure, but they carried on without him. The group was again visited by disappointment, after having sailed the Atlantic and camping out well into winter, with the realization that Jesus had stood them up (, 2010; Nelson, 2005).
    Joanna4. Joanna Southcott
    By Wm. Sharp [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Joanna Southcott was a woman from Devon, UK, who had made many predictions throughout her life based on her faith and study of the bible. Two prominent pronouncements that she made include that she was the woman spoken of in the book of Revelation who would birth the child “…who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5, King James Version). Joanna’s second major pronouncement, based on the first, was that she, at the age of 64 and still a virgin, was pregnant with the second incarnation of Jesus, and that the child would be born on December 25, 1814. This was indeed a momentous day for Joanna, as it was the day she died; autopsies later revealed that she was not pregnant (Moran, 2008; Nelson, 2005; Cannon, 2004).
    Ronald5. Ronald Reagan
    See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    That is correct; a former president of the United States can also be put under the category of prophet. Reagan earned his place on the prophets list with comments during interviews stating that he felt he was living in the end times and that the final battle would begin soon. In a comment to James Mills, Reagan is quoted as saying “For the first time ever, everything is in place for the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ” (Nelson, 2005). A chilling sentiment when one considers the powerful position Reagan was in as the leader of the United States.
    Nostradamus6. Nostradamus
    By Anonymous, after César Nostradamus (1555-1629) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    This man is the big gun, as prophecy goes. Nostradamus was born in France in 1503. After growing up, he studied medicine and astrology at the University of Montpellier, where he graduated in 1522. For years afterwards, Nostradamus traveled the lands, practicing medicine very successfully, even turning the tides of plague in some areas, these successes helped build his fame among the people. He began writing in prophecies in 1544 in almanacs that he would write, outlining astrological phases of the year and containing his famous quatrains, four lined rhymes which supposedly contained predictions for the year and future. He began writing and publishing his books, called Centuries, in 1554. These books are still consulted to this day, after events occur more often than not, to see what Nostradamus had to say about an event. The reason why is because of a prediction he made about King Henry II, told to the king himself and the court so the word was out, that happened to come true. With this well documented and publicized hit, all of Notsradamus’ misses, both at the times and continuing to today, are disregarded while all the hits, both real and convoluted, are exalted (Encyclopedia of World Biography, n.d.)
    FromVI. From the Skeptical
    prove it?
    Now we come to the real meat of the chapter, the prominent pseudoscientific theories delivered to the majority of people through various media outlets that, because of their pseudoscientific nature, are easily believed. In addition to the three categories as described in the beginning of this chapter, we can further divide these theories into two additional categories; Falsifiable and Un-Falsifiable. As always, we need to specify what our terms mean before we go on.
    FalsifiableA. Falsifiable – Wait for it…
    What is falsifiable? Falsifiable describes the design of a statement or theory that allows it to be empirically tested and possibly shown to be wrong (Falsifiable, n.d.). This is the main strength of science because the knowledge we gain comes through the use of hypotheses that can be proven wrong. If the hypothesis cannot be proven wrong through repeated and rigorous testing then that hypothesis becomes the best explanation we have until it is proven wrong and replaced by a new hypothesis. Many, but not all, doomsday prophesies fall under this category simply because a specific date is assigned to the world-ending hypothesis, to test their theories, all that is required is to wait for the date to pass.
    Un-falsifiableB. Un-falsifiable – But he said…
    What then, is un-falsifiable? Is it just the opposite of falsifiable? Well, yes, it is that and more. Un-falsifiable hypotheses are those that are designed in such as way as to be impervious to testing through the scientific method. In fact, as discussed previously, use of an un-falsifiable hypothesis is one of the primary facets of pseudoscience
    FalsifiableVII. Falsifiable Examples –
    the ages.

    A. Old
    and busted
    The following list, which is by no means complete, gives an overview of the flavors of the end times that were given a specific date or brief period. Because of this assignation of specifics, the deliverers of these proclamations allowed their predictions to fall under a heading of able to be tested, and so far, all of them have been disproven. Now to begin the trek through the bravest of those in the doomsayer profession, enter the old and busted.
    2800 BC
    February 12, 2006 CE
    This date in history was foretold by one Clinton Ortiz, who claimed that the anti-Christ would rise to power on this day, kicking off the events described in the book of Revelation. Prince William of England, whom Ortiz predicted would take power on this date, was also supposed to be the anti-Christ (Nelson, 2005; Moran, 2008). This would fall under the Apocalypse category with the evocation of the anti-Christ and Revelation, poor Diana.
    NewB. New hotness
    This next section investigates doomsday theories which, at the time of this writing (Fall of 2010) are predicted to happen in the future.
    2010 CE
    The current favorite for the next top doomsday is set to occur on December 21, 2012. This date has been concluded to be the end of the world because of an ancient Mayan calendar that ends on this day. Well, why would that mean that the world is ending on this day? Because, also in this calendar there is evidence that the Mayans who created it also predicated with great accuracy astronomical events that would occur, such as eclipses, far into the future. Therefore, based on their accurate predictions about astronomical events, the end date of the calendar must be significant, it must mean that will be when the world ends! Ok, hold that thought, it will be discussed later. First, the question must be asked; now that there is an end date in sight, how will the world fall apart? As for that, there are multiple predictions. A popular one states that there is a brown dwarf, Nibiru, floating through the solar system that will severely disrupt the earth with its gravity well, wrecking unknowable havoc upon the poor blue marble. This one sounds familiar, does it not? A similar prediction renames the dwarf Wormwood, yep, knew it sounded familiar, which would signal the start of the events listed in the book of Revelation. There are also theories that do not involve rogue planets, but rather the earth’s magnetic sphere, according to the fear mongers it will shift due to an event, which varies from alignment with the galactic core to the sun freaking out on us, and this shift will cause untold catastrophe on our fragile, electronic bound world. Unfortunately, for the doomsayers, not so much for the rest of the population, these all fall under the highly improbable side of the likelihood scale. Starting with the Mayan calendar first, things start to unravel when it is revealed that we have calendars that also predict with great accuracy upcoming astronomical events, not because they are prophetic, but because they were designed with the backing of math and observation of those phenomena through the years. Also, with the end of the calendar, the ones people make today do the same, they show the end of the year and that it is time to get a new one, not that the world is ending. The end of the Mayan calendar signifies a special event in their society, the end of their long count calendar which has 6000 year cycles, so, if they Mayans were still around, December 21st would be their national hangover day, much as our January 1st, 2000 was for those who chose to enjoy it. For the rest of the items, which no longer have their support, there is evidence provided by NASA that dispels them with good science and some very cool photographs (Morrison, 2009). Both Apocalypse and Armageddon scenarios are considered possible in 2012, at least by those who think they are possible.
    This just in sports fans, in the latter part of 2010 (indeed, while this was being written) 2012 doomsayers everywhere were given a most precious gift: a way to save face. In a press release on October 20, 2010, it was revealed that researcher Gerardo Aldana has cast a shadow of doubt upon the conversion of the ancient Mayan calendar, which was the fuel for the doomsday fires, to the Gregorian calendar that is used today (Heussner, 2010). This shadow, arguably more than some previous prophets have hidden under, casts doubt upon the reckoning that 2012 will be the end of the world, and pushes that date at least 50 to 100 years away.
    Un-FalsifiableVIII. Un-Falsifiable Examples –
    Un-falsifiable examples of end of the world predictions have already been discussed in part. The greatest numbers of these are prophets making predictions and giving no set date for their grand unveilings. There are, however, more examples to be made in the area of un-falsifiable. Remember, un-falsifiable refers to the aspect of these theories that throw them fully into the realm where science cannot compete, because they are not even playing the same game, they cannot be disproven through testing. The best examples of these kinds of predictions come from organized religion and mythology.
    ChristianityA. Christianity
    The Christian end of the world theory is the best example for this section because it is the most widely known, and it is also the progenitor of most of the previously discussed doomsday predictions. The tale of the Christian doomsday is set out in the book of Revelation. This book, which was written by a man who was said to have received the vision from a divine source, tells a classic tale, perhaps the classic. The great evil, in this case, the antichrist, comes into the world during a time of great strife and loss of life and rallies the world to him, appearing as a savior, yet those who remain faithful know the truth. Eventually, when things are really bad, along comes the savior, Christ, who gathers the remaining faithful and the hosts of heaven and duke it out with the forces of the antichrist. Thankfully, in this vision of the end, the good guys win and peace on earth reigns for the survivors (, 2010).
    IslamB. Islam
    There is also the Islamic story to consider, which is remarkably similar to the Christian, called the hour. To start things off, Christ comes to the city of Damascus to slay the antichrist, who, instead of playing the hero in a time of crisis, put the world in that crisis. This is followed by a time of harmony, more peace and love. Finally, Jesus dies a natural death and the world tries to follow suit with a host of destruction leading to what is known as the Hour (, 2010).
    ConclusionIX. Conclusion – The
    Through this journey into the realm of wishing to know the end, many topics have been covered. First, what exactly are the Apocalypse, Armageddon, and End-of-the-World. A brief discussion of science and pseudoscience ensued, with a lovely discussion of the more prominent logical fallacies. A journey exploring prophets, mystics, cults, and debunked predictions lead up to upcoming predictions and popular theories that could not be disproven. Through this journey, hopefully a few things have stuck, namely to think for yourself. Look at the evidence, look at what the real experts, the ones granted degrees from real universities and working in prominent places, have to say. Again, do not trust them, but hopefully they will provide evidence backed by more than authority and anecdotes. One thing to remember above all about end of the world predictions, until something comes along that is substantially proven to be true, there really is nothing to worry about on that front. However, if worrying is needed to be done, there are a few things that are offered by the author and various sources that could very well spell the doom of our planet. These include, global warming, loss of biodiversity, the statistical chance that an asteroid can hit the planet (luckily NASA has a program to look for that), and finally, the explosion of our sun from its placid little yellow self to a massive red giant (expected around 4,500,000,000 CE). Now that is something to worry about, eventually (Nelson, 2005;, 2010).
    By United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE/NNSA Photo Library (image XX-033)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    (view changes)
    5:27 pm
  4. page Food science, nutrition, and diet edited Food science, nutrition, Nutrition, and diet Chia-Yu Diet By: Chia-Yu Liang Abstract …

    Food science, nutrition,Nutrition, and diet
    By: Chia-Yu

    I. Abstract

    Food is an important element to maintain our daily life. It plays an extremely important role in both physiology and psychology parts. Eating the right food not only can make us feel full of energy but also can refresh our feelings. Why do good foods have great influence on the human body? For example, most of people have breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Some of them might have some snacks between meals. In biological view, the amount of food that people consumed one day is enough for a snake to hibernate many winters (Carpenter, 1953). We have no idea how many foods we eat in our daily life.
    Nutrition is a necessary material to support our daily life. Good healthy habit is able to prevent diseases (Shimokata, 2007). Nutrition is essential for health and a useful element in the human body (Saito, 2007). It provides body heat, promotes growth, maintains body functions and repairs tissue. Good health comes with a balanced diet. We have to know the importance of diet in order to maintain our health. A variety of diets can get more nutrients to maintain the proper functioning of the body and operating effective.
    IntroductionII. Introduction
    The human body needs over 45 different nutrients every day. These nutrients can be divided into five classes: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins (Nowicka, 2005). We can get these nutrients from food and cannot get them from other sources. Carbohydrates help our body translate food into fat and provide energy, such as sugar, fiber and starches. It is the only source of energy for the brain. Fat provides body energy and heat. Two common fats are saturated fat and trans fat (Harvard Health Letter, 2007). Trans fat cannot be absorbed by the human body. Most fast food contains lots of trans fat and harms health. Protein includes 22 amino acids. It promotes blood circulation and enhances metabolism. Minerals are calcium, iron and sodium. It helps body structure and regulates body function. Vitamins are a catalyst and work with other nutrients.
    Consumers have more and more knowledge to choose their food. Reading the food label is a new way to learn about your food (Caswell & Mojduszka, 1996). In the US, food label is required to be listed outside the package. Nutrition facts indicate that it allows consumers to know what food contains and shows how much nutrition per serving. Percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie need. However, the calorie total only shows the amount per serving. The serving size is not the whole package of food. For instance, a bag of potato chips label 150 calories but the size of serving is 1 ounce (approximately 16 chips). A package of chips contains about 5 ounces. If you want to know how many calories are in a bag, you need to calculate 150*5=750 calories.
    Different cultures have different notions about food. Western culture eating patterns are very different from Eastern culture (Kearney, Hulshof, & Gibney, 2001). Food behavior becomes a huge determinant in our society (McNaughton, 2006). People tend to consume extra foods with high calories and fat in the West (Rangan, Schindeler, Hector, Gill, & Webb, 2009). People have fast food and soft drink frequently especially in the US. Environment has a great influence on consumption (Rose, Bodor, Hutchinson, & Swalm, 2010). We can easily get food in a convenience store, grocery store and drive thru. You do not even need to get out of car and you can have whatever you want. Alternatively, you can just stay at home and order food delivery. These kinds of eating patterns caused many health problems rapidly.
    The food environment is an important link between access and consumption. In the developing world, lots of countries still suffer from malnutrition and do not have access for food, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and in South East Asia (Jaron & Galal, 2009). People there are undernourished and have health inequality. They presented the highest rate of illness and death in the world (Müller & Krawinkel, 2005). They do not have much access or choice for food. Their eating patterns are simple and lack nutrients. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) affects more than 19 million children under age five in low and middle-income countries (Fabiansen, Christensen, Eklund, Michaelsen, & Friis, 2010; Collins et al., 2006). Children with SAM are at a high-risk death rate in developing countries (Chisti, Tebruegge, La Vincente, Graham, & Duke, 2009; Seccombe & Hughes, 2009). Food shortage and lack of health resource are the most serious issues there.
    HowIII. How the food
    “Food, Inc.” is a movie directed by Robert Kenner in 2008. This film exposed the surprising truth about how the food industry detriments human health in order to make more money. Did you know that it only takes 48 days for a chicken to go to market? The true natural growth period for chicken is three months. The farmers fed their chickens food mixed with antibiotics, and the chickens lived in a dark and crowded place. It is all because this is a way to save their time and money.
    “The Botany of Desire” on PBS channel is based on the book by Michael Pollan. It stated how researchers altered the genes of potatoes in the 90s. They added some kind of protein to potatoes to avoid the bugs. This was done to cut down the spraying and to provide the most widely used potatoes for french fries. When the public found out about this and how this potato was served in McDonalds, it caused a huge problem and all the potatoes had to be recalled and changed.
    Lots people choose to spend more money on organic food to avoid genetically modified food. Genetically modified (GM) food is food where someone has transferred an isolated gene into the DNA of another food (Paarlberg, 2000). Because of socio-economic and environmental considerations, the demand for genetically modified foods is highly increasing. Farmers are also encouraged to accept and implement GM crops because of the higher productivity (Azadi & Ho, 2010). For instance, China develops new rice technology for farming system to fulfill people needs (Shen, 2010). In Asia, rice is the staple food so people have a high demand for it. Genetically modified rice is easier to grow and allows people to get crops of rice all season.
    The GM food problem is still a huge debate. Some people think it has a great impact on global warming and is unsafe for consumption (Skancke, 2009). Genetically modified tomatoes can live 45 days without refrigeration (Rao, 2010). It seems unnatural and stale for customers. This research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal (Meli et al., 2010). Some people think GM foods could potentially help solve problems such as food shortages and malnutrition. Many countries are in the grip of emergency food shortages(Antelava, 2008). How to increase the agricultural productivity is an important issue in the world. However, better education of what is involved in the production of GM foods is needed. With more information provided, the public would be more willing to give these products a chance.
    HowIV. How media misleads
    Food commercials may cause a big influence on us, especially children. “The US food system is the second largest advertiser in the American economy (the first being the automotive industry) and is a leading buyer of television, newspaper, magazine, billboard, and radio advertisements” (Story &French, 2004). Children misunderstand that eating fast food is a very popular behavior. Food commercials always impress on people that fast food is such a fantastic thing in the world. Everyone looks so happy and enjoys it; advertisements mislead children to copy this behavior (Udell & Mehta, 2008). Younger children’s exposure to food advertisements promotes over-consumption (Halford, Boyland, Hughes, Oliveira, & Dovey, 2007). Research found that children tend to intake less snacks when they watched natural commercials than children who watch either energy-dense food commercials or light food commercials (Anschutz, Engels, & Van Strien, 2010). Watching television wastes too much time and causes inactivity. It has a negative effect on child’s health. Eating snacks and lying on the sofa will make one become a couch potato. It also causes the sedentary lifestyle.
    Some research found that people exposed to commercials using slim models and diet-related products ate less food (Anschutz, Van Strien, & Engels, 2008). It acts like a reminder for people to be more aware of their eating behavior. Young women felt anxiety after watching commercials with slim models (Anschutz, Engels, Becker, & Van Strien, 2009). Watching TV can change our mood and behavior. For example, if you watch a comedy, you laugh and feel happy. If TV showed a yummy hamburger all the time, you might be motivated to purchase it. Other people and the environment affect others easily.
    Advertisements created an environment and are presented in public. They use someone with great influence such as, celebrity, typical consumer, CEO or expert. Turning on the TV or opening a newspaper, you can see there are many advertisements about how to lose weight and become slim. Therefore losing weight is a present popular hot topic of discussion. Models present their perfect body shape and recommend a diet pill. Many people believe in the power of the miracle diets advertised on TV. The latest diet pill or exercise machine promises a miraculous solution to lose weight. Women thirst for losing weight because they think it is fashion. Many weight loss advertisements on television are unrealistic. As a matter of fact, most of people in the commercial never use it. The pictures (before and after) are always edited by photoshop. Pay attention to lose weight fast advertising because it is propaganda.
    OurA. Our misunderstanding of
    There are many mistakes in the information around us in modern society. We obtain information from a variety of sources, but we do not have enough knowledge to distinguish right or wrong. Michael Pollan wrote a book called "In Defense of Food" in 2008. The entire book talked about the widespread confusion about how to eat. He summarized the main points in a couple of sentences: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. He emphasized eating meat as a side dish and eating plants as a main dish. You should eat fresh foods instead of processed food products. Food science is around us. We need to be more aware of the packages with health claims because they indicate those are not really food and not good for us.
    Many people have busy lives so they do not take good care of their nutrition at present. The food was insufficient for our needs. Taking a multivitamin became very popular and was an easy way to maintain basic human nutrition. People think they can get most of their nutrition from a multivitamin without any real food. This is wrong because a multivitamin plays an auxiliary role, and is not a substitute for real food. Overuse of any artificial nutriment may cause negative problems for human health.
    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has been used in Asian culture for a long time (Sand, 2005). It is very common in Chinese restaurants as a flavor enhancer. MSG was tagged as a toxin and removed from many foods (Moskin, 2008). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled MSG as a safe food ingredient, but it remains controversial. This research provides human data that MSG intake may be associated with the increased risk of being overweight and total energy intake (He et al., 2008). Now many restaurants have a sign that says “NO MSG”, because MSG needs to be labeled if it is added to food. This policy is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, most restaurants are still using MSG and telling you no MSG. Your food will taste better after adding MSG. However, you might feel very thirsty and drink lots water after your meal if your food has MSG.
    A fast is not a good way to lose weight. Fasting means stop eating food for a period of time. This action has potential health effect. The human body needs food to maintain their function. Body heat is transferred by fat. If you do not intake any food, you will lose body heat. People eat more and higher calories after fasting (Goldstone, et al., 2009). Food inhibition is also not a good way to keep health. You might feel hungrier if you strictly inhibit the temptations of palatable food(Nederkoorn, Houben, Hofmann, Roefs, & Jansen, 2010). After you fast for a while, your body will need more time to adjust. On the other hand, you want eat more and more to satisfy. Many people fast because of religion. If you consider a fast, you need to prepare well before and after the fast. You will reduce the amount of food and your body will have couple time to prepare before fast. After a fast, you do not intake food suddenly. Gently ingest some fluid first, and then you can eat regularly after awhile.
    ObesityV. Obesity vs. healthy diet
    {} Spmallare's photo of a Nutrition Pyramid via Wikimedia Commons

    Obesity is increasing and has become a serious disease in the United States nowadays. Many people suffer from obesity and health problems, especially children. There are many reasons that cause Americans to be overweight, such as eating too much, less exercise and going to restaurants instead of cooking at home. Preadolescents tend to intake calcium-rich food and beverage when they are not eating at home (Cluskey, et al., 2008). Lack of time resulted in people often skipping breakfast and eating out more frequently. Research found that younger and higher- income women prefer consuming the greatest intakes of energy, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium (Haines, Hungerford, Popkin, & Guilkey, 1992; Guthrie, Lin, & Frazao, 2002). On the other hand, middle-class women have the most healthy eating pattern because 70% of them eat at home (Haines et al, 1992). According to the research, people in America spend a great deal of money in fast food restaurants. The study shows that people eat out more than at home (Hejazi & Mazloom, 2009). The number of consumers eating food away from home has increased dramatically (Hochradel, 2008). If you eat out often, you will get more fat and calories. In America, we always can find a variety of fast-food restaurants everywhere, such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, etc. “The frequency of visits to fast-food restaurants by children is associated with increased intake of soft drinks, cheeseburgers, pizza, French fries, total fat, and total calories and decreased intake of vegetables, fruit, and milk” (Brownell, 2004, p. 132).
    Nutrients and calories are essential for childhood and adolescence to support their growth and development (Mayo Clinic, 2006). Keep body composition balance is more important than weight loss (Jéquier & Tappy, 1999). We can use the Body Mass Index (BMI) in order to examine if you are underweight or overweight. The BMI also allows comparison with children of the same gender and age. When calculating BMI, the unit is kg / m2 .The ideal BMI is from 18.5 to 25. If your BMI is over 25, you must be overweight.
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    Widome, R., Neumark-Sztainer, D., Hannan, P., Haines, J., & Story, M. (2009). Eating When There is Not Enough to Eat: Eating Behaviors and Perceptions of Food Among Food-Insecure Youths. American Journal of Public Health, 99(5), 822-828.
    Wills, J., Schmidt, D., Pillo-Blocka, F., & Cairns, G. (2009). Exploring global consumer attitudes toward nutrition information on food labels. Nutrition Reviews, 67S102-S106.
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  5. page Fraudulent psychological treatments edited Fraudulent psychological treatments Jinling By: Jinling Zhao Abstract I. Abstract Frau…

    Fraudulent psychological treatments
    JinlingBy: Jinling Zhao

    I. Abstract

    Fraudulent psychological
    in details.

    II. Introduction

    Last December I went to California to participate in a clinical conference, the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference 2009. Over 4000 therapists, would-be therapists, and psychological graduates took part in the conference. Though a few very famous psychologists were invited, such as Albert Bandura and Martin Seligman, most lecturers are therapists in practical fields. Thus, most lectures introduced a variety of psychological treatments that I never have heard of before. But anyway, I was outside of the clinical psychological field though I wanted to apply for a clinical Ph.D. program, so it was natural that I knew little about the latest psychological treatments used for various mental disorders. In this conference, I listened to Shapiro lecture on the empirical studies of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) because I was interested in treatments for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) and the introduction of the workshop mentioned EMDR was effective to treat people diagnosed with PTSD. I also listened how to use hypnotic and strategic approaches to treat depression, the exploration of the wedding of Buddhist psychology of the heart in tune with clinically sound modern society, the clinical application of focusing which refers to the physically felt body sense of a problem (e.g., the use of focusing in processing dreams), and so on.
    The one-week conference was not an easy one, from seven A.M. to nine P.M. every day. Many therapists kept high spirit from one workshop to another workshop and bought a lot of books written by those presenters. When I asked some therapists about the conference, they expressed that they learned a great deal and they showed strong interest in those treatments of which I had never heard. No one questioned whether some treatments were unscientific and fraudulent.
    Next, we analyze in detail why Equine-Assisted Therapy, Conversion Therapy/Reparative Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, and Facilitated Communication treatment are fraudulent or unscientific in nature.
    First sectionFirst section
    Equine-Assisted Therapy
    Equine-Assisted Therapy (EAT) is a popular treatment involving riding and attending to horses. Proponents of EAT stated that this kind of treatment is able to treat eating disorders, depression, anxiety, ADHD, juvenile offenders, dementia, and gross motor function (e.g., lying and rolling, sitting, crawling and kneeling, standing, and walking, running, and jumping) (Benda, McGibbon, & Grant, 2003; Thompson, 2010; Winchester, Kendall, Peters, Sears, & Winkley, 2002).
    Some experiments on the efficacy of EAT for gross motor function were conducted. Winchester et al. (2002) did a repeated-measure experiment to study the effects of a seven-week therapeutic horseback riding program and to measure if improvement was retained after the program was over. The results from this study supported a statistically significant improvement in gross motor function in post-intervention measures and there was no significant difference between improvements of posttest one and posttest two measured seven weeks after EAT had ended. The effect of EAT for gross motor function exists because “a mounted rider experiences the movements of normal gait, including hip and pelvic rotation, weight shift and proprioceptive stimulation” and “a rider’s active control of posture, balance and righting reactions is challenged by the dynamic sitting surface” (Bertoti, 1991; MacPhail et al., 1998; Winchester et al., 2002, p.38). The advantage of the study is that two posttests with a seven-week interval were measured, so it is reasonable to believe the improvement in gross motor function was not due to normal maturation, which means the experiment has internal validity. The shortcoming of the study is that sample size was too small. Only seven participants with a variety of developmental delays (e.g., Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome) were recruited in the experiment and data of six participants were analyzed, which makes the study short of external validity. MacKinnon et al. (1995) conducted a controlled study to evaluate the effectiveness of a 26-week EAT program, and they did not find statistically significant physical and psychological improvements for 10 participants with cerebral palsy in treatment condition, comparing with another nine in control condition who were on a waiting list for riding. The same shortcoming exists in this study as that in Winchester et al.’s. Benda et al. (2003) did an experiment on 15 children with spastic cerebral palsy to measure the improvements in muscle symmetry following an 8-minute EAT program. Data collected by remote surface electromyography (EMG) illustrated the efficacy of EAT.
    However, APA did not deny conversion therapies on the whole. The above-mentioned resolution emphasizes unbiased treatment. According to Haldeman (2002), spiritual or religious identification and social and cultural environment may conflict against one’s homosexual orientation, which in turn urges him/her to look for help from conversion therapies. Thus, conversion therapies aiming at helping homosexual clients change their sexual orientation under their wills are not by nature fraudulent psychological treatments. Subsequently, the effectiveness of these therapies needs to be measured by controlled experiments. At present, the research supporting conversion therapy has been criticized to have a variety of conceptual and methodological flaws, such as sample bias which refers to “restricted, self-selected samples that represent a socially stigmatized population”, control groups or comparison not used, therapists’ subjective impression determining the results, and confounding factors (e.g., time, maturation, and contextual factors) not considered (Cohen & Savin-Williams, 2003; Haldeman, 1994, 2002; Morrow & Beckstead, 2004). At the same time, some researchers identified the following harms of conversion therapies: increased depression related to loss, sexual dysfunction, intimacy avoidance, demasculinization, internalized homophobia, and abandonment of spirituality and religion (Ford, 2008; Haldeman, 2001; Morrow & Beckstead, 2004; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002). Therefore, before enough empirical studies support the effectiveness of conversion therapies, anecdotal evidence cannot push these treatments in the line of evidence-based practices, which illustrates the second indicator of fraudulent psychological treatments (i.e., pseudoscience tends to overwhelmingly rely on testimonials or anecdotal evidence.) (Thomspon, 2010, April 14).
    Third sectionThird section
    Reprocessing (EMDR)
    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular, controversial therapy applicable for post traumatic stress disorder but not limited to it. It is also applied to treat panic disorder, claustrophobia, blood and injection phobias, and arachnophobia (Davidson & Parker, 2001; Feske & Goldstein, 1997; Kleinknecht, 1993; Lohr, Tolin, & Kleinknecht, 1996; Muris & Merckelbach, 1997). EMDR was first developed by Francine Shapiro in 1987. Eye movements, the most salient characteristic of this method which was originally described as a crucial component, was changed to include a group of external alternative stimuli (e.g., therapist finger movements and auditory tones) to which clients’ attention is directed (Davidson & Parker, 2001; Shapiro, 1996). During a typical EMDR session, the therapist asks a client to concentrate on a traumatic event which needs to be desensitized while the client is generating rhythmic, multi-saccadic eye-movements (Shapiro, 1989). According to Shapiro (1996), the effectiveness of EMDR is based on the utilization of external stimuli and incorporation of various behavioral components such as sequential exposure, desensitization, and cognitive restructuring. The mechanism of eye movements or other alternative stimulation in the efficacy of EMDR was explained on the basis of “neurosis which involves a balance between excitatory and inhibitory processes” (Shapiro, 1989, p. 220).
    Some empirical studies have supported the efficacy of EMDR. Shapiro (1989) conducted a control experiment on 22 participants who suffered from traumatic memories. She randomly assigned these participants to two conditions, a treatment group who received EMDR and a control group who received a placebo treatment. Also, follow-up tests were done one and two months after the initial session. Though participants in the control condition did not receive EMDR treatment, they were still asked to describe the traumatic memory in details which was thought by the author a modified flooding procedure (Shapiro, 1989). The purpose in using a control condition is in order to determine whether the specific components in EMDR (e.g., eye movements) would produce statistically significant changes beyond the effect from nonspecific factors of psychotherapy such as expectation of gain (Seligman, 1995). The results indicated that one session of EMDR procedure was effective in desensitizing traumatic memories and the improvement was maintained for three months after the treatment. Further, participants in the treatment condition reported that flashbacks and nightmares were eliminated and intrusive thoughts and sleep disturbances were substantially reduced (Shapiro, 1989). Scheck, Schaeffer, and Gillette (2001) studied the efficacy of EMDR by comparing with that of an active listening (AL) approach (Gordon, 1974). Sixty traumatized young women were randomly assigned to the two conditions. Follow-up data were collected about 90 days after the post-treatment evaluation. The results showed improvement for both EMDR and AL treatments, but participants in EMDR condition were significantly different from those in AL condition. Therefore, the efficacy of EMDR is from the effect of specific components instead of nonspecific factors.
    Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
    Comparing to EMDR which is promoted as a treatment for people with traumatic-related symptoms, the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) approach is intended to prevent people who are exposed to traumatic events in general (e.g., people experiencing a large earthquake) and who have a high probability of exposure to such events (e.g., firefighter, police, and emergency service personnel) from developing traumatized disorders (Mitchell & Everly, 1998). There are two assumptions for CISD. First, exposure to traumatic events is sufficient to trigger the development of pathological symptoms. Second, early and proximal intervention, especially involving emotional catharsis, is necessary to prevent such pathological consequences and to ameliorate such consequences if they have occurred (Lohr, Hooke, Gist, & Tolin, 2003). CISD is also referred to as “Mitchell model”, which is a group discussion with seven steps: (1) introducing psychological debriefing, (2) stating facts about the nature of the traumatic events, (3) disclosing thoughts about the event, (4) disclosing emotional reactions, especially those with the strongest negative valence, (5) clarifying possible symptoms, (6) teaching consequences of trauma exposure, and (7) planning reentry to the social context (Campfield & Hills, 2001; Lohr, Hooke, Gist, & Tolin, 2003). It is usually provided 1 to 10 days following the traumatic events, aiming at mitigating acute symptoms, assessing the need for follow-up, and providing “a sense of post-crisis psychological closure” (Everly & Mitchell, 1997). The efficacy of CISD was asserted by Mitchell (1992) as the only way to deliver appropriate help to people exposed to traumatic events. However, not many controlled experiments supported this assertion. Though Campfield and Hills (2001) conducted a controlled experiment on the effect of timing of CISD on people with posttraumatic symptoms and concluded that immediate CISD was significantly better than delayed debriefing, several methodological limitations such as experimenter bias (all debriefings were carried out by the first author, so he might favor participants in immediate debriefing condition) and no control condition threatened the internal validity of the experiment. Everly and Mitchell (1997) emphasized many qualitative analyses supported the efficacy of CISD, but there are many quantitative studies reporting the ineffectiveness of CISD (Lohr, Hooke, Gist, & Tolin, 2003). Gist, Lubin, and Redburn (1998) studied the efficacy of CISD based on the airliner crash in Sioux City in which 112 of 296 people died. The study also included firefighters who engaged in body recovery and other related operations. The results of the study did not support the effectiveness of CISD, and even showed a slight but significantly worse condition (e.g., symptoms for PTSD worsened after debriefing) for debriefed people performed than for those who declined debriefing. What’s more, this incident didn’t produce a clinically significant impact on firefighters in two years. Besides this study, Hobbs, Mayou, Harrison, and Worlock (1996), Stephens (1997), and Mayou, Ehlers, and Hobbs (2000) also drew similar conclusions from their studies. In the most recent study conducted by Mayou et al. (2000), they continued their study on a randomized control trial which reported the ineffectiveness of psychological debriefing for four months, following a road traffic accident. They used consecutive patients admitted to hospitals to evaluate a 3-year outcome and found that the intervention group had a significant worse outcome at three years according to a variety of measures such as overall level of functioning, general psychiatric symptoms, and travel anxiety while being a passenger. Thus, the authors of the study concluded that psychological debriefing was ineffective and had some adverse effects for patients with trauma.
    be ceased.
    Though the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc., which aims at providing leadership, education, training, consultation, and support services in comprehensive crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services to the emergency response professions, other organizations, and communities worldwide, integrated CISD into CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management), no original effectiveness of the intervention system has been shown by empirical studies. However, the organization still promotes CISM through yearly conferences and trainings (ICISF, 2010).
    Fourth sectionFifth section
    Communication Treatment
    One day I talked with a friend, who is a scientist in the Computer Science field, about ABA therapy on autistic children, after I read some papers on the efficacy of Facilitated Communication (FC). I said I suddenly doubted about the effectiveness of reinforcement learning. B.F. Skinner did prove operant conditioning could let animals such as cats and pigeons learn some behaviors beyond their natural behavior repertoire, just like reinforcement learning could improve verbal-handicapped children with their oral language expression. However, what on earth do these animals and children learn? Did they really learn the meaning of those behaviors and the meaning of what they said? Or did they just memorize the conditioning between the response and the reinforcer after repeated practice? Or even did they learn the connections between some visual or auditory cues and their responses? My friend asked me how one could refuse to acknowledge the effectiveness if a nonverbal child could speak after reinforcement learning. Yes, perhaps that is why FC is popular.
    It is not Oppenheim’s fault who first reported the news in 1961 that her autistic son learned to write his name and some words with minimum support and guidance from her hand (Edelson, Rimland, Berger, & Billings, 1998). This was a big surprise and hope for a mother with an autistic child, and she wanted to share with the world and even to help other similar children. She also mentioned the unsuccessful results when she used the same method with other autistic children (Edelson et al., 1998). However, after Biklen (1990) published Crossley’s work of facilitated communication on nonverbal autistic or other handicapped children, it attracted great attention in the media. Thus, FC became very popular in the United States in the 1990s before its efficacy was carefully tested by academic studies (Stanovich, 2010).
    Responding to the denial of proponents of FC that the empirical studies were conducted in non-normal social contexts where people with verbal handicaps usually performed FC, and then hindered their performance, Kerrin, Murdock, Sharpton, and Jones (1998) did a study in children’s typical classroom setting (Duchan, 1995; Romanczyk et al., 2003; Silliman, 1995). Both the teacher and the speech pathologist serving as the facilitators were familiar with the two autistic participants. There were two conditions in this experiment. One condition was a blind condition that the facilitator wore sunglasses with cardboard on its lenses, so she was unable to see the correct picture or word the individual should have pointed to, while the other condition is a sighted condition that the facilitator wore sunglasses without cardboard on its lenses, so she could see the correct answer. Though the facilitator in the blind condition didn’t believe she intentionally influenced the responses of the individual, the results showed that the individual in the sighted condition gave significantly more correct answers than the one in the blind condition.
    Based on the converging results of so many empirical studies, facilitated communication is no doubt a fraudulent psychological treatment for people with autism or other verbal handicaps. Obviously it is corresponding to the first indicator of fraudulent psychological treatments (i.e., if a treatment sounds too good to be true, it probably is pseudoscientific.) (Thompson, 2010, April 14). The detrimental aspects are not limited to the ineffectiveness of the intervention, wasting money, and delaying access to effective treatments. One specific negative aspect is some allegations of sexual abuse from a parent or relative from facilitated autistic people (Romanczyk et al., 2003; Stanovich, 2010). Hudson, Melita, and Arnold (1993) reported a test of an allegation of sexual abuse from a 28-year-old facilitated female with severe to profound mental retardation. In the context of the legal proceedings, questions were read to the individual and to her facilitator through separate earphones. When the questions were the same for the individual and her facilitator, she answered correctly each time, while when the questions were different for the individual and her facilitator, she never answered correctly and 40% of her answers were correct for the questions listened to by her facilitator. Siegel (1995) also found that two facilitated adolescents gave random responses to questions related to their allegations of sexual molestation when the facilitators were unaware of the allegations.
    ConclusionsConclusionsIII. Conclusions
    In summary, fraudulent or pseudoscientific psychological treatments include treatments which have been substantiated to be ineffective by controlled studies, or those which have not been tested yet (Lilienfeld, Lynn, & Lohr, 2003). Some people might think fraudulent or pseudoscientific treatments are innocuous to patients even though they are ineffective in treating some certain mental disorders, but the fact is unsubstantiated mental health treatments or therapies are problematic in several ways (Beyerstein, 2001; Lilienfeld, Lynn, & Lohr, 2003). First, in health services, these treatments might mislead patients, for example, using scientific jargon such as EMDR, which possibly cause harmful delay to effective treating or healing. The evolutionary meaning of pseudoscience for animals or our ancient ancestors, benefiting survival and reproduction, rarely exists in modern society with current medical and health service. Second, these treatments usually are not free, so a large amount of money might be wasted. Practitioners using these treatments on certain mental disorders might have spent their time and effort in practicing other substantiated treatments. Third, believers often give personal testimonials to advertise and propagate the efficacies of pseudoscientific treatments, so they influence people around them, which is the most harmful effect of pseudoscience (Darkins, 2007).
    Consequently, it is time to end the long-standing split between research and practice in clinical psychology. Evidence-based, or empirically-supported interventions are the appropriate treatments in practice. Researchers and practitioners could collaborate together to evaluate clinical practice because they share common commitments to providing the best psychological knowledge and methods to improve the quality of patient care (Kazdin, 2008). In turn, the gap between researchers and practitioners could be shortened, which is beneficial for resisting the illusion of fraudulent or pseudoscientific psychological treatments (Lilienfeld, Lynn, & Lohr, 2003).
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  6. page Conspiracy theories edited Conspiracy Theory: What You Don't Know Can Kill You James By: James Atkison Abstract I. …

    Conspiracy Theory: What You Don't Know Can Kill You
    JamesBy: James Atkison

    I. Abstract

    Conspiracy theories have been around since civilizations got big enough to start keeping secrets from its general population. Modern conspiracy theories have multiplied exponentially with the advent of modern technology like the internet. Creation and dissemination of conspiracy theories today only need the catalyst of a big enough event to start the ball rolling. We explore how they come into being, a variety of conspiracy theories, and why people believe in them.
    Keywords: conspiracy theory, plot, event, mythology
    IntroductionII. Introduction
    When you think about conspiracy theories, what comes to mind first? Do you see Mel Gibson, pre-rantiness, as Jerry Fletcher hiding with Julia Roberts in his apartment lined with aluminum foil to keep the government from reading his mind (Donner, 1997)? Or perhaps you remember seeing Sterling Hayden play Brigadier General Jack T. Ripper, who wanted to start a nuclear war with Russia because of a communist plot to contaminate the American male’s “precious fluids” through water fluoridation (Kubrick, 1964). Maybe it is just the guy at the end of the street with too many guns, in your opinion, and a plan for when the government comes in their black helicopters to take his weapons. Conspiracy theories permeate our society today in a way that is hard to explain.
    In the 1990’s we had Fox Mulder running around attempting to expose the governments many conspiracies and telling us “the truth is out there” (Carter, 1993). Today we have Governor Jesse Ventura, Navy SEAL, wrestling superstar, movie star, and independent politician, telling us “you won’t believe what you don’t know” (Ventura, Smith, Weed, Sinton, and Braveman, 2009). Conspiracy theories can be found on the net by the millions or exactly 2.6 million hits in 0.14 seconds on a Google search (2010). Finding the theories is not the problem. The trouble starts when one tries to figure out which ones are true conspiracies and which ones are just conspiracy theories.
    DefinitionsIII. Definitions of Conspiracy
    First thing we need to do is have an operational definition for what conspiracy theories actually are. gives us five definitions of the word conspiracy from the Random House dictionary (2010). All contain the words “evil, secret, and unlawful” in some combination. The legal definition of conspiracy is usually what is meant when we look at conspiracies:
    A conspiracy, in law, agreement of two or more persons to commit a criminal or otherwise unlawful act. At common law, the crime of conspiracy was committed with the making of the agreement, but present-day statutes require an overt step by a conspirator to further the conspiracy. It is not necessary for guilt that the act be fully consummated. Many acts that would not be criminal if accomplished by an individual alone may nevertheless be the object of a conspiracy. . . . Other controversial aspects of conspiracy laws include the modification of the rules of evidence and the potential for a dragnet. A statement of a conspirator in furtherance of the conspiracy is admissible against all conspirators, even if the statement includes damaging references to another conspirator, and often even if it violates the rules against hearsay evidence. . . . Any conspirator is guilty of any substantive crime committed by any other conspirator in furtherance of the enterprise. It is a federal crime to conspire to commit any activity prohibited by federal statute, whether or not Congress imposed criminal sanctions on the activity itself.
    As we explore history in reverse, we see conspiracy after conspiracy unfold. And not just in the assassinations of influential people, but also in the events of the centuries (Pipes, 1997). Prior to the twenty-first century, we see conspiracy in the Crusades involving the Knights Templar. Both Shakespeare and other writers of the time use conspiracy to move their plots along (Swan, 2001). The political climate also contributed to the belief in conspiracies. Further back, the Christians persecuted the Jews prior to turning on their own; there was hatred there even prior to World War II and Hitler. And some of the conspiracies made it from medieval time to today, like those concerning the Illuminati and the Freemasons.
    We even see conspiracy in corporations as they expand their influence into every facet of our lives (Smith, 2007). Rose (1999) explores Foucault’s argument that knowledge is a product of power and social relationships and looks at how corporations disseminate the paranoia in the form of the literature that the society reads. In the book, Cities of the Red Night by William Burroughs, we see the employment of the rhetoric of paranoia, where as the narrative teleology of its three plots generates the expectation of a disclosure of the certain source of truth as well as an apocalyptic closure to the three stories’ end. Although Burroughs offers the radical space of absolute freedom as the ultimate narrative, Cities works as a recontainment of that freedom when it acknowledges that subjectivity is the result of a totalizing culture not that of an alien virus or colonizing parasite.
    WhoA. Who Believes in
    What type of person would believe in conspiracy theories? It has been suggested that anxiety could be the reason for belief in conspiracy theories, in a desperate bid to make sense of horrendous events (Barkun, 2003). Or is it a concern about evil hidden powers bent on taking over our world. Our desire for order in our lives leads conspiracists to look for some intelligent design behind the events. Those who believe in conspiracy theories do have some commonality. Nothing happens by accident, nothing is as it seems, and everything is connected are the three guiding principles found in almost every conspiracy theory (Barkun, 2003).
    Pipes (1997) divides the origins of conspiracy theories as coming from two large groups of people: the politically disaffected and the culturally suspicious. The politically disaffected have always been marginalized by the media and society in general (Pipes, 1997). The culturally suspicious are a harder group to define. Some are considered nativist and are usually against any new immigrant population that comes into the country, not remembering that their ancestors had to immigrate to get to the United States (Davis, 1971).
    This should come as no surprise because of the number of conspiracies that have been found to be verified through government records after many years. Examples of this include the Tuskegee Syphilis Study from 1932 to 1972 (Thomas and Quinn, 1991), which was initially denied but later proved to be true and the possibility of the CIA providing Black communities in Los Angeles with crack cocaine (Parsons, et al, 1999). It cannot be considered a conspiracy theory if it is a fact, it then falls into actual conspiracy.
    Another group that believes heavily in government conspiracy with good reason is Native Americans. This causes some concern for a society built upon their land of origin. When the first Europeans showed up on the East Coast, the Native Americans they met made clear the need for constant vigilance and it is a story that is retold today (Woidat, 2006). The Native Americans were seen as a threat to the settlers as they expanded. But as the dominate culture took their land, their children, their livelihood, and their culture the table turned and they began to see themselves as victims of the conspiracy narrative. Native Americans were rounded up and sent to unwanted land at the time and forced to assimilate into the dominate culture of the day. To challenge what was done to Native Americans is to challenge the foundation of the nation. It is better to view Native Americans as both victims of conspiracy and generators of conspiracy theories.
    TypesIV. Types of Conspiracy
    Conspiracy theories fall into a variety of categories. We will explore a variety of theories in this section. They will be divided into those concerning religion, people and organizations, and events.
    ReligionA. Religion
    Looking for conspiracy theories in religion is not a hard thing to do. Bennett (2007) looks to divide history into two areas: providence, where the observer credits the “hand of God” influencing events, and conspiratorial, where the “hidden hand” influences the events. He sees both belief systems as intertwined as they are both all-encompassing and attempt to be air-tight in their explanations. Bennett also explores the thought that “only providentialism, with its belief in an all-powerful personal deity acting behind the scenes of history that leads to conspiracism (2007). He also acknowledges that this can be seen as a kind of beneficent conspiracy theory with God as the chief conspirator.
    Barkun (1996) finds a link between religion and militias in that they link conspiracy to Satan’s struggle against God. He finds that the black helicopters and One World Order that the militias are suspicious of entwines with the mark of the beast from the religious side of the equation and each feeds the others paranoia. We also see this enmeshment occurs in the main stream of media as well. Pat Roberson, presidential hopeful and 700 Club television show host, has written about the menace of the New World Order and preaches against it on television. His biggest concern is how many have left the fringe and went into the mainstream by bridging out.
    Ruotsila explores how Nesta Webster went from premillennialist Christian fundamentalist to conspiracy theorist on the Illuminati by renaming some of the key theological concepts and replacing them with her own cast of Jewish, Communist, and heretic Christian conspirators but keeping the sequence, the teleology, and the general terminology of premillennialism (2004). He gives a rundown of her beliefs that boil down to a belief in the struggle between Christ and Satan. She can be seen as the start of the Christian far-right doctrine. Her eclectic mixture of Christian fundamentalism, premillennialist apocalypticism, and secular anti-Semitic conspiracism is still popular today.
    Keely (2007) takes conspiracy theory to the ultimate end of the spectrum. His concern is a workable defense for agnosticism with respect to God against arguments that agnosticism is not a logically stable position and will default to atheism. Keely explores the Problem of Evil, if the world is governed by such a perfect being as God, then why is there still suffering and pain in the world? Some theologians have said that evil does not exist, but from the Divine perspective, everything is good and necessary in the bigger picture (Divine Providence again). This kind of reasoning has been used by conspiracy theorist to explain the secret plans of other various hidden organizations. Most of us do not like fence straddling in politics or religion. But the agnostic agrees with the atheist in there is not enough evidence that God exists and then with the theist that there is not enough evidence that God does not exist. Looking at God through the lens of conspiracy theory, agnosticism becomes the only way to view our existence. If God were truly omniscient then he knows what kind of evidence we are looking for and an omnipotent God would leave some sort of evidence of his existence. Looking for the type of God that does not want to be found becomes a futile task. This would make God the ultimate in conspirators.
    PeopleB. People and Organizations

    1. JFK

    The JFK presidential limousine moments before the assassination. Warren Commission Exhibit #697 via Wikimedia Commons.
    Bill and Jean Newman and their children fall on the grass north of Elm Street seconds after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, believing that they are in the line of fire. Photographing them are Tom Craven and Tom Atkins. On the grass at right is Cheryl McKinnonby White House photographer Cecil Stoughton via Wikimedia Commons
    When Oliver Stone’s movie JFK came out, he was subjected to severe criticism about the conspiracy theories that he explored, which Stone took as attacks on his area of expertise, his job, and his profession (Benoit and Nill, 1998). He breathed life into all the old conspiracies by attacking his detractors. He rejected the lone gunman theory; his rebuttal attracted millions to the movie and cause a public reexamination of the assassination of Kennedy and a call to release classified documents pertaining to the assassination.
    Gerlich (1998) goes over the conspiracy theories surrounding the shooting of JFK. He covers the Zapruder film, the magic bullet, the mafia, CIA, and other rogue groups, and many facets of Oswald. The evidence for the conspiracy is reported and refuted. He lays the burden of proof at the feet of the conspiracists. He points out they bring up good points, although not enough to consider it a conspiracy, but then conspiracists leave for the readers to draw their own conclusion.
    Princess2. Princess Diana
    by Bobak Ha'Eri (Own work)[Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    by Bobak Ha'Eri (Own work)[Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    Douglas and Sutton (2008) looked at the social influence of unconscious persuasion about how conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana affected the participants. Participant underestimated how much influence being exposed to these conspiracy theories had on them and overestimated how much influence these theories had on other participants. Douglas and Sutton question the functions of conspiracy theories stating: “if conspiracy theories are to provide explanations for uncertain events or are a response to powerlessness, then it is surprising that people are not prepared to accept that they have been influenced by them (conspiracy theories)” (2008).
    It was only days after her death that President Moamar Qaddafi suggests a joint conspiracy between the French government and the Royal Family because they did not want Diana to marry a Muslim man. Her manner of death made conspiracy almost inevitable. Supposedly at the moment when their car went into the tunnel, a flash of light can be seen on the video taken by a tourist. This was a suggested method of causing a murder to look like an accident from MI6, British counterintelligence (Ramsey, 2006).
    MLK3. MLK
    by Dick DeMarsico, World Telegram staff photographer (Own Work)[Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    by Yoichi R. Okamoto, White House Press Office (WHPO)(Own Work)[Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    The question that is left in everyone’s mind is how did James Earl Ray end up in London when he had very little money? This of course is fodder for the conspiracists.
    The striking number of similarities in each of these cases is remarkable in that most of the alleged assassins are all poor and the governments involved had incredible luck in tracking down background information on the assassins after their capture. In each case, secrecy was the main element to keep the general public from rioting were the truth to come out that their own governments had a hand in taking out such a beloved public figure.
    The Beattles4. The Beatles
    United Press International (UPI Telephoto) Cropping and retouching: User:Indopug and User:Misterweiss [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    The Beatle first reported to be dead was Paul McCartney, in the late 1960s, and conspiracists theorized that he had been replaced by a doppelganger named William Campbell. Those who believe this tell us to look to the group’s music and albums for the clues. Like on Sergeant Pepper’s lonely Hearts’ Club Band, Paul is wearing an arm patch with the initials OPD, a commonly recognized acronym for Officially Pronounced Dead or on the Abbey Road album where Paul is depicted in the funeral group as the corpse, bare foot and out of step with the other Beatles (Southwell and Twist, 2004).
    Of course the number one suspects would be the Beatles themselves and the record company. Who would want to see a cash cow like the Beatles die? The CIA is accused of planting the fake Beatle. Stranger suspects include Elvis Presley because of the success the Beatles were experiencing and the Devil himself, as part of the deal for that success (Southwell and Twist, 2004).
    The5. The Bilderberg Group
    The original Bilderburg Hotel by Michiel1972 (Own work)[Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons By Emilfaro via Wikimedia Commons
    Ever get the feeling that you are not in control of your life and someone else is pulling your strings? Just look to the Bilderberg Group and you will find your masters, who decide the next political leaders for many countries, according to some conspiracists (Wilford, 2003). They are supposed to have chosen the leaders for powerful countries and determine when and where wars start. The group got its start in 1954 meeting in the Bilderberg Hotel in Oosterbeek, Holland; they now move the location of their meeting to other luxury hotels but retain the name. The group originally consisted of 75 men and now it is 120 members from North America and Europe who come from the world of business, media, education, and politics. These men could be just greedy businessmen or a cabal to control the world through the New World Order. Wilford (2003) suggests that the group is possibly funded by the CIA and MI6 but maintains the New World Order is as close to the truth as theorists will come to about this group.
    Taking a step back and looking for who started the Bilderberg Group, Callahan (1996) goes for the Hail Mary play by invoking the Illuminati, a secret cabal of republican (not in the American political sense) free-thinkers. The Illuminati are reported to promote the hazardous ideas of universal suffrage, equality of the sexes, and complete freedom of religion. These intellectuals were reported to want to create a utopian socialist society which included the abolition of social authority, private property, and national states. We would all live on earth as a single society in anarchic harmony enjoying peace and free love (Callahan, 1996). The Illuminati are credited with the formation of not only the Bilderberg Group but also the Knights Templar and the Freemasons prior to their most recent attempt at world domination.
    White6. White Supremists and
    The militias have been increasing in number since the 1990s and are a concern because of their ability to recruit from many disaffected Americans (James, 2001). According to the right wing conspiracy theorists, the elites behind the New World Order want to destroy our nation and our families or what they call our way of life. Through the use of the internet, these militias have been able to link up with Christian organizations and spread their version of the truth on the World Wide Web. Globalization is causing these groups to look for traitors to blame for America’s decline.
    Any discussion of conspiracy theories leads to White Supremacy Groups in the United States. Berlet and Vysotsky (2006) explore the connection these groups have to conspiracy theories. Their beliefs in New World Order and government conspiracies mirror those of the militias and some religious organization. By keeping track of them, we are able to keep track of some of the fringe elements and their beliefs.
    Shermer (2005), a well-known skeptic and debunker, was accosted after a lecture by a conspiracy theorist who explained how the 9/11 attacks were to lead to a New World Order. According to the theorist, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the CIA had developed a plan for world conquest. Financed by gold, oil, and drugs (G. O. D.), the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were to have the same effect as Pearl Harbor did in 1941, providing the reason to declare war and allowing the U. S. to dominate the Middle East (Shermer, 2005).
    Lincoln7. Lincoln & Booth

    C. Events
    1. 9/11

    by Unknown Photographer [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons
    Exploring the conspiracy theories concerning the attacks on 9/11, we find that 50% of New Yorkers believe U.S. leaders knew in advance about the attacks and did nothing about it from a 2004 poll (Knight, 2998). And a 2006 poll found that one third of Americans believed that it was likely or very likely that the United States government either actively assisted or deliberately allowed the attacks to happen so it could go to war in the Middle East. The conspiracy theories on the 9/11 attacks range from a Jewish conspiracy, because the Israeli government knew about the attacks no Jewish people were killed when the towers went down, to the organization of the 9/11 Truth Movement as a distributor of conspiracy theories. President Bush attempted to head off all conspiracy theories by dismissing all alternative interpretations of the events. Because some 9/11 conspiracy theories accounts of the complicated relationships among al-Qaeda, CIA, and oil corporations loyalty to a group, nation, or political stance is temporary at best and intentions are ambiguous. Knight believes that these are theories are not like the traditional models of conspiracy theories.
    Loose Change is a series of films written and directed by Dylan Avery and produced by Korey Rowe, Jason Bermas, and Matthew Brown. Originally release in 2005, it went through some revisions and re-releases in 2006, 2007, and 2009. The film argues that the 9/11 attacks were planned and conducted by the U. S. government. Although the film’s claim of a false flag operation, questions of plausibility of the Pentagon attacks, World Trade Center collapse, and phone calls from United 93 and its subsequent crash have all been refuted by prominent members of the scientific and engineering community, many still believe the claims made in the films.
    Looking at the online film concerning the 9/11 attacks, Butter and Retterath (2010) see conspiracy theorists and their attempt at narrativized reality as postmodern poets. The people who released the Loose Change films felt they were only alerting the world to what they saw as a conspiracy. Butter and Retterath believed that the online community started by this group would soon collapse but that has not been the case because most conspiracists are loners. They believe that this may be an attempt to place conspiracy theory into a historical context.
    The2. The Moon Landing
    This video compares pictures and video of the moon landings with comments by Nash Entertainment.
    The facts of the moon landings being faked seems like such a strange thing to be in conspiracy theories, but it is the bigger fact that the government lies to its constituents that brings this here. The facts offered to support a conspiracy theory are inconsistencies in the photos taken of the moon landing (Hari, 2002). The fact that the flag seems to be flapping, the clarity of Neil Armstrong’s boot prints in the dusty lunar surface, and the back drops of all the photos appear to be the same for all the pictures taken over a 5 kilometer range.
    Another favorite of the government is hiding something set is the conspiracy of the UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Here supposedly we received our technological advancement for microchips, stealth planes, and medical advancements. Gerlich (1997) visited Roswell during a UFO research convention. After being judiciously separated from his hard earned money, Gerlich notes that he can “see Roswell becoming a modern-day Mecca for the disenfranchised and disbelieving, a haven for those who just can’t believe the media or the government” (1997).
    Economic3. Economic and Free
    Jesse Ventura explores the cause of the Wall Street fiasco
    Tanner (2008) takes the world of conspiracism to economics and the free market. He shows the connection America’s founding fathers had to the Illuminati as evidenced by the symbols on the one dollar bill. He points out Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism as evidence of conspiracism invading the free market. Tanner looks at how conspiracies are integrated into the very fabric of modern, industrialized societies. He gives us four types of political mythologies: the conspiracy, the golden age, the rescuer/redeemer, and the desire for completeness and unity. Tanner believes that the most dangerous political mythology of the twenty-first century is the theory of the inevitable “clash of civilizations” (2008).
    Ventura (2010) looks at the current Wall Street Crisis that was brought on by the collapse of the housing bubble which in turn damaged financial institutions and caused the world stock markets to plummet. Official, we were told that corporations like AIG and Goldman Sachs were too big to fail and we arranged for multibillion dollar bailouts in order to prevent further collapse of the system. Ventura sees this as a government conspiracy to keep the fat cats in business while the American public picks up the tab for their failures. Instead of going to jail, CEOs reaped the largest bonuses in U. S. history. Ventura says “Corporations basically run the government, and the same players that made the mess still have a stranglehold on our future” (2010).
    ConspiracyV. Conspiracy Theories and
    There have been many ways to get a person’s conspiracy theory out to the consuming public. In the past, pamphlets and self-published books were the only way to get the message out. Then you had to go to where people of a like mind would gather, say a gun show or other forum. Today, one can publish online, blog about your conspiracy theory, or create a movie and upload it to the internet and have it reach the world in less time than it took to think of this sentence and write it down.
    Look at the success of the online documentary Loose Change (Butter and Retterath, 2010). By combining news footage with amateur footage and animate sequences with interviews, several million people were able to view it either by YouTube video or through the website created to allow it. Just as quickly as it was put up, it was quickly picked up and discussed and refuted by major media outlets. This refuting was picked up by the online community it was meant to organize. It was picked apart by blogger from the site and other groups of critics.
    The internet is not the only place to disseminate fear and paranoia. TV and radio also allow the message to get out to many of the faithful. Pat Roberson hosts a daily television show where he is allowed to put out any message he see fit about the New World Order and those who tune in to hear his evangelical message get a healthy dose of the conspiracy message as well (James, 2001). Using the Book of Revelations as a template, Christian media empires deliver to their audiences their interpretations of world events seen through the narrative of the horrible destruction of Armageddon and the ecstatic rapture when they are all called to heaven. By getting their message out daily, they can keep the masses updated on what to worry about today.
    Even print media puts many conspiracy theories to the forefront of the media circuit. Jesse Ventura’s American Conspiracies runs the gamete of conspiracy theories. He begins with the Lincoln conspiracy and moves through many plots like the attempted overthrow of FDR, the Kennedy and Malcolm X assassinations, the murder of Dr. King, Watergate, Jonestown, stolen elections, our drug dealing government, and what happened on 9/11, the Wall Street collapse, and the eventual end of our democracy (Ventura, 2010). His take on these events is colored by his being a Navy SEAL in Vietnam, his readings during his wrestling career, and his governorship of Minnesota.
    WhyA. Why They Believe
    How are conspiracy theories developed? Basham (2001) believes that all conspiracy theories, unfounded or not, follow a two-step pattern: 1) by pointing out the incongruities, they undermine the official account; 2) by incorporating the incongruities into their conspiratorial account until they become totally congruent. Because theorists believe that official explanations are half truths or wholly deceptive, they can rationally interpret evidence against their theory as evidence for their theory. Basham suggests we take an agnostic view of conspiracy theories, being skeptical of conspiracy theories when they suffer various internal faults like self-consistency, explanatory gaps, and the theories own incongruencies. The public consensus is one of public trust in our elected officials, but it is also a consensus that there are serious cracks in that trust. Basham recommends that we do not respond to the theories because we cannot give the theorists an explanation that they find to be sufficient.\
    How do we tell the difference between conspiracy theories that are real and those that are imagined? Bale (2007) tells us that we don’t pay attention to conspiratorial politics because we don’t take the time to tell the difference between real- world covert and clandestine activities from the elaborate fantasies. Comparing conspiracy theories to political ads, Bale acknowledges the scale is way off, but the intent is there. If a politician is willing to do back room deals to get re-elected, what other deals has he been up to without his constituents knowing about them. Because of their impact on both past and future events, academics can no longer afford to ignore true conspiratorial activities of all types.
    In Myths to Live By written by Joseph Campbell, he asks the question, “what is to be the new mythology” (1972). I believe he would answer today that conspiracy theories are the modern myths that man lives by today. Campbell contends that myths were a way to explain events that man had no understanding of at the time and this is the purpose of conspiracy theories today. It relieves our anxiety from not knowing if we attempt to answer questions like who did this and why did they do it.
    The universal themes that run through conspiracy theories, the secrecy and the global themes, are essentially the same as the mythological motifs found throughout the world. Both tell us of their structure, their order, and their forces, in symbolic terms. Even when our societies consisted of our local tribes, we attempted to make sense of a bigger world.
    HowB. How To Stop
    Sunstein and Vermeule (2009) gave us some insight into the causes of conspiracy theories earlier, now we turn to them for a way of dealing with conspiracy theories. They give us five ways governments can deal with conspiracy theories. Governments can ban the conspiracy theories, they can tax those who disseminate the theories, the government can engage in counter speech, in an attempt to discredit the theories, they can hire private parties to engage in counter speech, and they can engage in informal dialogues with those disseminating the theories. Sunstein and Vermeule think that a mixture of 3, 4, and 5 through cognitive infiltration of the conspiracy group. They also off up a couple of websites that specialize in researching rumors and conspiracy theories, and For those who worry about the proliferation of conspiracy theories on the internet, this provides a checks and balance system of reality checks.
    How are we to deal with conspiracy theories? Basham (2001) suggests that we respond by not responding to them, because rejection will not succeed in squashing the theories. He provides us with the attitude that there is nothing we can do, and it is for this reason that many people shun conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, many conspiracy theories predict a day when their awful truth will be made public knowledge, to our misfortune, which leave us with the question: What of tomorrow?
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Friday, July 26

  1. page Rewriting the past and pseudohistory edited ... Not even college courses are infallible from the effects of pseudohistory. Most psychology maj…
    Not even college courses are infallible from the effects of pseudohistory. Most psychology majors are more than familiar with the story of Little Albert. John B. Watson took a small child and used classical conditioning to make him fear a rat. The child received a white rat to play with and showed no fear of it. Loud cymbals were then crashed behind his head to make him cry in fear, and in some versions, pain from the loud noise was mentioned. After a short time, the child associated the rat with the noise and began to cry at just seeing white rats. He also displayed fear of white rabbits, Santa beards, and all other white fuzzy things. This story may sound familiar, but what if this version were not completely accurate? Dr. Ben Harris describes the exaggerations and misinterpretations in his article “Whatever Happened to Little Albert.” In truth, Albert did not generalize all white fuzzy objects; some objects like a dog, fur coat, and hair that he generalized to the rat were not white. He also managed to generalize to some white objects that were not furry, and the responses were not as strong as some textbooks report. He showed mainly an avoidant attitude toward generalized objects and not the prolific fear some classes hear of in general psychology (Harris, 1979). This just makes for a more memorable story, and it would have been a perfect example of classical conditioning.
    Where does this leave us in our quest for truth? First, this chapter will give an overview of some pseudohistoric claims such as Holocaust denial/revisionism, Afrocentrism, and alien pyramid building. Then it will discuss how to tell the difference between history and pseudohistory by citing some common components of pseudohistoric claims and, finally, attempt to explain why some people believe pseudohistory.
    ExamplesI. Examples of Pseudohistory:
    Most people have basic knowledge about the Holocaust. It was a time during World War II when the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler killed millions of Jewish, handicapped, homosexual, and Gypsy people in concentration camps throughout their controlled territories, but there are many who disagree with these widely accepted and supported facts; these people are called deniers. The term “Holocaust denial” may be misleading, though. Most “deniers” do not claim that the Holocaust never happened, but they disagree with certain aspects of the accepted historical representations. This group has also adopted the name “Revisionists”; however, this term disgusts some traditional historians. James Najarian states that all historians are revisionists, and deniers who use this term are hiding their true intentions by using this ambiguous description. He calls them “a group of right-wing ideologues who operate out of the ‘Institute for Historical Review’…Although few of them are actually trained in history, they put out sham scholarly articles in their mock-academic publication” (Najarian, 1997).
    The three main aspects of the Holocaust deniers disagree with are:
    This suggests that the Israeli government would profit more from exaggerating the number of survivors than those dead. Secondly, most of the money the government received went to the survivors (Shermer, 2010). If you divide out the numbers, the total comes to about $3,000 per individual.
    When these previously mentioned tactics fail, some deniers turn to justification of the internment camps. They point out America’s treatment of the Japanese during the same period as validation for the internment camps in Nazi occupied areas. This argument is feeble at best. One wrongdoing does not give good reason for another. Deniers also point out the unfairness of having a Holocaust museum in the capitol of the United States but not an African American dedicated to the atrocities done to them. This is a valid point considering the more direct link to these other events; however, denial arguments themselves also ignore other groups affected by the Holocaust such as Gypsies, handicaps, and homosexuals. This does not justify the lack of recognition, but the pendulum must swing both ways. Almost every group of people has suffered persecution at one time or another. Native Americans suffered under Americans and under settlers from Europe before that. The British unjustly treated early settlers, and the list could go on throughout human history.
    ExamplesII. Examples of Pseudohistory:
    Afrocentrism started as a trend in the 18th and 19th century as a sort of backlash to Eurocentric principles. The group targets college students almost exclusively because, some say, division of this class keeps the lower classes from rising up against the upper class (Furr, 1996). Afrocentrism principals state that democracy, science, and philosophy all derived from Africa, more specifically black Egyptians. It also claims that prominent figures such as Socrates and Cleopatra were of black African descent. UK-Skeptic describes it as being:
    In some ways …an understandable reaction to the deep injustices of racism, and the subjugation of Black people in America for much of its history…However, at its most extreme, Afrocentrism is essentially racist; and its thinking flawed. Ironically, its inherent racism has been allowed to go unchallenged in many quarters through fear of any criticism being deemed racist. The claims made by some extreme proponents have taken academic points out of context to promote their own ideological beliefs and perpetuate and promote racial tensions (UKSkeptics, 2005).
    The main point made by Afrocentrists is that Greece owes a substantial debt to Egypt and that Egypt was anterior to Greece and should be considered a major contributor to our current knowledge. I think I can say without a doubt that Afrocentrists do not spend time arguing that either Socrates or Cleopatra was black. I have never seen these ideas written by an Afrocentrist nor have I heard them discussed in any Afrocentric intellectual forums. Professor Lefkowitz provides us with a hearsay incident which she probably reports accurately. It is not an Afrocentric argument.
    It seems that there may be two groups referring to themselves as Afrocentrists. One identifies itself as a supportive network that strives to give African-Americans pride and a place in history while the other exaggerates claims to inspire its followers. James could be considered such an extremists by claiming, “Greek achievements were based on a deliberate and systematic plundering of Black Egyptian ideas” and encouraging Black people to refuse to cite Greek philosophers and quit sororities, fraternities, and any other organization that honors the ancient Greeks (UK-Skeptics, 2005).
    ExamplesIII. Examples of Pseudohistory:
    A final example of pseudohistory is the belief that aliens have visited Earth and have contributed to historical events such as the building of the Egyptian pyramids. The Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association (A.A. S. R.A.) produces articles on subjects ranging from UFOs in ancient times, alien visitation in the remote past, alien archaeology, technology of the Gods, alien references in mythology and ancient scriptures, ethnology (survived alien traditions etc.), evolution/genetics, philosophy, exobiology, and space exploration. SETI or Paleo-SETI is the term used by this organization to refer to the theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth in the past and influenced the development of humankind. The questions this organization tries to answer are: 1) Could the knowledge of apparently highly advanced technology in ancient civilizations possibly be related to alien contact? 2) Did extraterrestrial visitors interfere with or even guide human and cultural evolution? 3) What traces do we currently find on Earth or in our solar system that might indicate such visits? 4) What are the implications and consequences of proving “We are not alone-and never have been? 5) And are we really the pinnacle of creation? These “scientists” claim to have an advantage over other researchers because they take into account all discoveries and information from all fields of science (Archaeology, Astronautics and SETI Research Association, n.d.). Scientists, by their very nature, try to be open-minded about novel ideas. Carl Sagan describes searching for extraterrestrials with NASA using true scientific methods (1995). By an odd coincidence, or an attempt to convolute the topic, the NASA program created to search for extraterrestrials is titled the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) – the same name the pseudoscientific belief adopted to promote the idea that aliens have already visited the earth.
    Most of the information on the internet about alien pyramid building can be purchased, but there is very little free information available. Even the A.A.S. R.A. only displayed their basic idea before directing me toward an online bookstore. One such book explains the evidence for alien theories. Jim Marrs asserts that the dates previously accepted by scholars for the building of the Great Pyramid is wrong. He claims that the erosion of the pyramid as well as the erosion of a sphinx in Egypt could only be caused by rainfall and vertical erosion. No rainfall has been recorded in Egypt in significant levels since 10,000 B.C.E.; the pyramid must be older than that. This would put these structures’ completions seven thousand years prior to the Egyptians. The Great Pyramid was a prototype built before the smaller ones that the Egyptians constructed. Marrs believes that the stones used for the largest of the pyramids are too heavy for even modern equipment, so it would be irrational to think an ancient civilization could accomplish such a feat (1997). The book goes on to quote Egyptologists who concede that the building of the pyramids would have been difficult, but it makes their statements sound as if they support the alien theory, which they do not. Egyptologist Margaret Maitland outlines the alien claim’s faults in her blog. First, alien theory makes it sound like the pyramids sprung up spontaneously out of nowhere, when in fact there was a slow progression from smaller models to the large pyramids of today. Secondly, carbon dating has confirmed the dates of construction of the pyramids around 2575-2450 B.C.E. Third, and maybe most importantly, Egyptians were not primitive, cave dwelling savages. They were interested in science, astronomy, agriculture, writing, religion, mathematics, metal-working, semi-precious stone-working, sophisticated artwork, monumental stone architecture, and the civilization of many people under one ruler (Maitland, 2007). However, there are still people unconvinced by the Egyptian’s capabilities to build the pyramids. They believe that some superior intelligence was required.
    A popular supporter of alien theories is Erich von Daniken. He travels the world looking for proof of alien assistance in the development of ancient civilizations (Letztes, 2010). Skeptics claim that von Daniken’s proof was a set of fraudulent pictures of pottery with UFOs painted on them. When he was confronted, von Daniken explained that some people would only believe him with proof (Popa, 2010).
    HowIV. How Do We
    It would be difficult to evaluate every claim we ever heard; though, this is exactly what we might like to do at this point. So how do we know when we should look closer at claims presented to us? Despite what one might assume, history is testable (Shermer, 2010). I discussed earlier how the convergence of evidence tests hypotheses in history. In some ways, historians tell a story or present a picture of the entire spans of time. It is hard to study individual events because everything is connected to the events that preceded them. Small pieces of information gathered personally provide very little information. People could construe the image by taking it out of context or viewing it from a flawed perspective without all of the available information. To avoid falling into this trap, one must not look at events through the eyes of modern society unless that is where they occurred. They must try to envision the time, the environment, and the people to see if the scenario still makes sense; test it against other evidence from the same period to see if there is convergence with other events; and use the theory of aliens building the pyramids as an example. By themselves, the pyramids are phenomenal. Even after we realize that there were prelude designs, they are still astounding. However, we are not led to believe that they are supernatural.
    Along with the subject being testable, it must also follow the other scientific principles such as falsifiability (Shermer, 2002). Pseudohistory tends to shy away from criticism and avoids directly dealing with issues that cast considerable doubt on their claims. Scientists look for evidence that will disconfirm their beliefs so that they may find the truth, wherever that may be. One of the greatest benefits of science is its ability to self-correct. If this did not occur, we would still believe that the world is flat and the Earth is the center of the universe. Each day of investigation brings with it new discoveries and a better understanding of the world around us.
    Does it seem logical that one should consult this type of publication for the “truth” about the Holocaust? I hope not. Racial prejudice does not seem to center on a single group. Usually when a person dislikes one culture, the hatred generalizes to all others that are “different”. Race is still such a strong issue that it is hard to navigate around the issue without getting into very heated debates. In most cases, the minority has to be wary of being overrun by the majority, but the reverse can also happen. Majority groups, though not as often, can be coerced into silence for fear of being considered racist or biased. Lefkowitz realized this conundrum when confronting Afrocentric ideas (1996). She would most likely suggest if someone can prove a valid point, he or she should not be deterred from their belief for fear of being called a racist if that is not their intention. She made valid points, but because she was a member of the majority, some accused her of being a racist and blinded by Eurocentric ideas. The line is so minute that it is almost indistinguishable. The wisest course of action here would probably be to remain respectful and open-minded to the ideas of others. Listen to their story and interpretation first. Analyze it secondly, and then decide if your audience would be receptive to your own views. It is like a famous quote by author Robert Heinlein, “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It’s a waste of time and besides it annoys the pig.” Information should be shared, passed on, and built upon; but an unreceptive audience may be a lost cause for the time being. Some final thoughts on discourse from Lefkowitz are:
    Because of the confusion about the purpose of the university (do we enforce social justice, or do we disseminate knowledge?), we have reached the point where academic discourse is impossible, at least in certain quarters, because the achievement of social goals, such as diversity, has been allowed to transcend the need for valid evidence. But once we accept the idea that instead of truth, there are many truths, or different ethnic truths, we cannot hope to have an intellectual community. This is why we cannot each remain in our own separate enclaves without talking with colleagues who share similar interests and concerns.
    WhyV. Why Do People
    When people evaluate claims, they bring with them all sorts of previous interpretations and biases. This problem has plagued the field of science for years because people cannot easily overcome it in some situations. This problem also explains a part of why people can believe some of the strange things they do. People come with a wealth of bias and are always seeking information to confirm those biases. It is a lot easier to believe something that follows your previous line of thinking than it is to believe something that challenges it or takes it in a completely new direction. The process can take years or even decades until enough support is gathered.
    Some specific reasons people believe in pseudohistory is the uncanny ability of opponents to cast doubt on established knowledge. In the case of the Holocaust, deniers question the credibility of eyewitness testimonies, and reasonably so. Because of the isolation of the camps, survivors do not know much about what happened in other parts of the world during their own incarceration outside of their own, personal experience (Shermer, 2002). Sometimes they get caught up telling their story and misrepresent dates or claim to have seen things they did not. They do not do this intentionally; research shows that all eyewitness testimony is subject to these kinds of flaws. Shermer provides an example of one such case of during a March 14, 1994, Phil Donahue Show filming. He attended this taping to provide counterarguments to some Holocaust deniers’ claims and provide historical evidence to dispute their allegations. The debate became emotional and unfortunately turned away from facts and towards name-calling and slandering. Donahue tried to discount the deniers by linking them to Neo-Nazi organizations. Though this line of logic works to persuade others, it should be pointed out that just because a person has what some might call questionable relationships does not mean that their points are invalid. One should just be more cautious of their motives. The atmosphere, no doubt, roused some horrible memories for the two Jewish, Nazi camp survivors in the crowd. When denier Bradley Smith pointed out that historians had already made a mistake when reporting that Nazis made soap out of dead Jews, the two survivors were outraged. Both swore that this story was true even though tests conducted on existing soap bars have yielded no traces of human fat (Shermer, 2002). Slipups such as this cast doubt on more people than just the parties involved. If one group is caught misrepresenting the facts, whether they intended to or not, people sometimes begin to believe that the whole event was fabricated. This type of all or nothing thinking is another attribute of those who try to cover up the facts.
    Another problem that we see in all aspects of society is that any action taken against a group can be blamed on the most convenient opponent to garner support. For example, a Japanese magazine published an article in 1995 denying that gas chambers were ever used to kill Jews. After the article hit newsstands, the Israeli government responded with protests and some major companies threatened to pull their advertisements from the magazine. Deniers played this off as a Jewish conspiracy especially after the magazine’s offer to publish a rebuttal column was turned down and the magazine tanked (Shermer, 2002). Could this have been a conspiracy? Yes, it could have been, but there are other likely reasons for this sequence of events. How many times has the media gotten into a frenzy about some celebrity? Products promoted by that celebrity immediately discontinues their ads. When Madonna recorded the song “Like a Virgin”, Pepsi removed all of her commercial endorsements from the air not because there was a huge, conservative conspiracy trying to crush free speech (or was there?) but because a large percentage of the population found the act distasteful and Pepsi did not want those negative feelings associated with their products. Many other examples of this can be found more recently. Tiger Woods was pulled from Nike during the height of his cheating scandal. Michael Phelps was dropped by AT&T and Rosetta Stone after photos of him smoking weed were uncovered. These events could be blamed on a conspiracy, but the truth is that companies spend a lot of money on advertisements and do not want them to backfire because of a bad association. Anti-Semitism occurred in Japan predominantly from 1989 to 1999 and was fueled by the International Historical Review. Most of these feelings have since subsided (Kowner, 2001).
    One final reason people are lead to believe pseudohistorical claims is that they are often made to appeal to emotion rather than logic, and people are easily swayed by emotion. If the facts were stated in a bulleted list, the evidence would be easier to argue. Most of the problems mentioned above would be eliminated. It is when we get into interpretations and contexts that things become difficult. Racism, for example, is a very emotionally charged word and has been used by both historic and pseudohistoric camps. Deniers are almost immediately branded as racists (whether this claim is justified or not), and Dr. Lefkowitz has described how her own work on Afrocentrism has been called a racist text by promoting white majority in history (1996).
    ConclusionVI. Conclusion
    So how do we judge history the way it should be judged? Be wary of any claims that stray too far past the facts and use a lot of emotional rhetoric. The minority claim is responsible for proving itself to the majority, not the other way around. Be wary of claims made by those who have something to gain by the acceptance of a new way of viewing history, especially if that gain would be financial. Pseudohistory can come from anywhere, as well. Like the example of Little Albert, our own classrooms can be the vessel through which pseudohistory travels. Douglas Allchin, an advocate for eliminating pseudohistory in science, describes myths from seemingly reputable sources:
    For example, Darwin did not deduce natural selection upon seeing the finches on the Galapagos Islands. The Church during the time of Galileo supported astronomical investigation and many challenged Galileo’s claims scientifically. When Columbus set out on his voyage, educated persons did not believe that the world was flat. The photoelectric effect did not inspire Einstein’s concept of the photon (Allchin, 2004).
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  2. page Intelligent Design Creation Science edited ... walk on water water, but can he More than half of Americans (55%) say that science and …

    walk on waterwater, but can he
    More than half of Americans (55%) say that science and religion are “often in conflict.” Only 36% say science sometimes conflicts with their own religious beliefs. Of the 36% of people that report conflict between personal beliefs and science, 41% identify evolution as the conflict area. There is a misinterpretation of state of science and religion in America. Sixty percent of Americans reported belief in human evolution (Pew Research Center, 2009). The public misperceived a consensus with scientists on the issue of human evolution reporting that 60% of scientists agree with human evolution, when in actuality, 97% of scientists agree with human evolution (Pew Research Center, 2009). Only half of the American public perceives the rising conflict between religion and science, and most fail to recognize personal disagreement with science. The conflict has become a very controversial issue in America, resulting in court cases that decide school curriculum, refusal of essential medicines, and a discredit to the scientific image produced a decline of the interest, trust, and achievement of science.
    American scientists attribute the problems of the scientific image to misinformation from news media and public lack of scientific knowledge (Table 1). While the scientific image of reliability, validity, and progress is declining, there is still a strong recognition of the benefits of science (Pew Research Center, 2009; National Science Foundation, 2008). The public recognizes the importanceof science, but lack the ability to evaluate the validity of a claim as scientific. Pseudoscientific claims, that look like science but lack supporting evidence or testability, contribute to the problem of science.
    Table 1.
    Problems for Science: Media Coverage and Public Knowledge
    well funded
    findings and those that are not
    Adapted from “Survey of Public Attitudes Toward and Understanding of Science and Technology,” by National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2008.
    The goal of this chapter is to present the characteristics of science and pseudoscience, present the claims and evidence for evolution and Creationism, and evaluate the relationship between them in a socially relevant manner. Creationism and science are two separate methods of inquiry. The hypotheses produced to support Creationism are essentialist questions. Science does not address essentialist questions because essentialist questions are not testable. Therefore, science cannot be used to test hypotheses that support Creationism.
    ScienceI. Science
    A professor in a behaviorism course told a story of a unique situation. The professor got into his car, buckled his seatbelt, and leaned forward to insert the keys in the ignition. As he leaned forward, he heard a clicking sound indicating the unlocking of his car doors. A scientific mind, he locked the doors and leaned forward repeating his previous motions. Again, the doors locked. Immediately he formed a hypothesis: The position of his arm caused the doors to unlock. He repeated the movement, this time raising his arm. The doors unlocked again. The next time he placed his arm back in the original position and turned his head: same results. He repeated the sequence several times, each time changing only one variable in the hopes of identifying the cause of the phenomenon. Finally, in frustration he swore and slapped both hands on his thigh. As he did, a click was heard and the doors unlocked. He found that the keychain door lock remote in his pocket had been situated at just the right angle to press unlock when he leaned forward. Each time he tested a new hypothesis, he performed an experiment. When a person uses logical, commonsense steps: decide on a cause, make an educated guess, test it, and revise hypothesis, they are practicing the scientific method.
    Science is a self-correcting process that uses systematic empiricism to produce publicly verifiable knowledge about testable problems. Systematic empiricism implies that observable events are used as data. We learn about the world by examining it (Stanovich, 2010). Publicly verifiable knowledge is knowledge that is available to the public to be replicated and scrutinized. A testable problem is a problem that can be observed with or without supporting evidence. In science, problems are tested by developing hypotheses about the outcome and trying to prove them wrong.
    Science is deterministic, parsimonious, and self-correcting (Pelham & Blanton, 2007). Determinism is the idea that all events have meaningful, systematic causes (Pelham & Blanton, 2007). Determinism assumes a cause for each effect. It is easy and natural for people to think in causal ways. This can be damaging when it reaches the level of superstition. Parsimony implies that when given two explanations for a phenomenon, the simplest one is chosen.. To be self-correcting is to be adaptable and ever changing for the better by an internal systematic process. Science is open to the public for scrutiny and must be replicable. This gives future studies the ability to take what is good from previous research and add to that knowledge with new ideas that will then be put to the test. If an error occurs in an experiment and alters the results, future replicating studies will find and fix the design error and support the findings, or reveal the mistake. In either case, science has advanced because knowledge of the phenomenon has increased.
    The goal of science is the construction of good theories that advance knowledge. A theory is a testable concept or framework that explains a phenomenon. It is based on one or several hypotheses and substantiated by evidence. A theory is not a fact, but a set of facts strewn together by reasoning to describe a phenomenon and make testable predictions about future occurrences (Coyne, 2009). A theory must be falsifiable, that is, it must be worded in such a way that the predictions derived from it can be potentially shown to be false (Stanovich, 2010). A hypothesis, often mistaken for a theory, is a specific prediction that is derived from a theory, which is a more general and comprehensive statement. Hypotheses are not mere guesses or hunches, but predictions based on evidence and sound logic. Once enough hypotheses have been validated through empirical research, the theory will be brought up for discussion by the scientific community (Stanovich, 2010). The community then scrutinizes the theory, testing it for consistency with currently accepted and well-established theories. If the theory disagrees with what is known, the theorist must provide substantial evidence to support a shift away from the current consensus.
    PseudoscienceII. Pseudoscience
    Pseudo science refers to claims, beliefs, or practices appear scientific even though they lack sufficient supporting evidence and plausibility (Kida, 2006). Pseudoscience claims are not scientific because they lack the necessary characteristics that make science a valid and reliable source of knowledge. Pseudoscience lacks a systematic process for progression and correction and uses invalid and unreliable methods to produce evidence for untestable claims. Claims are often unfalsifiable, supported by anecdotal evidence, and presented to the public in a persuasive manner (similar to that of a salesperson).
    The goal of pseudoscience is to convince people to believe claims and use that belief to direct behavior. Pseudoscience claims are made by individuals or groups with an agenda for personal advancement, rather than the advancement of knowledge. A system that corrects false claims would be damaging. Claims are based on fatalistic thinking, intuition, faulty logic, and incomplete or invalid research (Stanovich, 2010). The claims are not valid or not worded in a testable manner to avoid the scientific testing that would reveal the lack of evidence for the claim. They are often vague and ambiguous, based on supernatural premises that cannot be measured with current technology, and contain elements that, by definition, cannot be experimentally controlled (Shermer, 2002).
    Pseudoscientific claims are controversial because they discredit science, take advantage of ignorant people, and oppose established facts and theories. While the average American is scientifically illiterate, they believe that science is has benefited society (Pew Research Center, 2009). This implies that Americans believe they can trust science to produce truth, but lack the critical thinking skills to recognize it. Most Americans trust scientists, ranking them in the top three contributors to the well-being of society and only surpassed by teachers and members of the military (Pew Research Center, 2009). If a claim seems scientific, or is presented by a scientist, then people are more likely to believe it. People and groups use the scientific image for personal advancement at the expense of the scientists they falsely represent, and the people duped into believing their claims. When the claims are revealed as false, the scientific community’s image is discredited.
    Pseudoscientific claims are often in opposition to fact. Claims draw attention when they are radical and all encompassing. People cannot make an informed decision when they are presented with false information. Decisions made on false information can have severe consequences. Eighty three million Americans spent 33.9 billion dollars in 2007 on alternative medicines that have no medical benefit (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Not only are they out large sums of money for a product that did not help, but they did not get treatment from medicines that do work. Children attend school to gain knowledge about the world. Science is the process of gaining knowledge in all areas of life. Students that are taught false information about what science is will miss critical knowledge for the future and be ill equipped to recognize deception in the future.
    CreationismIII. Creationism
    Creationism is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of groups that believe in an ultimate creator of all things. It is common to clump all people underneath creationism into a single philosophy on all things when in actuality several subgroups under creationism have very defined, mutually exclusive beliefs. Subgroups of creationists may disagree with each other just as much as they do from evolutionists. Creationism is very popular in the United States, especially Christian Creationism. Non-Christian creationism as well as Christian exists in other parts of the world, but as a minor force. It could be argued that creationism and evolution are two branches in a belief bifurcation. Rather, the two are polar ends of a continuum (Scott, 2009).
    Differences: Within the Christian groups, literal interpretation varies.
    Figure 1. The relationship between evolution and creationism in Christianity is a continuum rather than a dichotomy. (From Scott, 2009 p. 64)
    FlatA. Flat Earth Creationism.
    To put it flatly, Flat Earthers believe that the Earth is flat. Evidence supporting the belief in a flat Earth is drawn from some aspects of scientific theory. Flat Earth creationists take an Occam’s razor approach and claim that a flat Earth is the simplest explanation for the perceptual events experienced when looking over the horizon. They assert that it is simpler to believe that the Earth is flat than to believe our eyes adjust and trick us into seeing stability when the Earth is spinning at a very fast pace. Gravity does not exist according to Flat Earthers. It is a made-up phenomenon, and when one jumps or falls from a chair, it is simpler to believe that the Earth accelerates toward the person rather than gravity pushing the person down. The evidence provided by the Flat Earth supporters is observational and reported by individuals rather than peer reviewed journals. Evidence is posted in blogs, forums, and public magazines. Most evidence is derived from the early work of one man, Dr. Samuel Birly Rowbotham, using trigonometry and a standing body of water to prove that the curve of the Earth is 0 degrees. While trigonometry equations are valid and reliable, in this instance, it has been misused. Birly claimed that he could see an island that was much farther away then he could have seen if the Earth was curved. He did not account for elevation, the variation of curve over Earth’s surface, or the effects they have on perception. The claims are not consistent with current established knowledge of human perception, and Birly has failed to provide sufficient support to discredit hundreds of years of consistent research.
    Geocentrism.B. Geocentrism.
    Geocentrism is the belief that the Earth is the center of the universe and all other particles in the universe revolve around Earth. Geocentric beliefs gained popularity as the Ptolemaic model of the solar system and then were replaced by Heliocentrism, the belief that the sun is the center of the universe, in the 16th and 17th centuries due to scientists like Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo. Later, technological advances beginning with the Hubble telescope, aided in the discovery that an area close to the sun is the center of our orbit and the universe is much bigger than they previously thought.
    Geocentrists often refer to the Bible for evidence. They refer to biblical texts that mention the travel of the sun and moon and the stationary state of the Earth. Specific verses include 1 Chronicles 16:30 “Fear before him all the Earth: the world shall also be stable, that it not be moved” and Ecclesiastes 1:5 “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises (King James Version).” According to geocentrists’ interpretation, the passage from 1Chronicles implies that Earth is stationary and unmoving, like an anchor while the passage in Ecclesiastes implies that other objects move around Earth rather than Earth around other objects.
    It is not logical to base belief on the perception of another person. The human mind is constantly searching for correlations and familiar patterns. Misperception occurs several times daily. The experiences in the Bible were written thousands of years ago and have been translated several times into several languages. It unlikely that the exact meaning of each word in the current translation is more than a vague concept of what the writer experienced.
    YoungC. Young Earth Creationism.
    Young Earth creationists (YEC) practice a strict adherence to the literal interpretation of the Christian Bible. They believe that the Abrahamic God created Earth in six 24-hour days. They believe that God created all living beings as a new and separate species, reject the validity of evolution, and consider all science that supports it as pseudoscience. The “young” in YEC is labeled so because they believe that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, a belief based on the chronological recordings of the Old Testament in the Christian Bible (Scott, 2009, Institute for Creation Research (ICR), 2010).
    Young Earth creationists are the most vocal and involved of all the creationist sub groups. Most members of this group come from Protestant Christian religions that emphasize evangelism, the responsibility to go out and bring salvation to the world. Protestant Christian religions have a large base of common beliefs based on the Christian Bible, which is the Protestant Canon version with 66 books (Figure 2).
    The Bible must be accepted as a whole; that is, it is all true or none of it is true.
    Figure 2. The basic beliefs of people in the Protestant Christian subgroup of Creationism.
    Old-EarthD. Old-Earth Creationism.
    Old-Earth creationists (OEC) accept that the Earth is old, but agree with the YECs that humankind was created new and separate from all other species. OECs base their beliefs on the Bible. There are four main subgroups of Old-Earth creationists. The first is Gap Creationism. Gap Creationists believe that there was a long period between the events recorded in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 in the Bible. In Genesis 1:1, God creates the heavens and the earth. In Genesis 1:2, the Earth is described as a formless, dark, mass. This gap in time would allow the earth to have become ancient before the seven days of creation mentioned in the Bible. The second is Day-Age creationism. Day-Age creationists believe that God created all things in seven very long days. The days mentioned in the creation account of the first chapter of Genesis would have been thousands of years each allowing for an old Earth. The third group of OECs is Progressive creationism. Progressive creationism is the most common of the four. This view accepts most modern physical science but rejects most modern biological science (Isaak, 2005). The Big Bang theory is accepted as accurate and it lends evidence of the existence of God. Evolution of species to other species is rejected, but a belief in an order of creation of each organism revealed by fossil records is held. Accompanying this belief in organized and ordered creation is a belief that God created each species at an appropriate time. Intelligent Design creationism (ID) is the fourth group of OECs. Intelligent Design creationists claim that proof of a Creator is evident in life and creation. The basis for this belief is the complexity found in nature, which is attributed to God rather than chance. A watch is a common example of a creator. They argue that Earth and life are like a watch, they are so complex that they could not have been produced by chance and must have a designer, an intelligent designer.
    EvolutionaryE. Evolutionary Creationism.
    The Evolutionary creationism view is based on the belief that God established and maintains the laws of nature that guide evolution and out of evolution, life formed (Scott, 2009). They believe humankind existed before the Biblical seven-day creation, but only received a soul when it reached an appropriate stage in evolutionary development. It is very similar to Theistic evolution with the difference being theology rather than science.
    TheisticF. Theistic Evolution.
    Theistic Evolutionists (TEs) believe that God created all things through the creation of natural laws. They agree with modern science on all findings, including the idea that one species can and has given rise to another (Scott, 2009). TEs vary in the amount of intervention they credit to God. Some TEs believe that God put into play the natural laws and stopped, while others believe that he has intervened at key points in history. The latter gives emphasis on God’s intervention during the origin of humankind.
    AgnosticG. Agnostic Evolutionism.
    Agnostic Evolutionists agree with evolution and choose not to pass judgment on the existence of a higher power. Thomas Henry Huxley, a defender of Darwin in the nineteenth century, coined “Agnostic” (Scott, 2009). Agnostic Evolutionists choose to follow only what they have evidence for but do not negate things they do not have evidence, particularly the existence of God. They believe that if God exists, then the science will eventually find proof.
    MaterialisticH. Materialistic Evolutionism.
    Before discussing this belief, it is necessary to describe materialism (also called naturalism) and its variations. Methodological materialism (or scientific naturalism) is an epistemological view that natural phenomena have natural causes. Methodological materialists will only recognize knowledge that comes from empirical hypotheses that only reference natural causes (Scott, 2009, Forrest, 2000). Philosophical materialism (also called philosophical naturalism, metaphysical naturalism, or ontological naturalism) is an ontological view that all natural events have a natural cause and all explanations must be tested accordingly. Philosophical naturalism refutes the existence of all supernatural phenomena, including God (Scott, 2009, Forrest, 2000). Methodological naturalism includes a method and procedure while philosophical naturalism is a worldview. It is important to note that all philosophical naturalists are methodological naturalists, but not all methodological naturalists are philosophical naturalists (Scott, 2009).
    Materialist evolutionism is at the far end of the spectrum, holding the position of the polar evolution end. The methodological materialists support the findings of science and accept evolution. Methodological materialist’s attitudes vary concerning the existence of God. Agnostics are materialists that do not question the existence of God, while Atheists are materialists that reject the existence of God.
    MethodIV. Method
    Creationist research is bogged down by the tendency to use authority and intuition arguments as proof of a claim. For instance, the Pope, in Catholicism, is the head of the church and his word is God’s law. The pope renders judgments on how the church will address controversial issues. He is also a political figure, and that makes his decision based on more than just God’s will. He is biased and lacks the qualifications to make decisions in all areas of life.
    They also practice flawed logical explanations. This is usually combined with the authority technique. Many Creationist claims are based on the idea that because the claim has not been disproven, then it must be true. Science cannot prove that God does not exist, but that does not infer support for the alternative, that he does exist. A tenet of science holds that the burden of proof lies with the claimant. Creationists claim the existence of a maker and they are the ones responsible for scientifically proving his existence.
    Creationists conduct research regardless of the scientific validity. These studies are posted on websites that are managed by like-minded people and in journals that are reviewed by others that have no regard for the scientific method. The research is not available to the scientific community, and therefore, results cannot be replicated. Replication provides self-correction and validity that is lacking in creationist studies.
    Should creationists give up on science? Is there damage done when those of a scientific mind seek truth? One of the pillars of true science is openness. It is open to correction and advancement. The problem with much of the creation-supporting research is the bias held by the scientists. The experimenter is seeking truth, if the experimenter invests in the outcome, then the experiment is in danger of contamination by experimenter bias. It is not science when the experimenter is trying to support a theory; rather, good science tries to disprove what is thought to be true. Darwin set out to find evidence for a creator and gained more knowledge when the evidence did not support his hypothesis.
    CreationistV. Creationist Evidence
    The main evidence for Creationism as a scientifically validated belief come from the Bible, flood geology, archaeology, and biology fields. The Bible is a historical text that is incomplete. Flood geology is the study of the Earth, given the premise that a worldwide flood occurred around the time of Moses. Archaeologists in general agree that the field of archaeology only illuminates aspects of the Bible. They assert, with great protest from Creationist supporters that the evidence has not been dug up yet.
    Archaeology. VI. Archaeology.
    Archaeology provides knowledge about the culture in which the Bible was written (Hoerth, 2004). Many subgroups near the creationist end of the continuum rely on a literal translation of the Bible. Cultural and historical understanding of Biblical texts and those who wrote the texts grows and becomes more holistic as new information about the people, places, things, and events become available from the findings of archaeologists (Hoerth, 2004). Translation of the original Bible texts remains a work in progress.
    Language is tied very heavily to culture. As cultural and historical understanding increases so does the current understanding of ancient texts. Accuracy of texts and the events they reference change with each discovery. It is important to note that many groups are basing their faith and lives upon a “literal translation” that is incomplete at best and in many cases incorrectly translated.
    The story of creation in Genesis chapter one is similar to other creation stories of its time. During the time of Moses, the man given credit as the author of the Genesis, “The Memphite Theology of Creation” and “A Hymn to Amon-Re” were popular in Egypt (Hoerth, 2004). “The Memphite Theology of Creation” was composed several centuries before Abraham to justify Memphis as the ruling city in Egypt, though still popular during the time of Moses. This story of creation follows that Ptah created Atum, the creator god. Then Ptah created all other gods and their ka’s (souls) through Atum, which is referred to as the tongue of Ptah. It continues to explain the creation of the Ennead, the nine leading gods in the Egyptian religion. “A Hymn of Amon-Re” follows that Ptah made Amon-Re, who in turn made all things (the Earth and all living things). The other creation stories mentioned are similar to the account of the Bible in that they are lacking in precision and detail. The creation account in Genesis is a reference of the beginning activity of God and satisfies the natural curiosity over first things (Hoerth, 2004).
    FloodA. Flood Geology.
    Insert history, techniques, and claims of flood geologists. Flood geology is term referring to studying geology with the premise that a flood occurred around the time of Noah that covered the Earth. All fossils are said to have been formed from this flood. Flood geologists do not believe that radiometric dating is a valid measure of fossil age because it would not be consistent with their belief that the flood occurred 6,000 years ago. All fossils, then, and all geographical formations can only be dated back to the time of the flood.
    EvolutionVII. Evolution
    Plants and animals are intricately designed for living their lives. Humans developed a jaw with a fraction of the muscle of their primate ancestors. The jaw, however, did not lose strength. The vertical bite and muscle formation afford the human bite 40-50% more efficiency in the projection of power (University of South Wales, 2010). The quick and powerful bite of humans is suited to food sources, while the slow but brawny bite of apes allows them to chew for long periods, as is necessary when bamboo is on the menu. The muscle formation is an intricate system that produces more power than all the parts should be able to produce.
    This complexity and intricacy seems to imply a designer. William Paley, an 18th century English philosopher, asserted that a watch is so intricate and complex that it is impossible to have been formed by chance and must have a maker. Charles Darwin, the English naturalist that is most associated with evolution, questioned the concept of a designer before he investigated origins. Several people had the thought of evolution before Darwin, but he was the first to use data to convince people of evolution in his book “On the Origin of Species.” Darwin’s purpose that resulted in this work was to find evidence that every species was formed by God separately and none of them are connected. Darwin tested the claim using empirical evidence and produced the theory of evolution instead of supporting the claim he sought to support.
    Darwinism, the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection, states that life on Earth began with one primitive species that has gradually evolved over the last 3.5 million years. The first organism branched out over time to form new species (see Figure 3, Coyne, 2009). A species is a group of actually or potentially interbreeding populations, which is reproductively isolated from other such groups” (Teaching Evolution, n.d.).
    EvolutionaryA. Evolutionary change.
    There are six key concepts in evolution. The first is the concept is evolution, which is the idea that species’ genetic makeup changes over time. That is, a species can evolve into something very different due to changes (often mutations) in the DNA that carry over to future generations. Humans are an example of change over time, in that they originated from an apelike ancestor and evolved into an upright, abstract thinking, species (see Figure 2). Species evolve at different rates. Some have not changed much in the last billion years like horseshoe crabs and gingko trees while others evolve rapidly like whales and humans (Coyne, 2009; Bruce, 2001). Evolution does not necessarily occur at a constant rate.
    Figure 3. A = hypothetical species within this genus; I – XIV = 1,000 generations; a10, f10, m10, w10, z10= distinct new varieties or even sub-species;
    A – L are spaced irregularly to indicate how distinct they are from each other, and are above broken lines at various angles suggesting that they have diverged from one or more common ancestors. From A, diverging lines show branching descent producing new varieties, some of which go extinct. The process is extrapolated for a further 4,000 generations so that the descendants of A and I become fourteen new species labeled a14 to z14. F has continued for 14,000 generations relatively unchanged and species B,C,D,E,G,H,K and L have gone extinct.
    The Tree of Life image that appeared in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection as a theoretical model of the evolution of species, 1859.
    Gradualism B. Gradualism
    The second concept is gradualism. Change takes several generations and several generations take time. The evolution of the ancestral ape to humans included the evolution of new features like the size and shape of the skull that allows for a larger brain in humans but not its ape-like ancestors. The evolution of one to the other would occur over hundreds, thousands, or even millions of generations (Coyne, 2009). Early apes had short life spans, that increased as the species evolved to humans to be up to 122 years (Oldest Person, 2010). Hundreds of generations with this lifespan would still take thousands or millions of years to evolve. Some populations, like microbes, have very short generations (as short as 20 minutes). For these, hundreds of generations could only take days. Viruses, like the flu, evolve and become resistant to a vaccine in a single season after exposure (Robinson, n.d.). While some cases of quick change occur, substantial change usually requires thousands of years. All species evolve at different rates, usually induced by evolutionary pressures (e.g. the climate and food sources of the environment; Coyne, 2009).
    SpeciationC. Speciation
    The third key concept, Speciation (splitting), is the process by which a single ancestral species splits into two descendent species (Coyne, 2009). Speciation has three steps. First, the gene flow between two populations is interrupted (populations become genetically isolated from each other). Second, genetic differences gradually accumulate between the two populations (populations diverge genetically). Third, reproductive isolation evolves as a consequence of this divergence (a reproductive isolating mechanism evolves) (Teaching Evolution, n.d.).
    After the first split, each new descendent species can also split. Millions of years of splitting has produced the 10 million (give or take 5 million) species currently living and the estimated minimum of 17 million extinct and undiscovered species (Coyne, 2009; see Wolosz for more information on how species are estimated).
    Evidence for speciation lies in the shared fundamental traits between species. These include the biochemical pathways that we use to produce energy, a standard four-letter DNA code, and the process by which that code is read and translated into proteins (Coyne, 2009; Knight, Freeland, & Landweber, 2001). Evidence for speciation is the discoveries of new species in newly formed environments (Byrne & Nichols, 1999; Van Halen & Maiorana, 1991), incipient speciation, where two species rarely interbreed (e.g. Fanello et al., 2003; Lehmann et al., 2003; Hoffman, 2004, Kennington, Partridge, & Hoffman, 2005), and ring species that show the process of speciation by the living succession of one species to another across a habitat (e.g. Wake, 1997). The salamander has seven subspecies that make a circle around California’s central valley. Ring species, like the salamander form a complete circle where the two adjacent ends, are so different they cannot breed (Wake, 1997).
    CommonD. Common ancestry
    The similarities in living species are not enough to support the theory of evolution. Living DNA only gives information as far back as the oldest living generation. The fourth key concept of evolution is common ancestry. Common ancestry implies that it is always possible to look back in time, using DNA or fossils, and find descendants joining at their ancestors (Griswold, Logsdon, & Gomulkiewicz, 2007; Bruce, 2001). The DNA of species living since the first ancestral species is necessary to be able to trace the evolution of species. Fossils contain DNA and elemental characteristics of the species (Coyne, 2009).
    NaturalE. Natural Selection
    The fifth key characteristic of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is the process by which traits become more or less common in a population due to their survival and reproduction value. Natural selection is a process where the best genes thrive and create a better species. It does not, however, produce perfection (Coyne, 2009; Pigliucci, 2002). Most evolutionary change is done through the process of natural selection.
    GeneticF. Genetic drift
    The sixth key characteristic of evolution is genetic drift, which is a non selective mechanism of change that has nothing to do with adaptation. Genes are proportionally unequal due to the number of offspring produced in a family and other environmental situations (Coyne, 2009). Genetic drift explains some non-adaptive DNA features that have remained over time (Scott, 2009).
    FossilsVIII. Fossils
    Fossil formation requires a very specific set of circumstances. First, the remains of a plant or animal must find their way to the bottom of a body of water and be covered by sediment before they decay or are scattered by scavengers. It is rare for land dwelling animals and plants to find themselves at the bottom of a body of water and even more rare that they get there in one piece and then covered by sediment (Coyne, 2009).
    The hard parts (e.g. bone and shell) of fossils are replaced by dissolved minerals and form a cast. The cast is then compressed into rock by the pressure of building sediments above it. The soft parts of animals and plants do not fossilize easily. Over 80 percent of all species in history were soft bodied (e.g. worms, jellyfish, bacteria, and fragile creatures like birds), leaving a bias in evidence with few remains to study (Coyne, 2009).
    Once remains have been fossilized, the next step in becoming evidence is discovery. Most fossils are too deep to be accessible. There is not a map indicating where to find fossils and the Earth has a very large surface area. Fossils are discovered when sediments are raised due to erosion via wind and rain or in some cases, by the digging of a construction crew.
    If only a small percent of all living things were in the right place at the right time for fossilization (mostly marine organisms), and only a small percent of those remains were fossilized (hard parts), and of that number, an even smaller percent has been discovered by scientists, then we can assume the fossil record is incomplete. There are roughly ten million species alive today. It is estimated that the total number of species that ever lived is between 17 million and four billion. Scientists have been digging and documenting fossils for over 300 years and have uncovered 250,000 fossil species. With the most conservative estimate of 17 million species, findings consist of only .01 percent of all species (Coyne, 2009). The current fossil record is incomplete, but more complete than it was last year.
    Method A. Method
    Fossil records show the history of living things. The evolution of species can be visualized by placing fossils on the geological time scale, a timeline of when the remains were formed. Each fossil becomes a link between the two fossils dated before and after it. The process used to date fossils must be valid and reliable or the timeline will be faulty, and in turn, evidence for evolution discounted.
    Fossils are dated using a relative timeline, that provides a sequential age, and an absolute timeline, that provides a numerical age of the material (Macrae, 1996). The relative timeline classifies subdivisions of the Earth's geology in sequence based on the relative age relationships, most commonly indicated by vertical/stratigraphic position (see figure x; Newman, 2001). The absolute timeline uses radiocarbon dating and radiometric dating to provide the number of years that decay of the material has occurred (Macrae, 1996).
    Since the first radiometric dates, geologists have made tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations and refined earlier estimates. The numerically calibrated geologic time scale has been continuously refined since the 1930s and the amount of change with each revision has become smaller over time (Macrae, 1996). Estimates can be cross-tested using different isotope pairs and having different labs make the estimates. Cross-testing has continually confirmed the accuracy of the ages produced (Benton, Wills, & Hitchin, 2000). New geological time scales are published every few years with up-to-date dates for major time lines (Benton, 2001).
    Evolutionary claims are specific, falsifiable claims that are tested using the scientific method and reliable measures. In radiometric dating, geologists continue to produce new knowledge that increases understanding, corrects errors, and validates the method of testing as well as the overall theory. Results are published in peer-reviewed journals in all sub areas of science (e.g. geology, biology, psychology).
    LimitationsIX. Limitations and Gaps of Science

    A. Falsifiability.

    The principle that strengthens the findings of science also limits its range. There are questions that, by definition, cannot be answered by science. Essentialist questions, questions concerning phenomenon that cannot be measured, and questions concerning phenomenon that cannot be controlled are examples. In the case of Creationism, the existence of God, or a designer cannot be disproved. An omnipotent being cannot be measured or controlled. The designer defined by Creationists is not tangible, but revealed by his affect on people and the environment. Science is based on directly observable and measurable phenomena. Secondary observations (the designer’s effects) are limited to correlational analyses. Correlation does not imply causation, rather it opens the door to the third variable problem. There is always a possibility of a third variable that is causing the observed effects rather than the phenomenon of interest. Many instances of God’s presence are based on a correlation of an event and the individual or group’s assumption of his presence. In order to test for causation, the designer must controlled.
    IncompleteB. Incomplete data.
    The fossil record is incomplete. Fossil formation requires a very specific set of circumstances. First, the remains of a plant or animal must find their way to the bottom of a body of water and be covered by sediment before they decay or are scattered by scavengers. It is rare for land dwelling animals and plants to find themselves at the bottom of a body of water and even more rare that they get there in one piece and then covered by sediment.
    The hard parts (e.g. bone and shell) of fossils are replaced by dissolved minerals and form a cast. The cast is then compressed into rock by the pressure of building sediments above it. The soft parts of animals and plants do not fossilize easily. Over 80 percent of all species in history were soft bodied (e.g. worms, jellyfish, bacteria, and fragile creatures like birds), leaving a bias in evidence with few remains to study.
    Once remains have been fossilized, the next step in becoming evidence is discovery. Most fossils are too deep to be accessible. There is not a map indicating where to find fossils and the Earth has a very large surface area. Fossils are discovered when sediments are raised due to erosion via wind and rain or in some cases, by the digging of a construction crew.
    If only a small percent of all living things were in the right place at the right time for fossilization (mostly marine organisms), and only a small percent of those remains were fossilized (hard parts), and of that number, an even smaller percent has been discovered by scientists, then we can assume the fossil record is incomplete. There are roughly ten million species alive today. It is estimated that the total number of species that ever lived is between 17 million and four billion. We have been digging and documenting fossils for over 300 years and have uncovered 250,000 fossil species. With the most conservative estimate of 17 million species, our findings consist of only .01 percent of all species. Our current data is incomplete. Does that mean it is useless?
    NerdinessC. Nerdiness to the
    Science is driving force of the advancement of our species. Science is the tool we use to gain knowledge about ourselves, our neighbors, the past, the future, and our surroundings. Science is our method of gaining knowledge that leads to application. Physical and mental health is reliant on the findings of scientific research. Entertainment, utility, and comfort are all products of science. It is hard to separate a human from science, because it is the way we think, we behave, and the tools we use to so. Without a systematic process to figure out what works, or what is real, we would be fumbling in the dark, vulnerable to any attack on our mind or our body.
    More than 50% of Americans do not understand the methods of science but most recognize the importance (Pew Research Center, 2009). Awareness of the deficit in scientific literacy has produced papers, television programs, and actions in people that strive to spread knowledge. There is a slight positive trend in scientific knowledge over the past decade (Pew Research Center, 2009).
    (view changes)
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  3. page Cryptozology Water animals edited ... Here There Be Water Cryptids? An Exploration into the Myths and Reality of Dracontology She…
    Here There Be Water Cryptids?
    An Exploration into the Myths and Reality of Dracontology
    ShelleyBy: Shelley Spaulding

    I. Abstract

    The study of hidden aquatic creatures or Dracontology has its roots in history, mythology and religion. Although the field itself is recent, its roots can be traced back to early Greek civilizations and Christianity. Ancients used stories of sea monsters to explain why things were as they were. Dracontology is prevalent in mythology of all cultures and many of the stories are still told today. In modern times, interest in unknown creatures is more academic as explorers try to uncover new species. New mythical creatures have arisen in modern times, such as the Loch Ness Monster, which leads some people to create hoaxes. As long as new species continue to be discovered, man will continue to believe in sea creatures.
    Keywords: Cryptozoology, Mythology, Marine Cryptids
    {800px-Carta_Marina.jpeg} Carta Marina By Olaus Magnus, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    IntroductionII. Introduction
    Throughout time, there has been a belief in monsters. Societies created myths about them, religions honored yet feared them, and today communities boast of being the homes of them. In ancient times, these creatures were feared because they were unknown, in modern times these creatures are sought out to prove that there are still mysteries in the world. This new view of monsters has led to the creation of a new field known as Cryptozoology. Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals (Coleman & Clark, 1999). “The word Cryptozoology was coined by Bernard Heuvelmans in the late 1950’s” (Eberhart, 2002). However, it first appeared in print in 1959 in Géographie Cynégétique du Monde, written by Lucien Blancou, the Chief Game Inspector of French Overseas Territories (Eberhart, 2002). There are two different types of animals studied in Cryptozoology, land animals and aquatic animals. The study of Marine Cryptids (hidden aquatic animals) is affectionately referred to as Dracontology. This chapter explores the hidden world under the water, and aims to understand the history, mythology, modern beliefs of Marine Cryptids. It will also examine the skeptical side of Dracontology.
    HistoryIII. History
    Though the field of Cryptozoology is a recent development, most timelines start around 1812, the belief that mysterious creatures live has existed since ancient times. In every culture and every religion, there is reference to unknown animals, from unicorns to the Biblical story of the Leviathan who swallowed Jonah whole. In ancient times, Cryptozoology was not as it is today. Instead of looking for hidden creatures, explorers would document new species never even imagined. The focus was on foreign beasts. Aristotle, a noted Greek philosopher, created a classification system to categorize all the new species discovered in other lands. Among the new creatures found in other lands there were still those creatures never documented such as the chimera, unicorn, and dragon, among others. Though never documented there was a wide spread belief that these beasts existed. However, even in Aristotle’s time there were skeptics who claimed that these creatures were figments of imagination, misidentification, or exaggerations of encounters with known animals. For example, ‘in the first century BC, Lucretius explained centaurs and other hybrid creatures as optical illusions and tricks of the mind” (Dendle, 2006).
    {Saint_Patrick.jpg} Woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle,By Michel Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsIn the fourth and fifth centuries AD, the Christian religion documented stories of saints who fought monsters in Ireland and Scotland. The most famous of these saints is Saint Patrick. Legend says that St. Patrick banished a monster known as Caoránach into the waters of Lough Derg (Monaghan, 2004). Around the seventh or eighth century AD, Liber Monstrorum was written. This was a medieval bestiary or catalog of mystical beasts. The author(s) admit at the beginning of the manuscript that many of the creatures catalogued are more than likely fictional stating, "Only some things in the marvels themselves are believed to be true, and there are countless things which if anyone could take winged flight to explore, they would prove that, although they should be concocted in speech and rumour, where there is said to lie a golden city and gem-strewn shores, one would see there rocks and a stony city, if at all" (Orchard, 2003). Another manuscript from around this time was Beowulf, which had such an impact that cryptozoologists still list Grendel as a Cryptid.
    Modern Cryptozoology starts around the early 1800’s. Around this time, it was thought that there were no unexplored lands and therefore all animals had been discovered. In 1812, Baron Georges Cuvier boldly claimed, “there is little hope of discovering new species of large quadrupeds” (Heuvelsmans, 1995). Six years later the Indian Tapir was discovered. {Indian_Tapir2.jpg} Tapirus indicus, Zoological Garden, Stuttgart, Germany, By Fritz Geller-Grimm, own work, via Wikimedia CommonsSince that time over 200 species of animals have been discovered, mostly in unpopulated areas that are difficult to traverse. In fact, in 2009, a team of scientists traveled to Papua New Guinea. During their research, they discovered over 200 animals, mostly insects, however, there were several mammals and birds that were also discovered (Bergen, 2010). {Latimeria_Chalumnae_-_Coelacanth_-_NHMW.jpg} Preserved specimen of chalumnae (coelacanth), by Alberto Fernandez Fernandez, own work, via Wikimedia CommonsIt needs to be noted that not only are new species being discovered, but also species that were considered extinct. In 1938, the first modern Coelacanth was discovered in a fishing net off the coast of South Africa. This species of fish was thought to have died out around the time of the dinosaurs (Coleman & Clark, 1999).
    MythologyIV. Mythology
    One of the most important aspects of Dracontology is cultural mythologies. As mentioned earlier, every culture has stories about mysterious creatures, however, only a few have had such a huge impact on modern cultural beliefs. The largest impact came from the Ancient Greek Civilization. This is followed by the Norsemen and the Celtic mythologies. Ancient China and Japan have also had a large impact on modern cultural beliefs.
    AncientA. Ancient Greek Mythology
    {Ancient_Greece.jpg} The Athenian Empire at it's Height, By Unknown Artist, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    {Hydra_2r.jpg} Heracles fighting the Lernaean Hydra. Caeretan black-figure hydria, ca. 525 BC, By Wolfgang Sauber (photographer), own work, via Wikimedia CommonsThe ancient Greek civilization can be traced back to the Neolithic period, c. 6000 BC and ended c. 146 BC, after being conquered by the ancient Romans. During this time, the Greeks followed the pagan religion, which is now known as Greek mythology. Within this mythology, many monsters were created by the gods, either through breeding with humans or through cursing humans. One of the most famous monsters from this religion is the Lernaean Hydra. The Hydra was a serpent-like monster with nine heads. The child of two monsters, Echidna (mother of all monsters) and Typhon, the Hydra was raised by Hera to destroy Heracles (Hercules). Heracles was set the task of destroying the Hydra, in order to make amends for the slaying of his family during a madness imposed on him by Hera. The task itself was difficult in that every time Heracles removed one of the heads two more replaced it. The only way to kill the Hydra was to prevent it from sprouting more heads. This was done by burning the neck stump after one head was removed, eventually killing the monster. (March, 2008).
    {sirens2.jpg} The Siren Vase, By Goren Lord (photographer), public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsThere is another type of mythological creature that has remained, the Sirens. These creatures are commonly thought of as mermaids in today’s society, yet during the time of Alexander the Great they were described as half-female half-bird (Eberhart, 2002). The most well-known reference to the Sirens comes from Homer’s The Odyssey, a tale about the travels of Odysseus who is trying to return home after the Trojan War. During his 10 year journey, he encounters many strange creatures including the Sirens. Though no physical description of the Sirens is given, Homer describes the Sirens as temptresses who lure men to deaths with the Sirens’ Song. Homer writes of the warning Odysseus is given about the Sirens, "whoso draws near unwarned and hears the Sirens’ voice, by him no wife nor little child shall ever stand, glad at his coming home; for the Sirens cast a spell of penetrating song, sitting within a meadow. Nearby is a great heap of rotting human bones; fragments of skin are shriveling upon them" (Homer, trans. 1999). Odysseus’ encounter with the Sirens was short, but their goal was clear: send men to their doom by using their Siren Song to drive them to the cliffs of the island.
    {} Scylla. Detail from side A from a Boeotian red-figure bell-crater, 450–425 BC, By Jastrow (photographer), via Wikimedia CommonsThis was not the last water monster Odysseus would encounter during his travels. After the Sirens’ island, Odysseus and his crew came to a water channel. Here he had to decide which side to travel on. The difficulty with this decision was that on either side of the channel was a monster. According to some scholars, the two monsters were daughters of Poseidon. The monster known as Scylla was described by Homer as “twelve feet she has, and all misshapen; six necks, exceedingly long; on each a frightful head; in these three rows of teeth, stout and close-set, fraught with dark death” (Homer, trans. 1999). On the other side of the channel lived Charybdis, who was described as a “giant whirlpool that three times a day swallowed the black water, and three times a day spit it back out” (Rosenberg, 1994). Many believe that the term stuck between a rock and a hard place originated from trapped between Scylla and Charybdis.
    NorseB. Norse Mythology
    {Norse.jpg} Septentrionalivm regionvm descriptio, By Abraham Ortelius, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    North of Greece there lived a culture whose religion was also full of mythical beasts. The Norsemen, or Vikings, settled in the area of Scandinavia around 1000 BC (“Timeline of Scandinavian History”, 2010). Around this time, they began developing a belief system that was completely different from their neighbors’ to the south. Due to the harsh living conditions the Norse religion centered on warrior gods and the imminent destruction of those gods. As such, many of the monsters were more horrible than could be imagined since they were able to contribute to the annihilation of the Norse gods.
    Another creature of Norse mythology was known as Fafnir, or the Linworm. Fafnir was the son a dwarf magician. He was {lindworm.jpg} Upplands Runinskrift 871, By Mceder (photographer), own work, via Wikimedia Commonsa dwarf, but out of greed changed into a dragon. Fafnir had two brothers, Otter and Regin. One day Odin and Loki paid a visit to Fafnir’s father, Hreidmar. Outside the home, Loki spotted an otter basking in the sun and killed him for dinner. The otter was Hreidmar’s second son, Otter who had the ability to change form. As compensation, and ransom, the gods were forced to pay Hreidmar in enough gold and gems as to cover the skin of Otter inside and out. However, the continued to grow until a vast amount of treasure had been accumulated, including a ring that was cursed and that would bring pain, misery, and death to the possessor. Fafnir and Regin began to covet the gold, which their father would not share. Fafnir killed his father and banished Regin. To protect his hoard, Fafnir changed into a dragon. Regin, still coveting the gold sought dragon slayer, Sigurd, to kill his brother. Fafnir was slain, but reports of a Linworm still surface in modern day culture.
    {Grendel1.jpg} An illustration of the ogre Grendel from Beowulf, By J. R. Skelton, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsAround 1000 AD an epic poem was written lauding the conquests of a great hero. That hero was Beowulf. Though this poem was written around the time Christianity was becoming the chosen religion, Beowulf still had its ties to the Norse religion. Beowulf’s first battle was with the monster Grendel. In Norse mythology, Grendel was a sea giant (Guerber, 1992). In Beowulf Grendel was a man-eating monster that terrorized the Danes until he was killed by Beowulf (Beowulf, trans.1999). In Christian tradition, Grendel was tied to a character from the Bible. He was descended from Cain, the son of Adam, and slayer of his brother Able. Grendel lived with his mother under a lake in southern Sweden. Grendel is still reported to be seen today in that area.
    CelticC. Celtic Mythology
    {Celtic.jpg} Map of the British Isles including Ireland, By Abraham Ortelius, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    To the west of Norsemen lived another warrior culture that emerged around 1200 -1100 BC (“Prehistoric Timeline”, 2000). This culture came to be known as the Celts. Like the Norsemen, their living conditions were difficult and their religious beliefs revolved around this. Though little is known about the early development of this religion, there has been documentation from other societies about the core of the Celtic beliefs. Many believe that the Celts worshipped the forces of nature. The beliefs of the Celts varied from location to location, such that some Celts in the North had different names for the gods than those in the South. What is known is that due to the location of the culture, and its topography, many of the Celtic myths had aquatic creatures featured in them.
    {180px-Selkie.jpg} The Selkie, by Unknown Artist, via monstropedia.comAnother legend is the Scottish Selkie. According to legend, a Selkie is a mysterious creature who looks like a seal, but can shed its skin and become human. The most well-known tale is the Scottish ballad The Great Selkie o’ Suleskerry. This ballad tells of a maiden who falls in love with a selkie, unbeknownst to her, and bears his child. The selkie disappears for seven years and then returns in seal-form to tell the woman what he is then disappears again. Seven years later, he returns, and their son joins him in the sea. The lady soon marries a hunter, who one day kills two seals, and brings them home. The wife realizes that the seals were her lover and her son, due to a gold necklace found on the younger seal, that was a gift to the son from his father (“The Great Selkie”, n.d.).
    {Dobharchu1.jpg} Dobhar-chú, by Unknown Artist, via monstropedia.comAnother, less well-known legend is that of Dobhar-chú. Dobhar-chú is described as an otter like animal of Ireland (Eberhart, 2002). This creature is feared and the very sight of him can cost a person his or her life (Coleman & Clark, 1999). The legend was immortalized when a ballad was sung about a woman who was killed by the Dobhar-chú. This event took place in 1722, and the woman who was killed was named Grace, her last name may be Connolly. Giving credence to the legend is the image on Grace’s tombstone that of an otter, run through with a spear (Coleman & Clark, 1999).
    AncientV. Ancient China
    {} The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu (Great Ming Dynasty Amalagamated Map), By Unknown, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsTo the east, there existed a culture that has influenced the field of Dracontology; Ancient China, which is stated to have dated back to 12,000 BC. Though we usually associate China with the introduction of many different inventions that are still in use today, gunpowder, paper, and mathematics (“Timeline of Chinese Inventions,” n.d.); the Ancient Chinese gave us one creature that still exists today, even if it is only in our imaginations, the dragon. Unlike European dragons, Chinese dragons are water-dwellers. This creature is so important to the study of hidden aquatic animals that the field was named after it; Dracontology, or the study of Dragons.
    {} The Nine Dragons (partial), By Chen Rong, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsDragons were so important in Ancient China that five of their dynasties were that of the Five Dragons (MacKenzie, 2010). The leaders of the dynasties were known as the Five Dragon Kings and the each represented one of the five natural elements, earth, wood, water, fire, and metal (MacKenzie, 2010). Other sources claim there were only four Dragon Kings, and that they represented each of the four seas, those of the east, south, west, and north (“Dragon Kings,” 2009). The Dragon Kings not only reigned over the seas but also controlled the weather.
    Another aspect of the Asian dragon that differs from the European dragon is that the Asian dragon is revered not feared. Dragons of Ancient China were thought of as auspicious. This belief remains today, so much so that when the sportswear company Nike created a commercial that had LeBron James, a popular basketball player, slaying a Chinese dragon the Chinese government banned it from being shown in their country (Robertson, 2004).
    MarineVI. Marine Cryptids in
    In modern times, Cryptozoology and Dracontology are very popular studies. When searching for the term “Cryptozoology” in Google around 3,130,000 results are shown. There are over one hundred books that have Cryptids as the subject. In 2002, George M. Eberhart wrote a two-volume encyclopedia of Cryptids called Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology. There are over 1,050 entries in this guide. Of those, over 800 are marine Cryptids. Some of the most famous are the Bunyip, the Kraken, Lagarfljotsormurinn, Nessie, Mokele-Mbembe, and Storsjöodjuret.
    TheA. The Bunyip
    {424px-Bunyip_18901.jpg} Aboriginal Myths - The Bunyip, By Macfarlane, J, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    The Bunyip is a marine Cryptids from Australia. This creature is said to haunt water-holes. According to Eberhart, there are two main descriptions of the animal: a seal-like dog and a long-necked creature with a small head (Eberhart, 2002). The Bunyip is said to be aggressive and Aborigines claim to be so frightened when they hear its call that they refuse to go near the water source (Carroll, 2009). Although the Bunyip has not been reported in recent years, it is still considered a Cryptids. According to Eberhart, the last significant sighting was in 1965 (Eberhart, 2002). Curiously, while the term originated from the Aboriginal vocabulary, the most recent sightings were reported by White settlers. The reason for this may be that in the Aboriginal belief system, the Bunyip was not a living creature, but rather an evil spirit and the term was adopted by the White settlers to describe creatures they were unfamiliar with. Some possible explanations include Australian Fur Seals, The Musk Duck, and the Saltwater Crocodile (Eberhart, 2002).
    TheB. The Kraken
    {800px-Denys_de_Montfort_Poulpe_Colossal1.jpg} The Legend of The Kraken, By Pierre Denys de Montfort, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsThe Kraken re-emerged as a famous contender for most famous Cryptid when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest hit theaters in 2006. In the movie, a monster was summoned by Davy Jones to sink ships. The Kraken, however, has been around for much longer than that. It is a mythological creature native to Iceland and the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Kraken is described as a giant Cephalopod that dwells in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Eberhart, 2002). It measures around 33 feet and weighs about 440 pounds (“Giant Squid”, 2010).
    Today the Kraken is not just legend, but a real animal. Scientists have listed many different known cephalopods as the potential Kraken, but the most likely candidate is the Giant Squid. However, the Giant Squid is just as elusive as the Kraken. The only documented sightings of the Giant Squid are of corpses that wash ashore. The first photographic evidence of a living Giant Squid in its natural habitat was taken in 2005 (Owen, 2005). Since then the Giant has also been captured on video.
    LagarfljotsormurinnC. Lagarfljotsormurinn
    {800px-Sea_serpent1.jpg} Sea Serpent, By Olaus Magnus, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    Another creature that comes from the Icelandic region is Lagarfljotsormurinn, or the Lagarfljót Worm. This creature is a sea serpent that lives in the Lagarfljót Lake in Iceland. It has been spotted since 1345 (Eberhart, 2002) and was recently featured on Destination Truth, a show that researches Cryptids. Lagarfljotsormurinn is said to be 46 feet long and have one large hump. Possible explanations for the many sightings of this creature include large bubbles of methane gas welling up from the bottom of the lake, eels, and mats of leaves and other plant matter brought together by strong river currents (Eberhart, 2002).
    TheD. The Loch Ness
    {Loch-Ness-Monster1.jpg} Loch Ness Monster, By Heikenwaelder Hugo (artist), own work, via Wikimedia CommonsPossibly the most famous Cryptids aside from Big Foot is Nessie, the sea serpent that resides in Loch Ness in Scotland. Numerous reported sightings have been documented, describing the creature as 10-45 feet long, having a 4-8 foot long neck, 5-6 foot long tail, and 1-3 humps. It is said to be gray or sandy colored, and have flippers instead of legs and feet (Eberhart, 2002). Proponents of the Loch Ness Monster claim that it could be a Plesiosaur, a marine reptile that is said to have died out with the dinosaurs.
    The first mention of the Loch Ness Monster is in 565 AD. At that time a Christian missionary “drove away a certain water monster" in the River Ness (Shine, 2000). The missionary was the future Saint Columba. The next significant sighting was not until 1871 when “D. MacKenzie of Balhain spotted an object like an overturned boat churning water and moving across the Loch from Aldourie” (Eberhart, 2002). There were a few more sightings in the next 60 years, and then in 1933 a rash of sightings was being reported.
    The reports continued to flood in and in 1936 “as many as fifty people watched an animal with a small head, long neck, and two black humps for thirteen minutes” (Eberhart, 2002). Sightings of the creatures have died down in the last decade, with only two sightings being reported in 2009 (“Loch Ness Sightings", 2000). Many state that this may be due to people becoming more skeptical (Carroll, 2009).
    In 2003, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stated that they had proven that Nessie did not exist. Their reasoning behind this was that they had surveyed the Loch “using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite navigation technology to ensure that none of the loch was missed and found no proof that Nessie exists” (“BBC ‘Proves’ Nessie", 2003). The only problem with the BBC’s claim is that it is impossible to prove something does not exist, they can only claim that they found no evidence to support the existence of Nessie.
    TheE. The Oklahoma Octopus

    F. Mokele-Mbembe

    {603px-Mokele-Mbembe.jpg} Mokele-Mbembe Attack, by Unknown Artist, via
    Another creature that is said to be a throwback to the dinosaurs is Mokele-Mbembe, which means “one that stops the rivers” (Norman, 2007). This creature is said to resemble a Sauropod dinosaur. It is described as the size of an elephant or larger, has a long, flexible neck, serpentine head, and long, muscular tail (Eberhart, 2002). Mokele-Mbembe lives in the jungles of central Africa, and is aquatic. According to legend, it is said to kill hippopotamuses and elephants.
    There have been numerous sightings of the Mokele-Mbembe. The earliest mention of the creature was in the mid-eighteenth century, when French missionaries discovered claw tracks about 3 feet in circumference and 7-8 feet apart (Eberhart, 2002). Sightings continue today, leading to many television show expeditions including Destination Truth, MonsterQuest, and National Geographic. No findings were made during the filming of these shows.
    StorsjöodjuretG. Storsjöodjuret
    {800px-Soe_Orm_1555.jpg} Sea Orm, by Olaus Magnus, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
    Storsjöodjuret is a lake serpent that resides in the Storsjön lake in Sweden. She is described as 10-45 foot long serpent with shiny green or gray skin, a horse like head with a long, white mane, large, dark eyes, an 8-10 foot neck, multiple humps, and two pairs of stumpy legs or fins (Eberhart, 2002). The earliest mention of the creature is from 1635, and is a mythological tale. According the tale, “two trolls were boiling water in a kettle at the shores of the lake. When the kettle had been boiling for many years, noises of moan and squeak came from the kettle followed by a big bang. A peculiar animal with black snakelike body and a cat shaped head jumped out of the kettle and disappeared into the depths of The Great Lake. The beast felt content in the lake and grew to an enormous proportion and put fear into humans as it showed itself. Finally it had grown so long it reached around the island Frösön and was able to bite its own tail” (“Storsjoodjuret,” n.d.).
    This tale is similar to the tale of Jörmungandr, and may possible be a retelling of that myth. It is clear that during this time the residents near the lake feared Storsjöodjuret, until as legend has it “a man known as Ketil Runske bound the beast with a spell into a rune stone which was raised at Frösön” (“Storsjoodjuret,” n.d.). The stone is still in the town and is considered an archeological remain. After the binding of Storsjöodjuret, sightings stopped until the mid 1800’s. Today there is a website that allows viewers to watch webcam footage of the lake and report any sighting of the creature. According to the website, there have been over 200 sightings and over 500 witnesses since the mid 1800’s, though most occurred between 1890 and 1910. (“Storsjoodjuret,” n.d.).
    PossibleVII. Possible Explanations for
    There are only three possibilities for the numerous sightings of water cryptids throughout the world. The most unlikely explanation is that people are seeing animals unknown to science. However, if we use Ockham’s Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one (Carroll, 2009), then this would not be the best explanation. There are too many variables involved with the idea that these creatures exist that it does not explain the sightings simply. We must first conclude that there are animals living in the water that we do not know about, this is not difficult to do given the vastness of unexplored bodies of water. Secondly, we must define what is being seen. Very rarely is there one description of a particular cryptid given. For example the Loch Ness Monster has been “variously described as 6-125 feet long, with shapes ranging from that of a great eel to a creature with a hump or humps (up to nine), and in colors including silver, gray, blue-black, black and brown” (Radford & Nickell, 2006). Third we must examine the likelihood that, in the cases of lake creatures, that the habitat is suitable for such large creatures. Lastly, assuming that the theory that many of these creatures are survivors of the prehistoric age, we must examine the likelihood that so many creatures survived, which can be proven with existence of the Coelacanth. Given the complexity of this explanation, this leaves only two other possibilities, man-made hoaxes, and misidentification of known animals or natural events.
    HoaxesA. Hoaxes
    It is common knowledge that when people believe in something there will always be those who prey on their beliefs. A few times, it can be harmful, such as professing to be a messiah, claiming the ability to remove cancer through psychic surgery, or even claiming to predict the date that the world will end. Most of the time, however, the actions are harmless, and in jest. There are numerous cases of hoaxes revolving around mysterious creatures. Like the “Surgeon Photo” of Nessie, these hoaxes do little more than spread the belief that something does exist, until it is proven to be a hoax. By that time, the true believers refuse to stop believing in the creature, and those that were skeptical have more evidence backing up the claim that the creature might not exist.
    One famous hoax that occurred was centered on the alleged corpse of a mermaid. In the mid-1800’s a man produced, the body of what he claimed was a mermaid that was caught off the coast of Fejee (Fiji). Curiously, a well-known showman by the name of P.T. Barnum came to see the specimen and requested that the man display it in his museum. Barnum was confident the man would agree and had already created the advertisements for the event, however the man refused so Barnum gave the newspapers his engraving of a mermaid since he would not be able to showcase it himself. This built up publicity for the mermaid and the man agreed to display it at Barnum’s museum. The hoax was that the man was an accomplice of Barnum’s and the mermaid was a fake. It was constructed from the head and torso an ape and the tail of fish. To this day, this type of art is known as Fejee Mermaids.
    Another hoax occurred in Canada 1972. During that summer, a police report was made claiming that two teenage boys were attacked by a creature that emerged from Thetis Lake. From the very beginning, the story sounded suspicious. There were two accounts of the attack printed one stating that monster was “roughly triangular in shape, about five feet high, and five feet across the base”, and the other account stated that the creature was 5 feet long, three inches high” (Loxtin, 2009). The creature was also said to have scratched one of the boys, however, it was a minor scratch. The police checked into the claims made by the teens, but could not find anything due to the vagueness of the report. However, after the newspaper printed the story two more claims were made by younger teenage boys. They claimed that a creature came out of the water and it was “shaped like an ordinary body, like a human being body but it had a monster face and it was all scaly with a point sticking out of its head and great big ears” (Loxtin, 2009).
    {Creaturefromtheblacklagoon.jpg} The Creature from the Black Lagoon at the Witch's Dungeon Wax Museum in Bristol, CT, by Matthew Lupoli (photographer), public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsAccording to Loren Coleman, the creature resembled the 1954 sci-fi horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon (Loxtin, 2009). This account was posted on Coleman blog Cryptomundo. The only differences were the ears. Already this seems like a hoax, yet the mysterious creature was dubbed a Cryptids. Interestingly, there were no other reports ever, and no one who wrote about this event ever talked to the eyewitnesses. While investigating the case, author and skeptic Daniel Loxtin researched the newspaper archives and discovered that the reason why the monster resembled a Hollywood creation may be due to the fact that a movie called Monster from the Surf aired two times within a week of the first report. Not only that but the monster in the movie looked exactly like the description made by the two younger eyewitnesses. (Loxtin, 2009). Finally, Loxtin decided to interview the eyewitnesses, and after one call discovered that, it was in fact a hoax. Not only that, but the lead perpetrator was a notorious liar in the town. (Loxtin, 2009).
    NaturalB. Natural Explanations
    Not every sighting can be a man-made hoax; therefore, the other explanation of sightings is just as likely. People are misidentifying what they are seeing. Research has shown numerous times that eyewitness accounts are unreliable. People are accused and convicted of crimes they could not have committed, based solely on eyewitness testimony. Why, then, is it so hard to imagine that witnesses are claiming to see things that are really something else. In Lake Monster Lookalikes, Dr. Joe Nickell examines the likelihood of lake monster sightings in Northern America. His theory is that the “sightings” are most likely Northern River Otters. To prove this theory, he compared the 1998 list of sightings and the distribution of Northern River Otters, according to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mammals. His conclusions were that the more sightings of lake monsters, the larger the distribution of river otters.
    {800px-Raft_of_River_Otters1.jpg} Raft of River Otters, by D. Gordon E. Robertson, own work, via Wikimedia Commons
    Another common misidentification occurs when reports have been publicized about a creature. When a report goes out about a possible sighting, people are more apt to “see” the creature, especially if the sighting occurred near them. One account tells of a report of a small panda escaping from a zoo in the Netherlands. After the report went out, about 100 calls were made reporting the panda being spotted. These calls came from all over the Netherlands, yet the panda never left the area around the zoo, having been hit by a train that passed the zoo. (Nickell, 2007). As Nickell explains it, the witnesses were primed to the description of the panda, and in anticipation to see the animal, misidentified other animals as being the panda. He also stated that many of the reports may have been hoaxes. Nickell used this example as a way to explain how people can mistakenly think they see one thing when in fact it was something else. If we go back to the case of the Loch Ness monster, the majority of the reports occurred after 1934, after two articles were published about one sighting.
    {St_augustine_carcass1.jpg} St. Augustine Globster, by Unknown Photographer, public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsMany sightings of Marine Cryptids that are reported each year are of live creatures. However, there are numerous reports of remains being found of those same creatures. These remains can be bones, teeth, or even flesh. When bones and teeth are found, a hoax is usually the logical conclusion, but when flesh is found the sighting is categorized as finding a “Globster.” Globster is the term “mysterious carcasses that originate in a watery environment” (Hall, 2006). The term was coined in 1960, by Ivan T. Sanderson when a mysterious carcass was sighted on the shore of Tasmania. It was described as “20 feet long and 18 feet wide” (Moore, n.d.), and had no discernable features. In short, it was a “glob” of flesh. For some reason this “globster” was thought to be a carcass of some unknown animal, and as such became the term for any carcass found in the water that was not instantly identifiable. The Tasmanian Globster was later identified as the partial corpse of a whale, but there have been other globsters that have been later identified as basking sharks, octopi, other whales, and even giant squid.
    ReasonsC. Reasons People Believe
    Given that there is little evidence to support mysterious aquatic animals, why is it that people still believe in them? There are many possibilities that need to be explored in order to answer that question. One of the major reasons is that species are still being discovered. For instance, on October 6, 2010, it was reported that over 200 species were discovered in Papua New Guinea, within a one month period, as mentioned earlier. Not only that but a ten-year research project of Marine Life was recently completed and its findings indicated that during the project over 6,000 potential new species were discovered (“Summary of First Census,” 2010). Most of the species are micro-organisms, but that is still 6,000 species we did not know existed ten years ago. Due to the vastness of Earth’s oceans and lakes it is impossible to explore every inch, therefore it is possible for creature to exist that we cannot find.
    Another reason people may still believe in marine Cryptids is that personal anecdotes override scientific data. People want to hear stories not statistics. Stories leave people entertained, and allow the use of imaginations, which is discouraged by many. Statistics do not usually entertain, and as the old saying goes, 99% of all statistics are made up on the spot, though those figures vary from source to source. For instance, a person who is detailing an encounter with an animal is not likely to say the animal was 3 foot tall, stood on all fours, had gray fur, and ignored him or her; he or she will describe the animal a huge, smelly, matted fur, and ferocious looking.
    Another reason is people need for the unknown. If everything we know is all there is to know then what is the point to science and exploration. The unknown gives purpose to life. For this field in particular people have a need to believe in hidden, undiscovered animals so as to assuage their guilt. This proposal is examined in the article, In Cryptozoology in the Medieval and Modern Worlds by Peter Dendle. In modern times, the idea of Cryptids represents a sense of guilt that humans are destroying the earth. If there are animals that have yet to be discovered, then the human race is not destroying the environment, especially if these animals turn out to have been classified as extinct. (Dendle, 2006). It is interesting to note that Dendle suggest that cultures in medieval times viewed Cryptids as a way to emphasize moral attitudes of the time, religious beliefs, and even tensions among social groups, to name a few (Dendle, 2006).
    Lastly, people see what they want to see. Due to the way our brains process information, not all the data is analyze immediately. This cause the brain to complete the data using data that was previously obtained in similar situation. In the paranormal field, this is called matrixing. In a way, the brain is playing a trick on the person. When the brain has incomplete information, it creates images from the person’s memory, and in that instance a person can see a sea-serpent instead of a log.
    ConclusionVIII. Conclusion
    There are many aspects involved in the Dracontology field. It is always important to know the history of the field in order to understand where the field is heading. Mythology allows researchers to understand the origins of the creature they are studying, and allows them to determine whether the creature is based purely on legend, or has a presence in the real world. It is also important to know the facts about each creature. If descriptions of the creature vary too much, or are too vague then it helps the researcher to determine the validity of the claims. It is always important to understand why people believe in these legends, and why they believe they have witnessed the creatures. However, the most important necessity to have as a researcher is a skeptical mind. If one begins researching with a mind that is too wide open, he or she will fall victim to every hoax and every trick of the mind. By being skeptical, one is distancing him or herself emotionally from the research, and avoiding bias findings. It’s good to take these accounts with a grain of salt, yet we should not be so close-minded that we fail to forget the vast amount of unexplored regions on earth. One of these “sea monsters” may exist somewhere other than on the pages of folklore.
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