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Here be Dragons

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"Hic Sunt Dracones" Latin for "Here Be Dragons" on the 1504 Hunt–Lenox Globe
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Here be Dragons is a documentary hosted by Brian Dunning that exposes pseudoscience and encourages critical thinking. The title was chosen since it was a phrase used on old maps and globes to denote that dragons were in unexplored places. Brian argues that people still believe in claims as ridiculous as dragons.

Because the film is intended for a large audience, it doesn't go into religious topics like creationism, but the message of promoting rationality is still there.

The actual movie[edit]

Brian Dunning has made the full movie available on YouTube:

Red flags[edit]

Red flags are qualities of pseudosciences that indicate that they are bollocks.

Many of them already have articles on this wiki.

Some red flags not referenced in this video are shady announcements (e.g., scientific journal vs. press conference); claims not fitting into reality; trying to give new information; attacking existing, validated ideas; inability to test the claim; being too good to be true; and/or if the spelling and grammar are bad.

Appeal to authority[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Argument from authority

Appeal to authority is using authority figures to endorse their products, which include celebrities, institutions, guys in white lab coats, or people with PhD's but not in the right field.

Ancient wisdom[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Appeal to ancient wisdom

Ancient wisdom is using, as products, medicines and other items that people from ancient civilizations used. The problem with this is that the ancients knew much less than we do now, and what they used was probably inferior.

Confirmation bias[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is when people remember things that confirm what they believe or want to believe, but forget things that contradict or pose a problem for the belief. This is fairly common in fortune telling and very common with psychics.

Correlation equals causation[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Correlation does not equal causation

Or more generally, Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Red herrings[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Red herring

Red herrings are distractions from the real question posed by critics used to get away from the legitimate problem with the pseudoscience.

Proof by verbosity[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Gish Gallop

Proof by verbosity is the use of red herrings; and a lot of it. It is laying claims on everything using big words that may or may not be true, but obfuscate the listener.

"Mystical energy"[edit]

See the subtopic on Pseudo-scientific use of the term energy.

Suppression by authorities/conspiracy theory[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Conspiracy theory

"All natural"[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Appeal to nature

"All natural" is the idea that foods with the label all natural are healthier. This is not true, and the standards for being all natural are so low that the label is virtually meaningless, not to mention that many things found in nature are deadly.

Ideological Support[edit]

Why people believe weird things[edit]

  1. The unexplained is cool
  2. Simple answers are seductive
  3. Inquisitive nature of people
  4. People lack the tools for complicated responses
  5. Critical thinking isn't much encouraged by society or our educational system
  6. Pop culture