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WEBRINGS--the directory to over 1000 articles by California Skeptics

M U S T R E A D I N G S: a guide & links

Patrick Woodroffe




 Must-reads.  Articles which the California Skeptics consider of greater interest or value.     If you first go to the table of contents and then highlight and print, this will make both locating the articles easier, while at the same time allow you to zero in on additional articles that would be of interest to you.





Skeptical sites:

#1 ENLIGHTENMENT:  (The first site, with many of the best articles).  American Justice, (both its synopsis and full article).  The Supreme Court’s own published cases are used to show just far since 1975 the pro-government judges have gone in dismantling our Bill of Rights, and thus we have lost the protection of the prudent principles of jurisprudence, which are in essence followed by all other developed countries.  What Historians have deduced about the Historical Mohammed, shows that what has been written of the person Mohammed is so uncertain as to its accuracy, that the important events of his life are essentially unknown.  History of Christ (JK) comes to the same conclusion about Jesus, but with much more compelling arguments.  The German School of biblical scholars set down those arguments at the end of the 19th century.   The Physics of Everything was NOT the Product of a Designer, lays to rest the argument that Yahweh tinkered with the constants of physic so a to create a universe where life could evolve.  And finally, Exodus and Archaeology, which reveals that the Exodus story is a myth.  Reforming Big Pharma, both a lesson in corporate drug business and by extension the for profit system.  Social Justice, 8 Steps Forward good old practical philosophy of the sort found in Plato’s Republic.

#4 Logical threads    An odd lot collection.  How to evaluate Medical Discoveries, is of obvious importance.   Logical Fallacies, a primer in clear thought (concepts and exercises).  Why strangeness of man--explained:  the best darn insight into why man does strange things (religion, obesity, tobacco, etc.).

#9 Spiritualism    Homeopathy:  Its History, Its Absurdity.  Its title says all.  The Illusion of the Ghost in the Machine (JK), explains how neural brain activity creates this illusion.  Thought and the Illusion of the Ghost in the Machine (JK), a behaviorist analysis of thought.  Psychics, Police department evaluation of their assistance exposes they don’t help and Hocus Focus is good journalism and good reading on parapsychology. 


#17 Quackery    Fad Anti-aging Exposed, an article by concerned scientists—reprinted in Scientific American.  Chiropractics:  19th Century Quackery, and they call themselves “doctors.”  How to Evaluate Medical Discoveries, the various signs of quackery & junk science


#19 Skepticism   Why Scientists are Skeptics about Psychic Phenomena, a very readable account.  Black Racists Steal Greek Heritage, university professors exposes the lies told in Black Studies courses about their ancient history. 


#29 For skeptics   Bottled Water—why bother? Michael Schermer in Scientific American exposes another costly “need”.   Stigmata Easily Faked.


#102 Quacks, theories & practice    Iridology, Diagnosis through Looking at the Iris­, a thing only those without an understanding of the body could believe in. 


Religious sites:

#6 Thinkers on Religion:     Excellent articles against religion mostly by famous authors.  All the articles are outstanding.  Select according to your interest.  A philosophic favorite is Pascal’s Wager (JK), which applies the tools of logic (philosophy) to show why the gods would reward a concerned, learned atheist (such as Bertrand Russell) before a person of faith such as Mother Teresa or the theologian Fredrick Copleston.  A second favorite would be Hocus Focusł on spiritualism and parapsychology, an example of journalism at its best.  It dices new-age crap, especially spiritualism, and is enjoyable to read. 


#8 Old Testament Analysis:     Hebrew Mythology (JK,) lists the demigods, gods, and mythic tales found in the Old Testament.  The 5th century BC tales of the Old Testament ought to be as much an embarrassment to “modern” Jews and Christians as the Greek pagan tales about the Gods were to the Greek philosophers.  Tacitus on the Hebrew’s Origin, is fun reading both for content and style (Tacitus was the best of Roman prose writes).


#10 Literary Works on Religion    Famous authors who dared to write irreverent fiction.  Mark Twain’s Letters from Earth, stands alone in effectiveness and perception.  Others posted are by Dennis Diderot, Lucian, Nietzsche, Edgar Lee Masters, and Robert Browning,

#15 Christian Apocrypha and Essays     A collection of extra biblical tales and ancient articles. A larger body of works had been written with the same intent as the canonical works, but they were not included.  A number of them had been widely disseminated.  They are another window on those times.  Also extra biblical Christian tales, including Peter versus Simon the Magician, the account of how Peter before a crowd proved that his powers through his god were greater than Simon’s.   


#16 New Testament analysis    Mark Describes Jesus’ Gay Affair (JK), is based on the discovery of Professor Morton Smith of a 2nd century letter by the Bishop of Alexandria, Clemens, which indicates that the Gospel of Mark had been edited and the Bishop quotes from the complete Mark (now lost) a passage about Jesus in Jericho in which Jesus laid naked with a young man whom he had risen from the dead.  The Gospel of Mark mentions Jesus going to Jericho with brevity that suggests censorship.  (The Gospels are historical fictions.)   Catholic Theologians Acknowledge Gospel Myths, what they know about biblical origins is different than what they preach.  Published in The Notre Dame, a university theological journal.  Earliest Christianity, by Professor Wells, the best of those who take a purely rational approach to the evidence on the foundation of western religion.


#18 Against religious foolishness    Reasons for the Rejection of Religion (JK), outlines how absurd mass religions are.  Also outstanding is On Miracles, by David Hume, a very compelling classic. 


#20 Ancient Sacred Works of the Christians       The infancy Gospel of Matthew, during the Middle Ages as widely read as the Gospels, it is another example of how Christians invented the Christ story.  Death of Pilate an enjoyable Christian fiction.   


#22 Christianity  Puritan Angry God & Evil Sermon—Jonathan Edwards, an example of preaching in colonial times. Pope’s position on gays and celibacy insightful collection.    Martin Luther on the Jews, what you’d expect. 


#24  Bible Studies More     ANCIENT HEBREW (TALMUD) ACCOUNT OF CHRIST:  The Jews had their own tradition concerning the life of Christ, and several ancient texts have survived.  Delightful reading.   A Review of References to Christ Outside the Bible, shows that the Christian claim for extra-biblical evidence is dubious.  Ancient Hebrew (Talmud) Account of Christ, fun reading.


  #26 Ancient Sacred Works of the Hebrews   The Sibylline Oracle, and the commentary thereon provide insights into religious practices and beliefs.  The Story of Ahikar, is a reflection of another culture and times long past, fascinating.  


#107 Holy Horrors    Holy Horrors—Atrocities in the Name of god:  sections of that classic book.  Requiem for Ateqeh Rajabi—16-year Old Publicly Executed based on the Koran.


#109 Philosophy & religion    Pantheism--Profs. Elizabeth Beardsley, the first of 3 sections from her introductory book on philosophy dealing with the question of proof, and especially the verifiability of private religious experiences.  JK’s instructor in philosophy has produced one of the best, balanced analyses in philosophy.  Stands next to Plato’s Euthyphro in quality.  


Political-economic sites:

#21 Muckraking political articles   Pigs at the Trough, by Arianna Huffington; excerpts on corporate greed and how Congress lies with the corporate pigs.   Executive’s Branch Abuse of Scientist, sections from a paper issued by over 60 leading scientists on how politics come first in our government.  Avian Fluł a risk our government ought not to make us take—says experts.


#23 Critical of capitalism   ABCs OF SOCIALISM, by 2 noted university professors.  The insight into how a socialist views capitalism and its cure.  It is the best of its kind.  Monopoly Capitalism, explained by 2 professors, excerpts from this still valid classic book.  ABC of Socialism by Prof Leo Huberman, a timeless classic on what is wrong with capitalism. 


22. #25 Bush bashing   Links to Bush Bashing Cartoons and More, the best collection of political humor on the web, plus most of the best site on political reporting.  AT Cartoon Gallery, are eight favorites.  100 Facts and 1 Opinion, goes over the Whitehouse record.


#28 Nuclear war threat:   U.S. Nuclear Stock:  History, Accounts, on of a series of articles published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, it is full of facts instead of rhetoric.  But do we need rhetoric to know that one bomb would do many times more damage than worse nuclear power-plant accident. 


#103 Parliament of whores   Corporate Welfare:  Helping Companies Grab More.  Some of the examples of the legislature giving the public’s money to business; which is followed by an article on the reform of election funding passed in 6 states.    Flooding the Job Market with Immigrants and Illegals. 


#104 Government, Presidency, Congress, Courts    Two insightful articles on our government:  The most Powerful Lobby, and How Congress Works.  If one is interested in read a moving true story of American injustice, then read my friend’s, Professor Campbell’s, account of how his trial judge, who now has now clear and irrefutable evidence of his innocence, will not let him go, and the appellate court will not intervene.  Professor Campbell’s case is an example of what has happened when our politicians appoint judges who do not support our Bill of Rights, because they see justice from the prospective of a prosecutor.


#106 Economics   International Balance Sheet, & Asian Collapse as Model for U.S. Collapse,­ both by the Federal Reserve Board.  Covers the foundations for why Alan Greenspan has been warning Congress about fiscal responsibility:  the likely consequences of our huge debt to foreign countries.  Economic Data an Interesting Collection:  a large collection on economics,


#111 World Trade Organization    IMF Goes Public, what you’d expect.


#112 Bush watch:  Bush Favors High Levels of Mercury, paybacks for campaign donations.  Several states are going to court for to force safer emission standards.  Six states go to court to enforce a higher standard.  Crimes Worthy of Impeachment.


#116 Oil  Oil stats.  What Oil bought with their political contributions illustrates how money talks and the need for election campaign contribution reform


#117 Federal court system  American Justice uses published Supreme Court cases to illustrate how contrary to the principles of equitable jurisprudence our system is. 


# 118 Iraq war & wars  Oil war plans before 9/11--documents


Utopia, ethics, happiness, misc. sites

#2 Utopia   First would be On Ethics of Love of All things (JK),  supplies the best answers provided by the Greek philosophers as to what choices one ought to follow in pursuing the good life.  Please make their answer (with my improvements) your own.  Social Justice:  Eight Steps Forward (JK,) addresses eight political and the economic problems.  This work continues where Plato left off in his Republic.   The Decalogue:  Greek Moral Philosophy Modernized (JK), the continued development of Greek moral philosophy through utilitarianism, made into 10 rules.  Utopian Economics (JK), develops how a planned economy would work if the government was controlled by those like the Guardians of Plato’s The Republic.

#3 Utilitarianism   There is an account of the theory:  Utilitarian Ethics:  an Introductory Explanation.  Jeremy Bentham:  His Life and Impact (JK), is dressed in style to entertain the reader.  He like Voltaire, a generation before him, labored life-long to spread enlightenment, and like Voltaire was exceedingly successful.

#5 Cartoons & satire:   A little humor, you can guess the targets; exposes the naked emperors and offends the prudes.

#7 Table of contents & links     Greek Wisdom, from Superstition to Science, recounts their theory of atoms in detail; Links Favorite, a collection of links divided into categories and books.

#27 Recreational drugs    LSD the Problem Solving Drug, a paperback written with introduction by two renowned psychiatric researchers.  The authors and many others in 1966 believed that LSD was the new psychiatric wonder drug.  Additional materials from the only medical textbook on hallucinogens.  The War on Drugs:  Costs, a war that never should have been fought--except by education and building a just society.  Quaaludes, How Drug Companies Profited, a description of how the safe alternative to barbiturates was marketed. 

#101 Links & quotes   Meritorious Links a collection on the best on the web.  Site that are an interest to thinking people.  Religious Quotes, the best on the web collection.


#105 Scientific psychology   :  Control of Eating Behavior, the best set of recommendations for control of weight.    Anorexia, a Case Study and Model for Treatment, is an instructive example of the application of behaviorism.  5 Insightful Accounts of Quarrelsome Behavior, close to home and entertaining.


#108 Psychoanalysis, their weird theories    Freud’s Sexual Molestation Theory, mind based psychiatry is an embarrassment to evidence based medicine. 


#110 Recreational drug research    LSD the Miracle Drug, written before the government cut off LSD from research and propaganda changed attitudes.  LSD Discovery—Hoffmann, interesting description of the first acid trip. 


#113 Environment & animals:  Bush’s Environmental Record what you’d expect from a representative of the oil industry


#114 B.F. Skinner, works and life    Skinner, Why I am not a Cognitive Psychologist, his clear explanation as to what is wrong with mind based psychology; Skinner on Mind and Wanting, Skinner’s article.


#115 Ethics the humanistic side  Economics & Quality of Life, Russia  & Vietnam, the free market system has set the people back.




JK’s Literary Sites:

12  Rhymed poems    Assorted poems by JK, which are mostly rhymed and humorous, such as the one on tobacco smoking, which ought to be set to music.


#14  Short story, satire    Chance (JK), the delightful short story of life and love in Mexico.





Maintained by the California Skeptics



#31 TABLE OF CONTENTS WITH LINKS  Table of contents and links. 


#32 SHORT STORY, ETC.   Chance, a short story, 2 rhymed satirical poems, and one biographical essay written with style. 


#33 PROSE SATIRE  Prison Life:  a satire that reveals how counter productive incarceration is.


#34 RHYMED POEMS   JK’s delightful collection of poems where sound contributes to sense. 


#35.  HEALTH ARTICLES   issues of health, life and death.  Clinical Evaluations of Herniated Lumbar Disc, an excellent medical article.  Obesity, its health Consequence (JK), facts and statistics everyone should know.  Diet, Techniques and Consequences (JK), the best article on diet; designed to put the reader in control of eating behavior.  Understanding arteriosclerosis an excellent medical article.  


#36. WOMEN'S MEDICAL ISSUES   Hormone Replacement Therapy Review—Women (JK), one of the directors of the study which made headlines in the summer of 2002 attempts to correct the misinformation disseminated by the press about HRT.  The article shows why nearly all women should take hormone replacement therapy.  Why Women Live Longer, gives the reasons.  Keeping Your Beloved Centered on Love (JK), uncommon, common sense, sound psychology. 


#37 BIOGRAPHICAL    David Hume. His autobiography a short classic.  Lucian, Josephus, Pierre Gassendi, Voltaire, Darwin and others.


#38 LINKS ELSEWHERE    link to medical information sites, skeptical sites, and Greeks Gave the World Philosophy which included also science and medicine.


#39 RHYMED POEMS ROMANTIC    several of JK’s favorites.




#41 MEDICAL CRAP    Bad Data from Drug Companies—Scientific American article.  Methaqualone:  How the Drug Companies Profited:  about how the drug companies mislead the FDA (and other regulatory agencies around the world) about Methaqualone.  55,000 died from VIOXX, both FDA & Merck knew of risk, the greatest drug shocker of the last 100 years.  How Profits Corrupt medical Science and Treatment—(JK), exposes the problem and offers a cure.   


#42 RHYMED POEMS SOCIAL MESSAGE  To Thales:  A Diatribe on Folly.


#43 RHYMED POEMS SATIRE    Two Brothers:  Christian vs. Scientist


#44  ON CANCER    Tobacco:  Number of Deaths and Causes, lets you know just what the risk factors are.  Cancer an Overview—(JK) explains why cells become life threatening, and other insights:  concise, thorough, and insightful—the best of its kind.   The Chemical Cause of Coronary Disease in Smokers--(JK):  what you ought to know about the causes of coronary disease. 


#45  MALE HORMONE REPLACEMENT   Testosterone—Extensive Notes:  an excellent in depth work.  Over The Counter Solution--(JK),  research into the nebulous information on proto-male hormones.  Male Menopause:  why older men should be taking testosterone—and so should women.  Testosterone for Women,  medical findings. 


#46 MEDICAL SCIENCE    Stem Cell—Scientific American:  an excellent introduction to one of the two most promising areas of medical research.  Introns:  Vital Role Revealed,  basic breakthrough in the understanding of genetics.


#47 MEDICAL NEWS    Gene for Type II Diabetes Found:  reveals one of the main pathways and causes for adult diabetes.  Vitamins Linked to Gastrointestinal Cancer, 9,000/million Die, a meta-study revelation.  Lipitor, Limits on its Usage,  important information on statins. 


#47 MEDICAL NEWS       Obesity Medication, a General Overview


#49  TOBACCO    Tobacco  Smoke:  An Overview:  insightful.  Tobacco Smoke, its Statistical Consequences:  excellent information.


#50 ASPIRINTHE BEST NSAID:  Aspirin various benefits:  Medical journal articles on several of the different types of cancer it reduces the risk of 30% or more. 


#130 MORE MEDICAL CRAP    another killer drug:  illustrates how the FDA which is in bed with the drug industry fails to protect the public.  Journal Favorable Results Bias.


#131 LONGEVITY   Why women live longer than men:  a complete answer on a medical mystery.  Free Radicals part of Aging Process.




The 50

The 50 plus web addresses (all connected through Lycos’ Tripod) reflect the concerns of the California Skeptics, and of JK its founder.  You will notice that an inordinate amount of space is for the disabusing of religious belief.  Religion is a great evil:  it restricts the mind, restricts sexual pleasures, promotes prostilization as the highest good, and is used to justify all sorts of cruelties, and for skeptics, it has hit me written on its front and back.  After religion comes the topic of ethics.  Plato said:  “All people pursue the good, but they are confused about what it is.”  Utilitarianism is the only type of ethics that is free of the superstitions generated by religions and also escapes the quagmires that philosophers create.  Third is the tool of the skeptic, rational analysis, and there are a few articles thereon, plus many more are applications thereof.  Fifth, skeptics find that reason takes a holiday all to often on the related topics of government, politics and economics.  Than sixth, there are all to many who have made a faith out of health, thus principle quackeries are exposed.  On the purely positive side, JK has posted a number of important and interesting medical articles, including several that he has written. 


Paper is cheap, but ignorance, superstition, and faith contrary to reason are dear.  The California Skeptics desire in the tradition of the Greek philosophers to promote human happiness.  Thus the variety of topics, for each has their own favorites, and since this is not a school with all its reinforcers, content and art are used to bate spread ideas.  The collection of articles on so many different topics in one play make this the best of its kind resource.   I have set before you a book full of the best of what I have encountered in my life-long search for truth through the application of the rational faculty.  Like university studies (when it is free of the superstition of religion) that gives the student both knowledge and analytic tools, this collection of materials seeks to do the same.  I have the prospective of the scientific-analytic.  The Greek held that we are rational animals, and by properly training the rational nature the student could gain a prudent control of his animal dispositions, and by so doing live a much more fulfilling and happy life.  Just have an inquiring mind and the love of truth sufficient to grow thought the mental exercises I offer in these sites; you shall be changed for the better.  Enjoy!


JK—the gadfly, 7/14/02; updated 5/3/3, 4/16/4.  11/1/4

The greatest poverty (as measured by harm) is caused by ignorance.  Ignorance generates our political-economic system and religious practices.  Ignorance of what good is generates our social practices.  The articles herein seek to address ignorance, including those on logic.  Ignorance is a great evil for the failure to think clearly and disinterestedly leads to unsound conclusions and practices.  Religion is a greatest evil:  it restricts the mind, restricts sexual pleasures, promotes prostilization as the highest good, and is used to justify all sorts of cruelties. Our political-economic system is a great evil given how poorly it promotes the public weal when measured by the utopian dream. 


Plato said:  “All people pursue the good, but they are confused about what it is.”  Utilitarianism is about what good is.  The California Skeptics desire in the tradition of the Greek philosophers to promote human happiness.  The Greek philosophers held that we are rational animals, and by properly training the rational nature their students could gain a prudent control of his animal dispositions, and by so doing live a happier life far from the common herd.


JK—the gadfly, 7/14/02; updated 5/3/3, 4/16/4.  11/8/4, 11/28/4, 6/20/5, 7/23/5, 6/21/6


If there is a divine measurement, it is by the good we do.