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44
votes
6answers
6k views

Are different prices in wines justified by taste?

According to the BBC, Wine costing less than £5 a bottle can have the same effect on the palate as those priced up to six times as much, a psychological taste challenge suggests. My skeptic sense ...
40
votes
1answer
41k views

Do dolphins have homosexual “blowhole” sex?

In his comedy act, Ricky Gervais shows examples of homosexuality in nature, all of them from the book "Biological Exuberance, animal homosexuality and natural diversity" by Bruce Bagemihl. One of the ...
38
votes
3answers
4k views

Is water fluoridation harmful?

There’s a controversy going around whether the benefits of water fluoridation outweigh the potential harms. What is the evidence for the harm this may cause and what evidence supports the health ...
33
votes
5answers
5k views

Were the Wright Brothers the first to fly?

I'd say it's a commonly held belief that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than air human flight, as it can be found in most history books. ...
31
votes
2answers
3k views

Is the use of parachutes supported by peer-reviewed papers?

While googling about Ben Goldacre, I came across the following reductio ad absurdum argument: Nerd, can you point me to the data that shows that wearing a parachute increases your life expectancy ...
31
votes
1answer
7k views

Can running a fan while sleeping in a closed room cause death?

It is a widely held belief in South Korea that you can suffocate if you leave a fan running in a closed room while you sleep. Is there any truth or science behind this? (See Wikipedia on Fan Deaths)
28
votes
1answer
2k views

Are African Americans victims of a disproportionate number of police killings?

Many people are currently arguing that African Americans are being killed by police disproportionately to their percentage of the US population. An example of the claim is given at Mapping Police ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Were 3 million votes cast by non-citizens in the 2016 US presidential election?

Various websites are repeating the claim in this tweet, which says: Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. ...
23
votes
3answers
8k views

Is global IQ dropping over time?

Global IQ: 1950–2050 Essentially the idea is that while smart people are getting wealthier, their birth-rate tends to drop. On the other hand poor countries, which are generally populated by less ...
19
votes
2answers
6k views

Does smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer?

My friend is a smoker. His dad is a doctor. Both claim there is no firm proof that cigarettes cause lung cancer. This article makes a similar claim -- in particular that smoking cigarettes is not ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Has global mean temperature at sea level increased since 1900?

It is generally accepted that the Earth's global mean (average) temperature has varied throughout history. Given the difficulties of accurately measuring and calculating temperatures across the ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

What is Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)?

Promoted by Jim Humble, Miracle Mineral Solution is claimed to cure a wide range of ailments. But what exactly is it, chemically speaking?
18
votes
2answers
5k views

Is poisoning possible from preservative on orange zest?

I've heard that you can get poisoning from cakes that contain orange zest from the preservative sprayed on the outer surface of oranges before transportation from tropical countries to our shops. Is ...
64
votes
1answer
22k views

Did Donald Trump say republicans are the dumbest voters in the country?

I saw this image going around Twitter lately: If I were to run, I'd run as a republican. They're the dumbest group of voters in the country. They love anything on FOX News. I could lie and ...
47
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it possible to reliably examine if a girl is a virgin?

Amnesty International wants the Egyptian military to stop the practice of rounding up all the female protesters to investigate if their hymens are unbroken as a virginity check: An Amnesty ...
42
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it dangerous to have several vaccines at the same time?

As a parent, I often hear people say that they think it's bad for their children to have several vaccines in one go. Some parents pay for some vaccines to be given separately, and I wondered if there ...
41
votes
3answers
3k views

Is monosodium glutamate (MSG) bad for you?

Anecdotal evidence blames the consumption of MSG for several symptoms such as headache, nausea, weakness, heart palpitations etc. Most migraine literature cites MSG as a potential trigger (example) ...
40
votes
3answers
6k views

Are electronic cigarettes a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes pose as a replacement of cigarettes. It is claimed that they help in quitting smoking. They do come in flavors, and in various levels of nicotine. But, are they less harmful? Do ...
39
votes
3answers
5k views

Are 1 in 5 college women raped?

In this article, it is claimed that 1 in 5 college women are raped (at least around the 2013-2014 time period). I have heard the claim repeated from other sources (such as the BBC, which was ...
37
votes
1answer
14k views

Does planting during different lunar phases affect growth?

I have recently had some potatoes that were said to benefit from being planted at an advantageous time because of the lunar cycle. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently "it is quite ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Do magnets have verifiable effects on humans?

Do magnets have statistically significant effects on humans? Some example claims are in the Wikipedia article on Magnet therapy. Which says: Practitioners claim that subjecting certain parts of ...
30
votes
2answers
23k views

Pirates with a prosthetic hook: Lore or Truth?

Was it common practice for pirates to replace a lost hand with a prosthetic hook? Or was this lore perpetrated by fiction and Hollywood? It does seem like a reasonable choice, since a hook is a ...
30
votes
1answer
14k views

Do dairy products cause phlegm to build or thicken?

It is a common advice, perpetuated by many parents, and even some doctors, that if you have a cold, you should avoid dairy products, because they cause phlegm to build up or thicken. See e.g. Foods ...
28
votes
3answers
3k views

Does a surgical mask help prevent catching COVID-19?

According to the Mayo clinic: "The current recommendations regarding masks are that if you yourself are sick with fever and cough, you can wear a surgical mask to prevent transmission to other ...
28
votes
1answer
90k views

Do ion bracelets work?

I recently came across a new kind of sports enhancement bracelet. Apparently it emits positive ions that are good for you. The bracelet is also a watch. There are credible scientific studies on ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Is a coin toss fair?

I've just seen a referee use a coin toss to decide who will start a match which got me thinking, coins aren't perfectly symmetric. Our euro coins have the value on one side, a country specific image ...
24
votes
1answer
15k views

Was there a giant red-haired race in North America?

The other day, I saw a show on the History channel about "giant skeletons" being found in North America. It also said that, for some reason, these findings have been hidden from people, maybe due to ...
24
votes
2answers
13k views

Has 99% of the western continental Europe banned water fluoridation?

I keep seeing this claim about the unpopularity of water fluoridation parroted. Despite dental pressure, 99% of western continental Europe has rejected, banned, or stopped fluoridation due to ...
22
votes
1answer
7k views

Is rape a crime about violence and power, or a crime of passion?

Adam Carolla, from the popular radio show Loveline, and in the Guiness Records for the most downloaded podcast of all time made the following claim (1 min mark): rape is not a sexual crime, you ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Are 95% of Ashley Madison dating site's accounts male?

The hackers who procured and recently published Ashley Madison's internal databases, the so-called "Impact Team," have claimed that the accounts in the databases were predominantly, in fact "90-95%" ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Do you feel pain in a life-threatening situation?

Let's say you are in a war-situation, and both you and your opponent are out of bullets. When I was in the army, I learned that the most efficient way to kill your opponent would be to kick him in the ...
19
votes
2answers
5k views

Does wifi stunt cress growth?

A couple of weeks ago there were reports of an experiment by schoolchildren that appears to demonstrate that wifi router radiation adversely affects cress. There's been time now for the leading ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Do investment managers pick stock portfolios better, on average, than monkeys throwing darts?

Many individuals believe they can make significant quantities of money by stock trading. Much of the financial services industry wants the public to believe that it can take our savings and, by the ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are anti-smoking advertisements in actuality promoting smoking through use of reverse psychology?

Years ago, I had a friend who was both a heavy smoker and a noted contrarian. One day as we were driving past a large anti-tobacco billboard he told me he thought that telling smokers not smoke was ...
15
votes
1answer
8k views

Is this “whites killed by whites” diagram wrong?

I found the following diagram on twitter: (Sorry for not giving the source: I don't know how to link there.) The diagram gives the impression that if you're a white person (in USA), then you're ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Are the IPCC climate change models overestimating sensitivity to carbon dioxide?

A recent report in The Register suggests that we might be currently overestimating the degree to which the world will warm with increasing carbon dioxide. Climate sensitivity is, crudely, the slope of ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Do aluminum-based antiperspirants cause cancer?

Some people claim that the aluminium in antiperspirants can cause cancer. For example, Mercola.com: Putting on antiperspirant is a routine part of most people's day, and you may not think much ...
35
votes
3answers
14k views

Do Russians drink as much alcohol as their stereotype suggests?

It's a widely held stereotype that Russians drink a lot of alcohol. Is there any research supporting or refuting this belief? Possible metrics I can think of (though you're welcome to add more) can ...
32
votes
2answers
8k views

Do THC or other cannabis compounds cure/slow cancer?

I see this popping up on my Facebook feed quite a lot (to be fair, it's usually the same 3 people): Claims that evidence has shown that marijuana/cannabis/THC/other cannabinoids can have a positive ...
25
votes
4answers
52k views

Does homeopathic zinc (Zicam) help with the common cold?

I'm sick, and my friend had me buy store brand Zicam to help with it. Looking at the bottle after taking it, I thought the ingredients were written strangely. "Zincum Aceticum 2x", it says, when I ...
25
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the human menstrual cycle related to the lunar cycle?

I've heard that the female menstrual cycle follows a pattern of the lunar cycle, mostly as an evolutionary adaptation so that menstruation (and hence detectability by predators because of the smell of ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

Can a society become unhappier with an increase in wealth?

People like to claim that less developed countries are happier, because they live the simple life and stronger family ties. We've all heard the saying: Money can't buy you happiness. Which is easy ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the “Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity” study reliable?

Until recently, I have only heard about studies proving electrosensitivity being entirely a nocebo effect. Now I just found out about a study: Electromagnetic Field Sensitivity, William J. Real et ...
19
votes
1answer
11k views

Is it possible to do the things Derren Brown does with just psychology or linguistic suggestion?

Edit2: I'm revising the question again. Please note that I am not talking about card tricks like THIS. I'm talking about specific examples below which are at least portrayed as far more complex, ...
18
votes
1answer
8k views

Does sleeping with our heads pointing towards north pose any health risks?

Does sleeping orientation (pointing one's head in a specific direction) has anything to do with any health problems(even minor ones)? If Earth's magnetic field has any detrimental effects on our ...
15
votes
2answers
961 views

Does regular handwashing with antibacterial soap prevent disease?

I recently heard from a preschool teacher that they now have kids wash their hands many times throughout the day. When they enter the classroom, before they eat, after they eat, after playing on the ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Are people getting smarter or stupider in North America?

I've heard that people are complaining everyone are getting dumber because of popular culture and the Internet. I read an article in cracked that said people are actually getting smarter because of ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Were chemical weapons used in the civil war in Syria by the Assad regime before 2014?

From Erdogan: Assad using chemical weapons in Syria at The Jerusalem Post: Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that the regime of Syrian President Basher Assad has used ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there no risk-free level of second hand smoke?

The Surgeon General released a report in 2006 regarding the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS). One of the claims in the report is: There is NO risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure, with even ...
10
votes
1answer
676 views

Is there any scientific explanation for this trumpet noise from the atmosphere?

According to this Daily Mail article, there have been recordings of trumpet like noises from the atmosphere. However, nobody knows the cause of it. However, as it is from the Daily Mail, I am taking ...

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