A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

Skepticism, though unnatural, is a virtue.

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Archive of Unnatural Virtue by Bob Carroll

In each episode of Unnatural Virtue, I comment on topics in critical thinking, skepticism, and science.

as heard on Skepticality, the official podcast of Skeptic magazine and the Skeptic Society

Episode, Date,  & Topic

01 27 Mar 2012: intuition
02 10 Apr 2012: the placebo
03 24 Apr 2012: availability bias
04 08 May 2012: sympathetic magic
05 22 May 2012: confabulation
06 05 Jun 2012: ad hominem
07 19 Jun 2012: self-deception
08 03 July 2012: fake healing
09 31 July 2012: the illusion of understanding
10 14 Aug 2012: subjective validation
11 28 Aug 2012: the clustering illusion
12 11 Sep 2012: anecdotal evidence
13 18 Sep 2012: pseudoscience
14 02 Oct 2012: telepathy
15 16 Oct 2012: mind over matter
16 31 Oct 2012: automatic writing
17 13 Nov 2012: the fantasy prone personality
18 27 Nov 2012: intuition revisited
19 11 Dec 2012: the polygraph
20 25 Dec 2012: self-help programs
21 08 Jan 2013: organic food and farming
22 22 Jan 2013: Brain Gym
23 12 Feb 2013: Get Rich Quick
24 26 Mar 2013: magical thinking
25 23 Apr 2013: Bradley Nelson's Emotion Code & Body Code
26 07 May 2013: Impenetrable Body Armor
27 21 May 2013: illusion of knowledge
28 05 Nov 2013: recency bias
29 03 Dec 2013: debiasing
30 04 Feb 2014: the halo effect
31 29 Apr 2014: the clustering illusion and the deaths of bankers around the world (for the show notes, click here)

Sample from audio bookThe Critical Thinker's Dictionary: the halo effect mp3 (read by Kristen James). The audio book is available from Audible.com, iTunes, and Amazon.com.

show notes

episode 31: The clustering illusion and the deaths of bankers around the world

The clustering illusion is the intuition that random events that occur in subjectively defined clusters are not really random events.

Doug Hagmann is a private investigator who claims several recent suicides by those working in the world of finance were really murders and part of a conspiracy to keep people from talking about a plot to totally ruin the world economy. He lays it all out in the Canada Free Press: Exposing what lies beneath the bodies of dead bankers and what lies ahead for us. Hagmann also connects the case of missing Wall Street Journal reporter David Bird to the conspiracy.

The New York Post doesn’t promote the conspiracy idea but it thinks there’s some sort of mental health epidemic in the banking world: What’s behind epidemic of financial industry deaths?

For a good read on what the folks at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of America and the like got away with see The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi.

Responsible journalists recognize the clustering illusion. They point out that a similar kind of story ran not long ago involving lawyers rather than bankers: Why are lawyers killing themselves? (at CNN.com). The pattern seen for bankers and suicide isn’t real: Headlines See a Pattern of Banker Suicides. The Data Don't, Business Week, by Eric Chemi and Nick Summers.

 See Bob Carroll’s author page for more about The Skeptic’s Dictionary and The Critical Thinker’s Dictionary.

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