The War Against Fake News and Pseudoscience on YouTube: What Constitutes Evidence for Claims (Prequel to ‘Potholer54’ vs. ‘Suspicious0bservers’)

While a debate between the science journalist Peter Hadfield (Potholer54) and YouTuber Ben Davidson (Suspicious0bservers) has been set for Wednesday March 28th, 2018, their current “misunderstanding” is going to be the topic of my next blog post.

My previous blog article pointed out the illegitimacy of Ben Davidson’s (Suspicious0bservers) claims of having a “peer-reviewed publication” to his name. This was done by emphasizing the criticisms made by the solar physicist behind the YouTube channel, Space Weather, about how “what Ben has done is he’s given his paper to a poor journal with no quality peers and as a result ended up with poor results and bad research” (Space Weather 2017).

This blog post is going to expand that focus to a couple of Ben Davidson’s other claims. But first, it’s important to sledge-hammer this nail on the head: there is a big difference between publishing a paper in a reputable peer-reviewed journal and publishing one in a predatory journal that is meant to mimic the peer-review process; the latter of which is pseudoscience that anyone can do, while the former is what constitutes evidence for the scientific claims made by experts.

What is a Predatory Journal?

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The War Against Fake News and Pseudoscience on YouTube: ‘Space Weather’ vs. ‘Suspicious0bservers’

Hello everybody, I apologize for the long absence, however, a lot has happened over the past several months!

Anyway, today’s blog post is a slow-burn introduction to two YouTube channels that are polar opposites of one another: one promotes science and the other monetizes pseudoscience.

The first channel is called, Space Weather, and it’s owned and operated by a man who has degrees in physics as well as 30+ years of experience working as a space weather forecaster. He created his YouTube channel with the purpose of correcting misinformation and making a public record to show that some of the pseudoscience circulating on social media is being challenged with real science.

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The ATM “Reverse PIN Panic Code” Rumor

A couple of people in my Facebook circle shared this meme around the same time as each other yesterday afternoon. Within an hour, each of these separate posts already had someone posting a Snopes article debunking the “reverse PIN panic code” delusion.

This rumor, meme is 100% BS:

“If a thief forces you to take money out of an ATM, do not argue or resist. What you do is punch in your pin # backwards. EX: if its 1234, you’ll type 4321. When you do that, the money will come out but will be stuck in the slot. The machine will immediately alert the local police without the robbers knowledge & begin taking photos of the suspect. Every ATM has the feature. Stay Safe.”

First off, every ATM does not have this feature. Second, ATM cameras are recording 24/7. Finally, notice how this message completely glosses over what to do if your pin code is a number that reads the same backwards as it does forwards (a palindrome)?

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The Spirit Science: Facebook Deletes Clickbait and Misleading Content

At this time, “The Spirit Science” isn’t quite organized enough to be classified as a cult, but their recent fundraising threatens their status as being just a “New Age movement.” Spirit Science’s YouTube videos feature cartoon characters who talk about drugs, peddle conspiracy theories and target anyone who’s gullible enough to overpay for their tawdry merchandise.

The creator of Spirit Science is a Winnipeg native who goes by the names: “Jordan Duchnycz” or “Jordan David Pearce.” As per usual, RationalWiki catalogues it all:

“The Spirit Science promotes a wide range of New Age woo including but not limited to astral projection, chakras, crystal woo, orgone energy, quantum woo and sacred geometry…Spirit Science endorses many ‘classicpseudoscientific and pseudohistorical themes, which are in turn based on claims from cranks, willful ignorance or completely made-up ideas. It would likely be easier to list the crank beliefs the Spirit Science does not perpetuate” (RationalWiki 2017).

The Spirit Science is just a bunch of guys who are stuck in a state of arrested development and who make shit up on the internet for money so they can cover the costs of their living expenses. Take a look at their Patreon fundraising goals:

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