Click for larger image.
I concede that it's clever, and there are many items in the diagram that I don't take seriously myself. There are even some that I regard as dangerous, such as "anti-vaccination."
Still, what strikes me about the diagram is how readily some people will toss any and all unconventional ideas into the catch-all category of "nonsense." It's unlikely that most of the people who admire this chart - or who wear it as as fashion accessory - have looked into very many of these topics in detail. Is the average reader of the Richard Dawkins Foundation's Facebook page, where the chart has been featured, truly knowledgeable about the evidence for telepathy, remote viewing, out-of-body experiences, automatic writing, mediumship, reincarnation, poltergeists, or ghosts?
Jago writes confidently, "... all the items depicted on the diagram are completely bereft of any form of scientific credibility." Really? All of them? Arch-skeptic Richard Wiseman has said, "I agree that by the standards of any other area of science that remote viewing is proven." True, he went on to say that the standards of other areas of science don't apply to "such an outlandish claim." Still, it sounds as if even Wiseman concedes that remote viewing (included in the set of "Paranormal Bollocks") is not completely bereft of scientific credibility.
And then there are items that really don't belong here. Stigmata? The explanation may be elusive, but the phenomenon itself has been extensively documented. Chiropractic? Acupuncture? Those are pretty mainstream therapies nowadays. Prayer? There's good evidence that prayer can have positive effects on health and well-being.
I was also intrigued by omissions in the chart. No mention of UFOs or alien abductions (though crop circles make an appearance). No love for the Loch Ness Monster? Bigfoot is there, but where's his shaggy cousin, the Himalayan yeti (now thought to be a bear)? Out-of-body experiences make the cut, but near-death experiences are absent. Prayer is listed, but not meditation. Moon-landing conspiracy theories get a shout-out, but not 9-11 "trutherism" or Holocaust denial. The set labeled "Religious Bollocks" focuses mainly on Christian beliefs; most other religions get a pass.
Maybe there just wasn't room for all the things skeptics find objectionable. In fairness, however, many of these omissions are addressed in Jago's Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense. That one is available on a T-shirt also.
Jago prefaces his Periodic Table by writing, "I thought I'd try and apply the rational to the irrational ..." I'm sure that's what he thinks he's doing. But to a more, um, skeptical observer, it might appear as if both the table and the Venn diagram are merely lists of things that some people find obnoxious, stupid, and not worth looking into.
Maybe a more accurate, and certainly more concise, diagram would look something like this: