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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #31

By The Staff
Posted on: 3/11/2005

Possible eruption, calling all conservatives, rewarding equivocation, who needs help, NDEs and more!

Week ending March 11, 2005 (Vol 2, #10)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
But perhaps soon, it will all be moot… - Far east of Java, this time.

Rally The Bush Supporters! - Get a feel for the political pulse of SFN members.

Templeton, scientific advancement of religion lol - The equivalent of a Nobel Peace Prize to Stalin?

Editor’s Choice: A Reminder - One of the reasons we do this.
Kil’s Evil Pick:
A Bottomless Can of Worms - “Contrary to what mediums, ghost hunters, and NDE researchers would have us to believe, it is not possible to prove the ‘survival’ hypothesis, even in principle.”
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Medicines; Storm bought books, some even “SFN-approved” (Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark); latinijral’s ability to provoke emotions; participating in market research. Also: religion, and science and determinism vs. PKI.

Wednesday: This week’s chat brought many from the usual crowd. Some long-time members returned, and some new ones appeared for the first time! Also: that damned game; banning, anyone?; medical problems and health insurance woes; skeptics in relationships with non-skeptics; and computers! Missed out? Don’t worry — there’s always next week!

Come chat with us.
New Members this Week:
D Smith

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Atheist “Wife Swap” Delayed

Bad Science

Moon probe could kill conspiracy theory

Out of Balance

What’s New by Bob Park

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.
Book of the Week:
Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences, by Susan Blackmore

“Near-death experiences (NDEs) have remarkably similar characteristics the world over, leading many to cite them as proof of a hereafter. Blackmore, a British psychologist, carefully reviews the literature and her own research for something like an opposite claim. NDEs do indeed have universal aspects, but that’s because they manifest the chemistry of dying brains; what’s universal is the brain itself. Moreover, components of NDEs (such as ‘tunnels,’ down which the dying travel toward bright lights; sensations of well-being; and the appearance of comforting relatives from the beyond) can also be found in LSD trips and dreams. Tunnels are the most universal element of NDEs, but they, too, can be explained as chemical aberrations — brought on, in this instance, by the distress of optic nerves. Having said all this, Blackmore goes on to discuss the profound psychological — not to mention religious — impact NDEs can have on individuals, but clearly her account is valuable because it looks rationally and with as much scientific rigor as possible at this strange, almost unmeasurable phenomenon.”

— Booklist

More issues of the Skeptic Summary can be found in our archive.

The Skeptic Summary is produced by the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network, copyright 2005, all rights reserved.

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