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Skeptic Summary #119

By The Staff
Posted on: 11/26/2006

Science and religion, Christmas and the ACLU, CPUs and desires, pointlessness and coolness and more!

Week ending November 25, 2006 (Vol 3, #46)

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

Special Announcement:
The SFN would like to send Kil back to the Amaz!ing Meeting next January, and you can help!
Forum Highlights:
Free for all — science & religion - Scientists make a “WCW Nitro” style smack-down on religion.

Have yourself an ACLU Christmas - The irony of being defended by those you despise.

Editor’s Choice: Cool on many levels - But will we ever know “the Answer?”
Kil’s Evil Pick:
Pointless but Cool - Kicking off the holiday season, here are some gift ideas that, ummmm, well, are exactly the right thing for, ummmm, someone?
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Sunday chat was slow. Only Photoshopping, and alternative photo-editing softwares. And Mabuse’s effort to troubleshoot Skepticality’s forum software.

Wednesday: Chat was wildly successful. We had a big crowd. Every subject was interesting. We got a surprise visit from Derek of Skepticality fame. The chat was fast and furious and drop-dead funny. Even Dave’s protracted internet searches and Ricky’s absence did not affect the flow of this perfect chat. @atomic, who is married by now, dropped in for some last words as a bachelor. What a hoot! If you weren’t there, you missed out, believe me…

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

20 Gadgets We Love

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:
The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution, by Sean B. Carroll.

“Sensing that many people misunderstand evolution or don’t believe it, geneticist Carroll here hopes to teach the interested and convince the doubters. He uses popular interest in animals as his lure and selects specific creatures, beginning with bloodless fishes of the Antarctic seas, as stages for his substantive points about evolution. More particularly, Carroll focuses on specific genes carried by his cast of animals to demonstrate natural selection. Carroll considers the animals’ most favorable adaptations, preserved in what he calls ‘immortal genes’; several hundred are common to all domains of life. Carroll then scales up to the macroscopic and considers traits such as color vision in monkeys; the vision and anatomy of fish, including the famous coelacanth; and the sickle-cell trait in humans. In each case, Carroll explains how the DNA code of the gene responsible for the trait is inferred to be the result of natural selection working on mutations, which occur at a steady rate. Here is evolution clearly explained and stoutly defended.”

— Booklist

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Calling all agnostics (866 views)
  2. Free for all — science & religion (664 views)
  3. Cool on many levels (442 views)
  4. Big Bang (423 views)
  5. SFN album cover (335 views)
  6. Taking secular humanism to NASCAR (259 views)
  7. What I don’t get (part 2) (168 views)
  8. Don’t feed the homeless (166 views)
  9. Limerick challenge (162 views)
  10. Just so’s ya know… (161 views)
  1. A Brief History of the Skeptic Friends Network (129 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (99 views)
  3. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (70 views)
  4. Cold Reading (53 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray (39 views)
  6. The Bible Answer Man (33 views)
  7. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (30 views)
  8. Evolution, Scientology Style (30 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #39 (28 views)
  10. Skeptic Summary #118 (28 views)
There were 4,036 daily visitors this week.

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 2006, all rights reserved.

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The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.

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