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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #143

By The Staff
Posted on: 5/20/2007

Edgumackashun, bye-bye Jerry, conspiracists, fairly stupid, Edwards revisited, climate skepticism and more!

Week ending May 19, 2007 (Vol 4, #20)

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:
Compulsory government education - I never learned about that in school.

Ding, dong the witch is dead - Fare-not-so-well to Falwell.

You conspiracy guys should be all over this - Old conspiracies never die. Hell, they don’t even fade away!

Editor’s Choice: Science fair stupidity! Holy Smack! - If the kid were on smack, that might explain it.

From the Archives: VP candidate John Edwards vs. science - SFN considers Edwards’ past as a trial lawyer…
This Week’s Poll:
Shhh! or ‘they’ might hear you!
Kil’s Evil Pick:
How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic,” from Gristmill - This is a great resource. I only wish I had known about it three weeks ago. (Not that it would have changed much. Conspiracy theorists, like all who think they have unlocked a forbidden Truth, are tenacious in their beliefs.) Still, there is a lot of information here that is well worth browsing through…
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Which doctors are good? Gnome debates MMGW; Oil company conspiracy to support IPCC report; Shermer & Radford to debate X-Track at Dragon*Con with Stackpole as moderator; disagreements on what-is-what in the MMGW debate.

Wednesday: A short video of awful movie scenes brought back an old project to help Ricky catch up on must-see movies from the past 30 or so years. A discussion of Hitchens’ views on religion, politics, and drinking led Kil into recalling a picture with Hitchens at TAM5, which we will hopefully one day see. This inevitably led into talk of TAM6 and who will be trying to go now that it will be held in the summer. As the new poll went up for this week, a cyber-fistfight broke out upon arguing whether “making sense” and “being stupid” are independent or not. Looking back on it, it was a pretty stupid argument that didn’t really make any sense. Shortly after, and for most of the rest of chat, classic movies were suggested for Ricky. Most left afterwards, but a few hung around and started a discussion on the American school system and what to do with it.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

Plumber wins New England right to 867-5309

Popular Crackpot Podcast — Bigfoot Jim

Skepticality #052 — Help Me Figure This Out: Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Phil Plait

Three killed, two wounded in Idaho shooting

20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Aliens

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:
Reclaiming History: the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi.

“It’s in the arguing that Bugliosi, as a former prosecutor, truly shines. When he gets down to the sweaty business of wrestling the conspiracy buffs, he charges into the ring as a righteous avenger, body-slamming everyone from Lane to Oliver Stone; he even throws a headlock on poor Gerald Posner, who actually agrees with him. No author is too obscure to escape Bugliosi’s attack. A Texas lawyer named Barr McClellan has sold 75,000 copies of a book that accuses Lyndon B. Johnson of masterminding the assassination; after the book was featured on the History Channel, the network was obliged to issue a statement acknowledging it was all, um, lies…

Bugliosi nicely traces the rise of the conspiracy movement; authors began cranking out books attacking the Warren Commission before it even issued its report. He reminds us how early on the movement was taken over by left-wing journals like Ramparts; this is surely one of the left’s more wrongheaded crusades. Bugliosi knows, though, that more than politics is at work. He understands how badly many Americans need there to have been a conspiracy, that it’s difficult to accept that an American president, especially one of Kennedy’s stature, could have been killed by a pathetic creature like Oswald… This book should be applauded…”

— Bryan Burrough, New York Times Book Review

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Is global warming a scam to tax? (1,880 views)
  2. 911 conspiracies (736 views)
  3. Is global warming a scam (part 2) (589 views)
  4. ABC Nightline debate (384 views)
  5. Debunked: ‘world wide scientific consensus’ (340 views)
  6. You conspiricy guys should be all over this (333 views)
  7. Really creepy illusions (297 views)
  8. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (294 views)
  9. An analysis of Ray Comfort’s crap (273 views)
  10. Olympic myth? (255 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (280 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (87 views)
  3. Cold Reading (71 views)
  4. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (52 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray (52 views)
  6. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (46 views)
  7. Skeptic Summary #142 (44 views)
  8. Evolution, Scientology Style (43 views)
  9. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (41 views)
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (35 views)
There were 5,971 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 2007, all rights reserved.

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