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Skeptic Summary #155

By The Staff
Posted on: 9/1/2007

Guns, God, warming, Dembski, evolution, Andrus and more!

Week ending September 1, 2007 (Vol 4, #32)

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:
Gun crimes up after ban? - SFN takes aim at the long-debated question.

Is skepticism compatible with belief in god? - Square peg and a round hole, but perhaps the hole is big enough.

MMGW debunked again! - Jerome is definitely back.

Editor’s Choice: Caption this Bill Dembski picture - Your chance to come up with something original!

From the Archives: A thread for HYBRID to debunk evolution for us - Guess who fails to debunk evolution?
Kil’s Evil Pick:
Last Sunday, August 26, Jerry Andrus, who I met and wrote a bit about in my TAM4 report, passed away after a long battle with cancer. He will be missed.
Visionary illusionist, skeptic and magician, Jerry Andrus astounds the world with his illusions and special effects. At home in Oregon, which he calls “The Castle of Chaos,” Andrus fashions the mind boggling illusions which he exhibits all over the world. The world renowned magician continues to perform, invent, write and occasionally lectures on the subject of cognitive science.

“I can fool you because you’re a human,” says Andrus, “You have a wonderful human mind that works no different from my human mind. Usually when we’re fooled, the mind hasn’t made a mistake. It’s come to the wrong conclusion for the right reason.”
Please visit his site. I can think of no better tribute to the man than to recommend that you check out works and learn more about him.
[Alternative medicine is
defined as] that set of
practices that cannot be
tested, refuse to be
tested, or consistently
fail tests.
— Richard Dawkins
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Children playing video games; coffee with cinnamon or whisky; debating; soul-searching in forum postings; Gustavus Adolphus and the 30-year war; the “Vasa” and the “Kronan.” Also: roleplaying, and novels in game settings; the source of dglas’ avatar; matriculating can cause you to go blind or give you furry palms? Party at SFN.

Wednesday: Chat started up with Trish detailing how her cat left a cricket without a leg to stand on. For much of the night, everyone was arguing over a video on tennis baseball. Some thought that it is fake because the ball has no apparent shadow even though the bat does. Coincidentally, the easiest way to fake such a video would be to use real bats and just pretend there is a ball, then put the ball in by editing the video. In either case, it is amazing whether it be because of physical or technical skill. Then getting old and tips to hide it: expressing your age as a product of primes. Such a topic quickly grew old, and so instead some stories of unsuspecting coworkers, reformatting hard drives, and baseball.bat were shared. Throughout chat, there were so many staff firings that boron10 got moved up to the head admin. Stay tuned for more next week. Hopefully there will be a chat moderator next week.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Bad Science

Bill Maher on Religion

I get email

Peppered Moths: We Told You So

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:
Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: a Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity, by Preston Jones (editor).

“Greg Graffin is frontman, singer and songwriter for the punk band Bad Religion. He also happens to have a Ph.D. in zoology and wrote his dissertation on evolution, atheism and naturalism. Preston Jones is a history professor at a Christian college and a fan of Bad Religion’s music. One day, on a whim, Preston sent Greg an appreciative e-mail. That was the start of an extraordinary correspondence. For several months, Preston and Greg sent e-mails back and forth on big topics like God, religion, knowledge, evil, evolution, biology, destiny and the nature of reality. Preston believes in God; Greg sees insufficient evidence for God’s existence. Over the course of their friendly debate, they tackle such cosmic questions as: Is religion rational or irrational? Does morality require belief in God? Do people only believe in God because they are genetically predisposed toward religion? How do we make sense of suffering in the world? Is this universe all there is? And what does it all matter? In this engaging book, Preston and Greg’s actual e-mail correspondence is reproduced, along with bonus materials that provide additional background and context. Each makes his case for why he thinks his worldview is more compelling and explanatory. While they find some places to agree, neither one convinces the other. They can’t both be right. So which worldview is more plausible? You decide.”

— Book Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. ‘Crisis of faith,’ Time magazine (931 views)
  2. Is skepticism compatible with belief in God? (395 views)
  3. Gun crimes up after ban? (379 views)
  4. Second Amendment (295 views)
  5. Shameless self promotion: buy my art! (262 views)
  6. Olympic myth? (233 views)
  7. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! (223 views)
  8. AU’s beef with Transcendental Medidation in schools (221 views)
  9. This year’s cynical holiday humor (179 views)
  10. Police trying to start a riot (163 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (496 views)
  2. Cold Reading (66 views)
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (57 views)
  4. Ms Christel (38 views)
  5. Scientific Truth (33 views)
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray (33 views)
  7. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (30 views)
  8. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (27 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #154 (26 views)
  10. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (24 views)
There were 5,171 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Opinions regarding select UFO sightings (3,055 views)
  2. Olympic myth? (1,199 views)
  3. ‘Crisis of faith,’ Time magazine (931 views)
  4. (Part 2) (808 views)
  5. Taking back the default position (752 views)
  6. Texas mega-church reneges on funeral offer (693 views)
  7. Lies and the assorted types who tell them (666 views)
  8. I’m skeptical about Skeptic Friends (634 views)
  9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! (592 views)
  10. Owl on the dollar bill… (538 views)
  11. This year’s cynical holiday humor (535 views)
  12. Evidence for Jesus (517 views)
  13. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (499 views)
  14. Color-coded license plates: punish with humiliation (498 views)
  15. Can the Christian God get anything right? (488 views)
  16. Introduce yourself (436 views)
  17. SFN store ideas… (430 views)
  18. The water cooler, part 2 (423 views)
  19. Unknown ancient geometry (415 views)
  20. Time to move the goal posts (411 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (2,205 views)
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (303 views)
  3. Cold Reading (239 views)
  4. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (199 views)
  5. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (160 views)
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray (133 views)
  7. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (120 views)
  8. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (118 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #152 (110 views)
  10. TAM4 (105 views)
  11. The Bible Answer Man (88 views)
  12. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (79 views)
  13. Evolution is a Lie (76 views)
  14. Scientific Truth (75 views)
  15. Spam Alert (74 views)
  16. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (74 views)
  17. Dr. Dino doesn’t like our Jack Chick spoof! (66 views)
  18. You’re an Idiot (64 views)
  19. Tommy Debates the Bible Answer man (55 views)
  20. Skeptic Summary #151 (49 views)
There were 21,702 daily visitors in August.

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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