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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #160

By The Staff
Posted on: 10/6/2007

Bush, CNN, a textbook, more money quotes, the flat Earth and more!


Week ending October 6, 2007 (Vol 4, #37)

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:
Bush vetoes child health act - As HalfMooner said, “No child left alive.”

CNN and alternative medicine - Time for an alternative news source.

Page from a Creationist textbook - Standard Creationist arguments, but with pictures!

Editor’s Choice: The money quote - More bits and pieces of Dembski’s embarrassment come out.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Flat Earth Society: “Deprogramming the masses since 1547”

This pick was suggested by Boron10 and I decided to go with it. After all, when we are discussing truly strange religious ideas, we often bring up the fact that some people still think that the Earth is flat as an example of absurd thinking of the most outrageous kind. Know your screwballs, I often say…

Is the site a parody? Is it an example of Poe’s Law that has fundamentalists and skeptics taking the bait? After looking over the site for some time, I can’t really say for sure. It works as a parody if one is inclined to look at it that way. Are these folks serious? It’s an open question. They surely don’t do much on their site to dispel the notion that they might be putting us on. I guess you will have to decide how honest they are being for yourself, and perhaps show me what I missed that would convince me of their intent one way or the other.
Rightly wishing to dispel notions regarding the alleged citrus-like shape of our planet, the Church was able to either silence or execute nearly all the fanatics. But a small handful remained, continuing to spread their blasphemous speeches and to promote their heretical ideals involving the very center of the universe. One of their number, who called himself Grigori Efimovich, would later be known to the rest of the world as Christopher Columbus. Using an elaborate setup involving hundreds of mirrors and a few burlap sacks, he was able to create an illusion so convincing that it was actually believed he had sailed around the entire planet and landed in the West Indies. As we now know, he did not. What Efimovich actually did was sail across the Atlantic Ocean to a previously undiscovered continent, North America, and even then only to a small island off the coast. It took him several years more even to “discover” his blunder and claim it as a “…new world.” But the damage had already been done, and mankind entered into what we now call its “Dark Ages”…

The Flat Earth Society Mission Statement
SkeptiQuote:

A danger sign of the lapse from
true skepticism into dogmatism is
an inability to respect those who
disagree.
— Dr. Leonard George
Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Planting flowers for the Spring; translating from another language vs. thinking in a second language; Dr. Mabuse’s experience of segregation in Atlanta.

Wednesday: Derek showed up to chat and talk inevitably shifted towards Dragon*con which our own Dr. Mabuse had attended. Over 50,000 probably showed up this year and Randi is scheduled to be at the one being held next year. Then, comparing web hosts prices and features for a budding physics-class podcast. The night ended with teaching math, Army/Navy jokes, and computer jokes. Also mentioned was yet another hilarious article from the Onion.

Come chat with us.
New Members This Week:
ggm41
3john
Cthooligan
RockLobster
sailingsoul
sabbathpriest
Running Bear
Worldlystone
superechnik

(Not a member? Become one today!)


Elsewhere in the World:
Pinning down a remedy for backache

Skepticality #062 — Girl Power! Interview: Alison Smith, founder of The Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society (SAPS)

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:
Einstein’s Refrigerator and Other Stories from Flip Side of History, by Steve Silverman.



“Steve Silverman was looking for a way to add some spice to his high school lectures when he realized that weird and bizarre true-life stories would capture his students’ attention. In fact, they worked so well that the science teacher then began posting his discoveries to his own Web site, which he dubbed Useless Information. Well-researched and clearly sourced, Silverman’s unusual tidbits have gained a wide following. In Einstein’s Refrigerator, Silverman collects more than 30 of the most fascinating stories he has gathered — tales of forgotten genius, great blunders, and incredible feats of survival, as well as answers to puzzling questions. Einstein’s Refrigerator is a remarkable book with spellbinding stories. Whatever happened to the refrigerator Einstein helped invent? While it never became a commercial success, its underlying concepts became the basis for cooling nuclear breeder reactors.”

— Book Description


This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (1,782 views)
  2. Rejoice Republicans, the Savior approacheth (1,569 views)
  3. Craig returns, first votes against hate crime act (509 views)
  4. 9/11 was an inside job! (367 views)
  5. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (237 views)
  6. The water cooler, part 2 (213 views)
  7. How did you find us? (210 views)
  8. The problem with atheism (207 views)
  9. Page from a Creationist textbook (202 views)
  10. Are pets beneficial to humans’ mental health? (181 views)
Articles:
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (33,001 views)
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two (661 views)
  3. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (658 views)
  4. A Cherry Picker’s Guide to Choosing Evidence for Traumatic Repression or False Memory Syndrome (178 views)
  5. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (77 views)
  6. Cold Reading (57 views)
  7. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (55 views)
  8. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (47 views)
  9. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (41 views)
  10. Miracle Thaw Tray (41 views)
There were 31,463 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Brights’ opinions of select UFO sightings P.S. (2,120 views)
  2. Consensus falling apart by the day (2,113 views)
  3. Rejoice Republicans, the Savior approacheth (1,864 views)
  4. Is skepticism compatible with belief in God? (1,545 views)
  5. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (753 views)
  6. Penyprity and thoughts of school taxes (737 views)
  7. Freakist 50 seconds ever! (732 views)
  8. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (714 views)
  9. Skepticism and politics (625 views)
  10. Olympic myth? (588 views)
  11. Religon and magic mushrooms (585 views)
  12. NASA-1934 warmest year on record! (584 views)
  13. Second Amendment (545 views)
  14. The water cooler, part 2 (541 views)
  15. Are skepticism and Buddhism compatible? (517 views)
  16. Craig returns, first votes against hate crime act (478 views)
  17. Tasered and arrested by Kerry! (469 views)
  18. Awful album covers (464 views)
  19. Owl on the dollar bill… (458 views)
  20. Therefore God exists (435 views)
Articles:
  1. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (19,307 views)
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (3,627 views)
  3. Evolving a Venom or Two (2,437 views)
  4. A Cherry Picker’s Guide to Choosing Evidence for Traumatic Repression or False Memory Syndrome (734 views)
  5. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Argument Weak on Both Sides (434 views)
  6. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (372 views)
  7. Astrology (240 views)
  8. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (184 views)
  9. Miracle Thaw Tray (165 views)
  10. Cold Reading (162 views)
  11. You’re an Idiot (139 views)
  12. Scientific Truth (129 views)
  13. The Bible Answer Man (94 views)
  14. Bible’s Bad Fruits a Cheap Shot (89 views)
  15. The Skeptic Friend’s visit to the ICR (85 views)
  16. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (81 views)
  17. Evolution is a Lie (79 views)
  18. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (75 views)
  19. More on the Polonium 218 Controversy (71 views)
  20. American Scientist Review (March/April 1998) (70 views)
There were 37,584 daily visitors in September.

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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