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Skeptic Summary #181

By The Staff
Posted on: 3/9/2008

Hagee's endorsements, NWO forever, being unbalanced, bad psychics, the market's mind and more!

Week ending March 8, 2008 (Vol 5, #9)

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:
John Hagee — Israel needs better friends! - So does John McCain…

New World Order happening right now! - Drive-by fear-mongering!

The secrets of men: unbalanced homophobia - debaters also unbalanced.

Editor’s Choice: Psychic update: not so psychic - The year ain’t over!

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Man’s true nature meets market economics,” by Lee Drutman for The Los Angeles Times.

My pick this week is a book review of The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics by Micheal Shermer.

Why would I choose a book review as my evil pick, you might ask? A cherry picked review at that?

Think of this pick as my opening salvo across the bow of what I believe is a growing problem in the skeptical community. It is the idea that there is, or should be a default politic for skeptics, and libertarianism is it. Now, I really don’t care if a skeptic chooses to be a libertarian, or embraces any other politic for that matter, after reasonably considering the alternatives and making an informed decision. Hopefully, that is what a critical thinker will do. Plus, it’s okay with me if we argue for whatever our view is until the cows come home. It’s okay to argue for our opinions, as long as we recognize that, after all is said and done, opinions are the best we will get after applying all of the critical thinking we can muster to whatever politic we are most comfortable with. Simply put, I doubt that there is a default politic for skeptics, and I sure don’t want to have my skepticism muddied by a political identity that I am supposed to embrace. That would be a mistake that could set me up to be easily dismissed in other matters of concern to skeptics.

I will probably go into more depth on this subject in the future.


Authority has every reason to fear
the skeptic, for authority can rarely
survive in the face of doubt.
— Robert Lindner

Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Our chat host was busy recovering.

Wednesday: Almost everyone didn’t come to chat on Wednesday night. Oh sure, a few of us showed up. And not having you slackers there gave us time to talk in more depth on whatever subject we were talking about. Really important stuff came up and got to be thoroughly dealt with, like the fact that there are lyrics to the Star Trek theme, and, you know, politics, and how young skeptics are standing on the shoulders of us older skeptics. Hell, I had to take an ibuprofen just to sleep because my shoulders were in so much pain!

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Drug data that flatters to deceive

Orderly Universe: Evidence of God?

Skepticality #072 — Mystery Hunters — Interview: David Acer (Doubting Dave)

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 Ancestor’s Tale: a Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution, by Richard Dawkins.

“The diversity of the earth’s plant and animal life is amazing—especially when one considers the near certainty that all living things can trace their lineage back to a single ancestor — a bacterium — that lived more than three billion years ago. Taking his cue from Chaucer, noted Oxford biologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, etc.) works his way narratively backward through time. As the path reaches points where humanity’s ancestors converge with those of other species — primates, mammals, amphibians and so on — various creatures have tales that carry an evolutionary lesson. The peacock, for example, offers a familiar opportunity to discuss sexual selection, which is soon freshly applied to the question of why humans started walking upright. These passages maintain an erudite yet conversational voice whether discussing the genetic similarities between hippos and whales (a fact ‘so shocking that I am still reluctant to believe it’) or the existence of prehistoric rhino-sized rodents. The book’s accessibility is crucial to its success, helping to convince readers that, given a time span of millions of years, unlikely events, like animals passing from one continent to another, become practically inevitable. This clever approach to our extended family tree should prove a natural hit with science readers.”

— Publisher’s Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Hell, your final destination? (6,242 views)
  2. What are your favorite words? (3,437 views)
  3. The secrets of men: unbalanced homophobia (978 views)
  4. LiLo (Behe) is back! (658 views)
  5. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (578 views)
  6. Muslim jihadists (432 views)
  7. Super generator? Perpetual motion? Another grift? (377 views)
  8. 9/11 was an inside job! (341 views)
  9. Beelzebufo ampinga (328 views)
  10. What if Jack Chick were an atheist? ‘Unholy Joe’ (266 views)
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (1,634 views)
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two (1,292 views)
  3. Skeptic Summary #152 (148 views)
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (99 views)
  5. Scientific Truth (56 views)
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (47 views)
  7. Cold Reading (47 views)
  8. Skeptic Summary #180 (45 views)
  9. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (41 views)
  10. Miracle Thaw Tray (41 views)
There were 11,853 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 2008, all rights reserved.

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