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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #185

By The Staff
Posted on: 4/12/2008

Goring Gore, believers beware, Biblical astronomy, fatherhood, Kansas, Newton, hoaxes and more!


Week ending April 12, 2008 (Vol 5, #13)

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:
Al tells it like it is - Or does he?

Beware the Believers - An enigma wrapped in a flash animation.

The Bible and Modern Astronomy, Part 2 - The double life of a real astrophysics PhD.

I’m going to be a dad! - We need to wait a bit for the cheap cigars.

Editor’s Choice: Kansas vs Darwin - A nice documentary, and still relevant.


New Article:
Newton’s Third Law - Do not read this article.


Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Museum of Hoaxes - Does it matter that April 1st has come and gone? Not to these people. This is one of the greatest collections of hoaxes I have ever seen. (Not that I normally look for hoaxes, but as a skeptic, the news of them often seems to find me.) This is a pretty vast site and includes among other things The Hoaxipedia, filled with, well, what you would expect from an encyclopedia of hoaxes. It’s a work-in-progress since the hoaxes keep rolling in…

Getting back to April Fools jokes, they do have a top one-hundred list of these. For example, there is this one:
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In 1957 the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Enjoy!

(Hey filthy, this site was made for you!!!)

SkeptiQuote:
Uri Geller may have psychic powers
by means of which he can bend spoons;
if so, he appears to be doing it the
hard way.
— James Randi


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

Wednesday (the 2nd): The night started up with Netwon’s Third Law, an article recently published on the SFN. After this, most of chat was tech talk: The present and future of media storage, flash drives, and ancient programming languages. After many had left, the subject switched over to religion, mostly coming off the Why religious people are so arrogant thread.

Wednesday (the 9th): Not many showed up, but quality over quantity I guess. It started off with a visit to the dentist gone wrong, but morphed into how often we skeptics change our minds on important issues. Then religion and the existence of non-theistic definition of a god. This naturally lead into philosophy, and ended out the night.

Come chat with us.


New Members This Week:
Grobianus
rosekate12
bonny420
fanta
devwatmore
Deni
Blueyedame
bobcarver
Omnicow
bradgarrison
gerund
davidmabus69
zwqzwqzwq
prfctflaw
bispltemp
SteveG

(Not a member? Become one today!)




Elsewhere in the World:
Arbitrary decisions on additives

Ben Stein: Front Man for Creationism’s Manufactroversy

Deathless drug strategy buries good news

Evolving the Wow! Factor

First Lungless Frog Found

Fish oil pills, exam results and a belated retreat

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter

Skepticality #074 - No Intelligence Allowed! - Interviews: Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr. Michael Shermer

Three Theories That Might Blow Up the Big Bang

What’s New by Bob Park

Why Ken Miller isn’t in Expelled

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.


Book of the Week:
Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life, by Austin Dacey.



“In a dazzling display of erudition, this book presents a cogent argument for secular liberalism. Dacey, a philosopher who teaches at Polytechnic University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, claims that values and ethics — defining what is right and wrong, good and bad — are not the sole domain of theologians. To contribute to our understanding of enlightened secularism, he cites like-minded thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Dewey, Adam Smith, John Rawls, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Plato, John Locke and Baruch Spinoza, among others. Dacey’s presentation is especially timely in view of the emphasis by some current presidential candidates on their religious identity. Not since 1960, when John F. Kennedy, as a Roman Catholic, argued for church-state separation, has the issue of secularism versus religion been so prominent in a national election. Dacey’s analysis helps to put this question into the larger perspective of liberty and conscience. Dacey advocates for democracy over authoritarianism, not hesitating to challenge theocratic Islam, for example, as a new totalitarianism. He calls on secular liberals to stand up for reason and science, the separation of religion and state, freedom of belief, personal autonomy, equality, toleration, and self-criticism. This is a thoughtful, well-reasoned argument for progressive secularism.”

— Publishers Weekly




This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Hell, your final destination? (3,166 views)
  2. What are your favorite words? (1,762 views)
  3. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in! (1,299 views)
  4. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (996 views)
  5. 9/11 was an inside job! (666 views)
  6. Al tells it like it is (648 views)
  7. The Messiah (544 views)
  8. Possum on the half shell (441 views)
  9. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! (394 views)
  10. LiLo (Behe) is back! (340 views)
Articles:
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (1,361 views)
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (1,349 views)
  3. Skeptic Summary #152 (133 views)
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (98 views)
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (62 views)
  6. Astrology (60 views)
  7. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (46 views)
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray (44 views)
  9. Newton’s Third Law (41 views)
  10. Cold Reading (34 views)
There were 10,724 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Hell, your final destination? (17,278 views)
  2. What are your favorite words? (11,460 views)
  3. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (2,197 views)
  4. Muslim jihadists (1,908 views)
  5. 9/11 was an inside job! (1,834 views)
  6. LiLo (Behe) is back! (1,532 views)
  7. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in! (1,320 views)
  8. Why religious people are so arrogant (1,307 views)
  9. New features? (1,159 views)
  10. The secrets of men: unbalanced homophobia (1,136 views)
  11. Possum on the half shell (1,079 views)
  12. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit! (892 views)
  13. Beelzebufo ampinga (849 views)
  14. Psychic update: not so psychic (811 views)
  15. Really creepy illusions (777 views)
  16. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! (727 views)
  17. Super generator? Perpetual motion? Another grift? (669 views)
  18. A Half of a Wing & A piece of A Prayer (634 views)
  19. Religion versus vaccines — sound familiar? (580 views)
  20. Sam Harris / Andrew Sullivan debate (561 views)
Articles:
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (5,412 views)
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (5,192 views)
  3. Skeptic Summary #152 (529 views)
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (437 views)
  5. Questioning the Validity of False Memory Syndrome (317 views)
  6. Cold Reading (276 views)
  7. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (225 views)
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray (203 views)
  9. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (152 views)
  10. Scientific Truth (152 views)
  11. Evolution is a Lie (141 views)
  12. Calorad (134 views)
  13. TAM4 (121 views)
  14. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults (120 views)
  15. Mesmer, Casino Monkey, and Video Sex (112 views)
  16. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (109 views)
  17. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (104 views)
  18. Time Warner Cable: Trick or Treat? (98 views)
  19. Fence-Sitting (91 views)
  20. Evolution, Scientology Style (87 views)
There were 47,942 daily visitors in March.


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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