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Skeptic Summary #189

By The Staff
Posted on: 5/18/2008

Flat food, good god, nair, wrong, smackdown, very odd people and more!

Week ending May 17, 2008 (Vol 5, #17)

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:
Crop circles again… - Designs in fields can only be interesting for so long.

God is great? - When a god saves one person from a tragedy where another 1,000 die, is that really all that great?

Nitrofill your car tires - Particularly useful if you plan on making your car fly.

SFN Mclaughlin Group - Nothing skeptical, just a lot of fun.

Editor’s Choice: Sarfati vs. DaveScot on God’s morality - Watch them try to punch each other through paper sacks.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
"Humans: The Strangest Species," by Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor. From the blog entry:
Humans are arguably the most bizarre creatures in the animal kingdom. The proof is in the many gross, unnecessary, contradictory and simply inexplicable things we do. And of course we’re different in our capacity to ponder all these oddities and sometimes figure a few out. This romp through the LiveScience archives reveals why we…

Lie, cheat, fall in love, kiss, blush, have sex, die?
Have fingernails, have an appendix, an Adam’s apple, curly pubic hairs?
Part our hair, crack our knuckles, get goose bumps, shiver when cold? Blink without noticing, see spots in our eyes, cry when slicing onions?
Can’t tickle ourselves?
Burp, fart, itch, stink, struggle to find a mate?
Get freckles, get birthmarks, hear ringing in our ears?
Spread urban legends, enjoy hearing voices, see things that aren’t there? Join cults, believe in ghosts, fall for placebos, believe in UFOs?
Don’t understand consciousness?
Yawn, sleep, dream, snore, laugh, cry, procrastinate…
And much much more. Go see for yourself. Hell, just reading the list is fun!

What can be asserted without evidence
can also be dismissed without evidence.
— Christopher Hitchens

Chat Highlights:
Sunday the 4th: Bad puns from Canada. Playing in a band, and making your own music. Soft workout, swimming. Old Mission Impossible. Intelligent Design in Star Trek.

Wednesday the 7th: Chat started slowly, picked up a bit of steam after the first half hour or so, and then took off like we have not seen in a while. Was it the way the planets lined up or did I (Kil) create the reality of a full chat crowd and make it happen? I doubt it. For one thing I was tired and the only reality I created that wasn’t virtual was dinner, which I ate during chat, as is my habit. Also, doubting is one of my jobs around here. Why did they come? Where have they been? I dunno. Perhaps they will tell me someday. But I doubt that too.

Sunday the 11th: Attendance was low. Dr. Mabuse and Ricky discussed how to pass exams without pulling an all-nighter before the test, studying. A few discussion threads were also included.

Wednesday the 14th: Chatters noticed some small updates to the chat program. Then bad drink names: Virginia Tech, 9-11, Hurricane Katrina. At least one of those is a real drink, I’ll let you guess which. Somehow the conversation turned to Scorpion lollipops. This was followed by a discussion of one of the more recent Olberman rants on Bush. Chat ended with talk of Satanism. Afterwards, everyone went dancing naked around a fire in the woods.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
Coat Of Arms
joyce w

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Animal Interaction Behind Cambrian Explosion?

Biology needs to explain gravity?

Einstein on God and the Bible

How pools of blood trials could save lives

In pursuit of the perfect pitch

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter

The Wedgwood Document

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 Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson.

“From the acclaimed New York Times science writer George Johnson, an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science — moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp, unambiguous reply.

Johnson takes us to those times when the world seemed filled with mysterious forces, when scientists were dazzled by light, by electricity, and by the beating of the hearts they laid bare on the dissecting table.

We see Galileo singing to mark time as he measures the pull of gravity, and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his eye to learn how light causes vibrations in the retina. William Harvey ties a tourniquet around his arm and watches his arteries throb above and his veins bulge below, proving that blood circulates. Luigi Galvani sparks electrical currents in dissected frog legs, wondering at the twitching muscle fibers, and Ivan Pavlov makes his now-famous dogs salivate at ascending chord progressions.

For all of them, diligence was rewarded. In an instant, confusion was swept aside and something new about nature leaped into view. In bringing us these stories, Johnson restores some of the romance to science, reminding us of the existential excitement of a single soul staring down the unknown.”

— Book Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean (14,249 views)
  2. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in! (2,770 views)
  3. Rejoice Republicans, the Savior approacheth (878 views)
  4. Possum on the half shell (751 views)
  5. What are your favorite words? (715 views)
  6. Hell, your final destination? (673 views)
  7. God is great? (669 views)
  8. 9/11 was an inside job! (632 views)
  9. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit! (460 views)
  10. LiLo (Behe) is back! (430 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (1,890 views)
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (1,859 views)
  3. Skeptic Summary #152 (147 views)
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (118 views)
  5. Evolution, Scientology Style (79 views)
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits (58 views)
  7. Evolution is a Lie (50 views)
  8. Cold Reading (45 views)
  9. Skeptic Summary #188 (44 views)
  10. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony! (39 views)
There were 15,702 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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