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Skeptic Summary #203

By The Staff
Posted on: 8/30/2008

Ray's comfort, hiding the truth, Gary's illusion, varying decay, sideshows and more!

Week ending August 30, 2008 (Vol 5, #31)

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:
Pretending to want to know the atheist POV - How much comforting does Ray need?

Scientists shielding the theory of evolution?! - It’s all Ig’s fault…

Shirley Maclaine & Kevin Ryerson - Gary returned, but with nothing really new.

Editor’s Choice: ‘Evolution bogus’ in 3… 2… 1… - Goody, a math thread!

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Sideshow World - Many years ago I took part in writing a rock musical about PT Barnum. The freaks and geeks and all of the oddities that he gathered, both fake and real, have always interested me. The carnies, the snake oil salesman, Eng and Chang, the original Siamese twins, and even a mermaid presented as authentic to gasping crowds willing to fork over “one thin dime” for the privilege of gaping at these wonders has fascinated me ever since I first encountered the strange and wonderful world of the circus and carnival sideshow. Imagine my thrill at finding a site dedicated to all of it. Past and present, fake and real, silly and sublime, it’s all here. And it’s free to explore. So if you are interested in the bearded lady, the strongest man alive, the elixir of life, and more than a few “very special people,” this site is for you, too. Enjoy…

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
— Susan B. Anthony

Chat Highlights:
Sunday: Our Sunday chat host is on vacation.

Wednesday: First up was Chef’s new cooking show. We also welcomed a few new chatters this week. After some forum talk about avatars and chat signs, most of the night was focused on politics. First up was health care, then the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, whether Obama was a citizen of Indonesia, among other topics. McCain was in there too. After the political discussion petered out, current jobs and music ended out the night.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Banking with Jesus is a bad idea

Be Afraid

The gift that keeps on giving: Steve Fuller

Report on the Sixth International Conference on Creationism, Part Three

Report on the Sixth International Conference on Creationism, Part Four

Report on the Sixth International Conference on Creationism, Conclusion

Skepticality Episode 83 - Watch this Space… Interview with Phil Plait

Skepticality Episode 84 - What’s The Harm? Interview with Tim Farley

What’s New by Bob Park

World record ($100,000) prime number found?

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

Book of the Week:
Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery, by Martin Gardner.

“First published in 1955, the Urantia Book, a 2097-page tome hailed by its advocates as the channeled wisdom of celestial beings, posits one infinite God, the great I AM, and billions of lesser gods. It contains pronouncements on evolution, cosmology, physics and quantum mechanics, which Gardner (The New Age: Notes of a Fringe Watcher) finds deeply flawed, and it includes a biography of Jesus that asserts he toured Rome and Greece at ages 28 and 29, becoming an adept of Greek philosophy, mathematics and art. The Urantia cult was founded by two former Seventh-day Adventists, Chicago psychiatrist William Sadler (1875-1969) and his brother-in-law, Wilfred Kellogg (1876-1956), a businessman. In this intriguing expose, Gardner, former Scientific American mathematics columnist, makes a strong case that the Urantia Book is filled with plagiarized passages from other cult books. He also charts bitter schisms among the Urantians and looks at other Adventist splinter groups, notably David Koresh’s Branch Davidian cult consumed by flames near Waco, Tex.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in! (1,296 views)
  2. NASA doctors photos from Mars (1,084 views)
  3. Shirley Maclaine & Kevin Ryerson (739 views)
  4. Possum on the half shell (509 views)
  5. Ready to rumble! (507 views)
  6. Free markets? (429 views)
  7. Scientists shielding the theory of evolution?! (357 views)
  8. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit! (305 views)
  9. A Christian (Catholic) sense of proportion… (288 views)
  10. Obama/Biden 2008 (259 views)
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two (1,280 views)
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark (1,196 views)
  3. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda (216 views)
  4. Skeptic Summary #152 (199 views)
  5. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down? (175 views)
  6. Evolution is a Lie, and you Skeptics KNOW it! Part 4 (169 views)
  7. More on the Polonium 218 Controversy (143 views)
  8. The Biblical support for a Flat Earth and Geocentricism (123 views)
  9. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle (107 views)
  10. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Argument Weak on Both Sides (94 views)
There were 20,361 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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