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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #221

By The Staff
Posted on: 1/19/2009

Replicants, pundits, smokers, hemorrhages, metal, digital bits and more!


Week ending unknown 17, 2009 (Vol 6, #3)

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:
Scientists develop RNA that replicates itself - Need to teach that trick to the money in my wallet.

Sports pundits: how hard is it to sweep? - We need more sports skepticism, and this is good stuff.

Third-hand smoke - Where there’s second-hand smoke…

Editor’s Choice: OMFG, my brain is hemorrhaging! - That happens when you read too much tripe.

From the Archives: Molten metal - A classic 9/11 conspiracy thread by ergo123



Kil’s Evil Pick:
Digital Bits Skeptic is the brain child of Andy Kaiser who also runs and writes the Digital Bits Technology Column for those of us who are challenged in that area. Lots of great info there. Digital Bits Skeptic is a site of skeptic-related articles and podcasts on many subjects of interest to the skeptical community. From his Frequently Asked Questions page:
Digital Bits Skeptic is about promoting critical thinking and skepticism. The articles on this site show how to use these tools in today’s society. This site was created as a response to the frustratingly large amount of credulity and scientific ignorance in today’s society.

A skeptical outlook in life is healthy. At the very least, it prevents you from wasting your time or money. At the most, it can save lives. Much of what we see reported in today’s media is overly credulous. Impressive claims are often accepted as fact, without question. Those that are questioned are often not tested scientifically to prove the claim.

From New Age mysticism to organized religion, from aromatherapy to Bigfoot, Digital Bits Skeptic is a collection of articles critically examining these kinds of topics.
The articles touch on a wide range of subjects of interest to our community. It’s also important to note that Andy doesn’t write all of the articles on his site. Submitting articles for publication is encouraged. (Of course, none of our articles will ever appear there, because we publish here.)

Anyhow, there is lots of good reading (or listening if you prefer) to be had at Digital Bits Skeptic, and it’s one more great resource that I recommend.

SkeptiQuote:
As I “galaxy-gaze” through time upon their diversity of colors, shapes, sizes, brightnesses, and structural detail, the boundary between knowledge and ignorance calls to me. When I reach for the edge of the universe, I do it knowing that along some paths of cosmic discovery, there are times when, at least for now, one must be content to love the questions themselves.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson


Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Chat started with talk of Australia, cruises, and chef’s new six month job vacation blogging about being a tourist, funded by the Australian Tourism board. Then talk switched over to the weather as chatters complained about the temperature, or lack thereof. We got news from some members of the Skepticallity board that David Mabus (not to be confused with Dr. Mabuse) was back and posting his same filth again. Of course he had tried to register here as well and Dave banned him before Mabus was able to reply to the conformation email. Ig caught wind of a threat to gay bars in Seattle. The rest of chat was focused on the book Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter.

Come chat with us.


New Members This Week:
rhyn
kimocrossman
scarlet_35
Kev67

(Not a member? Become one today!)




Elsewhere in the World:
Detoxification Therapies

For God’s sake, have Bryan Appleyard’s articles made any difference to our lives?

The things you can perk up with a cup of coffee

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:
Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land, by Nina Burleigh.



“In November 2002, the public display of an ossuary (an ancient burial vessel) inscribed James, the brother of Jesus, sent ripples of excitement, doubt and consternation through both the religious and scholarly worlds. But when scholars took a close look, they declared the inscription a forgery based on the lack of provenance and a tremendous disparity between the physical writing of the word James and the rest of the inscription. In her captivating chronicle, veteran journalist Burleigh (Mirage) enters a dark world full of shady dealings, illicit collectors and monomaniacal archeologists. Along the way we meet an improbable cast of characters, including Oded Golan, the ossuary’s owner; André Lemaire, an epigraphist who early on testified to the authenticity of the ossuary’s inscription; Shlomo Moussaieff, a billionaire collector with a warehouse full of artifacts of uncertain value; and Israel Finkelstein, a maverick Israeli archeologist who questions the historicity of many biblical events. Burleigh draws readers in from page one and brilliantly captures the compelling debates about archeology’s relationship to narratives of faith.”

— Publishers Weekly




This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. Possum on the half shell
  3. Art or oxygen theft?
  4. Third-hand smoke
  5. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  6. Beelzebufo ampinga
  7. A half of a wing & a piece of a prayer
  8. Females?
  9. SFN 2009 Psychic Contest, Enter by Feb1, 2009!
  10. Inspirational LP jackets
Articles:
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Skeptic Summary #152
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Scientific Truth
  8. Cold Reading
  9. Skeptic Summary #220
  10. Evolution is a Lie
There were 9,232 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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The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


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