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Skeptic Summary #225

By The Staff
Posted on: 3/1/2009

Antiblashpheming, boiling pots, bizarre experiments and more!

Week ending February 28, 2009 (Vol 6, #7)

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:
UN adopts binding measure to ban blasphemy! - Awww, [deleted] [deleted] [deleted]!

Editor’s Choice: Ray Comfort has a new pot-boiler out - Perhaps it’s as exciting as watching a pot boil.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Top Twenty Most Bizarre Experiments Of All Time - Well, what can I say about this pick? Truth is stranger than fiction? I dunno. A few of these experiments really did add to our knowledge base in a positive way. Like the The Stanford Prison Experiment, for example. Still, there is much here that is simply inexplicable, such as the Elephants on Acid experiment which also happens to be the first experiment listed.

The list itself was compiled by Alex Boese, the mastermind behind The Museum of Hoaxes, which I’m sure I have picked or picked from in past issues of the Skeptic Summary. When you’re done with the list, click around his site. It’s still one of my favorites.

A true believer … must also claim to have at least an inkling of what that Supreme Being desires. I have been called arrogant in my time … but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator — that’s beyond my conceit.
— Christopher Hitchens

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Chat started up with cooking, the web comic Sluggy, and Why people laugh at Creationists. Several chatters attempted to sketch out a plan to make a new religion to get rich. Then a comparison between TAM, Dragon*Con and other skeptical gatherings. TAM won. Talk wandered into vacations in general, and chat ended with shop talk, cosmology, and physics.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
5 Ways People Are Trying to Save the World (That Don’t Work)

6 Famous Unsolved Mysteries (With Really Obvious Solutions)

Center for Inquiry World Congress 2009

Creation of Christian Soldiers a Chilling Sidelight of Darwin Bashing

Hard Times at Red Donkey

Skeptics’ Circle #106

Spying on 60 million people doesn’t add up

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:
Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, by Paul Kurtz, Barry Karr and Ranjit Sandhu (Editors).

“Over the past two decades, science and religion have been seeking common ground through ongoing dialogue. The contributors to this volume provide a dimension to the conversation that has seldom been heard. Most of these essays originated as papers delivered at a 2001 conference in Atlanta sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, which is committed to the use of science and reason to conduct free inquiry into all areas of human interest. The very simple thesis of the collection is that science and religion can never be compatible. Rich and suggestive essays by such well-known thinkers as Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and Arthur C. Clarke range over topics from intelligent design to sociobiology and creationism. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg opens the book by declaring that a dialogue between science and religion cannot be constructive, for science has made it possible for people to be not religious. Botanist Massimo Pigliucci argues that the newly popular theory of intelligent design is a kind of ‘neocreationism’ trying to get into public school curricula by the back door. Finally, philosopher and editor Kurtz (Skeptical Odysseys, etc.) contends that science and religion are minimally compatible, for where science has provided an understanding of the vast and mysterious cosmos, religion is ‘dramatic existentialist poetry,’ a product of humankind’s creative imagination designed to overcome fear and uncertainty with hope and love. Although some will dismiss most of the essays as arrogant and contentious, they nevertheless present important and provocative voices too often drowned out by the move to assert complete compatibility between science and religion.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. Why do Republicans hate the poor?
  3. A half of a wing & a piece of a prayer
  4. Beelzebufo ampinga
  5. Possum on the half shell
  6. Hell, your final destination?
  7. Jesus tempts Satan
  8. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  9. Funny FAILS
  10. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit!
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Skeptic Summary #152
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray
  7. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  8. Scientific Truth
  9. Skeptic Summary #224
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
There were 9,170 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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