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Skeptic Summary #229

By The Staff
Posted on: 3/28/2009

Marketing, fooling a psychic, cold fusion, Santa, demons and more!

Week ending March 28, 2009 (Vol 6, #11)

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:
Know your television marketers - But not in a Biblical sense.

Psychic is duped - Poetic justice when grifters turn on themselves.

Editor’s Choice: New hope for controversial ‘cold fusion’ - Or, maybe not.

From the Archives: Should my child be allowed to believe in Santa? - A good question as we prepare for the arrival of the Easter Bunny.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Demons in Connecticut,” by Joe Nickell — Well, what with the The Haunting in Connecticut just making it to the screen, and with some pretty not-all-that-impressive reviews, a couple things stands out. “It’s based on a true story.” Well, that’s what the trailer says anyhow. “Some things cannot be explained.” That’s what the movies website says. But no on both counts. Not in this case, as Joe Nickell, who investigated the alleged haunting years ago, details for us. He opens:
Shades of The Amityville Horror! Take a house reeking of death, bring in a “demonologist,” commission a professional writer to enhance the alleged events, Hollywoodize the resulting book into a horror/thriller flick, and shamelessly bandy about the word true in promotional copy. This formula lured moviegoers to The Amityville Horror (1979); now — current hucksters hope — The Haunting in Connecticut, “based on true events,” will entice a new generation of credulous screamers. But here is some of the real truth I encountered in my investigation of the case in 1992 and 1993.
Read on

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.
— George Jean Nathan

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Chat started off light with rib jokes and heart puns. It was even more hilarious since every time Kil laughed he ended up hurting himself. After some more light humor, forum talk started up, mostly about Anne. Then movie talk with American Psycho, and finding Dave a new business card holder. Our old friend Creation88 also stopped by to say hello, and chat ended shortly after.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
Pat Haus

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
The 108th meeting of the Skeptic’s Circle

Academic Freedom, Strengths and Weaknesses

A brilliant refutation of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al.

Dembski on Bluffing

Free speech for me, but not for thee: The real meaning of ‘Academic Freedom’ in Oklahoma

The Huffington Post delves deeper into the woo

More Weaseling

Spekticality #96 — Fossil Thursday! Interview: Dr. John M. Harris

Spekticality #97 — Skepticamp Wrap-Up

Warning: media reports on suicide can be fatal

What one word tips you off that the writer is an idiot?

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:
Our Dumb World: The Onion’s Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition, by The Onion.

Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of The Planet Earth, 73rd Edition features incorrect statistics on all of the Earth’s 168, 182, or 196 independent nations. It also features maps, including a fold-out world map at actual size. Readers will learn about every country from Afghanistan, “Allah’s Cat Box,” to the Ukraine, “The Bridebasket of Europe.” Today’s news-parody consumer cannot possibly understand made-up current events without the context of fake world history and geography. That is why The Onion is publishing a world atlas: to help us. Our Dumb World is an invaluable tool for any reader interested in overthrowing a weakened government in East Asia, exploiting a developing nation in Africa, or for directions to tonight’s party at Erica’s. It is a reference guide to 250,000 of the world’s most important places, such as North Korea’s Trench of Victory, the Great Human Pyramid of Egypt, and Saudi Arabia’s superhighway, the Mohammedobahn.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. Possum on the half shell
  3. Beelzebufo ampinga
  4. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  5. A half of a wing & a piece of a prayer
  6. Art or oxygen theft?
  7. Creationist bullshit lives on in TX
  8. The Supper
  9. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  10. Abbie ‘ERV’ Smith to debate YEC Charles Jackson
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Skeptic Summary #152
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray
  6. Scientific Truth
  7. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  8. Come & Receive your Miracle: A Sunday Afternoon at a Robert Tilton Crusade
  9. Skeptic Summary #228
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
There were 12,504 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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