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Skeptic Summary #235

By The Staff
Posted on: 5/9/2009

The NCSE and religion, sex and thoughts, transitionals, lotsa free stuff, Cosmos and more!

Week ending May 09, 2009 (Vol 6, #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:
Is the NCSE too accommodating to religion? - Maybe yes, maybe no.

Same-sex marriage thoughts - It started out so well…

Transitionals - The more we find, the more gaps we create!

Editor’s Choice: Free stuff! Get’chr free stuff here! - It’s too funny to miss.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Cosmos, by Carl Sagan — Hulu presents Cosmos in its entirety. All thirteen episodes! Here is their brief description of the series:
In 1980, the landmark series Cosmos premiered on public television. Since then, it is estimated that more than a billion people around the planet have seen it. Cosmos chronicles the evolution of the planet and efforts to find our place in the universe. Each of the 13 episodes focuses on a specific aspect of the nature of life, consciousness, the universe and time. Topics include the origin of life on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere), the nature of consciousness, and the birth and death of stars. When it first aired, the series catapulted creator and host Carl Sagan to the status of pop culture icon and opened countless minds to the power of science and the possibility of life on other worlds.
If you have never seen Cosmos, please do. If you have seen it, here is a chance to remember why we fell in love with it all those years ago. Also, for many of us, Cosmos introduced us to Carl Sagan who still reigns supreme as the greatest popularizer of science of all time. Cosmos shows us why that is and why he is still so relevant to skeptics and all lovers of science today.

Hat tip to Boron10.

If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
— Florynce Kennedy

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Okay, so it was a slow night. Ricky showed up but Dave did not. Ricky wasn’t supposed to show up, but Dave was expected. Go figure. Froyd (Michelle) was on hand for much of chat which happened to be on Sigmund Freud’s birthday. So everyone who was there was analyzed for free. All in all, I was able to grow a bit from the experience of being shrunk in chat, even though she mostly focused on Norm and Ig. I’m sure they are now the better for it. And given what a good shrink costs these days, Wednesday’s chat was truly a bargain and a lesson in “you get what you pay for.” Let’s hope she does it again, real soon.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
Skeptic Detective

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Ammo hard to find as gun owners stock up

Calculating The Odds That Life Could Begin By Chance

The danger of drugs … and data

Death by religious ignorance

Dembski’s Latest: “Life’s Conservation Law,” and why it’s stupid

The Eagleton Delusion

God delusions cloud a world of wonders

Homeopathy kills a child

How Freedom was Lost

Instruction Manuals for the USS Enterprise

Orson Scott Card calls for revolution wherever gay marriage is legal

Peter Lipson’s attack on HuffPo quackery quoted Left and Right

Skeptic’s Circle #… Uhhh… Does the one that never happened still count? I dunno. In honor of Calvinball edition, it’s #Oogy. So there.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter #103

Teen Dinosaurs Got into Trouble

The Templeton conundrum

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As ‘Fun, Watchable’

What’s New by Bob Park

When big pharma pays a publisher to publish a fake journal…

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

Book of the Week:
Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth R. Miller.

“Thoroughly enjoyable and informative, this new book by Miller (Finding Darwin’s God), a Brown University biologist and leading proponent of evolution, dismantles the scientific basis of intelligent design piece by piece. He does this by taking seriously the claims of intelligent design (though with tongue often in cheek), such as irreducible complexity, and looking at the biological facts and the dubious conclusions ID concepts would lead to. He turns to the peer-reviewed scientific literature to demonstrate that the two biological phenomena ID proponents say could not have evolved — blood-clotting proteins and bacterial flagella — are now well-enough understood to fully rebut intelligent design. Looking at the underlying philosophical issues, Miller explains that ID’s proponents want to replace modern science with ‘theistic science’… that would use the Divine not as ultimate cause, but as scientific explanation. Miller effectively explores the devastating consequences such a change would have on both science and society. In a measured, well-reasoned book, Miller explains why evolution does not deny us our humanity or our unique place in the universe.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  3. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit!
  4. We’d invite Hitler to speak, says Columbia dean
  5. Is the NCSE too accommodating to religion?
  6. Possum on the half shell
  7. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  8. Another steaming barge-load of sewage…
  9. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  10. Spider bite cures paralyzed man?
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Skeptic Summary #152
  5. SkeptiCamp Atlanta: A Personal Overview
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Scientific Truth
  8. Skeptic Summary #234
  9. Miracle Thaw Tray
  10. Come & Receive your Miracle: A Sunday Afternoon at a Robert Tilton Crusade
There were 14,071 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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