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Skeptic Summary #250

By The Staff
Posted on: 8/22/2009

Frankly smacked, suggesting guesswork, massive unscientific people, religion-free kids, Venter and Dawkins and more!

Week ending August 22, 2009 (Vol 6, #32)

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:
Barney Frank smacks down anti-health care idiot - Applause as someone finally says what has to be said.

Suggestions for 2010 psychic contest - Get them in now!

Unscientific America - More new stuff starting on page 3.

Editor’s Choice: Raising children without religion - An important topic, perhaps this week’s book has some suggestions.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Craig Venter — The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Uncut Interviews - You would think that I have featured Richard Dawkins’ The Genius of Charles Darwin enough times already, especially since I did it just last week in our anniversery edition of the Skeptic Summary. But hey, this is something special.

Richard Dawkins is now releasing the full interviews, all 18 hours of them, which were edited down for the original series. This one with Dr. Craig Venter is now available for viewing online, and really worth watching. It made me wonder how they chose what was going to make it into the series, because the interview is interesting from the beginning to the end. All 56 minutes of it.
Richard Dawkins interviews Craig Venter for “The Genius of Charles Darwin”, the Channel 4 UK TV program which won British Broadcasting Awards’ “Best Documentary Series” of 2008. Craig Venter founded The Institute for Genomic Research and has been credited with being instrumental in mapping the human genome. His team published the first complete genome of an individual human — Venter’s own DNA sequence.
Craig Venter’s most recent work is also the topic of a thread that Dude started this week. So the timing of the release of Venter’s full interview with Dawkins couldn’t be better.

Coincidence? You decide…

Theories should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.
— Albert Einstein

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Trish dropped in unexpectedly with news that she had just given away her litter of Brittneys. After much dog talk, things became focused on Dobson and Focus on the Family. It got a bit less repulsing when Dave came in announcing that he was able to video slug sex. With any luck, the video will be on YouTube one of these days. We switched over to discussing the possible mental state of tmac1238 and other forum talk. Much of the rest of the night was spent debating computers: PC vs. Mac. As it turns out, the people who use Macs favor Macs, and vice versa. Go figure. As you could imagine, not much was done to bridge the gap between Mac users and PC users, but a lot of good insults were shared.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Darwin and the vermiform appendix

Farah’s Latest Conspiracy Theory

How Sure are we that the Big Bang is Correct?

Paranormal Punk’d

Quick Critique: Dembski and Marks in IEEE Journal

Square Circle Spiral

Study: Palin Key to McCain Loss

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:
Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief, by Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura, Amanda Metskas and Jan Devor.

“Praised by Newsweek as ‘a compelling read’ and Library Journal as ‘accessible and down-to-earth,’ Dale McGowan’s Parenting Beyond Belief offered freethinking parents everywhere a compassionate introduction to raising caring, ethical children without religious guidance. Now, for the more than 40 million people in the United States who identify themselves as nonreligious, Raising Freethinkers offers solutions to the unique challenges secular parents face and provides specific answers to common questions, as well as over 100 activities for both parents and their children. This book covers every important topic nonreligious parents need to know to help their children with their own moral and intellectual development, including advice on religious-extended-family issues, death and life, secular celebrations, wondering and questioning, and more. Complete with reviews of books, DVDs, curricula, educational toys, and online resources relevant to each chapter topic, Raising Freethinkers helps parents raise their children with confidence.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit!
  3. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  4. New World Order happening right now!
  5. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  6. BOLD Threats of Death Against All Non-Catholics!
  7. Barney Frank smacks down anti-health care idiot
  8. Great topic for skeptics missed!
  9. Possum on the half shell
  10. Reunited with an old friend and promptly lost
  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. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. N. 6, January 2001: Split brains, paradigm shifts, and why it is so difficult to be a skeptic
  8. Scientific Truth
  9. TAM5
  10. Mesmer, Casino Monkey, and Video Sex
There were 13,954 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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