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Skeptic Summary #255

By The Staff
Posted on: 10/11/2009

A birthday, a new dream, more fallacies, a prize-winner, some peddlers, a non-atheist, some old lights, a few toys and more!

Week ending October 10, 2009 (Vol 6, #37)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

According to his own son, somebody officially became old a bit over a week ago.

Forum Highlights:
Interpret my dream! - You seem to be very fond of cigars.

Logical Fallacies according to AiG. Again. - How to use previous fallacies to create the next one.

Nobel Prize and Obama - Who gets the prize for the most irony?

Preachmen peddling god at my community college. - A tale of two preachers (disturbing the peace?)

Why I am not an atheist - Do you really want to be one?

Editor’s Choice: Phoenix Lights flare debris - Lots of fun arithmetic.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The 13 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Children’s Toys, on — As we approach Halloween, and that other season, I figured it was time to put my consumer hat on and direct our readers to some really awful, and sometimes scary stuff for the kids.

For example, coming in at #11 is Big Loo the Four-Foot Tall Robot

One of Loo’s delightful features is he can shoot darts from his nipples!

About Loo, they say:
Besides being a vaguely racist four-foot tall combination of every non-white culture in the world, Big Loo will haunt any corner of the room you stick him in. He has a pendulous right arm perfect for crushing the malleable skulls of small children, and a grin that says, ‘As soon as you fall asleep, I will wheel myself down the hall and flay your parents alive.’

If you want to hear him
actually speak, just turn a giant crank on the back of his head and listen as he spits out what sounds like the garbled distress call from Event Horizon.
There are 13 of these toy fails, collected and presented here for your consideration. Make sure to watch the commercials that accompany a couple of the toys.

Should we force science down the throats of those that have no taste for it? Is it our duty to drag them kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century? I am afraid that it is.
— George Porter

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday, September 30: Unfortunately I was rather late to chat this week, but at least for me chat started with talk of Shermer. Some of his more recent articles led to a few pictures from failblog. During chat, Dawkins appeared on the Colbert Report but many chatters missed it. We didn’t miss much however, it was almost an exact rehash of his earlier interview with Colbert. In the aftermath of the interview, we were left discussing timezones and daylight savings times, as well as how Dawkins doesn’t exactly make the best interviewee for Colbert. A rather odd Sagan video brought on a discussion about Shermer and Sagan, comparing and contrasting the two. By this time it was beyond everyone’s bed time and chat came to an end.

Wednesday, October 7: As I had missed much of chat, what follows is only a summary of the tail end. Kil told a story about playing music for bigots at an Elk lodge while Trish was talking about real elk and animal cruelty. Sometimes you just have to put them out of their misery. The elk, that is. Then some sports talk with soccer (football), football (American football) and baseball (baseball). Finally, a little bit of politics ended out the night.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
Bob Lloyd

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Advice for Atheists

Audio slideshow: Stephen Hawking

Cancer jab fantasy closes down a debate

The damning verdict on drug trials

Discovering Ardi

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:
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, by Richard Dawkins.

“Usually authors will start out their writing careers making a general case on behalf of something, and then later deal with the specific objections as they arise. But not Richard Dawkins. As the leading prolific evolutionary author in our generation he finally got around to writing the book that many authors would’ve written first, this one. Since up until now he has not set forth the evidence for evolution as a whole, he calls this book ‘my missing link’ in his chain of books, and it’s long overdue.

Taking the title from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Dawkins begins by asking us to imagine what it would be like to be a European history teacher who is ‘continually faced with belligerent demands to give equal time’ in his classes to Holocaust deniers. To him that would be what it’s like to teach the scientific fact of evolution around the world, especially in America, where 40% of us deny that humans evolved from other animals and who claim instead we were all created as distinct species not more than 10,000 years ago. Just like the Holocaust deniers these people are ‘history-deniers’ too. The antidote to that kind of ignorant thinking is this present work, which presents ‘the positive evidence that evolution is a fact’ (p.6). Many bishops and theologians embrace evolution as a fact, even if some of them accept it begrudgingly.

Who is he trying to reach? The creationist ‘history-deniers’ themselves, but more importantly those who find themselves inadequately prepared to argue the case for evolution (p. 8)…

To believers who object that the earth isn’t old enough Dawkins marshals overwhelming evidence that it is billions of years old, along with evidence piled upon still more evidence to show evolutionary development of life on earth is indeed the greatest show on earth, and he is clearly in awe of it.

There are a few great books on evolution but this is a superior book long overdue by today’s leading communicator of science. You should get it and think through it, especially if you’re a ‘history-denier.’ Face the evidence and then change your beliefs. It’s the intellectually honest thing to do. Then you too will thank Dawkins like so many of us have for his writing in these areas.”

— John W. Loftus

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Stop laughing, dammit! This is serious shit!
  3. New World Order happening right now!
  4. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  5. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  6. Phoenix Lights flare debris
  7. Funny FAILS
  8. Documentary: 1983 ‘Moonwalk’ was staged
  9. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  10. What is photorealism?
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Skeptic Summary #152
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. The Laundry Solution
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Scientific Truth
  8. Evolution is a Lie
  9. Miracle Thaw Tray
  10. TAM5
There were 14,430 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’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. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  5. Possum on the half shell
  6. New World Order happening right now!
  7. A half of a wing & a piece of a prayer
  8. Obama’s speech to schoolchildren
  9. Documentary: 1983 ‘Moonwalk’ was staged
  10. Funny FAILS
  11. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  12. A snake matter for Filthy
  13. ACORN busted hard
  14. Beelzebufo ampinga
  15. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  16. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  17. SFN 2009 Psychic Contest, Enter by Feb1, 2009!
  18. Jesus tempts Satan
  19. Wrong images of Saturn
  20. On Human Nature, by Edward O. Wilson
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Skeptic Summary #152
  5. Scientific Truth
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Mesmer, Casino Monkey, and Video Sex
  10. Cold Reading
  11. TAM5
  12. Laetrile
  13. Astrology
  14. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  15. N. 6, January 2001: Split brains, paradigm shifts, and why it is so difficult to be a skeptic
  16. Come & Receive your Miracle: A Sunday Afternoon at a Robert Tilton Crusade
  17. Evolution is a Lie
  18. Quantum Age Water
  19. SkeptiCamp Atlanta: A Personal Overview
  20. Newton’s Third Law
There were 65,797 daily visitors in September, 2009.

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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