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Skeptic Summary #267

By The Staff
Posted on: 1/9/2010

Avatar, Dennett redux, gay families, numerology, humanities, reflection and more!

Week ending unknown 09, 2010 (Vol 7, #2)

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:
Avatar - Just smurfing around.

Dennett answers NY Times on Dawkins’ book II - I’m not sure that it’s any better than part 1.

New Jersey Senate defeats gay marriage bill - Skeptical about children and gay marriage families?

Editor’s Choice: Numerology in the 21st century - Same as it ever was.

From the Archives: Are the humanities of any value, really? - Since value must equal money, bngbuck says no.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
2010: A Time for Reflection,” by Robert Todd Carroll — In this essay, Robert Carroll looks back on the last 35 years of what has become the skeptical and critical thinking movement, the changes the movement has gone through, including the changes he has made in his approach to teaching skepticism and critical thinking, and what the future of the movement may be like as it continues to grow.

As skeptics and critical thinkers, where we have been and where we are going, are things we should all be considering. Carroll opens with:
The beginning of a new decade, or the beginning of the end of an old decade, is a good time to reflect on the past and try to get some idea of what the future might hold. An article by D. J. Grothe in a recent issue of Skeptical Inquirer (Skepticism 2.0) reminded me of two independent movements that began about 35 years ago and have gradually converged. Grothe starts his article with a question about the intentions of the founders of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP, now CSI, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry). The time was the mid-1970s and the place was upstate New York. The question was: did they plan on starting a worldwide grassroots critical-thinking movement?
Read on…

I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.
— Arthur C. Clarke

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Chat started off with TAM and other SciFi conventions, especially ones which take place at a dump in Flushing (get it?), NY. Of course, realize that this was over a decade ago. It was here however that Dave met Issac Asimov and still retains some good stories from the event. Next chat moved toward TV 2.0: Netflix, Hulu, Blockbuster, etc. After some discussion on actual TV shows (House, Lucky Louie), music took over starting with Hayseed Dixie, Queen, and Spinal Tap. It was at this point that chat experienced some technical difficulties. Later we found out that ParaChat (the host of our room) had scheduled mid-week maintenance. As a result, chat came to a rather abrupt and unexpected

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
As skyscrapers rise, markets fall

Beck Loses One Wing of Wingnuts

Celebrities and Science 2009

Damn! Fox News Is Stupid!

Golden Ratio Discovered in Quantum World

An Ill Wind in Tortuca: Guest post by James Downard

The Jews were right all along

Making legal threats against a blogging cancer patient? Stay classy, Shayla McCallum and Dr. Thomas Lodi. Stay classy.

Past war offers Afghanistan lessons. And it’s not Vietnam

Public v private sector pay: the figures don’t add up

PZ Myers dominates the Other category for Most Influential Female Atheist

Skepticality #117 — Evolution Rx part II

Sullivan on Proto-fascism and the Right

The tracks of a ghost

Using a Virus’s Knack for Mutating to Wipe It Out

Voicing our disbelief

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

Book of the Week:
Rising Plague: The Global Threat from Deadly Bacteria and Our Dwindling Arsenal to Fight Them, by Brad Spellberg.

“Antibiotic-resistant microbes infect more than 2 million Americans and kill over 100,000 each year. They spread rapidly, even in such seemingly harmless places as high school locker rooms, where they infect young athletes. And throughout the world, many more people are dying from these infections. Astoundingly, at the same time that antibiotic resistant infections are skyrocketing in incidence creating a critical need for new antibiotics research and development of new antibiotics has ground to a screeching halt!

In Rising Plague, Dr. Brad Spellberg an infectious diseases specialist and member of a national task force charged with attacking antibiotic resistant infections tells the story of this potentially grave public health crisis. The author shares true and very moving patient stories to emphasize the terrible frustration he and his colleagues have experienced while attempting to treat untreatable infections, not to mention the heart-break and tragedy that many of these patients’ families had to endure…

This crucial and timely book is lucidly written in terms that everyone can understand. It issues a call to action, explaining how, through a strong and concerted effort, we can all help prevent this nightmare scenario from happening. By following this courageous doctor’s recommendations, we can assure that magic bullets will be there for our families and us in the future.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. New World Order happening right now!
  3. Dennett answers NY Times on Dawkins’ book
  4. Funny FAILS
  5. Atheism is DEAD… FOREVER & EVER!!!
  6. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  7. Philosophy/religion
  8. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  9. Avatar
  10. Jesus tempts Satan
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. TAM5
  5. Scientific Truth
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray
  7. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  8. N. 48, April 2004: Intellectual Midwifery
  9. Cold Reading
  10. Skeptic Summary #266
There were 20,446 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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