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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #282

By The Staff
Posted on: 4/24/2010

Ash cloud, contradictions, salty injustice, pick your poison, space hunting and more!


Week ending April 24, 2010 (Vol 7, #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:
Ash cloud God’s punishment for health care! - Limbaugh spouting delusions as usual, or: not only volcanoes are filled with hot gas.

Contradictions of philosophy - At a closer look, not necessarily.

So it starts - Freedom with a grain of salt.

Editor’s Choice: Mandated theism - If skeptics were forced to worship, what’s your poison?



Kil’s Evil Pick:
Hunting the Edge of Space (Part 1, Part 2) — Yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of astronomy picks. It’s a happy coincidence really. There have been, lately, a lot of great new books, television programs and websites dedicated to looking at and explaining the progress that has been made in figuring out the cosmos. New tools, new discoveries, and new theories, along with new evidence in support of older theories are being presented to us in a variety of formats, and that makes me happy.

PBS does a much better job than I ever could in describing this new two-hour NOVA series, Hunting the Edge of Space. From the Program Description:
In this two-hour special, NOVA examines how a simple instrument, the telescope, has fundamentally changed our understanding of our place in the universe. What began as a curiosity — two spectacle lenses held a foot apart — ultimately revolutionized human thought across science, philosophy, and religion. “Hunting the Edge of Space” takes viewers on a global adventure of discovery, dramatizing the innovations in technology and the achievements in science that have marked the rich history of the telescope. This tale of human ingenuity involves some of the most colorful figures of the scientific world — Galileo, Kepler, Newton, William Herschel, George Hale, and Edwin Hubble — leading up to today’s colossal telescopes, housed in space-age cathedrals or orbiting high above the Earth. Now, at the center of an international space race, a new generation of ever-larger telescopes is poised to reveal answers to longstanding questions about our universe—and, in turn, to raise new questions.
Enjoy!

SkeptiQuote:
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
— Stephen F. Roberts


Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: We welcomed a new chatter, Kim Jennings, to our chat this week. She found her way to us via our Facebook page, which is definitely worth a look. Technology was a major theme for chat. This week dglas got a new monitor, upgrading from his old one which, from what I can tell, was made before the first PC was invented. This led to a discussion on various medical conditions, mostly relating to the eyes and not being able to read other chatter’s medical conditions. Chat ended with a surprise mystery game. In a thick Virginia fog, Dave spotted a light emanating from under a bush by a neighbor’s house. Unwilling to go check it out (mostly because it was past midnight and investigating phenomena at such an hour in your PJ's does not go over well with the authorities, mostly), chatters were forced into rampant speculation on what it could be. A UFO? Bigfoot? An extraterrestrial Bigfoot? Various hypotheses were given, and one by one eliminated by observational methods. I think there is a word for that. Turns out the light was from the house and reflected off a wet rock to give the impression that it was a light in the bush. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

Come chat with us.


New Members This Week:
rockdoc46
kim jennings
abbynormal

(Not a member? Become one today!)




Elsewhere in the World:
‘Ancestral Eve’ Crystal May Explain Origin of Life’s Left-Handedness

Andrew Sullivan on the Tea Parties

At last, the rise of evidence-based voting

Caring About Abuse

Chimpanzees Prefer Fair Play To Reaping An Unjust Reward

Christian Right Claims Both 2010 Hawaii Gubernatorial Candidates

Comment o’ the Week!

Conservatives and the Census

Cupp skips the facts in arguing against evolution

Do Boobs Cause Earthquakes?

Drunk History: Nikola Tesla

Edward Weiler: “Hubble: A Journey Through Space and Time”

Fluid clue to Saturn’s hexagon (w/ Video)

Food for the Eagle

Francis Collins on Compatibility

Ghost caught on surveillance camera

Greg Laden just can’t help himself …In Broadbrush artistry

Hey Hubble, Thanks for 20 years of Awesome

HuffPo screws up evolution again

James Randi Speaks Homeopathy Week 2010

James Randi’s fiery takedown of psychic fraud

Jury verdict hits Boy Scouts with $18.5 million in punitive damages

Kankoh Maru Flight Manual

The Mark of the Beast will be foiled by Republicans!

Michael Specter: The danger of science denial

Nature by Numbers

NDE Update

Plaintiffs: School Took Thousands of Pics from Webcam

Political opponent accused of being secretly straight

Priest says he was pressurised into taking blame for pope

Secularity and Secularism explained

Sedition: Oklahoma Tea Party Want Armed Voluntary Militia to Combat Feds

Skepticality #126 — Race and Reality

Skeptically Speaking — Science Education

Studies agree on a 1 meter rise in sea levels

Sunday Sacrilege: an embryo is not a person

Things You CAN’T Do When You’re NOT a Dog

‘This Planet Tastes Funny,’ According to Spitzer

“War of the Weasels” article in new Skeptical Inquirer

What Is Evolutionary Theory? Futuyma vs Coyne

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:
Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia, by Brian Regal.



“Regal (history of science, Kean University) has compiled an interesting survey of pseudoscience. His introduction on the definition of pseudoscience and its social and philosophical implications is a very good way to start to think about pseudoscience and how to detect it. The 124 entries range from a paragraph to several pages. Most have citations for further reading, and many also have see references to other articles. Topics range from Creation science to Bigfoot and Unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Besides a description of the phenomenon, the longer articles describe its pseudoscientific aspects. A few topics, such as Blind testing, are included to help readers understand the difference between scientific and nonscientific approaches. All the articles are good, and some, including those on Eugenics, Intelligent design, and Pseudohistory are useful introductions to those ideas. The bibliography lists some items as current as 2008 but no Web sites. The 40 line drawings were commissioned for the book, but in some cases (for example, entries for individuals) stock photographs might have worked better. There are a number of typos. Even with its flaws, the book is useful, as there are not many resources on the side of skepticism that are as civil and as fair as this one. Public libraries as well as academic libraries with popular culture or history of science courses should consider acquiring this title.”

— Kathleen Stipek




This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  3. So it starts
  4. Quote Mine warning propaganda poster
  5. Funny FAILS
  6. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  7. A literal jewish conspiracy
  8. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  9. Contradictions of philosophy
  10. Bathynomus giganteus, a really cool isopod!
Articles:
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Laetrile
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. Miracle Thaw Tray
  6. TAM5
  7. Skeptic Summary #281
  8. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  9. Time Warner Cable: Trick or Treat?
  10. Tommy Debates the Bible Answer man
There were 12,312 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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