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Skeptic Summary #293

By The Staff
Posted on: 7/31/2010

Speeding, expelling, subverting, toning, viewing and more!

Week ending July 31, 2010 (Vol 7, #28)

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:
5-Hour Energy Shots: scam? - FDA must have fallen asleep on the job.

Expelled for being a homophobe? - No, but for promising to act like one.

Massachusetts to subvert Constitution - By passing constitutional legislation.

Editor’s Choice: The ‘tone’ debate - Not all atheists are criticizing in the same key.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Here’s a valuable list of videos posted on YouTube. I have been following QualiaSoup’s videos for sometime now. For critical thinkers, they serve as a great resource. I may have recommended one of these before, but here I’m going to post a list of links to several of QualiaSoup’s great critical thinking videos starting with (who would have thought it?) Critical Thinking:There are more. But after watching a couple of the above videos, I’m sure you will subscribe to QualiaSoup’s channel and you will not need any more help from me. Enjoy!

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.
— Mark Twain

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday the 21st: The night began with talk about the weather and ways to measure how hot any given summer is. Then we moved on to hot food: Southern, Mexican, and Taco Bell. Some jokes about driving lead us into a conversation about possible ways to make cars safer, for which Dave suggested a steel spike sticking out of the steering wheel: No one would ever go above 20mph. This lead to the story of Sammy Davis Jr. losing his eye in a car accident due to the pointed center steering wheel of a Cadillac. At the end of the night the topic completely switched over to cosmic geology, and whether or not viruses are among the living. SS also shared this comic and Ig found an interesting example of Poe’s Law.

Wednesday the 28th: This week we welcomed several new chatters and discussion quickly started with how various people became skeptics. Also discussed were the proper and improper ways to promote critical thinking. One avenue that was heavily criticized were logic courses at universities: they educate on some of the tools of critical thinking, but fall short on critical thinking itself. It was also asked whether or not critical thinking should be the goal in such a class. Talk wandered over religion, especially relating to this thread, evolution and general pseudoscience. KytheSkeptic shared this comic which has some pretty good strips. The night ended with this xkcd comic, Sun puns, and a lot of groans.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
American Academy of Religion on teaching creationism

The Burqa and the Body Electric

Comparing Beliefs on Evolution in Three Countries

The Culture Of Fear

Florida church to hold Quran-burning

The Irrationality of Human Decision Making

Jellyfish Eyes Solve Optical Origin Mystery

Livingston Parish School Board Wants to Implement Discovery Institute’s “Academic Freedom” Law

A public immunity to freeloaders

Scientologists Charged With Extremism

A ‘shoot-out’ between methods won’t help us teach more children to read

Skepticality #134 — The Price of Altruism

Skepticism: A Double-Edged Sword? A Philosophical View

Splitting (pubic) Hairs (NSFW!)

Team Skeptic TAM 8 Round Table Guests: Daniel Loxton, Blake Smith & Tim Farley

What’s New by Bob Park

World’s First Molten Salt Solar Plant Produces Power at Night

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

Book of the Week:
On the Wild Side: The Big Bang, the Beast 666, Levitation, Rainmaking, Trance-Channeling, Seances and Ghosts and More…, by Martin Gardner.

“In this round-up of Skeptical Inquirer columns plus essays and reviews published in various magazines, Gardner scores both hits and misses in his debunking of the paranormal, the occult and borderline science. Easy targets include parapsychologist J. B. Rhine, whom he accuses of cover-up of fraud; a Florida hollow-earth cult; the Reagans’ obsession with astrology; Wilhelm Reich’s orgone box; and speaking-in-tongues, especially as practiced by the likes of Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker and Pat Robinson. In attacking Linus Pauling’s use of vitamin C as an anti-cancer therapy, Gardner omits discussion of the most significant evidence. The book paints with a single negative brush UFOs, electrical wizard Nikola Tesla’s modern disciples, Israeli psychic Uri Geller, fugitive homicidal guru Ira Einhorn, James Lovelock’s Gaia theory of Earth as a living organism and black magician Aleister Crowley.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  3. Ken Ham: not even a very good liar
  4. The Supper
  5. Expelled for being a homophobe?
  6. Funny FAILS
  7. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  8. Modern Philippines, ancient Rome
  9. This does not bode well
  10. I’m just a iggnerent redneck…
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. B17
  5. Scientists go on Faith
  6. Cold Reading
  7. TAM5
  8. The PQ Test
  9. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
There were 8,115 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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