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Skeptic Summary #304

By The Staff
Posted on: 10/16/2010

Cancer, real men, Harris' Landscape, a science-based life and more!

Week ending October 16, 2010 (Vol 7, #39)

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:
Cancer: a man-made disease? - Cancer in not found in mummies.

Liberalism and manliness - Misrepresentation of liberalism, self-reliance and government goals.

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris - Reviews are divided, arguments lack support.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Science Based Life — This is a skeptic/science site put together by Kyle Hill. It’s a work in progress, but still a very impressive site, well worth a look-see and a read. The articles are well-written and in the short time the blog has been in existence, cover a lot of ground. In Kyle’s words:
Promoting the public understanding of science through campus based groups, web based discussion, and grassroots skepticism. Contributors to SBL are all involved in the skeptical and scientific community, and seek to promote good science in the public eye. Being a skeptic means keeping an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. A skeptic witholds judgement from pressing topics in science, medicine, and culture until the evidence has been critically evaluated. Become a citizen of science and promote rationality in your community!

Science Based Life is a science blog trying to further the public understanding of science through the skepticism, grassroots activism, and the public discourse. The main publisher of SBL is currently an environmental engineering undergraduate at MU.
There are many categories of interest to skeptics including Alternative Medicine, Biology, Evolution, Pseudo-Science and Science News, among others. For example, “The Cell Phone and Brain Cancer Myth” can be found under the Physics category.

Go there and click around. The articles are easy to read, well-researched and there are a lot of interesting and fun photos and graphics that serve to make the site entertaining as well as educational, making Science Based Life yet another great resource for skeptics in this ever-growing community of ours.

Gods always behave like the people who created them.
— Zora Neale Hurston

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Dr. Mabuse opened chat because our chat host has been abducted by his school and they still haven’t issued a ransom note or given us any instructions on how to find him. I (Kil) couldn’t open chat because I was off doing my taxes, and Dave was late and otherwise occupied. As it happens I do have a chat log, so we’re in luck! I think I’ll just go ahead and quote a few random sentences from the chat log. the_ignored said, “Puritans, those rascals!” Dr._Mabuse said, “Yeah, number of fingers on your paws. That’s what I said.” podcat said, “Just out of curiosity, does anybody in Sweden look at the US and ask, ‘Why are they so dumb and crazy?’” And TerryWBerg said, “We have trouble in Arizona too.” And so it went. Anyhow, it looks to me like everyone who was there had fun talking politics. What could be better?

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Atheists Debate How Pushy to Be

Beam Me Down the Rabbit Hole

Climate ‘Sceptics’ contributed nothing but confusion and annoyance to Skeptics and the public.

Confrontation all the way

The Daily Mail cancer story that torpedoes itself in paragraph 19

Defending the Sensible: Charles Darwin and the Anti-Vivisection Controversy

Evaluating the Clinical Effectiveness of Acupuncture

Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic

Mandelbrot, father of fractal geometry, dies

Near-death experiences ‘explained’: Scientists believe it’s the last gasp of a dying brain

The Quiet Faith Behind Colbert’s Right-Wing Funnyman

A radical pessimist’s guide to the next 10 years

Science and religion aren’t friends

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons’

Secular Students Find Their Place On Campus

Social networks dominated by the godless

Tony Blair and Christopher Hitchens to face off over religion

Tough talk: evolution vs. creationism

What a scientist didn’t tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths

What’s New by Bob Park

Got some skeptic news items? Send them to us, and we’ll think about adding them.
Skirmish in the Accommodation Wars of the Week:
Religious skeptics disagree on how aggressively to challenge the devout, by Mitchell Landsberg

L. A. Times report on the Secular Humanism conference, by Jerry Coyne

Scientific answers to silly questions, by Josh Rosenau

Missing the Point in the Accommodationism Debate, by Jason Rosenhouse

How to change the zeitgeist, by Ophelia Benson

Missing the Point, by Josh Rosenau

Role models: Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X?, by Josh Rosenau

Book of the Week:
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, by Cordelia Fine.

“In a methodical and devastatingly effective manner, Fine eviscerates the recent trend in attributing society’s gender-based differences to biology. The sheer girth of her analysis is staggering as she addresses everything from scientific studies going back more than a century to the latest assertions of ‘Mars and Venus’ author John Gray. Fine pivots from studies on gender-based clothing and toys to a discussion of education, and reviews recent Caldecott Award-winning children’s books, noting that one gender is consistently described as ‘beautiful, frightened, worthy, sweet, weak and scared.’ (Guess which one.) Fine also explains how experiments are manipulated to provide desirable results and how results are presented without necessary caveats (such as the fact that men were not part of the study). This is social science at its hard-working best as Fine uses solid references to refute the notion that biology trumps pervasive stereotyping, and offers a sterling rebuttal to agenda research and the lure of pseudo-science.”

— Colleen Mondor from Booklist

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Funny FAILS
  2. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  3. The Supper
  4. Liberalism and manliness
  5. The Battle of Tehran
  6. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  7. The B**BQUAKE — 911 — the end of atheism
  8. Crabby Catholic curses, well, everything in sight
  9. More candidates shooting things
  10. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Scientific Truth
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. Starlight and its appearance of age
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Skeptic Summary #303
  8. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  9. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  10. Cold Reading
There were 6,358 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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