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Skeptic Summary #305

By The Staff
Posted on: 10/23/2010

Context, closets, dumbasses, the poor persecuted victims, Understanding Evolution and more!

Week ending October 23, 2010 (Vol 7, #40)

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:
A matter of context… - Who’s the saint and who’s the snake?

Out of the closet — surprise! - Bill Dembski caves under threat of being ‘Expelled’?!

Sharron Angle = dumbass bitch - New Same old scapegoats, same old play book.

Editor’s Choice: Christian persecution - Or, maybe not.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Understanding Evolution, your one-stop source for information on evolution — Understanding Evolution is a collaborative effort by University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. In their words:
Understanding Evolution is a non-commercial, education website, teaching the science and history of evolutionary biology. This site is here to help you understand what evolution is, how it works, how it factors into your life, how research in evolutionary biology is performed, and how ideas in this area have changed over time.
This site is dedicated to helping those who don’t know a great deal about evolution to learn about it, for brushing up on the basics and the not so basics of how evolution happens, for learning what’s new on the evolution front, and a place to help teachers K through 12 with lesson plans for the classroom.

There are four main topics that include several subcategories. The four main topics are:There is also an area called Evolution 101, again with subcategories including An introduction to evolution and just about everything else anyone would need to know about the science and what makes understanding the science so important to us all. The subcategories include both in-house explanations complete with wonderful charts and graphics that are incorporated into an easy-to-use and logical interface, and several off-site links just to round things out.

The site mainly deals with the science of evolution. If you are interested in the public controversies about teaching evolution there is a FAQ section that links to articles and sites that deal with those kinds of issues.

Understanding Evolution, your one-stop source for information on evolution is a superb site that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the subject of evolution. It’s also very kid friendly. I give it two opposable thumbs up!

Critical thinking can filter the available evidence and suggest avenues for further research. But without an active commitment to seek and defer to objective evidence, critical thinking devolves into a license to self-justify whatever subjective stuff you happen to believe.
— Daniel Loxton

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Ricky is still missing. Dave forgot what night it was. And I, (Kil), was a little late to chat. Good thing Dr. Mabuse was there to turn the lights on! The Ignored, it seems, will have the opportunity to attend a talk by creationist Jonathan Sarfati at a local church during the Canadian swing of his tour to promote his new book, The Greatest Hoax on Earth? It’s billed as an answer to Richard Dawkins’ book, The Greatest Show on Earth. The Ignored, who spends much of his time debating with those people of faith who make it their blogging business bashing gays and atheists and “evolutionists” and so on. Anyhow, he has a specific question he wants Safarti to answer and is hoping to get the chance to ask it. The chat veered into politics and then to personal financial stability, which is a natural progression if you think about it. Anyhow, there it is. This chat summary has been brought to you by the “Where the Hell is Ricky?” foundation and the “How Many of These Chat Summaries Will I Have To Write, As Though I Don’t Have Enough To Do?” foundation…

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Campaign builds to construct Babbage Analytical Engine

Chem-trail conspiracists premiere new documentary at Atlanta History Center

Creationism lives on in US public schools

Dispatches from the Evolution Wars: Shifting Tactics and Expanding Battlefields

Dozens killed by incorrectly placed acupuncture needles

Featured Writing from The Primate Diaries

In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy

“The Moral Landscape”: Why science should shape morality

NY Times on “Pushy” Atheists and The Strategic Blunder of Inviting PZ Myers to Speak

Pretending to be Dead

Record-breaking galaxy found at the edge of the Universe

A Skeptic Gets Schooled: An Introduction to Parapsychology

The unacceptable face of medical research

Walking away from church

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain

What’s New by Bob Park

When anger reaches the danger zone

Will Africa Still Be Immersed in Deep Superstition by the Year 2030?

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

Book of the Week:
Halloween: An American Holiday, an American History, by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne.

“Halloween has evolved from the Celtic celebrations of 2,000 years ago to become today the fastest-growing holiday in the country. This, the only book to completely cover All Hallow’s Eve, from its beginnings to the present, examines the ancient origins as well as its traditions and celebrations, from costuming to bobbing for apples. Jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and witches are explained. Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins lurk behind every page.

The book traces the contributions of America’s immigrants to the holiday, documenting the beliefs each ethnic group has added to the mix. Related recipes, poems, songs, and photos perfectly complement the meticulously documented text. The result is the most educational and entertaining examination of Halloween, its myths, and its truths.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Funny FAILS
  2. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  3. The Supper
  4. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  5. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  6. The Battle of Tehran
  7. A “Great Wind” is coming to Baguio…
  8. HOWTO: make hyperlinked text, insert a URL-link
  9. DMV Senior Motorcyclist Handbook
  10. Crabby Catholic curses, well, everything in sight
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  4. Scientific Truth
  5. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Skeptic Summary #304
  8. Cold Reading
  9. Evil Skeptic and a Visit to Awareness 2000
  10. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
There were 6,960 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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