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Skeptic Summary #332

By The Staff
Posted on: 5/30/2011

Zeitgeist, misogyny, primaries, mythicists, C0nc0rdance and more!

Week ending May 28, 2011 (Vol 8, #20)

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:
Evidence For Zeitgeist’s claims? - The rules need to be ironed out a bit.

Not being a douchy misogynist - What’s a misogynist, anyway?

The Repub primary is lookin’ good - All candidates come with loads of baggage.

Editor’s Choice: The Mythicist position - Might be interesting history, but definitely lots of bluster.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
C0nc0rdance’s Channel on YouTube — A little over two years ago, a biologist who goes by the handle “C0nc0rdance” posted a video on YouTube called “Intelligent Designer Exposed: Who is the Designer?” About it he said, “Part 1 in a multipart series detailing what we know about the designer from his work.” He followed that one up with three videos that deal with the evolution of different parts of the eye, to make the point that in every case, evolution could handle the job without help from a designer. And with that not-so-inauspicious beginning, given how much I enjoy his videos, he has added videos on science, critical thinking, quackery and skepticism, and has tackled controversial subjects even among skeptics like one of his most recent videos dealing with the subject of Circumcision.

Quack cure “Miracle Mineral Solution” is just
one of the many subjects that C0nc0rdance has taken on.

All of C0nc0rdance’s videos are well reasoned, intelligently presented and include both relevant and entertaining graphics. To my thinking, his is the best series of science and critical-thinking videos out there, rivaling even the very best science and skepticism blogs and podcasts in both the quality and the style of the information presented.

If you haven’t watched these videos, or if you would like to know where all of them are located so you can catch up, please go to C0nc0rdance’s Channel on YouTube. Subscribe, and you will never miss another one!

A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
— Albert Einstein

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: We started out by moaning about the absent rapture. Wouldn’t it be cool being rid of evangelical Christians and be fighting zombies instead? Ghouls and zombies… We’re anxious to see the start of the Zeitgeist-debate, looks like Christians vs. New Agers. Whoever loses, SFN wins. There were some talk about Jesus and Shakespeare, which of them could be proven to have existed, and if they had ghost writers. Then the discussion turned to abortion with the theist angle, and pregnancies, and miscarriages. Chat ended with some discussion about Jonathan Sarfati and Dan of Debunking Atheists.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
The Alice Illusion — scientists convince people that they’re dolls or giants

Children don’t need Brain Gym to spot nonsense

‘Duh’ science: Why researchers spend so much time proving the obvious

Failed Doomsday Has Real Deadly Consequences

Horse-Laughs, the Rapture, and Ticking Bombs

Lears reviews Harris

Possible Pyramids Discovered From Space

Priest Sex-Abuse Case Hits Church of Pope’s Adviser

A small voice says, “Please stop,” while the crowd yells, “Off with his head!”

Spectacular and sparkling, but what is it?

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

Book of the Week:
The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us, by Victor J. Stenger.

“A number of authors have noted that if some physical parameters were slightly changed, the universe could no longer support life, as we know it. This implies that life depends sensitively on the physics of our universe. Does this ‘fine-tuning’ of the universe also suggest that a creator god intentionally calibrated the initial conditions of the universe such that life on earth and the evolution of humanity would eventually emerge? Some influential scientists, such as National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, think so. Others go even further, asserting that science ‘has found God.’

In this in-depth, lucid discussion of this fascinating and controversial topic, physicist Victor J. Stenger looks at the same evidence and comes to the opposite conclusion. He states at the outset that as a physicist he will go wherever the data takes him, even if it leads him to God. But after many years of research in particle physics and thinking about its implications, he finds that the observations of science and our naked senses not only show no evidence for God, they provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that God does not exist.

Stenger argues that many of the claims by theists are based on their misunderstanding of the science. He looks at the specific parameters and shows that plausible reasons can be found for the values they have within the existing standard models of physics and cosmology. These models are introduced in detail so that the reader has the background needed to understand the role of the parameters claimed to be fine-tuned and judge the veracity of the arguments.

He also discusses related issues such as whether or not the universe had a beginning, what quantum mechanics implies about the involvement of human consciousness in affecting reality, and whether evidence can be found in nature for a divine plan.

Although Stenger has touched on the subject of fine-tuning in other books, this is his most thorough exploration of a topic that continues to intrigue scientists and the lay public alike.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Zeitgeist evidence
  2. Evidence For Zeitgeist’s claims?
  3. The Mythicist position
  4. Funny FAILS
  5. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  6. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  7. The Supper
  8. The Battle of Tehran
  9. The Holocaust conspiracy
  10. Not being a douchy misogynist
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw Tray
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. Skeptic Summary #331
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  8. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  9. Astrology
  10. Cold Reading
There were 7,178 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 2011, all rights reserved.

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