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Skeptic Summary #339

By The Staff
Posted on: 8/7/2011

Revisiting Cosmos, raising kids, quitting smoking, viewing many videos and more!

Week ending August 06, 2011 (Vol 8, #27)

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:
New Cosmos series - Can’t wait!

Raising Skeptic Kids on Science-Based Parenting - But are science-based rugrats less bratty?

Skeptically quitting - Going down anecdote alley…

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Why Evolution Is True Channel

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. — Charles Darwin

Okay, now. I first happened upon a YouTube collection of evolution documentaries called Why Evolution Is True Channel while looking at a group of videos made by the Cassiopeia Project called Facts Of Evolution. (More on the Cassiopeia Project next week.) I wanted to know who uploaded the video, to subscribe, and thatís when I found the Why Evolution Is True Channel. Click on this and you will find an astonishing collection of videos produced by just about every media outlet, university and website that concerns itself with science education and in this case, specifically, evolution. Really, it’s pointless for me to list all of the menu choices. Just go there and be amazed. There are literally days’ worth of great videos on evolution, if you actually put that much time into it. And they run from short to full-length episodes. Better still, the there are videos for both kids and adults, and those that play to all ages. Some are simple overviews of different aspects of evolution and some get into more detailed and advanced concepts. There are also histories galore.

What I found difficult was to figure out who was making all of these videos available to us in one place. Who is behind the Why Evolution Is True Channel? And here’s my answer. I don’t know. There are many likely suspects, like Jerry Coyne who wrote a book and has a blog by the same name. But no. He doesn’t seem to be associated with the site. I can’t rule him out, however. Maybe it’s a fan of his? Others came to mind and proved to be dead ends in my search. But someone is putting this collection of videos together, so if you know, please tell me who or what organization is doing it? Because the Why Evolution Is True Channel is a great resource and someone deserves a big thank-you!

Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
— John F. Kennedy

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday the 27th: Terry is skittish and pulled his money out of the stock market due to the problems being caused by a few House members. Boron10 dropped in. Always good to see him. Ky has finished Michael Shermer’s latest book, The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. He enjoyed it and wants to read all of Shermer’s books. I warned him off of The Mind of the Market. Sue me. So let’s see… Someone named Sanity was there. And alienist also came by for a while, along with the usual rouge’s gallery of SFN chat enthusiasts. We actually discussed topics of concern to skeptics, which isn’t always the case in chat. And without a chat log, that’s about as good as I, Kil, can do. But hey… We had a good time. That much I remember.

Wednesday the 3rd: Okay. I got home from work late, made dinner while chat was going on, and then had to take care of several things. Basically, while I was signed in, I wasn’t really at chat last week. I did turn the lights on and off, but beyond that, I can’t really say what was discussed because I don’t know what was discussed, having no way to log chat. So this is it. Sorry. What I do know is that chat went for a couple of hours, so the chatters must have been chatting about something…

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Ancient primate fossil unearthed

Anecdotes are great — if they convey data accurately

Antioxidants don’t work, but no one wants to hear it.

Any set of figures needs adjusting before it can be usefully reported

Artificial Sweeteners

Breakthrough hailed in quest for ‘God particle’

Consumer Reports drops the ball on alternative medicine

Deader than dead: people in vegetative states are viewed as deader than corpses

Dear Telegraph: no, I did not say that about the Loch Ness monster

Feminism and Atheism

First observational test of the ‘multiverse’

Flowers for Nim

My Skeptic Elevator Pitch

The Mystery of the Pioneer Anomaly Solved at Last

New meteor shower points to a future close encounter

No, new data does not “blow a gaping hole in global warming alarmism”

Not for Skeptics, indeed! The MUFON Meeting

On the evolution of quackery

On the shoulders of giants: Using references

One antibody to bind them all

Research groups’ useful social function is not “being scientific”

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter #130

Skepticality #162 — Bill Nye The Planetary Guy

Take Back Skepticism, Parts 1 through 3

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:
Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture, by Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken and Joseph Baker.

“A significant number of Americans spend their weekends at UFO conventions hearing whispers of government cover-ups, at New Age gatherings learning the keys to enlightenment, or ambling around historical downtowns learning about resident ghosts in tourist-targeted ‘ghost walks’. They have been fed a steady diet of fictional shows with paranormal themes such as The X-Files, Supernatural, and Medium, shows that may seek to simply entertain, but also serve to disseminate paranormal beliefs. The public hunger for the paranormal seems insatiable.

Paranormal America provides the definitive portrait of Americans who believe in or have experienced such phenomena as ghosts, Bigfoot, UFOs, psychic phenomena, astrology, and the power of mediums. However, unlike many books on the paranormal, this volume does not focus on proving or disproving the paranormal, but rather on understanding the people who believe and how those beliefs shape their lives.

Drawing on the Baylor Religion Survey — a multi-year national random sample of American religious values, practices, and behaviors — as well as extensive fieldwork including joining hunts for Bigfoot and spending the night in a haunted house, authors Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker shed light on what the various types of paranormal experiences, beliefs, and activities claimed by Americans are; whether holding an unconventional belief, such as believing in Bigfoot, means that one is unconventional in other attitudes and behaviors; who has such experiences and beliefs and how they differ from other Americans; and if we can expect major religions to emerge from the paranormal.

Brimming with engaging personal stories and provocative findings, Paranormal America is an entertaining yet authoritative look at a growing segment of American religious culture.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Funny FAILS
  2. The water cooler, part 3
  3. Women skeptics
  4. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  5. Religious indoctrination of children child abuse?
  6. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  7. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  8. Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill
  9. Crabby Appleton
  10. Stan Lee’s superhumans
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults
  4. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  5. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  8. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  9. Cold Reading
  10. The Myth of the Missing Moon Dust
There were 5,675 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Funny FAILS
  2. I do not like Rebecca Watson (aka skepchick)
  3. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  4. The Mythicist position
  5. Super generator? Perpetual motion? Another grift?
  6. The Battle of Tehran
  7. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  8. Religious indoctrination of children child abuse?
  9. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  10. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  11. Stan Lee’s superhumans
  12. ‘Zion Oil’ getting into hot water?
  13. DMV Senior Motorcyclist Handbook
  14. New car time
  15. Jesus tempts Satan
  16. Crabby Appleton
  17. The Zeitgeist evidence
  18. Bedini motor
  19. Skeptically quitting
  20. How do people in the US feel about the…
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Scientific Truth
  5. Evidence Cited as Hard Proof of the Existence of Satanic Cults
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. TAM5
  8. The Myth of the Missing Moon Dust
  9. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  10. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  11. Miracle Thaw Tray
  12. Kent Hovind is a Kwazy Kweationist
  13. Cold Reading
  14. Evolution is a Lie
  15. Preaching that Anti-Evolution Propaganda
  16. More on the Polonium 218 Controversy
  17. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  18. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  19. Calorad
  20. Skeptic Summary #337
There were 25,734 daily visitors in July, 2011.

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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