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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #367

By The Staff
Posted on: 7/8/2012

Conservatives, Nessie, radicals, Republicans, creationists, atheist conversion, the Museum of Unnatural History and more!


Week ending July 08, 2012 (Vol 9, #16)

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:
The Conservative Party of Canada - …sacrifices ideals for tax revenue.

Ineffective arguments against evolution - Nessie disproves evolution?

Radical Islamic web site takes on South Park - Death threats issued, the verdict is in.

The Republican Party of Texas - Inclusion of “Critical thinking” in party platform a mistake.

What I find most distressing about creationists - Christian double-think exposed.

Editor’s Choice: Atheist conversion - To Roman Catholicism?!



Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Museum of Unnatural Mystery — Where do I begin? I’ve been exploring The Museum of Unnatural Mystery for a couple of weeks now, and there is so much more for me to see there. I ran into this site following a link from who knows where, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s not just that the site itself is interesting and fun, which it is, but also the links provided are crazy cool.

A couple of things you should know. This is essentially a science site that includes a healthy dose of skepticism where skepticism should be applied. Also, not all of the “museum” is about the “unnatural” though much of it is. Some of it is just good old science or scientific mysteries (unresolved areas of science) along with a pretty big dose of history, as presented in the The Hall of Troubled and Alternate History, as well as other historical tidbits that are pretty much found under all of the menu items.


Here’s the mission statement for the site:
To develop the public’s interest in science and the natural world by exposing visitors to information on the history of science, scientific method, and alternate science in an entertaining, but accurate, way.
Short but sweet!

The main menu items at the The Museum of Unnatural Mystery are these:
  • Cryptozoology
  • UFO Mysteries
  • Aviation
  • Space & Time
  • Dinosaurs
  • Geology
  • Archaeology
  • Exploration
  • 7 Wonders
  • Surprising Science
  • Troubled History
  • Library
  • Laboratory
  • Attic
  • Theater
  • Store
  • Index/Site Map
  • Cyclorama
There I’ve gone and done it again (as if you couldn’t see the menu by just clicking on the link to the site). But I really want to pique your interest. Take the Library, for example. It’s there that you will find a list of Graphic Novels that you can read, from both on the site and off. There are many more submenu items that I will not list. And hey! Whatever Happened to the Brontosaurus? And what’s the deal with the Curse of King Tut’s Mummy?


So who put The Museum of Unnatural Mystery together? This is from the About page:
The Museum of Unnatural Mystery is the brainchild of Lee Krystek. Mr. Krystek had for a long time wanted to build a museum that would explore the fringe edges of science and at the same time use those subjects to get people interested in the more mundane aspects of scientific work. A brick and mortar museum was far beyond his means, but the creation of the world wide web provided a medium that was affordable enough for him to realize his dream…

The site is updated monthly and dates back to the late nineties. So there is a lot to look at and read! So go! Explore! Have some fun at the The Museum of Unnatural Mystery!


SkeptiQuote:
It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
— Will Rogers


Chat Highlights:
Wednesday, the 27th: Chat started out with discussions about attending The Amaz!ing Meeting. Then work-related back injuries. We continued talking about doing physical feats inappropriate for your age, like the one-handed push-ups that Jack Palance did at the 1992 Academy Awards when he was 73 years old. After some more talk about actors we moved on to the labor market: we now have computers that can do programming, so computers can even put programmers out of work. Then out of the blue, three men were talking about taking care of (their) long hair, what conditioner to use and what fragrance is nice. Comes in handy when you get visits from Mormons or Jehova’s Witnesses. And while we were on the subject of annoying people: tips on how to mess with telemarketers. Chat ended with talking about computers, connectivity at TAM hotels, and printers.

Come chat with us.


New Members This Week:
vikashmunda
konehjuliet1
kallah22

(Not a member? Become one today!)




Elsewhere in the World:
Adidas cancels ‘shackle’ shoes after outcry

Alan Turing’s legacy

Baltic sea explorers provide confusing babble not of this world

Bobby Loves Mangos

Australian Schools Chaplaincy Program is “Constitutionally Invalid”

Cave art found to be much older than previously thought

Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror

Churches Respond Impotently to Atheist Billboard

Climate change and the South Asian summer monsoon

Complex thinking goes beyond primates: Dolphins understand zero, elephants rescue each other

Creationism is a marketing game

Critics calling for the resignation of Montagnier for HIV center

‘God Particle’ Discovery Could Be Announced July 4

Do Dogs Really Like to Surf?

Dog-Associated House Dust Protects Against Respiratory Infection Linked to Asthma

Doubtful Newsblog

EPA spy drones story spreads on baseless rumor mongering

Exoplanetary bedfellows make odd couple

The False Allure of Group Selection

The first ever Pharyngula podcast!

Four-fold increase seen in parents delaying vaccines

Geller still paranormal after all these years

How about some good news to cheer you up on a Monday morning?

How American fundamentalist schools are using Nessie to disprove evolution

Inner Ears Reveal Speed of Early Primates

Is God’s mercy to blame for high crime rates?

Is science on the verge of curing retinal degenerative disease?

It’s just a dog: Strong reaction of the public to weird looking animals

Mars Colonization Mission Will Happen Live on Reality TV

More Money Problems for Ken Ham’s Ark

New Deglaciation Data Opens Door for Earlier First Americans Migration

Origin of Limbs in the Evolutionary Lineage of Vertebrates

Physicists Carve a Niche in Time

Pottery shards put a date on Africa’s dairying

Pushing Hard and to the Right

Mysterious Structure May Have Led to Ancient Artificial Island

Roman jewellery found in ancient Japan tomb

Sea-level rise accelerates faster on US east coast

The secret gay agenda

Shadowy photo called “baby ghost” in Cheltenham (UPDATE: Lame hoax)

Should we fear mind-reading future tech?

Skepticality #185 — Go Tribal

Stephen Baldwin Loses to Kevin Costner in Court

Stop the Lunacy! 5 Mad Myths About the Moon

The strange new case of the Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblin

Study challenges tax exemption for religious organizations

This Is a Poe, Right?

Uganda bans 38 agencies it says are promoting gay rights

Update on Bei Bei Shuai: Bad News From Indiana

What Tax Dollars Go to Help Teach

What’s New by Bob Park

Why Homo erectus Lived Like a Baboon

Your random fictional Deepak Chopra quote is…

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



Book of the Week:
Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead, by Joe Nickell.



“Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places? How can we know?

From the most ancient times, people have experienced apparent contact with spirits of the dead. Some have awakened to see a ghost at their bedside or encountered a spectral figure gliding through a medieval castle. Others have seemingly communicated with spirits, like the Old Testament’s Witch of Endor, the spiritualists whose darkroom seances provoked scientific controversy in the last two centuries, or today’s ‘psychic mediums,’ like John Edward or Sylvia Browne, who seem to reach the ‘Other Side’ even under the glare of television lights. Currently, equipment-laden ghost hunters stalk their quarry in haunted placesófrom urban houses to country graveyardsórecording ‘anomalies’ they insist cannot be explained.

Putting aside purely romantic tales, The Science of Ghosts examines the actual evidence for such contact — from eyewitness accounts to mediumistic productions (such as diaphanous forms materializing in dim light), spirit photographs, ghost-detection phenomena, and even CSI-type trace evidence.

Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places, only haunted people, or both? And how can we know? Taking neither a credulous nor a dismissive approach, this first-of-its-kind book solves those perplexing mysteries and more — even answering the question of why we care so very much.”

— Book Description




This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Little-a versus big-A atheism
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Random fun
  4. Did Jesus really exist? (old forum)
  5. Why do Libertarians hate the TSA so much?
  6. The Battle of Tehran
  7. Funny FAILS
  8. Didn't you all know? Lizards never stop growing!
  9. Update July 4, from the LHC
  10. Wrong images of Saturn
Articles:
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  3. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  4. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  5. Evolution, Scientology Style
  6. Astrology
  7. Quantum Age Water
  8. Miracle Thaw Tray
  9. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  10. Scientific Truth
There were 6,992 daily visitors this week.
Last Month’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Little-a versus big-A atheism
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Rebecca Watson not appearing at TAM
  4. Funny FAILS
  5. Bedini motor
  6. A look at modern magnetic therapy
  7. The Battle of Tehran
  8. Someone loves me!!!
  9. Stan, the self-righteous fundy psycho
  10. The Supper
  11. Stan Lee’s superhumans
  12. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  13. Wrong images of Saturn
  14. ‘Debate’ between me and Stan
  15. Latest on the "Antikythera Mechanism"
  16. DMV Senior Motorcyclist Handbook
  17. Christian/Humanist meeting to share perspectives
  18. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  19. Scientist: No knuckle-walkers in human ancestry
  20. Random fun
Articles:
  1. Evolving a Venom or Two
  2. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
  5. Evolution, Scientology Style
  6. Scientific Truth
  7. Cold Reading
  8. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  9. Newton’s Third Law
  10. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  11. The Legend of the Shrinking Sun
  12. The Biblical support for a Flat Earth and Geocentricism
  13. Miracle Thaw Tray
  14. TAM5
  15. Quantum Age Water
  16. How Do Vaccines Work?
  17. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  18. Skeptic Summary #365
  19. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  20. Natural Childbirth: Under the Skeptical Movement's Radar?
There were 32,458 daily visitors in June, 2012.


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 2012, all rights reserved.



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