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Skeptic Summary

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Skeptic Summary #223

By The Staff
Posted on: 2/1/2009

Nazis, the GOP, Rove, warming, the Secular Coalition and more!

Week ending January 31, 2009 (Vol 6, #5)

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:
Church and Nazis - Oh, my.

GOP picks a moderate, and black, chairman - There goes the neighborhood?

Immunity for Karl Rove? Forever??? - Try maintaining your innocence after that.

Editor’s Choice: Global warming deniers - Skepticism is not denial.

Kil’s Evil Pick:
The Secular Coalition for America:
The Secular Coalition for America is the national lobby representing the interests of atheists, humanists, agnostics, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans.

Position Statement

The Secular Coalition for America is committed to promoting reason and science as the most reliable methods for understanding the universe and improving the human condition. Informed by experience and inspired by compassion, we encourage the pursuit of knowledge, meaning, and responsible ethical codes without reference to supernatural forces. We affirm the secular form of government as a necessary condition for the interdependent rights of religious freedom and religious dissent. We come together as national freethought organizations to cooperate in areas of mutual interest and to support each other in our efforts to uphold separation between government and religion for the benefit of all within the nontheistic community. As resources allow, we will actively cooperate in projects that support our position, with priority given to political action initiatives and public relations opportunities.

Statement on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Tolerance

The Secular Coalition for America holds that freedom of conscience, including religious freedom, is a fundamental American value as evidenced by the fact that this is the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of conscience is best guaranteed by protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government. Religious tolerance, a necessary product of this freedom, must be extended to people of all religions and to those without religious beliefs.
A worthy cause! Please check out the The Secular Coalition for America and do what you can do!

Doubt everything or believe everything: these are two equally convenient strategies. With either we dispense with the need for reflection.
— Henri Poincare

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: I’m not really sure what happened during the first part of chat as it was mostly in Spanish. I suppose my high school Spanish class left me behind; thanks Bush. Then a video of Obama on religion and Star Wars Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen them). Also, new research on what women want. Chat ended with a debate/discussion on Hamas, Palestine, and Israel.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:
linda Vigil

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
104th Skeptics’ Circle: The Skepticism Review and Education Program Edition…

Bombardier Beetles, Bacterial Flagella, Blood Clotting … Ear Wax?

Going back to our Puritan roots

Mike Majerus passed away

Sepsis is not caused by bacterial infection?

skeptic etiquette

Skepticaly #94 — 2009: International Year of Astronomy

Stupidity caught on celluloid: The Beautiful Truth

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:
Success through Failure: The Paradox of Design, by Henry Petroski.

“From the clumsy packaging of Aleve pain reliever to the space shuttle Columbia disaster, this engrossing study mourns and celebrates failed designs that spur further improvement. Civil engineer Petroski, author of The Evolution of Useful Things and other meditations on manufactured objects, reminds us that setbacks teach us more than triumphs. The principle is easy to see in gargantuan construction projects; the art of bridge building, he notes, advances over the rubble of collapsed spans. But the essence of engineering, he contends, is to construe every limiting aspect of existence as a remediable malfunction; even the elemental wooden pointer is an underperforming contraption with a bug — finite length — corrected in the next generation of laser pointers. The moral Petroski draws — success breeds hubris and catastrophe, failure nurtures humility and insight — is worth pondering, but his conceit mainly furnishes a peg for his trademark historical sketches of the world of objects, full of evocative observations of, say, those interludes during the glitch-prone dawn of PowerPoint presentations when ‘everyone just stood around or sat by and watched in silence as the bashful new technology was coaxed out of its black box.’ He delivers a lesson in the price of progress and another perceptive look at the relationship between man and his stuff.”

— Publishers Weekly

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. PZ expelled from Expelled — Dawkins slips in!
  2. Possum on the half shell
  3. Beelzebufo ampinga
  4. Art or oxygen theft?
  5. A half of a wing & a piece of a prayer
  6. Hell, your final destination?
  7. SFN 2009 Psychic Contest, Enter by Feb1, 2009!
  8. The shallow end of the gene pool…
  9. Obama talks about religion and our government
  10. Encouraging hints about EEStor supercapacitor
  1. Fundamentalists Hate Noah’s Ark
  2. Evolving a Venom or Two
  3. Miracle Thaw — The Bogus Miracle
  4. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  5. Skeptic Summary #152
  6. Miracle Thaw Tray
  7. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  8. Skeptic Summary #222
  9. Scientific Truth
  10. Is the Speed of Light Slowing Down?
There were 9,551 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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