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Skeptic Summary #331

By The Staff
Posted on: 5/21/2011

Rapture, evopsych, black president, egalitarianism, the end of the world and more!

Week ending May 21, 2011 (Vol 8, #19)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick week-in-review guide to the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

The staff of the Skeptic Friends Network would like to welcome you all to our first Post-Rapture Summary! We hope you all have an absolutely fantastic time during the Tribulations while waiting for Armageddon. Live these days like they’re your last, ’cause allegedly, they are.

Forum Highlights:
An evolutionary psychologist said - What did he say? Psychology Today pulled his blog-article.

The next black president? - Who will Republicans send to challenge Obama?

Promoting egalitarianism from IEET - Should we scrap the saying “Money talks, BS walks?”

This Week’s Poll:
What now? - Rapture ruptured?

Kil’s Evil Pick:
TEOTWAWKI: “The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” prophecies from — Well what the heck. They (whoever they are at the time) just keep on predicting the end of the world. Of course, the world is going to end. Science tells us that. Not anytime soon, we hope, but it’s going to end. Aside from the sun becoming a red giant in about 5 billion years or so, which will pretty much destroy all life here on Earth, there are other cosmic hazards, and even some very real hazards closer to home that threaten our existence long before the our sun bloats. After all, almost every species that has ever lived on this planet is now extinct. Hell. The whole universe is scheduled for heat death in the distant future, so even if our species were to spread out and colonize other habitable planets and just keep hanging on, if the planets reside in this universe, it will still be just a matter of time. So yeah… we’re doomed. Oh well…

Still, there is a long history of end-of-the-world predictions (or at least the world as we know it), and many of them are based on biblical predictions of the second coming of Christ. Interestingly, there’s not a whole lot of agreement between Christians of various denominations about how that will all go down.

See Historical Christian expectations and Competing theories of eschatology, end times, and millennialism.

Almost right out of the gate, and even before there were Christians, really, the end has been predicted as coming real soon by this or that prognosticator. People of serious religious conviction look around, see that bad things happen, and tie those things (usually) to biblical prophesy, and somehow calculate when the end will happen. And so far, they have all been wrong in their doomsday predictions every time. But they persist.

I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that doomsday predictions scare the crap out of many believers and their kids. Some end-times predictions have lead to death cults like the Heaven’s Gate or used as justification for murder. So while we can sometimes sit back and laugh at the silliness of the predictions, they sometimes lead to consequences that are not terribly funny. Sure, I have been guilty of culling the herd jokes. But all in all, the damage can be real and tragic.

Anyhow, I chose TEOTWAWKI: “The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” prophecies because not only does it list many past predictions of humanity’s demise, and current predictions of upcoming doomsday events, but there are also many links, some of which I included above, that tells the larger story, including both historically and currently conflicting views held among the various religions regarding the end, as well as the naturalistic skeptical view. And I chose TEOTWAWKI: “The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it” prophecies as my pick today, 5/21/11 because of duh…

Mr. Harold Camping, who, as of this writing,
is still among the living and probably a little bit embarrassed.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
— Isaac Asimov

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday: Dave and Kil spent a bit of time talking about a new poll for this week. Terry came by with good news about his high-rolling stock market adventures. He’s up a little. We had a long talk about how much it costs to open a fast-food restaurant franchise. We were joined by Lkfreethinker, his first visit, and we changed course and talked about issues concerning skeptics. Who’da thunk it? There was some discussion about the Gnus vs. the not-Gnus. A debate that has yet to be resolved. And that’s about it!

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Atheists Do It Better: Why Leaving Religion Leads to Better Sex

Billion dollar babies of the human genome

Cell Phones, Brain Tumors, and Cost/Benefit Analysis

How can we corral data to reveal the big picture?

One Week until Armageddon: The State of Christendom in End Times

REALLY? Eating Local Honey Cures Allergies

Robots Successfully Invent Their Own Language

Scientists Take Charles Darwin on the Road

Smallpox: Then and Now

This Week in Intelligent Design

When I fell for a doomsday prophecy

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

Book of the Week:
What Will Really Happen In 2012?: Mysteries Of The 13 B’aktun Paradox Decoded…, by Brian M. Clark.

“[This] is a tongue-in-cheek book which is skeptical of the idea that anything special is going to happen in the year 2012. Externally, the book looks just like every other 2012 conspiracy theory book — with a crappily-Photoshopped cover design, and a back jacket containing pseudoscientific jargon, specious research qualifications, ominous insinuations about global conspiracies, and wildly implausible doomsday scenarios. Unlike other 2012 titles, however, this book is likely to elicit consternation from the credulous, while providing a good chuckle for the scientifically-literate.”

— Product Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. The Supper
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Funny FAILS
  4. Webcam, bald eagle nest
  5. Moon-walker claims alien contact cover-up
  6. An evolutionary psychologist said
  7. Didn't you all know? Lizards never stop growing!
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous
  9. Evidence For Zeitgeist's Claims?
  10. Scattershots: gargoyles & grotesques
  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. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  6. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  7. More on the Polonium 218 Controversy
  8. Scientific Truth
  9. Skeptic Summary #330
  10. Cold Reading
There were 7,153 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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