Skeptic Friends Network

Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
Home Skeptic Summary Skeptic Summary #372
Skeptic Forums
Skeptic Summary
The Kil Report
About Skepticism
Fan Mail
Rationally Speaking
Claims List
Skeptic Links
Book Reviews
Gift Shop

Server Time: 00:46:45
Your Local Time:

Skeptic Summary

Printer Friendly Printer Friendly Version of this Article... Bookmark Bookmark This Article...

Skeptic Summary #372

By The Staff
Posted on: 9/16/2012

Guilds, debates, mathology, Armstrong, Republicans, arguments, bestiality, transitions, thinking big and more!

Week ending September 16, 2012 (Vol 9, #21)

Welcome to the Skeptic Summary, a quick, bi-weekly review of the Skeptic Friends Network and the rest of the skeptical world.

Forum Highlights:
Guild Wars 2 - A new game, a new thread, and an atheist guild online.

Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye - Bill Nye on childrens’ education, and Ken Ham’s “rebuttal.”

The mathology of Big Bang - A made-up word and an attempt to poison the well when the strawman wouldn’t burn.

Neil Armstrong - When you see the Moon, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

Some recent Republican eff-ups. - Starting with Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” gaffe.

What would you say to this argument about atheists? - The argument doesn’t resemble reality.

Why is bestiality illegal? - Is it? What does morality dictate? And whose morality?

Editor’s Choice: Regarding sex changes and gender - Some people are more trans* than others, so what should their passports say?

Kil’s Evil Pick:
Big Think — A few weeks ago a video by Big Think went viral. It was the Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children video. The science, skeptic and freethinking communities loved it. Creationists hated it for the usual reasons. I don’t think there was anything earth-shatteringly new in what Nye had to say. But there it was.

Every Big Think video, blog and link is there because the editors think there is a Big Idea that makes the promotion of it important. In the case of the Nye video they say this:
What’s The Big Idea?

Nye is making a point that is larger than creationism:

In past centuries, you could afford to live your life out just fine without believing in evolution. Today, we not only know more about science, we have an innovation economy that is based on science. As Nye points out, evolution is fundamental to our understanding of the known universe. So sure, everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. However, if you reject science, you won’t succeed, and we as a society won’t succeed to the fullest extent.

That’s why Nye says that creationism is an idea that will vanish.

But there is still more at issue. The rejection of science has broad ramifications, and this idea — one might call it “the war on science” — applies to other matters on which Americans disagree. If there is a war on science, then Climate Change and the link between vaccinations and autism are surely some of its greatest battles.

What we have, then, is a pervasive and divisive issue that actually has absolute answers. No wonder the beloved edu-tainer thought it worth it to take the issue on, and no wonder the video has gathered the response that it has. After all, if you reject science, you are, in the words of the inimitable Science Guy, “just not going to get the right answer; your whole world is a mystery… instead of an exciting place.”

The whole point of Big Think video blog and forum is to present big ideas. And while the Nye video was an easy one for me to agree with, not everything at Big Think is. But then, if you are going to trade in big ideas, there are going to be some disagreements. For one thing, the categories are far-ranging, and when it comes to philosophical ideas, not all of us are going to come to the same conclusions as the authors of the topics in the videos. The idea is to get the ideas out there. Then we can discuss them. And like most blogs, there is a place for comments under each presentation of an idea.

There are also Special Series topics that several people weigh in on, and as I said, the topics are far-ranging.

Here’s what the editors say about Big Think:
About Us

Big Think is a knowledge forum.

In our digital age, we’re drowning in information. The web offers us infinite data points — news stories, tweets, wikis, status updates, etc — but very little to connect the dots or illuminate the larger patterns linking them together. Here at Big Think, we believe that success in the future is about knowing the ideas that allow you to manage and master this universe of information. Therefore, we aim to help you move above and beyond random information, toward real knowledge, offering big ideas from fields outside your own that you can apply toward the questions and challenges in your own life.

Every idea on Big Think comes from our ever-growing network of 2,000 Big Think fellows and guest speakers, who comprise the top thinkers and doers from around the globe. Our editorial team regularly sources ideas from these experts, asking them about the most important ideas in their respective fields. Our editors then sift through the submitted ideas and determine which qualify to appear on Big Think, subjecting each to our simple, three-pronged standard geared to your interests:

a) significance — how will this idea change the world and impact your life?

b) relevance — what groups and individuals does this idea most affect?

c) application — how can this idea change the way you think or act?

Big Think’s editorial team then packages and presents these ideas to you, our users, using the range of multimedia tools the Internet makes possible, with the aim of distilling each idea to its essence. We think of it as optimizing the “speed of knowledge,” conveying ideas’ value as efficiently and effectively as possible, so you have the time to explore, and absorb, more of them.

Because as we move from the information age to the knowledge era, the more ideas you command, the more you will be able to guide the course of your own life and positively impact the lives of those around you.

That’s our big idea.
Which forces me to ask the question: Can the Human Body Learn to Photosynthesize? Okay, that’s not really my question. It’s one of theirs which links to this article from BBC Future.

Once again, the site I have picked is vast, with many categories and features and things to watch and to read. And it’s not as though this is all new to you. Most of us have watched Big Think videos. But do take a look at the site. It’s a great resource for big ideas!

Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism.
— David Suzuki

Chat Highlights:
Wednesday, August 29th: Chat started slow, and never picked up pace. People seemed busy watching the Republican National Convention and feeling sick while doing it. Dr. Mabuse announced that his working hours are changing due to no fault of his own but poor mid-level management, reducing his chat-hosting to once every third week. Then there were more politics. Discussions on taxes, and loopholes, such. Then chat faded into oblivion.

Wednesday, September 5th: Attendance was unusually low this chat too. Probably because people were busy watching the Democratic National Convention. We started out talking about the weather, then some comments about the RNC. Everyone attending chat agreed that the passing of the amendment to the Democratic party program which included God and Jerusalem was an effing disgrace. A few discussion threads were mentioned, then we called it quits.

Wednesday, September 12th: Chat started out discussing the riots against American embassies in Libya and Egypt, and how Romney has managed to potentially destroy his own candidacy by speaking out against Obama during a crisis. We also talked about Guantanamo Bay and how that prison camp is still operational despite Obama’s promise to shut it down. Then some more about the reasons for the rioting. The chat was concluded with a discussion on debating morality with Christians.

Come chat with us.

New Members This Week:

(Not a member? Become one today!)

Elsewhere in the World:
Are you scientifically literate? Take our quiz

Bonobo apes early humans by creating stone tools

Curie museum lifts veil on the glory days of physics

Dark energy is real, say astronomers

Dowsers quote Einstein in worthless appeal for legitimacy

Doubtful News

Dr. Pepper Facebook Ad Sparks the Most Surreal Creationist Debate You’ve Ever Seen

Eye Contact Quells Online Hostility

Forensic Science And The Innocence Project

Good News & Drinking Pigs

Healthy man dies after taking diet supplements

My application to BigThink

Oxygen is Killing You

Psychopathic Personality Traits Linked With U.S. Presidential Success, Psychologists Suggest

Rick Santorum finally says something that is true

The Skeptic’s Dictionary Newsletter, August, 2012

Steven Pinker on Taboos, Political Correctness, and Dissent

UFO flies over NASA’s Mars Curiosity rove

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:
Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens.

“On June 8, 2010, while on a book tour for his bestselling memoir, Hitch-22, Christopher Hitchens was stricken in his New York hotel room with excruciating pain in his chest and thorax. As he would later write in the first of a series of award-winning columns for Vanity Fair, he suddenly found himself being deported ‘from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.’ Over the next eighteen months, until his death in Houston on December 15, 2011, he wrote constantly and brilliantly on politics and culture, astonishing readers with his capacity for superior work even in extremis.

Throughout the course of his ordeal battling esophageal cancer, Hitchens adamantly and bravely refused the solace of religion, preferring to confront death with both eyes open. In this riveting account of his affliction, Hitchens poignantly describes the torments of illness, discusses its taboos, and explores how disease transforms experience and changes our relationship to the world around us. By turns personal and philosophical, Hitchens embraces the full panoply of human emotions as cancer invades his body and compels him to grapple with the enigma of death.

Mortality is the exemplary story of one man’s refusal to cower in the face of the unknown, as well as a searching look at the human predicament. Crisp and vivid, veined throughout with penetrating intelligence, Hitchens’s testament is a courageous and lucid work of literature, an affirmation of the dignity and worth of man.”

— Book Description

This Week’s Most-Viewed Pages:
Forum Topics:
  1. Little-a versus big-A atheism
  2. Dr. Jeffery Life and Cenegenics
  3. Chupacabra sold to creationist museum
  4. How the divine pen of N crushed the atheists
  5. Rebecca Watson not appearing at TAM
  6. Funny FAILS
  7. Regarding sex changes and gender
  8. The Battle of Tehran
  9. I found it; all 21 grams of it!!
  10. Bedini motor
  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. Cold Reading
  7. Evil Skeptic II: A visit to the Conscious Living Expo
  8. How Do Vaccines Work?
  9. Free the Glutens, or When a Cookie isn’t Just a Cookie
  10. Skeptic Summary #371
There were 8,178 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. Poltergeist phenomena
  6. Fif50ty FreAkieSt AnIMaLS
  7. How the divine pen of N crushed the atheists
  8. Bedini motor
  9. Stand by Me
  10. Pacific Barreleye has interesting adaptations
  11. Scientist: No knuckle-walkers in human ancestry
  12. Ozone
  13. Creationist textbook: ‘Electricity is a mystery’
  14. How to be a Christian ‘head of household’
  15. DMV Senior Motorcyclist Handbook
  16. Johnny Carson — skeptic and humanist too!
  17. Equal criticism
  18. The Battle of Tehran
  19. Answers in Genesis sinks to a new low
  20. 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. Free the Glutens, or When a Cookie isn’t Just a Cookie
  6. What is a Skeptic and Why Bother Being One?
  7. Cold Reading
  8. Evolution, Scientology Style
  9. The Legend of the Shrinking Sun
  10. Skeptic Summary #370
  11. Laetrile
  12. TAM5
  13. Kent Hovind is a Big Phony!
  14. The Bible’s Bad Fruits
  15. N. 25, June 2002: Ecology vs. ecophily — being reasonable about saving the environment
  16. Quantum Age Water
  17. Sports Fandom and Soccer
  18. Miracle Thaw Tray
  19. Scientific Truth
  20. How Do Vaccines Work?
There were 32,765 daily visitors in August, 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.

Read or Add Comments about the Skeptic Summary

Back to Skeptic Summary

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.

Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.38 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000