Archive for the ‘Skepticism’ Category

Steven Novella throws down the gauntlet on climate skepticism

In Skepticism on February 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Dr. Steven Novella, well known Skeptic, host of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe Podcast and blogger wrote a great article today on ‘Climate Skepticism’. He writes:

I may be wrong – if you think I am then let’s discuss the science. My challenge to those who consider themselves global warming skeptics is, if you wish to truly earn that mantle, is to focus on scientific arguments. My opinions can be changed on this topic, I really have no stake in the debate at all – except the one that every human on the planet has, which is only served by knowing the truth, whatever it is. I hope global warming is not happening, it is nothing but a major inconvenience and crimp in civilization. I would love to just continue burning fossil fuels and not have to worry about the consequences.

So if you disagree with me, show me some science. And spare me the name-calling and conspiracy theories.

link: Skepticblog » Climate Skepticism

Little Rock’s Science Cafe to present woo as ‘science’

In acupuncture, alternative medicine, hypnosis, oriental medicine, Skepticism, woo on January 27, 2009 at 2:38 am

Tomorrow night at Little Rock’s Science Cafe discussion group, the topic will be “Alternative Medicine: Eat, Sleep and Stick”. Science Cafes are supposed to be an opportunity for the public to meet with scientists from different fields and ask them questions, and promote discussion.

However, it looks as though the Little Rock chapter is being invaded by the pseudo-scientific world of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine”. The three ‘scientists’ who will be speaking Tuesday night are Wesley Pilcher, a team leader from Whole Foods Market, D.J. Lynch a hypnotist from Arkansas Hypnosis, and Martin Eisley from Evergreen Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Mr. Eisley will also be speaking on the local public radio station (KUAR 89.1FM) at 6:05pm tomorrow night about the Science Cafe.

Hopefully they will be taking callers, I’m going to attempt to call in to ask questions concerning their use of the term ‘science’ to describe what it is they do. I’ll try to record the episode and post it somewhere if possible (if KUAR doesn’t post it on their own).

Psychic Kids — Update

In Skepticism on June 24, 2008 at 2:48 pm

I found a copy of A&E’s new show Psychic Kids.

Watch it and see if it disturbs you as much as it does me.
I see several possibilities for what’s really going on here.
  1.  These kids have overactive imaginations and they show is promoting this.
  2. These kids have some kind of mental disorder, if so they should be treated, not encouraged.
  3. They are kids of parents who believe this stuff, and they are just parroting their parents, because hey, that’s what kids do.

Psychic Kids

In Skepticism on June 20, 2008 at 5:28 pm

A&E has a new show called “Psychic Kids”.  Woo on Television has reached a new low. I don’t even have words.

You can check out the website for it here:
Also, the first episode is available for free on iTunes. Just follow this link.

New Skeptologists Trailer

In science, Skepticism on April 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

There’s a new Skeptologists trailer, this one gives you more of a feel for the show.

I really hope this gets picked up in some way.

Utility Belt!

In Humor, Skepticism on March 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

A while back on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, the guys on the show went on and on about the awesomeness of a “Utility Belt” for guys to carry about all their gadgets. Skepchick Rebecca Watson decried them as being hideous. Check out this video from the 30’s predicting clothing from 2000. Pay special attention to the male outfit at the end.

Utility Belt!


In Humor, Skepticism on February 25, 2008 at 2:24 am

My wife and I really want to go to TAM6 this year, but funds are kind of tight. We found this cool contest on icanhascheezburger. They are doing a poker lolcat contest. My wife came up with the entry below. The Winner of the contest gets a trip to Vegas for 2 and spendin’ monies! So help a fellow skepdude and skepchick get to TAM6. Click on the picture below to go to the voting page for our LOLCAT.

Thanks bunches!

crazy, funny pix
More on the online Poker Cats Contest

My Road to Skepticism

In Skepticism on February 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

I grew up in the Southern United States by Christian parents. We attended a tiny United Methodist Church. On a good day we might have 20 people. The first things I remember from Sunday school are learning Bible stories. Looking back now, I realize that these sanitized versions of Bible stories are one of the things that helped me hold on to my faith for so long.

One particular thing I remember from Sunday school is the felt board. If you haven’t ever seen this, it’s a board covered with felt on which you can place paper cutouts of characters from the Bible. It’s used to tell children the stories, like Adam and Eve, Noah, Cain and Able, Jacob and the Coat of Many Colors, etc. Now-days, I think they probably use cartoons to teach these things. The sad thing is, most people I knew in the church never really got much past these simplified versions of the stories. I call this “Veggietale Christianity”.

This continued until I was about 14, when I remember getting pressured to be “saved”. And so one Sunday, when the preacher called for anyone who wanted to be saved to come forward, I stood up. I don’t remember much emotion from it, except that I remember my mom crying. I remember thinking that she must really love me to cry because I was being saved. It’s important to note, I didn’t have a “religious experience”. At the time, I was just thinking that the act of declaring my belief in Jesus was the point. That somehow God would see that, and that was just “how it worked”. I didn’t question how it worked, I just accepted it.

In High School my Christianity faded a bit. Honestly, it just wasn’t something I thought about in depth. I became the piano player at my church, and called myself a Christian. My High School did NOT teach very much about Evolutionary Biology, and so I don’t remember being challenged about that. However, starting in Junior High and going through High School, I became VERY interested in science , specifically astronomy and cosmology. So I ended up believing in the Big Bang, and how old the universe was. I never really went back and compared this to Genesis though.

Then College hit. In college I studied Computer Science. I also joined the “Wesley Foundation”. This is where my “religious experiences” hit. I was part of a singing group that would go around to churches and perform contemporary Christian music. I enjoyed it very much. At the time I believed it was because of Jesus. But looking back at it, I think it was mostly because music was another of my passions. After all, I had the same emotional responses playing Trumpet in the College Band. At the same time, I was interested more and more in Science and Cosmology. So I ended up coming up with my own rationalizations to merge what the Bible said with what Cosmology told us about the origins of the universe. I still had not come across the theory of evolution in any detailed way. I mean I had seen the pictures of fish turning into land mammals, tuning in to apes, turning into humans, and I figured it must have happened that way, and then I looked at Genesis and pretended to match up the order the animals were created with the order they evolved.

I realize now that that was a mistake. Once I got out of College and started working, I got disillusioned with my Church. The numbers of people at the Church were dwindling, and I was growing bored of playing the piano at Church services that were exactly the same every week. So I stopped going, making up excuses to tell my parents. Eventually I stopped altogether and the church got another piano player. My parents would try to get me to go occasionally and it would usually annoy me, and I guess they could tell it was, because they eventually stopped.
During this time, I had a friend who always used to call himself an “agnostic”. We had long discussions about the existence of God. I enjoyed the arguments, and out of these discussions, I moved closer and closer to what I now know is the “deist” position. I believed that God created the universe, like a Clock.. He wound it up and started it going, but didn’t interfere much. I believed he might have interfered when Jesus came into the world, but for the most part, he didn’t. I bought the “Free Will” arguments Christians so usually use. This helped explain how so many bad things could happen in the world. God had to take a “hands off” approach in order to preserve free will.

Then I met and married my wife. She had already come to the conclusion of “atheist”. In addition, she was a huge fan of Sir David Attenborough and insisted I watch all of his nature specials. This was the beginning of the end for my deism. My deism was propped up on the “argument from design”. The final death nell was when I read Richard Dawkin’s book, “The Selfish Gene”. Then I started learning everything I could about Evolution, having missed it in all my schooling.

Eventually I got into the philosophical arguments about what “atheism”, “agnosticism”, and other such terms are and what they mean. It was at this point that I didn’t really identify as readily with “atheism” alone. And then I happened upon a podcast called “The Skeptics Guide to the Universe” and I realized, that’s what I am. A Skeptic. I was ALWAYS a skeptic about UFOs, Ghosts, Psychics, and the “paranormal”. But I realized that I’m now just as skeptical about religious claims. I don’t give them any more credence than I do everything else.

I still haven’t “come out” to my parents about my atheism though. I’m hoping that I can get the nerve to do this soon, as it’s really starting to bother me when I go and visit.