Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Fifth Skeptics' Circle

Welcome to the Skeptic’s Circle! With my recent com puter troubles I only got to read the entries today and am still incapable of loading images, so I cannot do what I originally intended to do: something really fancy and creative and walk in the footsteps of some of the most original carnival presentation s, e.g., something involving eating, drinking, singing, laughing or watching bad TV shows. So, I will ju st jump into it and present to you this week’s edition.

First out of the starting stalls, PZ Myers of Pharyngula, usually focusing on Creationists, has recently had quite a series of posts on other, related (OK, they are all related) un-scientific ideas and strange people who peddle them, including one on Psychic Energy (a revenge for getting spammed by friends of Victor Zammit), one on the resurrection of Therapeutic Touch and one on the Demons’ Devious Use Of Hypnosis. He has, politely, submitted only one entry, but I could not resist including the other two. As usual, the comments threads on Pharyngula are almost as good reads as the posts themselves, so don’t skip them either.

Skeptico is a blog devoted to skepticism so there is a wealth to chose from. One post was entered by the author, one by another person, and one by both. I know, I know, I could have stomped my editorial foot here, but I thought all three were cool posts and, hey, more the merrier. So here they are. First, How do you prove photography to a blind man (a parable of the excuses believers give for why "psi" is so difficult to demonstrate), then one on Loyd Auerbach - A Big So What (parapsychologist Auerbach thinks he has debunked Randi's million dollar challenge, but Skep tic o says he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about), and the third, on what Can Your Psi Do.

With Orac, Who Really Truly Knows (on Re spectful Insolence), I also had three choices and again decided to include all three: Response to Herbinator, a Sunday Afternoon History Lesson, and Galileo Gambit.

In the examining room of dr. charles , Dr.Charles e xamines some real Monkey Business. The good doctor says: “this is a light-hearted skeptical piece about Big Pharma getting too intimate with our lives and my medical office in particular. “ Sounds juicy!

Steve of Socratic Gadfly, examines in great depth a new book: Race: Is it Bell Curve light. Steve starts: “I jotted down more than 200 words of notes on just the first10 pages of this book, so egregious are its wrongs.” Doesn’t that just whet your appetite for reading on?

Litmus Tests is an excellent post, a must read, from Evolutionblog. You will have a new “appreciation” for Creationist writings.

A two-part post from the Stoat: Myths of Near Future, and
More Myths of Near Future. Perhaps in the near fut ure, he will write Even More Myths of Near Future. Just wait a week and the next Skeptic’s Circle. ..though the weather may get too hot by then, and we will have to read it on water-proof computers.

Lambic of Be Lambic or Green takes a needle-stab at Acupuncture. The way these guys did the study ANYTHING can have a healing power.

Anne from Anne's Anti-Quakery and Science Blog sent Astrology and Horrorscope. Anne thinks “the whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”

Mike's Skepticism was a “brief-lived blog from before there were blogs”, covering a large number of skeptica l topics. It is a great repository of skeptical writing for the new readers who may have not seen Mike’s blog before. Will Mike continue to blog there in the near future? I don’t know, but let’s hope so.

Finally, with very limited Internet access the se past two weeks and no way to do some research on topics I wanted to cover, I’ll just offer a quick glimpse at the atrocities of he said/she said journalism, that do not leave alone even straightforward and uncontroversial scientific areas such as Sleep, from my other blog,

I hope you enjoyed the Circle. You can check out the archives of previous e ditions, as well as see the “rules” at the homepage. In two weeks (April 14, 2005), the Skeptic’s Circle will be hosted by Socratic Gadfly so check it out in a couple of days for information on submissions. Thanks.

Update: Anne's post link is now fixed! Sorry for the error and delay. Also, due to my computer woes I may have lost/missed some entries, so if your submission is not on, please e-mail me at Coturnix1 AT aol DOT com and I will add it in.

Update 2: Ah, what a horrible, horrible omission. The death of my computer obliterated the existence of the entry by the founder of the Skeptic's Circle, Saint Nate himself. With huge apologies, here is his entry.

Update 3: Welcome readers from Randi's webpage. The next issue of Skeptic's circle is now online, so you can have a double helping today. Once you read this edition on Science And Politics, you can go over to Socratic Gadfly and get the second helping..

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