Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’
Posted by mattusmaximus on March 4, 2013
This past weekend I had the honor of speaking at the Chicago Skepticamp 2013, and I chose to do my talk on a topic on which I’ve written before here – the communication gap that we skeptics and science-supporters have with creationists and other psuedoscientists.
I recorded the talk (which is only about 16 minutes long), and I include that along with the slide presentation I made below. Audio is on the first slide. Mouse over it and you should see the tab for it. Enjoy!
Creationism, Evolution, and Our Communication Gap – WITH AUDIO
Posted in creationism, psychology, skeptical community | Tagged: 2013, argument, astronomy, believer, Bible, biology, Catholic Church, Chicago, church, communication, conference, creationism, Earth, evidence, evolution, Galilei, Galileo, Galileo Was Wrong, geocentrism, geocentrist, heliocentrism, literalism, physics, pseudoscience, psychology, religion, science, seminar, skeptic, SkeptiCamp, skeptics, talk, worldview, YEC, Young Earth Creationism | 6 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 6, 2013
I wanted to pass along to everyone a call-to-arms which hits really close to home for me… literally. As a science teacher, I am especially concerned with seeing that public institutions that promote good science education are protected. This usually means that I am defending our public schools from creationism or other nonsense, but there is another insitution which often goes overlooked: museums. Case in point: the Field Museum of Natural History, perhaps one of the best public educational/research institutions in the country, is in real trouble. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent Skepticblog post by Donald Prothero and consider taking action!
Save the Field Museum!
by Donald Prothero, Jan 02 2013
Buried in all the news of the end of the world, the “fiscal cliff”, and the holiday season was another item that probably escaped most people’s attention. The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, one of the world’s foremost natural history museums, is planning huge cutbacks in their scientific staff in the next few weeks. Details of who will be cut are sketchy, but the news raced through my professional community and made us all very upset. This is not only because many people who are our personal friends will be losing their jobs because of mismanagement at the top, but also because such a disastrous move would hurt science in many ways that the general public may not appreciate. …
… Most people think a museum is just a bunch of exhibits of fossils or art on display, but don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. As Jerry Coyne also points out in his post, a top museum like the Field is also one of the most important research institutions in the country, with curators who are among the top scientists in their area of research. Just like university research professors, these curators must pursue research grants and find funding to do important scientific projects. Unlike most university research scientists (who don’t have a place to store too many specimens if they find them), museum curators tend to focus on research that recovers new specimens, and adds to the total resource base for scientific research. Without this material, our data base for research and understanding topics in the fossil record would dry up, because there is no else out there to perform such an important role. I’ve known nearly all the vertebrate paleontology curators at the Field Museum (both past and present) for many years, and most are among the sharpest minds in our field, doing essential science that few others could perform. …
Click here to read the rest of Donald’s post
Click here to take action!
Posted in education, science funding, skeptical community | Tagged: Chicago, Donald Prothero, education, Field Museum, finances, funding, money, museum, natural history, petition, public, research, scientists, Skepticblog | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on November 21, 2012
This past Carl Sagan Day celebration in Chicago was a wonderful experience: the room was packed, the speakers were quite inspiring, and I left the evening with my enthusiasm for science and reason elevated! The audio of the entire event was recorded, and I wanted to share that with you below. Enjoy
“We wait for light, but behold darkness.” Isaiah 59:9
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Adage
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: 2012, advocacy, annual, astronomy, Carl Sagan, Carl Sagan day, celebration, Chicago, Cosmos, critical thinking, day, DePaul University, event, party, physics, popular, public, science, secular, Secular Student Alliance, secularism, skeptic, SSA | Leave a Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on October 7, 2012
In the next few weeks, supporters of science and secularism will be celebrating the 78th anniversary of the birth of Carl Sagan, scientist, astronomer, skeptic, and popular advocate for science and critical thinking. For many of us who are in our 30s and 40s, we were inspired to become interested in science as a direct result of Carl Sagan’s public advocacy of science (most especially through his ground-breaking book and TV-series Cosmos). In honor of Carl Sagan and his accomplishments, as well as a way of promoting the public acceptance of science, we in the Chicago area will celebrate Carl Sagan Day on Thursday, Nov. 1st – look here for more information!
**Aside: To find a Carl Sagan Day event in your area, just use Google. If there isn’t one, consider holding your own
Carl Sagan at The Planetary Society in 1980. Image source
You’re invited to Chicago’s Carl Sagan Day 2012! Chicago’s secular community is gathering once again to celebrate the life and legacy of the great science popularizer, the beauty of discovery, and the fun of exploration. The event will be held in Schmitt Academic Center Room 161, on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The building is handicapable accessible, and accommodation can be provided upon request. …
Apple pie (made from scratch, of course) and cosmos will be served.
Speakers: “Carl Sagan’s Life and Legacy” Dr. Peter Vandervoort, Professor Emeritus, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a former colleague of Carl Sagan
[Topic Undetermined] Dr. Angela Olinto, Chair of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at the University of Chicago
“Citizen Science” Dr. Bernhard Beck-Winchantz, Associate Professor of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Studies Department at DePaul University
Emcee: Matt Lowry High School Physics Teacher, writer at The Skeptical Teacher.
Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: 2012, advocacy, annual, astronomy, Carl Sagan, Carl Sagan day, celebration, Chicago, Cosmos, critical thinking, day, DePaul University, event, party, physics, popular, public, science, secular, secularism, skeptic | 2 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on January 28, 2012
While presenting at the totally awesome Chicago Skepticamp today, during a break I saw something really funny: the “Sh*t Skeptics Say” video on YouTube. The video is the work of the fine folks at Skeptically Pwned!, a group of comedic skeptics who spoof various kinds of nonsense and woo. Check out their newest video, and tell others about their channel… (warning: NSFW)
Posted in humor, skeptical community | Tagged: atheists, channel, Chicago, comedy, comic, fun, funny, humor, internet, John Rael, kicked in the nuts, NSFW, shit atheists say, shit skeptics say, skeptic, Skeptically Pwned, SkeptiCamp, spoof, video, youtube | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 19, 2011
I just wanted to pass along to you some news which might interest those of you in the Midwest next weekend: another Un-Psychic Fair! You may recall the first WTFF Un-Psychic Fair in Chicago last year, and we hope that this one will be even more fun, more skeptic-y, and more un-psychic-y!!! Read on for details…
John Edward, un-psychic douchebag, endorses this event
… This event launches our presence in Indianapolis, a city where we’ve found great skeptics and the potential for a truly bad ass skeptical mofo community. Our only option was to invade Indy and bring some mofos together to help us save them from their little notch on the Bible Belt.
Come out to the Unpsychic fair this weekend and be a part of WTF Indy! We’ll give you all you can eat food and buy your first drink. Then, we’ll be raffling off an entire bottle of alcohol. And we’ll do unpsychic readings… by real fake psychics!
The Women Thinking Free Foundation has arrived in Indianapolis!
Please join us on June 25, 2011 for our first ever Indy event: Mysteries of the Totally Explained, an Unpsychic Faire.
Tarot card readings!
Discover your fate with a oujia board!
You will be amazed at the occasional accuracy of your readings!
We can already sense your presence!
Tickets are $20
and include all you can eat appetizers, cash bar with drink specials and your first drink is on us!
FREE admission for ghosts entering through the Ouija board or other spiritual portal.
We predict an awesome time!
Saturday June 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT
Posted in psychics, skeptical community | Tagged: bar, Chicago, crystall ball, divination, esp, extra sensory perception, feminism, fortune, fun, fundrasier, humor, Indiana, Indianapolis, Indy, mind reading, Ouija, Ouija board, palm reading, palmistry, party, physics, pseudoscience, psychic, psychic fair, skeptical community, skepticism, spirit, spirit board, unpsychic fair, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on September 12, 2010
Anyone involved in skepticism in and around the Chicago area no doubt knows that one of the key organizations in the local skeptic/freethought movement is the Center For Inquiry Chicago. They have an upcoming event that I would like to pass along to you all in case anyone’s interested in attending…
The Center For Inquiry/Chicago invites you to our multi-media, participatory, Fall extravaganza!
On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions
and Other Things to Die For
In Wicker Park at “St. Paul’s” Cultural Center – 2215 W. North Ave. – Chicago
Saturday, September 18th 2010, from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
The program includes:
- Mark Twain “in person”—Warren Brown, a nationally renowned Twain scholar, will perform as Twain, Huck, and Jim, the runaway slave, and will illuminate their views on science, humanism and slavery. A Q&A discussion will follow the performance.
- Davis Schneiderman, a thought provoking multimedia author, college professor, and editor will read sections from his new book: “Drain.
- Miki Greenberg of ”It’s A Girl” will mobilize us with his satirical songs.
- Poetry Slam! Write your own verse and then sign in with Davis Schneiderman, the host! Be ready to present! As always with a Slam, everything goes: reading, reciting or singing your poem/song, in costume or in plain clothes. Use your creativity, but stay with the theme, “On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions and Other Things to Die For.” Be prepared—in keeping with the Slam tradition, the audience will express its admiration or disapproval of your wordsmithing!
- Art exhibit by three CFI/Chicago members—Ayala Leyser, Eric Wall and Ivan Phillips—on the theme “Not What Meets the Eye: On Deities, Doctrines, Superstitions and Other Things to Die For”
Throughout the evening:
- Food and snacks included with your admission. Cash bar is available for very reasonably priced drinks and soft drinks.
Free street parking, public transportation is nearby, and bike stands are available.
If you’ve never before been a Friend of the Center, become a Friend at $60 and pay only $7 more for this event—over half off!
Price if purchased online by Sept. 11th (one week before):
Current Friend of Center: $12
Price if purchased online after Sept. 11th, or at the door (if at door, cash is much preferred):
Current Friend of Center: $15
See below for performers’ bios:
Warren Brown, a nationally known Illinois Humanities Council “Roads Scholar,” presents a first-person Chautauqua-style program as Mark Twain. Twain will take us on a journey on water, land, and air, sharing insights from the “Diaries of Adam and Eve” and thoughts about Galileo and Newton. Mark Twain is claimed by freethinkers as one of our own for his still remarkably contemporary, funny and humanist viewpoints on religion, hypocrisy, and the straight-laced Victorian “virtues” of Then and Now. Brown received the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award for his Chautauqua-style portrayal of Samuel Clemens, “bridging the lessons of history with the demands of contemporary living.”
A multimedia artist and writer, Davis Schneiderman is the author and editor of eight books, including the novels Drain, Abecedarium, and the forthcoming blank novel, Blank: a novel. He co-edited the collections Retaking the Universe: Williams S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization and The Exquisite Corpse: Chance and Collaboration in Surrealism’s Parlor Game; as well as the audio collage Memorials to Future Catastrophes. His creative work has appeared in numerous publications. He is Chair of the English Department, and Director of Press/&NOW Books, at Lake Forest College.
As a pianist, composer and arranger for Maestro Subgum & the Whole, Miki Greenberg has been making music on Chicago’s underground scene since 1986. He co-founded the Lunar Cabaret in 1994 and is currently with the group “It’s A Girl,” working on his 16th album. Superstition, religion and things people die for were his obsession while working with his previous band, “Fetal Position,” as he continues to mix good entertainment with wit and critical thinking.
For more information, please visit centerforinquiry.net/chicago or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in religion, skeptical community | Tagged: atheism, Center For Inquiry, CFI, Chicago, freethought, God, gods, nontheist, religion, skeptic, superstition | 1 Comment »
Posted by mattusmaximus on August 1, 2010
On Friday, July 23rd, the Women Thinking Free Foundation held a skeptical psychic fair in Chicago as a fundraiser while also having some fun exposing the various tricks & techniques that go into all manner of psychic nonsense.
Among all the drinking & merriment, there were a number activities that we had, including a tarot card silent auction, a “psychic showdown”, along with some fun mentalism & magic tricks. We also handed out many copies of Michael Shermer’s Learn to be Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons! which outlines the tricks of the psychic trade, including such time-honored (and completely NON-paranormal) techniques such as cold reading.
My primary contribution to the event was to bring a Ouija board to demonstrate a lesson in critical thinking regarding these supposed “spirit boards”…
The whole trick behind the standard operation of a Ouija board is a well-documented & understood phenomenon called the ideomotor effect, whereby the people holding their hands on the pointer of the board (the planchette) subconsciously maneuver it around without necessarily knowing it. In fact, with Ouija boards, tests have been performed that illustrate that when the people using the board are blindfolded, and the board is randomly rotated without their knowledge, then all the supposed messages from the “spirit world” turn into gibberish. Just take a look at this footage from Penn & Teller’s Bullshit where they tested a Ouija board in just this manner…
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in ghosts & paranormal, psychics | Tagged: bar, Chicago, crystall ball, divination, eddy currents, electromagnetic induction, feminism, fortune, fun, fundrasier, humor, ideomotor effect, induction, Ouija, Ouija board, palm reading, palmistry, party, physics, pseudoscience, psychic, psychic fair, skeptical community, skepticism, spirit, spirit board, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 6 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on July 15, 2010
As a way of having some fun while raising money for a good skeptical cause – the Women Thinking Free Foundation – we’re going to be holding a “fake” psychic fair at a bar in Chicago on Friday, July 23rd (I put fake in quotes because, as near as I can tell, all psychics are fakes)…
Help support the Women Thinking Free Foundation by joining us for a night of psychic fun, including a pseudoworkshop teaching you how to impress your drunk friends by doing your own bad psychic readings!
Friday, July 23, the Women Thinking Free Foundation will introduce you to . . . your future! (And show you how we do it.)
Ask us any question you want! And we’ll answer it for you! We’ll have tarot cards! Palm readings! A crystal* ball! And dowsing pendulums (courtesy of SurlyRamics)!
You can even attend our pseudoworkshop “5 minute Google: How to impress your drunk ass friends with psychic readings”. Then you can hold your own psychic fair!
We’ll even have raffles (we already know that you’re a winner!) And a silent auction. And chairs! And an open bar! And a skeptical psychic face off!
You can even compete to prove your own psychic powers are the best in Chicago!
Friday, July 23
2442 N Clark
The event cost covers all of the mystical mental augmenting refreshments you can handle, including all tap beer as well as wine! We will have our own room on the second floor complete with bartender.
The Women Thinking Free Foundation will be showcasing a set of brand new Tarot cards signed but the latest and greatest skeptics who appeared at the James Randi Education Foundation’s The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 held recently in Las Vegas. Names on the Cards include the cast of the venerable Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast (Steven Novella, Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein, Bob Novella, Rebecca Watson), world renown psychic investigator Joe Nickell, the UK’s science writer and libel reform advocate Simon Singh, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, Skeptic society founder Michael Shermer, Banachek: the world’s leading mentalist and television magic producer, the “honest liar” Jamey Ian Swiss, JREF president DJ Grothe, Australia’s own Richard Saunders, James The Amaz!ng Randi and many more!
Find out more information at: http://psychicfair.womenthinkingfree.org/
Purchase tickets at: http://shop.womenthinkingfree.org/Mysteries-of-the-Totally-Explained-Psychic-Fair-Psychic.htm
Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door.
Discounted parking is available from the Children’s Memorial outpatient facility at 2515 N. Clark Street.
Posted in humor, psychics, skeptical community | Tagged: bar, Chicago, crystall ball, divination, feminism, fortune, fun, fundrasier, humor, palm reading, palmistry, party, pseudoscience, psychic, psychic fair, skeptical community, skepticism, Women Thinking Free, Women Thinking Free Foundation, WTF, WTFF | 3 Comments »
Posted by mattusmaximus on June 18, 2010
I’m just tooting my own horn a bit because apparently I’m achieving a measure of notoriety on the Internet (especially over at The Friendly Atheist blog) for some comments I recently made for a Chicago Tribune article on the new Freedom From Religion Foundation’s bus ad campaign in the Windy City…
Secularists spreading the word
When the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign and American Humanist Association wanted to spark a public conversation last spring about the origin of religion, they plastered Chicago’s buses with a provocative twist on Genesis: “In the beginning, man created God.”
When the Chicago Coalition of Reason wanted to proclaim that no one needs God to be good, they posted a billboard a few months later above a LaSalle Street sandwich shop in Chicago’s Loop.
So when the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation took its controversial slogan touting the benefits of sleeping in on Sundays to honor the day of rest, they came to Chicago first, a city where they knew they would be welcome.
After awhile, the article gets to me and my epic quote…
Matt Lowry, 37, a science teacher in Vernon Hills and the organizer of the North Suburban Chicago Freethinkers, said he never wore his beliefs, or lack thereof, on his sleeve. But the more it came up in conversation, the more he realized how the collective silence has caused atheists and agnostics to be misunderstood.
“Just because you’re a nonbeliever does not mean you’re kicking little old ladies down the stairs or eating babies,” Lowry said. “There’s this common misperception. For too long, the nonbelieving community in this country has basically allowed religious fundamentalists to define them that way.”
Yeah, that was all me – it was my humorous & snarky way of basically saying: hey, nonbelievers are good and moral people, too. Now that I see how much people like the quote, I’m considering having T-shirts made up
Posted in religion | Tagged: ad, advertisement, agnostic, atheism, atheist, belief, bus, Chicago, faith, FFRF, Freedom From Religion Foundation, God, humanist, nonbeliever, nontheist, religion, secular, secularist, sleep in on sundays | 1 Comment »