The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Posts Tagged ‘magazine’

Birthers Hit a New Low…

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 20, 2012

So there’s this nutjob… err, I mean law enforcement officer… named Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona who has apparently taken it upon himself to “prove” that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen (a conspiracy theory known as “birtherism“).  This has consisted of basically engaging in rampant conspiracy mongering that President Obama’s birth certificate (which you can see here) is a forgery, despite the fact that it has been certified as authentic repeatedly.  Well, in their quest to pursue their bigoted… err, I mean intense and serious… investigation of the citizenship of the POTUS, they have hit a new low.

And here it is:

The Globe Magazine… that bastion of journalistic excellence.  *Sigh* ‘Nuff said.

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Posted in conspiracy theories, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Classic April Fools’ Joke from Scientific American

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 1, 2011

This is a fitting post for April Fools’ Day 🙂

A friend reminded me of a wonderful Scientific American editorial which appeared in the popular magazine a few years back on – you guessed it – April 1st.  In the spirit of science, skepticism, and a little fun, I share it with you here. Enjoy…

Okay, We Give Up

We feel so ashamed

By The Editors | April 1, 2005

There’s no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don’t mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there’s no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine’s coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it. Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that’s a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That’s what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn’t get bogged down in details.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody’s ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

Get ready for a new Scientific American. No more discussions of how science should inform policy. If the government commits blindly to building an anti-ICBM defense system that can’t work as promised, that will waste tens of billions of taxpayers’ dollars and imperil national security, you won’t hear about it from us. If studies suggest that the administration’s antipollution measures would actually increase the dangerous particulates that people breathe during the next two decades, that’s not our concern. No more discussions of how policies affect science either-so what if the budget for the National Science Foundation is slashed? This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools’ Day.

Posted in humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cracked.com: A Wonderful Combintation of Humor and Skepticism

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 8, 2010

Do you remember a rag of a magazine way back in the day (well, way back in my day) called Cracked?  It was kind of like the unpopular wanna-be version of the more well-known and liked Mad Magazine.  Well, Cracked has come back with a vengeance, because now they have a really well-written & hilarious online presence over at Cracked.com – if biting satire & rough language is your thing, check them out 🙂

So why am I going on and on about Cracked.com?  Well, every now and then they come out with a really good skeptical article – and I mean really good.  I wanted to share with you one of my favorites which I ran across awhile back, called 5 Ways “Common Sense” Lies To You Everyday…

Albert Einstein said common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by the age of 18. It is also a result of some pervasive and extremely stupid logical fallacies that have become embedded in the human brain over generations, for one reason or another. These malfunctioning thoughts–several of which you’ve had already today–are a major cause of everything that’s wrong with the world. …

I highly recommend this article as required reading for anyone who wants a quick primer on sloppy, uncritical thinking & how we fool ourselves.  Not to mention, it’s funny!  Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_17142_5-ways-common-sense-lies-you-everyday.html

Posted in humor, internet, psychology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Spiritualists’ National Union Kills ‘Psychic News’

Posted by mattusmaximus on July 27, 2010

Okay, I simply couldn’t resist passing along this little bit of humor.  Apparently, one of the longest running paranormal periodicals, the “Psychic News”, is going to come to an end soon, much to the lamentation of many of its readers…

Tragedy: SNU kills ‘Psychic News’

Tomorrow – Saturday, 17 July – the Spiritualists’ National Union will announce at its annual general meeting in Blackpool that it has decided to kill off the weekly newspaper Psychic News.

The editor and staff have received notice that the next issue, dated 24 July 2010, will be the last that will be published.

In making that decision, the SNU has allowed the guillotine to fall unceremoniously and with little warning on a publication that has been the global voice of Spiritualism, its phenomena and philosophy for the past 78 years.

I discussed this possible outcome on 10 July, but at that time I was hopeful that, behind the scenes, the supporters of Psychic News within the SNU would win the day, or at least buy enough time to allow others in the Spiritualist movement to offer support and come up with a solution.

That has not happened. For whatever reasons, those who have made this decision have viewed the dire financial situation that has faced Psychic News as a problem for the SNU only. They have, therefore, decided to cut their losses.

What is not understandable is why these dedicated Spiritualists have not taken account of the importance of Psychic News as an independent voice of Spiritualism, and sought help from other organisations within the movement to ensure that it continues to publish. …

So this begs the obvious question: Why is this a suprise at all?  Why didn’t they see this coming? 🙂

Posted in humor, psychics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Attend Skepchicamp! Register Now!

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 19, 2010

Brought to you in part by

And

The very first ever Skepchicamp! It’s Skepticamp, but Skepchickier!

Complete with real live Skepchicks!

Skepchicamp  is an informal convention with the goal of promoting skeptical thinking in the Chicago area.

Unlike formal conventions, everyone who attends Skepchicamp is expected to participate in some way – giving a speech, serving food, helping to set up a room, or donating money.

The goal is to create a laid-back event driven by the participants.

Skeptics believe that everything should be examined with scientific rigor, and generally choose to suspend belief (or agree to append beliefs) based on the availability of adequate evidence. Many skeptics do not believe in the supernatural simply have not seen enough credible evidence to convince us that they exist. They are not curmudgeons who dislike ghost stories. There are, however, there are many things that skeptics do believe in. Like love, the power of beauty, art, friendship, humor, and sports because we know these things to be true. Nothing falsifiable is exempt from scrutiny.

The organizers invite you to attend the first event on March 6, where you can both learn and teach others about skepticism.

“In the end, the Skepchicamp in which you partake

is equal to the Skepchicamp you make.”

If you’d like to attend but still have not made a contribution, please contact Elyse to find out where we still need help.

Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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