The Skeptical Teacher

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

Posts Tagged ‘The Skeptics Circle’

Skeptic’s Class Now in Session: The 135th Skeptic’s Circle!

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 23, 2010

Welcome students!  Now that we’re all gathered we can start this biweekly lesson on all things skeptical, paranormal, pseudoscientific, and just plain nutty.  I want to thank you all for allowing me, the Skeptical Teacher, to present these lessons on behalf of my skeptical colleagues.  It’s quite a long class, and I know there are other demands upon your time (the weekend is coming, after all), so let’s get started… notebooks & pencils out, please.  Pay careful attention, because you never know when or where what you learn in Skeptic’s Class will turn out to be useful 🙂

First off, since I am a teacher & I’m into all that education stuff, I want to let everyone know about a new organization dedicated to providing skeptical outreach & education to women, the Women Thinking Free Foundation (or WTF Foundation 😉 ).  I’m totally promoting this new organization not just because I’m a professional science educator who is interested in seeing more young women become interested in science & skepticism, but also because I happen to be on the WTFF board of directors (so promotion is, like, part of the job description).  Here’s more info about the WTFF…

Our goal as an organization is to bring science, skepticism and critical thinking to the women of the Midwest. We’re planning some great events, campaigns and outreach programs to help provide women with the tools to fight pseudoscience.

Our next lesson comes from Phil over at Skeptic Money, where he puts a new, modern twist on The Last Supper – he calls it Last Supper With Scientists, where rather than revering various religious figures from Christianity one can bask in the imagery of famous scientists both past & present who have made arguably greater contributions to humanity than most religious figures.  Can you guess who they are without peeking at Phil’s blog for the answers?…

Our next lesson comes from Down Under… Kylie at the well-known Podblack Cat blog has decided to share a few tidbits with us.  First, there’s her list of skeptical Podblack Finds For 18th April 2010 – which include, among other things, a controversy over something called “Clitoraid” (sounds sexy), a tutorial on scientific skepticism, and superstitions about the money spider.  Her second post is a very interesting take on a subject I’ve never seen addressed before – the issue of Deafness and Skepticism. Check it out!

The 360 Degree Skeptic then follows with a lesson that is of interest to many a skeptic, the question of Biblical fallibility, which is outlined in his post on Biblical Claims and Science. In a post that examines a more contemporary issue, he then goes on to explore the question of self-esteem as related to race and how “we would be wise to heed the quiet” of the neglected null in various forms of psychology research.

Next, Dr. Martin Rundkvist publishes a book review for us on how a U.S. sociologist travels to Denmark to study the Scandinavian view on religion and discovers that they pretty much don’t care about it, displaying a marked contrast to how the issue is often addressed (by both the religious & non-religious) in other parts of the world.  The book is by Phil Zuckerman and is titled “Society Without God”, and Dr. Rundkvist’s comments can be read here.

Following that we have a few posts addressing a variety of medical woo, specifically a pair of posts on that skeptics’ favorite – homeopathy (one from Skeptics North and another from Science-Based Pharmacy).  The folks at Skeptics North take on a popular homeopathic “remedy” called Traumeel while over at SBP they address the question of Homeopathy and Consumer Protection. In addition, the SBP takes some time to examine some… interesting claims regarding whether or not green tea & chili peppers can burn fat.

Our next guest is new to both blogging and the Skeptic’s Circle!  Please welcome the librarian from the Labyrinthine Library, who is talking today about how recent earthquakes, volcanoes, and other assorted natural disasters are not evidence for The End of the World. In addition to referencing some nice earth science, the librarian also does a cool historical analysis on the topic and concludes – surprise! – there is nothing to fear.

Last, but not least, over at the Stuff and Nonsense blog we have a very informative post regarding how some doctors are continuing to push various forms of anti-vaccination woo.  Some of these woo-ish arguments are new to me, so if battling anti-vax is something that interests you, head on over to read all about it.

Well, that’s all for now, thanks for attending.  I hope you took good notes, because there’s going to be a quiz!  Yes, I know I didn’t tell you that ahead of time, but you – as a dedicated student of skepticism – should be prepared to stand up for science & rationality at any time, announced or not.

See you in a couple of weeks, on May 6th, for the next class over at 360 Degree Skeptic! 🙂

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Last Call for Skeptic’s Circle Submissions!

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 20, 2010

For those of you who have submitted posts already for the 135th Skeptic’s Circle, thank you!  If you haven’t submitted a post yet, please do so within the next 24 hours or so – my goal is to have all posts in by about 6pm Central Standard Time (in the U.S.) on Wednesday evening, so that I have plenty of time to assemble them all into one coherent rant… errr, blog entry 😉

Send submissions to me at this address: marsmattus [at] yahoo [dot] com

Please make the subject title obvious, as I get a lot of spam and I don’t want to delete your post by accident.  And if you miss the deadline by a wee bit, go on and submit something anyway – I might be able to work it in.

Cheers – Matt

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Submissions for 135th Skeptic’s Circle

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 15, 2010

If you plan to submit a blog post for the upcoming Skeptic’s Circle on Thursday, April 22nd, send them to me at marsmattus [AT] yahoo [DOT] com.  Try to get your entries to me by about 6pm Central Standard Time next Wednesday evening, so that I have enough time to get them all assembled into a fine skeptical lesson for our readers.  See you then! 🙂

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134th Skeptic’s Circle @ Divisible By Pi

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 10, 2010

The latest installment of the biweekly Skeptic’s Circle is now online over at the Divisible By Pi blog. It’s an odd-sounding name for a blog, but the author – Richard – explains: All of the nicest angles are divisible by pi. If you’ve done any first year university maths subjects, this should make immediate sense to you — the rest of you, likely, are going to require a bit more convincing.

Nice.  In any case, it is a nice read, so go on and check it out…

Btw, the 135th Skeptic’s Circle is going to be hosted right here on April 22nd!  Watch this space! 🙂

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133rd Skeptic’s Circle @ The Digital Cuttlefish

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 26, 2010

After skipping a beat, the Skeptic’s Circle is back with the 133rd installment.  This particular installment is full of the standard skeptical message, but packaged in quite creative poetry & prose by the talented Digital Cuttlefish – in fact, my particular entries were met with a very succinct & complementary poem: “Skeptical Teachers, Are wonderful creatures.” 🙂

Go on and check it out!

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131st Skeptic’s Circle @ Providentia

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 26, 2010

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks and now it’s time for another round of the biweekly Skeptic’s Circle. This installment is hosted at the Providentia blog – a place where the author takes “A Biased Look at Psychology in the World”.  And what’s the theme of the Circle this time around?  Let’s just say that court is now in session on the woo-meisters…

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130th Skeptic’s Circle @ The Lay Scientist

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 12, 2010

Time for another bi-weekly visit from the Skeptic’s Circle!  This time our host is none other than Martin over at The Lay Scientist blog, a place that advertises “Our articles are cleverer than our slogans.”  There’s some pretty interesting reading in this installment, so go on over and get started…

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129th Skeptic’s Circle @ SkepVet

Posted by mattusmaximus on January 28, 2010

The Skeptic’s Circle comes rolling along for another round of skeptical goodness from all corners of the Interwebs – this round is being hosted by the SkepVet Blog, a place where “A Vet Takes a Science-Based Look at Complementary and Alternative Medicine”.  Read on to soak up the awesomeness 🙂

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128th Skeptic’s Circle @ Ionian Enchantment

Posted by mattusmaximus on January 16, 2010

The Skeptic’s Circle is back for 2010 with the first installment over at Ionian Enchantment. There are a lot of interesting skeptical posts in this installment, so go over and check it out… 🙂

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127th Skeptic’s Circle @ Life, the Universe, and One Brow

Posted by mattusmaximus on December 31, 2009

The final installment (for 2009) of the Skeptic’s Circle is now being hosted over at Life, the Universe, and One Brow – a blog which engages in “A discussion of skepticism, logic, math, intelligent design creationism, board games, the Utah Jazz, marriage, having a oldest child with PDD-NOS along with a middle daughter with ADHD and three other children, being a DBA, teaching, the St. Louis metro area, and anything else that comes to mind.” Sounds groovy – check it out…

The 127th edition of the Skeptics’ Circle

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