We Do Things and Read Links

Well I know it’s been a real long time since our last meeting. But I’d like to thank everyone who came out. We had five (count ’em, FIVE) brand-new members attending, our biggest turnout of new members since the first meeting (when everyone was new).

The topic of the evening was not, in fact, 2012 as I had planned. Instead, talks of climate change led the evening. We had an actual paleoclimatological lab monkey on hand, and went through the topic over and over, before going on to other topics, returning to climate change, and ordering drinks.

The award for insightful comment of the month goes to Dennis. I’m sorry that there isn’t actually any sort of reward for this, Dennis, but if there were….

First-time attendee Jennifer asked why so many of the skeptics meetings she’s attended were well-watered with alcohol. The question bounced off a few skulls for a moment, until Dennis got to the heart of it.

“I think intoxication is part of the human condition.”

That would certainly explain a lot. It reminds me of the words of Charles Allen Smart: “I don’t think that any of us can afford to look at nature and at the major facts of the human situation while dead sober.”

And that is why we have Skeptics in the Pub, in the Pub.

Well, on to the linkings. It was great to see all of you in the flesh, and we’ll be doing it again, very very soon.

The Golden Woos are out for last year. Ah, reminds me of good times; Bill Maher, Deepak Choprah, the list is like a… well, I’d say “shower of gold,” but I think that’s something else.

CSICOP has put up a great collection of Carl Sagan writings. Carl Sagan is pretty much the only argument you need when someone says that science lacks a sense of awe or wonder.

But should you need another example of someone with a serious sense of “holy shit the universe is awesome,” look no further than Phil Plait. In this article he’s staring at Mars. I have to say that this picture is mind-blowing in that we get to see an avalanche happen on another planet. Galileo would be proud.

Of course you could always get out there and do some superscience yourself. If the weather will just get a little bit colder, you could try some of these fun experiments. Free drink to anyone who finds out if boiling water freezes before room temperature water through an experiment. No fair just reading in on the internet.

Just make sure your experiment doesn’t wind up on this website. Or, if it does, make sure no one dies.

Readers in Louisiana may have to be doing all of their science education at home and online, if the school board reviews get set up in the way that the Louisiana Family Forum (friends of Focus on the Family) is hoping. Since Louisiana was the site of the Edwards v. Aguillard case that defined creation science as religious (necessitating the turn towards “Intelligent Design”) – you’d think they’d know better.

I suppose if you’re going to Louisiana (or to talk with Dr. James Dobson) you’ll want to bone up on your debate skills. Note: Does not improve all debate skills, only against creationist claims. Not guaranteed effective against James Dobson.

Of course, to see the “Creationist Claims” list in a mere eleven minutes, you’ll have to endure some bad animation, but…

My personal favorite rebuttal for Young Earth Creationists: is this one, albeit never as hilarious as this.

Of course at the time the Sumerians weren’t the only ones doing agriculture: The lichens were doing it too. I had never known that lichens were kind of like SCOBYs.

And courtesy of reader soberguy, comes a great YouTube video about homeopathy:

He’s also provided us with a good article from Discover Blogs on the evolution of prions. You can add this to evolution of computer code to show the robust nature of evolution through (any sort of) selection as a theoretical construct. Even some cosmologists refer to it now (though who knows, it could just be biology-envy on their part).

Oh well. Here’s your random link of the day. It’s the Shakespearean version of The Big Lebowski, and I want to see it performed, ever so badly.

Zounds, man. Look at these unworthiest hands; no gaudy gold profanes my little hand. I have no honour to contain the ring. I am a bachelor in a wilderness. Behold this place; are these the towers where one may glimpse Geoffrey, the married man? Is this a court where mistresses of common sense are hid? Not for me to hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, sir; I am loath to take a wife, or she to take me until men be made of some other mettle than earth. Hark, the seat of my commode be arisen!

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4 responses to “We Do Things and Read Links

  1. “I don’t think that any of us can afford to look at nature and at the major facts of the human situation while dead sober.”

    battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster. and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you…….. sometimes paranoia is its own reward.

  2. the only thing worse than quackery is the lame science used to support it. claims made by the ignorant while irritating will only be just that. claims made by bad scientists will do much more…….. let us turn to the skepdic to see exactly what we’re dealing with
    http://www.skepdic.com/homeo.html

    but for those of you who cant shake their religious roots (he does weddings!) heres the devils dictionarys take on it

    HOMOEOPATHY, n.
    A school of medicine midway between Allopathy and Christian Science. To the last both the others are distinctly inferior, for Christian Science will cure imaginary diseases, and they can not.

    homeopathy is up there with other esteemed pseudo sciences like bloodletting and phrenology. the man who founded it was a crank rejected by the medical community of his time and homeopathy is still rejected by the medical community. a couple hundred years after the fact it seems the birth rate for suckers has remained constant.

    the main ingredient in homeopathy is water and by main ingredient i mean it is the only ingredient. of course there is no evidence that other than ailments caused by a lack of it will water cure anything else. unfortunately this also means homeopathic remedies are good for something. dehydration. lets at least give them that.

    but there are no mystical properties to water. such a proposition is ludicrous and we are all aware of this. however this doesnt keep the faithful from shouting down any opposition from the unbelievers. im sure we have heard all the usual arguments from the aforementioned mouth breathers and im not particularly concerned with that here.

    what i am interested in is the science these people use to prop up their points when confronted with hard evidence. we are talking about the thomas sams and the deepak chopras out there. here are some links that have been used to try to establish the mystical metaphysical magical or otherwise impossible properties of water. remember while ignorance is dangerous knowledge in the wrong hands is far worse…….. unfortunately i dont have time to dissect each and every one of these here but keep in mind the absurdity of the overarching scheme of this information and what its being used to support. like treating a girl with a case of cancer with diluted homeopathic solutions until she is dead for instance. and if anyone has other findings to contribute to the collage they are welcome to join in.

    have at it.

    http://www.physorg.com/news110191847.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3309496/British-scientists-make-water-defy-gravity.html




    http://goldenmean.info/waterlife/

  3. jacksonskepticalsociety

    I really did like the first two stories, about crazy physical properties of water.

    The last page was like a huge warehouse of leftovers from Foucault’s Pendulum, Lord of the Rings, Communion, a few episodes of Coast to Coast, a Deepak Choprah book, and a heaping pile of some UFO cult with a dash of crazy. The science was in homeopathic concentrations.

  4. i dont find hawking particularly fascinating either.

    emotos work has been thoroughly debunked. his methods were far from scientific. and the idea of solidified aquatic cymatics as a result of thought projections is ridiculous.

    water may do some interesting things but this is another vagary for the homeopath to hide behind. you can say that the body has an emf field and you can say that water behaves interestingly when carrying a charge but those are a lot of ifs. faith based theoreticians score poorly in this case.

    it would be hilarious if there people werent killing themselves because of the miracle water.

    glad you enjoyed the frothy head sitting on the top. more to come tba

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