Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Skeptic's Circle #23

Welcome to the Skeptic's Circle. It is great fun for me to be a two-timer...twofer...whatever term may be appropriate for someone hosting for the second time. I did the fifth issue on my other blog back in March, and this one is the twenty-third edition. Apparently, the world did not become any less superstitious and gullible in the meantime.... Let's jump straight into it.

Many religious gatherings start with a prayer or a song. We can start with a nice poem instead, why not? From Socratic Gadfly, who also blogs at The Philosophy of the Socratic Gadfly comes GENESIS 6 RETOLD. Remember to keep the proper chanting tone while you read it out loud.

After letting the art of the poem make us feel all warm and emotional, the cold logic intrudes. Uncredible Hallq explains, once and for all, that favourite logical fallacy of trolls - the ad hominem.

EoR of The Second Sight sent Nurse! Prepare for an Urgent Auraectomy!. At first glance I thought this was about medical quackery! Scratch "medical"....

Joseph O'Donnell of Immunoblogging has two entries. First, how much should we be afraid of nanotechonology? Read Nanofear for the answer. Second one was personally interesting to me, as I have, on a couple of occasions, successfully treated my own painful GI bloating and gas with humongous doses of Lactobacillus spores. But is it appropriate for everyone, for every disease, and at every time? As a prophilactic? You will learn everything you ever wanted to know about this in Probiotic skepticism.

I've already seen this post linked a lot around the science blogs because it is both good and funny. Q. Pheevr of A Roguish Chrestomathy looks at The Wrathful Dispersion controversy: A Canadian perspective . Heh. I personally know a dead-serious guy who has published books denying the evolution of language.

In this edition we have not one but two responses to Dean Esmay and the ongoing HIV/AIDS controversy. Orac, the Oh-All-Knowing-Boss-Of-Us-All, of Respectful Insolence wrote some more rebuttals of HIV/AIDS 'skeptics'. Trent McBride of Catallarchy continued with HIV Dissidents, continued. I have a sad feeling that this controversy is "to be continued..."

Skeptico is skeptical that this boy may be a reincarnated Buddha. He also continues his series of posts on logical fallacies, with the appeal to 'science was wrong before'. Finally, he alerts us to a new useful resource for all skeptics - the SkepticWiki (so go ahead and bookmark the SkepticWiki homepage).

From Josh Rosenau of Thoughts From Kansas, first… ghosts! A review of an exhibit of ghost photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a discussion of the use and abuse of Galileo by pseudoscientists: The Good, the Bad, and the Heretical. Then, a post ripped from the headlines, a discussion of the interface between science and religion: God, science and the kooky Kansans who love them both!

Cosmic Watercooler thinks that Perhaps Something Might Kill You, Maybe. If my wife does not read this, perhaps I can persuade her that I should not be a "frequent shaver and antiperspirant user"...

Matt of Pooflingers Anonymous continues the heroic effort of reviewing "The Evolution Cruncher" so we don't have to read it, in Crunch Squared: Volume 3. A good skeptic works with an open mind. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck (and tastes like a roasted duck...mmmmmm), it may be a goose, but sometimes it is really a duck, or perhaps a mallard: Vocalizations of a Duck.

On my other blog I am looking at the preliminary reports of something that looks like a duck, quacks....but may end up being a goose, or chicken, or turkey - who knows - A Pyramid in Bosnia? I think it is still too early to cry "Fowl!"

Speaking of turkeys, most of us had some for dinner a couple of weeks ago. Did it make you sleepy? Some people boldly state that it is impossible. I don't know if it actually does make you sleepy, but it is certainly possible, as a potential mechanism exists, perhaps good enough for a dinner-table banter, if not for a scientific review. As they say, "more research is needed"....

What is a Skeptic's Circle without a touch of controversy. I'll adopt the Fox News motto "We report, you decide" and let you make up your own minds. First, Tom Nelson, whose blog is called Ivory-bill Skeptic (wow, that is focused!) sent in a post titled Red flags in the Ivory-bill evidence. Mike Hendrickson of Mike's Soap Box wrote a rebuttal: Tom Nelson's Post and My Reply.

Now for a different point of view - and another controversial entry that gave me uneasy thoughts as an editor. But we are here to debate and learn from one another and the discussion in the comments thread of this post is very good for that purpose. Krauze of Telic Thoughts uses the word "skepticism" somewhat differently than most of us do when he questions the basic premise of the science of the origin of life. Responses in the comments are interesting. I hope the discussion continues.


This wraps up the Circle for today. Thank you all for coming to my little piece of virtual real estate. I hope you also stay a little longer and take a look around this blog. Also, please continue the discussions in the comments of all the posts presented here.

Next edition of the Skeptic's Circle will be hosted by Immunoblogging in two weeks from today, on December 22nd, 2005, so start thinking about your next entry.

Thanks to Respectful Insolence, Immunoblogging, Uncredible Hallq, Pooflingers Anonymous, Neural Gourmet, Unscrewing The Inscrutable, Science And Politics, Telic Thoughts, Pharyngula, A Roguish Chrestomathy, Cosmic Watercooler, Shakespeare's Sister, Majikthise, Buridan's Ass, Skeptico, A Concerned Scientist, Paige's Page, The Saga of Runolfr, History News Network, Milkriverblog, The Modulator, 10000 Birds, Deltoid and last but certainly not the least James Randi for linking to the carnival.

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