Thursday, December 06, 2007

The 75th Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle – the plain edition

Unlike many of the previous hosts, I am not as creative when it comes to writing posts. Still, I had planned on making an attempt of creative writing (I was thinking along the lines of presenting the Skeptics’ Circle as a classic show-and-tell session), but due to a number of unforeseen things, I’ve been pressed for time lately.

So instead, let’s note the remarkable fact that the Circle has reached its 75th edition, here close to three years it started. I think we can all agree that in that time we have been subjected to a number of great posts, written by some of the leading skeptic bloggers. This edition strives to continue the tradition, and I feel we have a number of very good posts in it. So, without any more ado, let’s go to the contributions.

First, let me introduce one of the newer voices among the skeptic bloggers. Podblack Cat writes a blog, which she describes as “a repository of useful links and reflections on scientific and education-related news and issues".
She explains why the year 2038 will not be another Y2K, even though some people think it will: What Doesn’t Add Up

A more veteran skeptic blogger, is Lord Runolfr, who deals with (yet another) chain-letter scam - The Microsoft Lottery

We have a few submissions related to autism.
First Do’C teams up with Interverbal to tackle a new paper on autism and mercury: A Tale Of Two Tails

Secondly, Prometheus gives us two posts on “the use (or is it abuse?) of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of autism": HBOT: Is it just a bunch of hot air? and HBOT: Under Pressure

For three good examples of debunking "news" stories, we have Sam Wise's Googlediving, hybrid vehicles, and energy consumption, dealing with the claims that the lifecycle energy consumption of a Prius is greater than that of a Hummer. The Professor over at Evangelical Realism, takes on a reported miracle: Anatomy of a “miracle”. And Flavin's look at the recent story of how Santa Claus cannot say 'ho ho ho', Ho Ho Hustle!. Flavin, who posts over at St. Louis Skeptical Society is another great new voice in the skeptic blogsphere.

For a more easily debunked, yet reoccurring, theme, Paddy takes on Jesus Pancake Christ.

A different take than what we normally see, but still quite relevant to the Circle, Michael Meadon explains why how he gained more respect for skepticism: Hypnopompia, or, How I Learnt to Stop Belittling True Believers and Love Skepticism

Most people have probably noticed that submissions to the Skeptics' Circle seems somewhat themed, and one of the big themes this time was homeopathy.
Over at the Bad Idea Blog, there is Detox and Re-Tox: Bad Medicine and Even Worse Homeopathy at Alt-Med Mecca NewsTarget, Christian at Med Journal Watch gives us Random reward may explain why homeopathy still exists, and finally Sandy Szwarc writes How we know what will kill or cure us. Maybe these attacks explains why homeopaths complain about lack of profits?

Focusing more narrowly, Bing takes on Dale Sellers: Dale Sellers: Your life is a lie... [warning: explicit language], and PalMD from WhiteCoat Underground takes on Dr. Russell Blaylock: How much woo can one doc do?

More technical in nature is Blake Stacey's post on Quantum: Yawn: More Abuse of the Quantum

Rana explains how skepticism also is warranted when dealing with marketing: Signals.

The Gadfly, from The Philosophy of the Socratic Gadfly, explains FBI criminal profiling - little more than psychics’ “cold reading”

Skeptico takes on the nonsense that is Larry King, and the psychics he regularly invites on his show: From The Sublime to The Ridiculous

For an interesting look on traditional "psychology" in Western Africa, go read Dr. Romeo Vitelli's Casting Out The Djinn

Last, but not least, Martin Rundkvist reports on the Swedish Skeptics Society and its recent 25th anniversary celebration.

All in all, a great haul.
The next meeting of the Skeptics' Circle will be on December 20th at Aardvarchaeology.



Blogger Bad said...

To be fair, my article is only tangentially about homeopathy: it's more about the naturopath obsession with detoxing... and then the loopy chemist who thinks that homeopathic water memory means that water everywhere is having poisonous flashbacks. :)

December 06, 2007 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful edition, Kristjan! I love the international flavor.

December 06, 2007 5:00 PM  
Blogger Blake Stacey said...

Thanks for including my contribution! I keep hoping I can make people more comfortable with mathematics, one equation at a time. . . .

There's just one thing, one little nit I should pick: can I buy a vowel?

December 06, 2007 7:02 PM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Sorry Blake, should be fixed now. Don't know how that happened.

December 06, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Excellent collection, Kristjan, almost all the articles are worth knowing -- and 'homeoptahs' is one of the truly inspired typos. However -- for reasons that will be obvious as I go on -- I have to use this space to get a message to "The Professor" at EVANGELICAL REALISM.

You have a great blog -- or would have if it were possible to comment on it. But I was unable to figure out how to do so, and judging from the number of entries with 'no comments' so were others.

I tried e-mailing you on this, first going through your word-verification process to unlock the address, then sending the mail off. It came back, almost instantly with the message:
" does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 550 5.1.1 RUSR No such user"

Can you please clear up this problem? We like to be able to reach people who blog this well, and join in on the discussion.

December 06, 2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger Rana said...

Cheers Kristjan.

My blog covers all the "usual" issues too, homeopathy, religion, etc, but as I intend that "everything" there is skeptical, and as my self-imposed limits don't allow in-depth discussion, I thought I'd send in something a bit different.

Thanks for including.


December 06, 2007 10:22 PM  
Blogger Flavin said...

Thanks for the compliment. I took pleasure in rubbbing that in the face of the other posters on my site.

December 06, 2007 10:41 PM  
Blogger Thursday said...

Okay, now I'm up to two things I like coming from Denmark: this and Jannik Hansen, a hockey player in my favorite NHL team's system.

Hmm... Maybe I should be paying more attention to this nation, eh?

December 06, 2007 11:12 PM  
Blogger Zoo Knudsen said...

Do rejected submissions not deserve a reason behind their rejection or was the omission an oversight?

Was a satiracal jab at the pulling of advertisements from magazines by a major tobacco company in an effort to please anti-smoking groups, while still selling their deadly product without remorse, not qualify as skeptical enough?

December 07, 2007 4:37 AM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Zoo, I am unaware of having received any submission from you. I might have overlooked it, either when I received it, or when I wrote this post.

Did you get a mail from me when you submitted it? I sent a mail to everyone whose submissions I received.

I'm sorry that your post didn't get included, and from your description, it would have fitted in.

December 07, 2007 6:46 AM  
Blogger Zoo Knudsen said...

I used the email off of your profile because I didn't see on in the call for submissions. But no problem, I figured it was a glitch and not a denial. Sorry if I came across as grumpy in that last comment. What else would you expect from a paranoid semi-literate octogenarian?

December 07, 2007 4:07 PM  
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July 29, 2008 5:49 AM  
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November 20, 2009 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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January 19, 2010 4:46 AM  

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