Welcome to the first Skeptics’ Circle of 2009! Edition #103 covers the period of Dec. 19th to Jan. 14th, so there’s lots to talk about. In fact, about 11pm last night, I realized that I had done a COLOSSALLY stupid thing by volunteering to host the circle. There were a lot of really great posts written last month, and somehow I’m supposed to make sense of it all.
Fortunately, after the medicinal application of 5 or 6 pints of Ben and Jerry’s, I calmed down and decided to just go with a tried-and-true Internet cliche, and created the first LOL-Insect Skeptics Circle.
As you can tell from my eating habits, I’m quite interested in medicine, and there were lots of posts calling woo-meisters out. The always distinguished Orac kicks things off with a post about AIDS denialism and the Ministry of Truth. Skeptico covers the Chopra Bait-and-Switch, and Autism Street deconstructs some Letters to Jenny McCarthy.
Skeptic Zone points out that while hair can be used for drug testing, it won’t tell you much about your allergies, or a variety of other things hair analysis is being peddled for.
Lay Science volunteered for Jock Doubleday’s bogus vaccine challenge, (and if you don’t want your head to asplode, you may not want to read the comments on that post). Andrea discusses cognitive biases that make consumers vulnerable to shysters.
Concerned that WiFi is making you Sterile? That’s ok–there’s an imaginary therapy to deal with your imaginary ailment!
Also, while we’re looking at larvae, I’ll point out Young Australian Skeptics‘ post about being a skeptical parent, and Seth contributes a post on corporal punishment. (Also, exceptional Aussie LOLmoth here.)
Oh, and this matched set of larvae reminds me to mention One Brow does some mathematical musing on ordered sets.
In the “general woo and strangeness” category, I offer: Extraterrestrial Cows. The weirdest explanation of life on earth I’ve ever seen, and it will make you call for a new dose of your meds.
Lots of posts covered the media, and their failures. Religion, Sets, and Politics asks “why the media gotta be hatin’ skepticism?“
In posts I’ll loosely categorize as “Critical Thinking and General Skepticism,” there are lots of nice essays to choose from. Greta Christina asks, Is hope always a good thing?, and Effort Sisyphus discusses global warming in Pascal’s Wager, Science Style.
Mike’s Weekly Skeptic Rant offers a primer on skepticism.
The diary of Liz Pepys is a literary hoax that has ensnared a few hapless scholars. Thought that Counts has a successful homeopathy intervention, and PodBlack discusses the possibility of being a deist and a skeptic.
I’ll finish off with a wonderful poem from Digital Cuttlefish about…well, you’ll just have to click, won’t you?
January 29, 2009: The 104th Skeptics’ Circle, to be hosted by Space City Skeptics.
And, for no reason at all, this lovely photo of a scarab beetle. Ursja has posted a whole bunch of photos like this; check them out!
The Uncredible Hallq is hosting the latest Skeptics’ Circle. Check it out!
It leads off with a wonderful quote from a post my bloggy friend Andrea, The Sum of Good Intentions:
“The addition of good intentions to bullshit fails to transmutate bullshit into anything else. This finding is supported by multiple lines of evidence from medicine, politics, and journalism.”
Also, he’s not in this Circle, but check out Orac’s righteous smackdown to a troll trying to make woo hay out of breast cancer. For those of you that don’t know, Orac is a surgeon, and a cancer researcher. And really, really good at smackdowns.
Yep, it’s up over at the Skeptic’s Dictionary! Check out the latest revelations of Nostradamus.
I love Wallace and Gromit! If you haven’t seen the DVD set…what are you waiting for?
Check it out at Reduce to Common Sense. Another well done Olympic theme; Woo-meisters are speedy, but the Skeptics are faster!
And, some sad news–LGBT pioneer Del Martin has died at the age of 87–but at least she got to marry her long time partner before she passed on:
“An eloquent organizer for civil rights, civil liberties, and human dignity, Del Martin created and helped shape the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and feminist movements. She was a woman of extraordinary courage, persistence, intelligence, humor, and fundamental decency, who refused to be silenced by fear and never stopped fighting for equality. Her last public political act, on June 16, 2008, was to marry Phyllis Lyon, her partner of 55 years. They were the first couple to wed in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court recognized that marriage for same-sex couples is a fundamental right in a case brought by plaintiffs including Martin and Lyon.”
See the above link for donations in her name to stop Prop. 8. Thank you Del.