Welcome to the Valentine’s edition of the Skeptics’ Circle!
We have to lead off with Gateway Skepticism‘s skeptical examination of “scientific dating.” Personally, I think it might take a while to verify the claim that having divergent histocompatibility complexes makes for better sex and more orgasms. I’m sure quite a few skeptics are willing to sign up for the clinical trial to put that to the test, though.
That trial would also be a nice tribute to Valentine’s Day, which currently is named for one of 3 rather horribly mangled saints, but actually began as a wild party:
“The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year. “
Hey, looks like they already have our clinical protocol for the orgasm study worked out!
Ah, but wait–some people are skeptical (!) that’s really how the story goes.
And what is love, really? Is it biochemistry? A strange hormonal disorder? Well, no one really addressed the topic of the biology of love specifically this Circle, but we did have a great deal of writing about medicine and medical issues:
Val Jones MD discussed the rise of snake oil in the US, as does WhiteCoatUnderground. Skeptico discusses a new website, “What’s the Harm?,” which documents actual harm caused by medical woo-meisters. He asks for your contributions, too!
Terra Sigillata advises you to beware online sites offering advice about breast cancer, and jdc325 contributes a biography of Joseph Chikelue Obe, the loony homeopath that sent Quackometer a cease and desist letter.
Not quite people, but still medicine: Wandering Primate covers the invasion of ‘alternative’ medicine into veterinary schools.
Love makes us all crazy, and Andrea explains the 3lb. exemption, or how Scientology manages to ignore/demonize psychology and psychotherapy.
Lynda Barry says “Love is an exploding cigar we willingly smoke.” Ah, so true.
And one of the fruits of love is children. We have several entries about kids and skepticism:
Podblack contributes Skeptical Books for Children–Part 2, and SkepDad discusses what sounds to me, an admittedly biased person, like the best toy in the universe: a bug jug.
Skepchick also covers Indigo Children. (Hint: these are not offspring of the Blue Man Group.)
Math and statistics were discussed in some SC entries, although no coverage of the probability of you finding true love:
Evangelical Realism covers some sketchy interpretations of statistics to imply atheists are more likely to be criminals.
One Brow’s spelling could use some work, but he discusses the number of factors you need to account for if you are trying to calculate the probability of creation or evolution. Joe at Cotch.net also tells us How to lie with Tissue Culture. In other words, why what works in cell cultures may or may not actually translate into actual whole organism effects.
In Literature, Skepchick has a lovely breakup story–how writerdd told God she needed some space.
Archeoporn critiques an article in Skeptic magazine by Tim Callahan, and Greta Christina has a review of “Mistakes were made, but not by me”, which she heartily endorses.
And, while they can’t use their psychic powers to predict if you’ll get laid tonight, The TANK Vodcast does present two skeptics who investigated and/or worked as psychics!
BTW, The valentine images you see used in this post are from Jacks of science, Ironic Sans’ lovely science valentines, complimented by Neatorama’s geeky science valentines, and The Love Poodle is courtesy of Kitty from Skepchick!
Lastly, a quote about love from Douglas Adams, who I sorely miss:
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
I’m afraid I ran into a bit of a technical snag, so the Circle is up a bit later than usual. Just have it with brunch, rather than breakfast, ok? By now your brain is fully caffeinated, and it will make more sense anyway.
The next Skeptics’ Circle is hosted by Conspiracy Factory on February 28th.