First Skeptics’ Circle, 2009!

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 TruthSkeptico 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.

Dr. Aust has an update on the Simon Singh Case, and Space City Skeptics explain how to design your woo study to get the proper false positive results.


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. sedatedThe weirdest explanation of life on earth I’ve ever seen, and it will make you call for a new dose of your meds.

Skepbitch exchanges emails with a psychic hotline worker, and Book of Pooh-pooh reports a city council spends tax-payer money on Feng Shui.

Lots of posts covered the media, and their failures.  Religion, Sets, and Politics asks “why the media gotta be hatin’ skepticism?

I caught Scientific American in a major Fail, and Dr. Aust points out that Rath is “Keeping it Unreal.” Socratic Gadfly covers fake green huckstering.

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. all_your_sweater

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.

The Evolving Mind discusses gravity as a theory, and Waffle discusses creationists’ use of logical fallacies. One Brow discusses some silly things coming out of the Discovery Institute.

I’ll finish off with a wonderful poem from Digital Cuttlefish about…well, you’ll just have to click, won’t you?

endThanks ever so to LOLmoth, the source of some of these images that I shamelessly stole, as well as  Cheezeburger.

January 29, 2009: The 104th Skeptics’ Circle, to be hosted by Space City Skeptics.

99th Skeptics’ Circle!

Ferret’s Cage is hosting the latest Skeptics’ Circle with a fun Sci-Fi spacey theme.  I was especially taken with this submission, which I suggest is a strong contender for best post title EVAR.

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!