This means almost nothing but I nominate these researchers for the Nobel prize.
The show was awesome and is definitely was one of the best science shows I've ever seen! They got everything right, the scientist were able to talk and the IDers had their time to defend themselves (poorly). I learned a few things about evolution and a lot about the Dover trial, if you are at all scientifically bent, please watch the show. The show should be on the PBS site on Friday. WATCH IT! Coincidentally, I just today turned in my English paper, Evolution v. Creationism, I used some stuff I got off the program, by the way, the paper was actually why I was so late in posting this. As a last request, WATCH THE SHOW TOMORROW!!!!
Go to the web site and look around, it looks like the people at NOVA really got this one right and will brand ID as the pseudoscience it is.
To see when the show will appear in your time zone go here.
The preview looks good and I am definitely watching it.
Now for the cool stuff, a new study looks at the origins of cosmic rays. Here is the Wikipedia article on cosmic rays, I would really read it if you don't know much about them. This is what I understand about them, they are high energy subatomic particles that travel near the speed of light and are proppeled by enormous magnetic fields, since the 60's scientist were pointing towards supernovae for the origin of majority of cosmic rays. The proplem is that all measurements of the magnetic fields were indirect but this research directly measured the magnetic fields and showed that they were powerfull enough to propel them at the speeds measured, for spefics check the link to ScienceDaily.
"Aliens: Are they Real? Come hear two believers give their case - Dr. Rick Cazares and Andy Morgan."
Ooh! A doctor! He must be a good source. And the fact that they are labeled "believers" should make this even more exciting. It seems that they could at least have called them witnesses, victims, or something similarly concrete. This is definitely worth researching before going to, I believe, to put my skepticism to work. I'll report back afterwards, to spell out how it went; it should be fun. Especially since my school is all math and science-y; enough so that we could all band together and swallow them alive. And if anyone happens to be reading this from the North Texas area, I'd be happy to get you more information.
Yeah, I've been out, but not slacking. Just out of my mind, and rather busy too. However, I do have something to say (!): Rebecca Watson (one of my biggest hero[ines]), has won the Public Radio Talent Quest! She's been participating in the competition for quite some time, and has been selected to put out a pilot of a show of her choosing. She's a regular panelist on The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and the owner of a fantastic blog, Skepchick. Can you guess what her show is going to be about?
She's done a fantastic job at bringing the voice of a young woman to the skeptical community; she's got pizazz, and a real chance to be heard nation-wide! She's smart, cool, and can even play the trumpet. That last one buys major points in my book!
I am finally back on the Internet and am able to look up science articles, but I have to use my school's computers,so any blog will be short and I may get banned from the computer because of it,not sure on that. For those of you who want to know why I've been off for awhile three things happened one after another,first I moved (awesome new house),my computer broke and the Internet at my house crashed so I cant use my sisters. I should be back on 24/7 in a few weeks at the most. Thanks to Viccro for keeping up the site for me.
I've got to say, I never really liked myspace, as the only really useful feature when I looked at it a year and a half ago was really the wall space; everything else was pretty superfluous and distracting, though it was clearly the freedom of having "your own space" online to decorate, write junk on, etc that drew most people to the site. Once facebook opened its doors to non college students, the first to sign up were the ex-myspace junkies. These people ran around collecting all of the people they'd ever passed in the halls as friends, and started "keeping in touch" with live (or more accurately freuqently updated) status lines that describe moods, location, activities, etc for all to see. These people aren't really good friends with 500 people that they've hooked up with; most of them probably wouldn't wave on the street. But there's a major politeness issue concerning turning a friend request down, especially if one day the rejected party might need to work with you. There's also an extremely casual way to say "hey!" as though in passing, with scarcely more than a what's-up/not-much sort of exchange. This is an extremely efficient way to shirk your duties of friend-making-time, which the study identifies as a vital step in gaining friendships. However, there's also the set of people that you may need to contact for a group project, that you hooked up with at a summer job, or any other trivial acquaintence that you won't mind checking up with here and there. There's the issue of people who travel, who use facebook to keep in touch with friends and family across the world. (I actually go to school out of town, so this is a big plus for me!)
The ones that I talk with most on facebook, however, are really not my best friends. My best friends live in my dorm, and to a large degree this amount of connectivity eliminates the need for such a medium of communication. The most meaningful parts of my day, as the study points out, are not going to take place on a website, but in my personal interactions with the people I know.
I think I rambled sufficiently. Facebook is fun! It helps people keep in contact in an extremely casual manner, but is really not the method of choice for communicating with people you have close access to (such as those in your dorm...)!
PS: The site also mentions the need for honest communications, which is eased by face-to-face contact. When I'm chatting with friends I have a big issue with being overly sarcastic: it gets to the point where they attempt to force me to italicize my text if I'm intending sarcasm, because it just doesn't transfer properly, and much confusion results. Even phones allow for more transference of contextual information than the text contained in a wall post.
sucks the blood of its victims, draining them while leaving the meat wholly intact.
Frankly it seems to me like a good way to cleanly prepare meat according to kosher standards.
The scientists that have been sent DNA samples aren't enthused, and it's probably due to the fact that no matter what they decide, many Southern Texans will claim that this is the beast that has acted in such a way that enables us to continue to describe it as a chupacabra: real live (or roadkilled, if you like) proof. For the masses following this story, science is just not going to win.
That's not even taking into account the fact that the death of Jesus is supposed to have been prophesied, and required as repentance for the sins of all men. What exactly would have been the result of him not dying? Let's go ask some Christians in the US...I can bet that they'd be against this case as much as the rest of us.
For my first post, I'm going to mention that in the UK, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins' two part series, The Enemies of Reason has just been shown on Channel 4. This documentary aims to demonstrate that in a Western world full of technological and scientific breakthroughs, a market for superstition is running rampant. The series is wholly amusing, and lighthearted in a Richard-Dawkins-is-getting-his-chakras-energized type of way. He talks with all sorts of pseudoscientists, and even attends sessions with many, listening patiently to the "mumbo jumbo" that pervades the interviews.
The first part, Slaves to Superstition, emphasizes how various dogmas are able to corrupt our way of life (though he scarcely touches on one of his favorite topics, religion). He studies horoscopes, palm readers, spiritualist churches, and other non-evidence based belief systems. He speaks with lots of crazy folks at the new age fair that he attends, and speaks very enthusiastically with a crystal ball named George.
In the second segment, The Irrational Health Service, Dawkins takes on even more superstitions, though this time the theme is the alternative medicines and treatment that patients regularly make use of. He speaks with homeopaths, who don't seem to mind the fact that they are prescribing water as medicine, as well as various breeds of faith healers, many of whom rationalize their practice by means of scientific words which have absolutely no relation to the topic at hand, such as "vibrations", "black holes", and most of all "quantum mechanics". I'm taking physics now, so I think that the awesome non sequiturs of the healers trying to argue a point is pretty hilarious...and certainly faulty. I think that an appropriate name for this second half could easily have been Alternative Medicines: The Placebo Effect and You.
You can find these videos on Google, or just click the links from Dawkin's site.
3.Any monkey worth his salt would give any bird a beak flip.
2.I have monkeys in my pants.
1.The amount of time that she will live longer than us because of the diet is directly proportional to the horror of her existence.(about Rebecca's vegetarinism)
We have lost a great man and fellow skeptic.Perry, the skeptical world will never be the same.We will remember you.
By the way, maybe sex ed doesn't work becuase half the class is asleep and the other half is laughing at the teacher stumbling over all their words.
I can't wait to see the ID proponents proven wrong on national TV.
"Thus, the most amazing "orthodoxy" which dominates the educational establishment "leviathan" today is the slighting of "facts and knowledge" for emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking. Problem solving and critical thinking are secondary skills. Before one can think and solve he must first have something to think about." (bolding mine)
He thinks that we should go back to the "cookbook" days where we just learn facts and not the actual process of science. This is one of the worst things the education system could do besides just becoming the next Kansas. This will also hurt me and my fellow Texans who are going to college in a few years, if we go out of state the college will look down upon our education.
Figures this happens the year I'm taking biology.
thank you Phil Plait and Dr. Steven Novella
A patient who had 10 liver masses and 4 in the lungs was given 4 weekly treatments and 2 treatments of chemotherapy, in six months the liver masses disappeared. The patient then lived for one year.For a full explanation of this go here, because I know I got something wrong.
By the way; 3 post in one day, I'm on a roll.
and the number 1 myth (drum roll please) Genesis. I really thought they would chicken out and not dare step on the toes of the Judeo-Christian God, They even mention in the paragragh desciding the myth the incosestinces with the first two chapters of Genisis. At least someone isn't scared of being bombarded by e-mails.
I'm on vacation so the chiropractor article will be a bit longer in the wait but the book plans are coming along nicely and I am considering making a podcast, because I getting 4 hours of sleep, I need to stop wasting time. I just realized that once I start school back up and have to keep up in the top 10% I wont get any sleep.What I do for skeptisim.
I'm working on the chiropractic article but its slow going. I find it ironic that the one thing keeping me from finishing this,the internet,is also the thing that lets me do this.
In other news I am considering writing a book. No title right now but it will mostly be concerned with how a teenager views skeptism.I don't know if I should write about Atheism but im open to suggestions.I'm looking into self-publishers and I would also greatly appreciate it if you could e-mail me for suggestions for my book. I want to know what my potential buyers want to see in a skeptical book.
This is my first blog entry, so please give me some feedback so I know what to tweak.
After becoming a skeptic, I've noticed that many people believe that they have the ability to argue a position logically. Unfortunately, many of these same people, either knowingly or unknowingly, employ logical fallacies to support their position. It isn't a lack of intelligence that causes these people to invalidate their argument, it is just an ignorance to the fallacies that the human mind can so easily fall in to. In skepticism, understanding why an argument is illogical is just as important as demanding evidence for claims; each leads to a better understanding of reality. There are many great websites on the internet that explain all of the numerous fallacies in full, such as The Fallacy Files and The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (which has a shortened listing), or podcasts such as Logically Critical, but I wanted to take a look at some of the most common fallacies used by crooked debaters and proponents of pseudoscience throughout the next few weeks. To begin with, I'd like to introduce one of the most commonly abused logical fallacies: the ad hominem logical fallacy.
Ad Hominem (Ad-Hom)
Sometimes shortened down to ad-hom, this fallacy is commonly used during a debate when the majority of an audience is biased against a particular world view, lifestyle, or other characteristic held by one of the debaters. Any argument that claims that the a conclusion is false because of a characteristic held by the debater, or attempts to personally attack the debater and claim this attack to be reason to dismiss their argument is an ad hom.
Paul claims that global warming is real.
Paul is not trustworthy.
Therefore, anything Paul says is invalid and global warming is not real.
In this example, Paul's untrustworthiness is cited as an excuse to dismiss his argument. It does not matter who makes an argument; if a mental asylum patient was to claim evolution is true, it would not invalidate existence of Darwinian natural selection. In the same way, a person's beliefs, behaviors, or other traits cannot be used to disregard an adversary's argument. Ad hominem fallacies are not always negative; they can attribute a positive characteristic to the opposing debater to discredit him.
Sally: "Wow Kent, you completely blew that evolution debate against Richard, what happened?"Anyone who claims to lose an argument because "my opponent is a better orator" is using an ad-hominem; in this instance Kent is still using Richard's oratory skills as an excuse for his (miserable) defense of creationism or ID, whichever form of magical thinking he believes.
Kent: "Well, it wasn't that my position was incorrect, it's just that Richard is such a good debater, he could win any argument he wanted to!"
After learning of this fallacy, some budding skeptics have the unfortunate tendency to claim that every insult is an ad-hom, which is untrue. An orator can disparage their opponent as much as they wish, as long as their actual reason for denying the opponent's position is logical.
Steve believes in homeopathy.
Steve is a crazy hippie using some form of amphetamines, and there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate Steve's outrageous claims.
Due to the lack of evidence or active ingredient, homeopathy is pseudoscience.
In this second instance, Steve was referred to as a "crazy hippie", as well as a user of amphetamines, but the actual reason for dismissing his argument was that there was no evidence after repeated trials (as well as no logical mechanism for its working) of homeopathy's efficacy. It is admissible (even if impolite) to ridicule a pseudoscientist's claims as long as the actual reason for dismissing their assertions is based in sound logical reasoning.
Well, that's it for this week; hopefully I'll be able to contribute more to this blog as time goes on. Have a happy Flag Day!
a sad occurence showing just how harmful psudeoscience really is.
for another article on it go here.
Hopefully this will quiet the people who equate embyonic stem cell research with murder.
The history of homeopathy is very simple, it started with the creator Samuel Hahnemann (hah-na-men) who was a doctor dissatisfied with the medical field of the day, which was understandable as the medical field of the time did more harm than good. It is also understandable that he would become upset at the practices and want to develop an alternative; however the result is so ridiculous and silly that it boggles the mind as to how anybody buys into this. The homeopathic philosophy (I call it such because it is not a medical practice) comes from one anecdote (story), a giant no-no in science, this was when Hahnemann took a small amount of the cinchona bark ,which contains quinine a common treatment for malaria, and he developed the symptoms of malaria. This established the first law of homeopathy: like cures like. This law is the basic premise of homeopathy and this has never been scientifically proven. There are a total of two homeopathic laws that I know of, I’ll cover those later. After its conception homeopathy rose in popularity mainly in the 19th century and then went into a decline here in the US. In the UK the royal families were great supporters of it so it was able to retain its popularity. There has recently been resurgence in the UK which is slowly spreading to the US.
The Homeopathic theory is based on the holistic approach which basically means that every patient is unique and needs a specific remedy for them. Now while this sounds very nice it is not how the doctors of today treat illness, they diagnose your illness by reviewing your symptoms and conclude from that and your medical history what treatment you should receive (at least that’s what I got from watching House) Besides the holistic approach there are two homeopathic laws I have already covered the first law, like cures like, the second law is the law of infinitesimal doses, which is that the “active ingredient” should be diluted in either alcohol or water. This really doesn’t sound that silly, I mean why would that matter at all when it’s all said and done? Really it wouldn’t matter that much except that they dilute to such a degree that it becomes ineffective and they do so in the following steps: take 1 cc (cubic centimeter) of the active ingredient, dilute in 9 cc’s of water. Shake across all axis’s, this means shaking up, down, side to side, and every other way you can think of, ten times. Fourth, repeat 29 more times on average. Now to see just how stupid this is lets take a look a fairly basic chemistry principle, the molecule, most will now this but just to be sure I will explain. A molecule is a grouping of at least two atoms that is electrically neutral and is stable through strong chemical bonds. Basically it means it is a bunch of atoms that make the substance have its properties. YOU CAN NOT DILUTE A MOLUCULE, IT CANNOT HAPPEN. The only way you can take a molecule down to a more basic level is to make it into a single atom at which point it is no longer the same substance, for instance if you take water (H2O) and try to break it into a more basic substance all you would end up with is 3 atoms, 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen. When you try to do what homeopathy suggest you would, by some point, just be moving the molecules into separate containers. Now homeopathic remedies in your local pharmacy are usually sold between 6X and 30X solutions. I came across a website that actually did the math and found that in a 30X solution to find a single molecule of the actual ingredient you would need a container 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth. I am not making this up go here to check for yourself. There actually a 120X solution, now I don’t know how big of a container you would need but I have heard that it would be bigger than the known universe. Now most homeopathic practitioners probably know this and so they made a loophole, they say that the water retains the “memory” of the substance. If this rational holds true than all homeopathic remedies would have a memory of the ocean which probably has a diluted form of toxic waste, human waste, oil, and countless other toxins. It probably has about the same dilution so why don’t these ‘ingredients’ have an effect? Here we have two choices: it doesn’t because homeopathic practitioners say so or because Homeopathy doesn’t work. You decide.
I would go into the clinical trails of homeopathy and their conclusions but this would be needlessly tedious because I can cover it in these few statements: any placebo controlled double-blinded studies are conclusively negative. The few times it shows any positive results are when it is a poor study or when it is published in an alternative medicine journal.
Homeopathy is a hallmark of the SCAM’s (supplementary complementary and alternative medicine) (I love that acronym by the way) it takes people away from proven medical treatments and makes them afraid of the pharmaceutical companies and the medical community in general. It enables people to shut off their brains and never think critically about the treatment, they say there are no side effects, they never admit they could be wrong and that is one of the least skeptical things you can do.
For two much better written blogs by two experienced skeptics would be: Neurologica by Dr. Steven Novella of the New England Skeptical Society and host of the podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. The Second would be The Memoirs of a Skepchick by Rebecca Watson, The Skepchick and panelist on the Skeptics Guide. Two fantastic skeptical podcast are the aforementioned Skeptics Guide and Quackcast a review of fraudulent medicine. Another humorous podcast is about critical thinking, LogicallyCritical.
By the way i would just like to say he didnt actually say anything that could ,you know, save lives.
the homeopathy blog should be up by friday at the latest. sorry about the latness
In the study over 2,000 households nation wide were asked what minority group “[shared] their vision of American society.” Atheist were the lowest scored below Muslims,Homosexuels and illegall immigrants in these standings. They were also shown to the the lowest ranked in whether a parent would allow their children to marry the minority. The lead researcher,Penny Edgell, had this to say about the findings "Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,”
This study shows just how misunderstood Atheist really are, it shows just how people dont listen to other people about any ideas that dont agree with their world view.people dont like to shake up their world view so anybody elses becomes transformed beyond recongnition.
In other news the homeopathy article will be up probably by tommorow. I also still in need of another writer on this blog please email me for this at firstname.lastname@example.org
about my article, i'm really sorry about the lateness of it. it should be up by monday. there were two things that is causing it to be late, first finals are a b*%&@ ,second its on homeopathy and after reasearching it i really hate theses guys, so i have to make sure i do them justice
A normal supernova is the process of a star dying by the collapse of its core from the lack of proper fuel created at its core. All previously recorded novas have been simply a collapse of the star and the creation of a black hole or neutron star. This type of supernova is the explosion of its particles and in the process it creates much heavier elements. This is said to be how most of the planetary materiel in the universe was created.
For more information on the death of stars look for the podcast Astronomy Cast
One of the most well known skeptics of the ages was Carl Sagan the creator of the show Cosmos, one of the more famous of scientific shows on TV, and the writer of many skeptical books such as “Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle In the Dark”, a must for any inspiring skeptic, Carl Sagan died over 10 years ago on dec.20th, 1996. He was one of the most influential skeptics of the generation. He was one of the pioneers of the skeptical movement and his death was and is a huge loss to skeptics around the globe. His death was remembered this year by many online publications and a special issue of Skeptic magazine.
The new skeptic of the age is James “the amazing” Randi he established the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) in 1996 to further the education of the American populace and to debunk any sort of paranormal fraud. He has since made a James Randi Million-Dollar Physic Challenge where if any paranormal individual can prove his or her power they will win $1 million, the test is agreed upon by both the individual and the JREF’s representative, but to this date no one has even passed the preliminary test. Until recently the challenge has been open to any individual who claims paranormal powers but Randi has decided to focus his sights on people who have more of a media presence i.e. backing of a TV station. One of the more elusive of the physics is Sylvia Brown, who at the time of this writing, accepted Randi’s challenge 298 weeks ago. James Randi has a website at www.randi.org and you can find there DVD’s of TAM, 5 (The Amazing Meeting)`the yearly conference of skeptically minded people, and SWIFT Randi’s weekly electronic newsletter. These are the two most famous skeptics of the age.
In closing this blog will from now on focus on debunking pseudoscience and reporting skeptical and scientific news.
For two much better written blogs by two experienced skeptics would be: http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/ by Dr. Steven Novella of the New England Skeptical Society and host of the podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. The Second would be http://www.skepchick.org/blog/ by Rebecca Watson, The Skepchick and panelist on the Skeptics Guide. Two Fantastic Skeptical podcast are the aforementioned Skeptics Guide and Quackcast a review of fraudulent medicine. Another humorous podcast is about critical thinking, LogicallyCritical.
If you disagree with anything on this blog, it’s fine, after all it’s the way of thinking not the thoughts that count. As long as you keep it in respectable bounds I will be happy to hear your thoughts or if you wish engage you in debate. To contact me for any disagreements or if you found any mistakes please email me at email@example.com