Monthly Archives: January 2010

Is someone on the Internet crazy?

There is a big fight going on over at Quiche Moraine. Apparently, my friend and co-blogger Mike made a comment or two, months back, about someone and she didn’t like it. So she complained to Stephanie. Well, she complained to me, and I forwarded her complaint to Stephanie. And then they got into it. And Stephanie has turned what would otherwise be a series of emails worthy of little more than deletion into an interesting study of libel, defamation, accusation and loathing.

Libel and Legalistic Bullying

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What about the intersection between IQ and Q?

Skeptics ask questions (Q’s) and try to do so in a systematic, scientific, way. But what about IQ (and here I use IQ as a euphemism for smarts). The recent discussion here and elsewhere about the Skepchicks touched on this issue. I’ve been (temporarily) avoiding it, but skepchick car2d2 is staring to think about it.

Please have a look at this: Skepticism: Your IQ must be this high to ride

Science, Faith, Scepticism, Belief and The Great Unknown

Negotiating with dog god…

Judaism is a religion of scepticism, made for and used by sceptics. The relationship with Jews and God is not a one-way thing in which God says ‘thou-shalt-not’ and everyone jumps. It’s a constantly evolving contract. It’s not inappropriate to remind ourselves, especially today, how a panel of rabbis in Auschwitz put God on trial and found him guilty. Such an action would hardly be possible in a religion in which obedience is unquestioning, unthinking.

This is at Henry Gee’s joint.
Go piss on his rug!!!11!!

(Only kidding about the part about the rug.)

Do you think libraries and librarians are important? (#scio10)

Librarians & Scientists: YMMV

…people (and more so engineers and scientists) consult their friends first, then their files, then after trying everything else, consult the library. It’s sort of the library/librarian as goalie metaphor (you know, 10 other people missed the ball so the goalie has to save it).

Science Online 2010: Scientists and librarians

Stephanie Willen Brown and I did our level best to bust some stereotypes and suggest some points of contact during our (lightly-attended) session. I think we did a reasonably good job of it; I only wish we could have reached more people.

Will Minnesota Standards Allow Creationism in the Classroom?

The following story is current, but the issue is not new. But interesting. …

Science standards for Minnesota schools are about to be set for the next six years. Is the battle to keep pseudoscience out of our classrooms over? Sadly the door has been cracked open for intelligent design, an idea with no real scientific basis cooked up by creationists, to remain in Minnesota’s classrooms.

The same vague science benchmark that was a compromise in the intelligent design controversy early in the Pawlenty administration still exists, unchanged, in this round of science standards. These standards will begin next school year and be in effect until 2017.


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Atheism, Agnosticism and Teenage Rebellion

I really need to be clear that as an atheist, I don’t pretend to “know” that there are no supernatural entities. I agree with those who label themselves as agnostics that there is no way to ever know the unknowable with an absolute degree of 100% certainty. I think that those atheists who claim to know that there is no such thing as a supernatural realm are overstating their case by tiny degrees.

Read the rest here

Secular Summer Camp Needs Your Help, is There to Help You

Camp Quest is a secular summer camp program, and the Minnesota Version of it has been growing in recent years, and needs volunteers to help. 2010 camping dates are June 25 to July 31, not too far from the Twin Cities.

Here’s a brochure (PDF, 900K) with more info, and the web site is here.

If you are interested in volunteering your time please contact Minnesota Camp Quest by email.

I believe they will be happy to hear from volunteers interested in working for one week stints. According to Jeannette Watland, who is coordinating the camp this year, Camp Quest is “…rapidly expanding. In 2004 we started with 11 campers. This year we are expecting 48 minimum. With donations and volunteers we can support at least another cabin. Registration is open and we are officially recruiting volunteers to dedicate a week of their summer. Female volunteers are especially needed. No camping experience necessary!”

Skepticism and Race

On Desiree Schell’s Skeptically Speaking Radio with Quiche Moraine and Almost Diamond’s Stephanie Zvan

… a panel discussion on skepticism and race. Is the face of modern skepticism really as monochrome as it appears? How do we make our message appeal to a broader, more diverse audience? And how do racial demographics influence belief in pseudoscience and the paranormal?

Our panel includes LaVerne Knight-West, Stephanie Zvan, and Girl 6.


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