Hey Big Skeptics, when you’re all done talking past each other can we get back to actually preventing charlatans from selling magic beans?
The grassroots are still busy here trying to call attention to real issues while you distract everyone with your bickering about “tone”. Provide some concrete solutions or get back to real life with the rest of us so we can save some frikin’ lives instead of worrying about who is the most introspective and philosophiest of them all.
Are you involved in a skeptical project, gentle reader, that contributes to your community or tackles a particular skeptical issue? Tell me about it in the comments.
So I came across something “interesting” in the Christian Science Monitor:
You might want to get the language right. Skeptics can be excessively negative, all arched eyebrows and begging to differ. But sometimes skeptics stop everyone from going off the deep end.
Hmm…how’s this going to go? I’m not sure of the message yet, so I’d better arch my eyebrows and read on. More…
I was away from the internet for a week on my vacation and I came back after a shitstorm left poo all over my Google Reader.
I’m relatively ambivalent to the “situation” surrounding Randi’s global climate change essay on the JREF blog this week. It wasn’t so much what he said, it seems, that got people riled, but the way he said it – with logical fallacies and arguments that reminded me of reading a creationist or truther blog (look at this petition signed by real scienticians, science has been wrong before, and arguments from authority and personal incredulity). But ok, he screwed up…so what? Call him on it, respectfully (as, IMHO, he’s earned at least that). That’s what we do. The cries that this is the end of the skepticism movement as we know it, that he’s lost his marbles, and that the JREF is now irrelevant to skepticism are just over-the-top inappropriate. The vitriol of some of the comments was surprising, but it seems some people just love to freak out.
We all love to think that if we study hard, keep up on our logic, and think rationally and critically that we’ll eventually be above these mistakes. It’s not gonna happen – especially for subjects for which we are not familiar or expert – and, let’s face it, with the vast amount of scientific knowledge out there, it’s pretty much impossible for one person to be knowledgeable about all of them. I think the real reason people are freaking out is that he’s reminded us that everyone can make mistakes in logic (and judgement, I suppose), and maybe especially for certain topics – even The Amazing! Randi who taught us all so well.
*I’d love to link to the various blogs that covered everything like I usually do to provide a nice summary, but I’m still on vacation at the moment. If I think of it, I’ll come back later and add links.
There is a new post on Skeptic North about homeopathy naturopathy in the Maritimes (Edit: I wrote this incorrectly the first time, had homeopathy on the brain). I have this to add: More…
Sigh. I sat ruminating about this for hours days. But ultimately I want to comment on this piece by Brian Dunning about criticism.
I originally had a huge thing written out, but the main point I want to make (with some elaboration) is this:
Dealing with things privately doesn’t always yield results (see about the 39:00 mark onward for my point, but the entire episode is good – available on iTunes). More…
Really trying not to be spammy, but also want to promote the new Canadian blog site, Skeptic North. So if you haven’t checked it out already, or in case you missed the initial hubbub here are the most recent posts on Skeptic North:
Humanities in the Skeptic Community?
Natural Health Products
Michael Shermer in Toronto
And there’s more! So go check it out, leave a comment, follow, Twitter – whatever floats your boat. It is a Canadian blog with a Canadian perspective and focus, but there’s plenty of general skeptic topics for skeptical friends outside the borders, too.