Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Drinking Skeptically

Saturday members of Cleveland Skeptics and the Cleveland Freethinkers gathered at The Treehouse in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland for an awesome time of drinking of beer, pop, mixed drinks and water, along with plenty of fun, serious, and not so serious discussion. The bar was small, but we got there early and found a great little area in the back with a fireplace. The beer and amaretto sours were wonderful, the company even better. Thanks to all the people who came and who brought guests, bringing the attendance to about 19 people. You all made the premier Cleveland Drinking Skeptically a smashing success.



Drinking Skeptics (take a look at the rest of the photos here.)

The Cleveland Skeptics were recently invited to join the national Drinking Skeptically network. Drinking Skeptically is, "an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals."

The usual monthly Cleveland Skeptics meetings are dinners at a restaurant without alcohol, but Drinking Skeptically is an even more casual monthly get together where drinkers and non-drinkers alike can kick back at the bar and feel free to have a drink or two.

If you would like to attend a Cleveland Drinking Skeptically or any Cleveland Skeptics event, please go to our meetup.com page.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Elvis Lives! New DNA Proof!

Oh local TV news, where would we skeptics get our kicks without you? Fox 8 News Cleveland aired tonight (Tuesday) at will again at 10 PM Wednesday the exciting details of the new proof that Elvis is still alive.

"New evidence. New DNA. Meet a woman who claims to be related to Elvis and believes he's still alive. See the proof and judge for yourself, Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox 8 News at Ten. "

See trailer here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Other Skeptical Resources

Magazines
The best part of skeptical magazines is reading the letters commenting on the articles in the next issue. You always get some alternative ways of looking at things.

Skeptic Magazine

Skeptical Inquirer

Skeptical Briefs


Newsletters

eSkeptic Newsletter

Skeptoid Newsletter


Skeptical Magazines Outside US:

The Skeptic, (out of the UK)

The Skeptic, (out of Australia)

Indian Skeptic, (out of India)


Podcasts

Skeptics' Guide to the Universe
(SGU) is *the* weekly podcast on skepticism and science. Steven Novella and his hilarious and snarky skeptical "rogues" are so funny and informative people can't wait to download the new episode each Saturday.

Skeptics 5x5
Because people can't last a whole week without hearing from Dr. Novella and gang, they have a 5 min. podcast each Wednesday to keep people's thirst for science and skeptical banter quenched.

For Good Reason
For Good Reason is the interview program hosted by D.J. Grothe, promoting critical thinking and skepticism about the central beliefs of society. Interviews often focus on the paranormal, pseudoscience and the supernatural. Each episode of For Good Reason also features an audio essay by Jamy Ian Swiss, The Honest Liar. The show is produced in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Skepticality
The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine features the very fun and friendly Derek and Swoopy (yes, Swoopy, and she's very cool).

Monster Talk
MonsterTalk is a free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves. Hosted by Blake Smith, Ben Radford, and Dr. Karen Stollznow, MonsterTalk interviews the scientists and investigators who shine a spotlight on the things that go bump in the night. For once (and unlike mystery-mongering television shows) a monster-themed program gives skepticism more than just a couple minutes of lip service!

Skeptoid
Brian Dunning does frequent but very brief episodes each dedicated to a single topic. He covers many issues that are new to may (like the magical "hum") and others that may get a lot of people agitated (such as criticism of the film, Supersize Me!). I often don't agree with the spin he puts on some things, but I have learned to reconsider and research a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise, for example, nuclear power.

Point of Inquiry
"Produced by the Center for Inquiry...each episode combines incisive interviews, features and commentary focusing on CFI’s issues: religion, human values and the borderlands of science."

Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely from unlikely, and science from pseudoscience. Any topic is fair game as long as we can bring reason to bear upon it, with both a skeptical eye and a good dose of humor!

Curiosity Aroused
Can dieting help you live longer? Can dogs sense earthquakes? Do vaccines cause autism? Do blondes really have more fun? Curiosity Aroused is a show built upon the idea that it's fun to seek out the answers to life's questions.

The Infidel Guy
From the Infidel Guy Site: "Since 1999, The Infidel Guy show has brought you uninterrupted freethought and science-minded guests such as Michio Kaku, Dan Barker, Ken Miller, Michael Shermer, Asia Carrera, Richard Dawkins, Massimo Pigliucci, James Randi and many others. At our site and on our show we take a truthful and investigative look at religious beliefs, political systems, social issues, economic systems, the paranormal, pseudo-science and scientific claims. We feature freethought news, an arcade, forums, chat room and free freethought downloads as well as paid memberships to all IG content."

Other Skeptical Podcasts:

Quackcast
Logically Critical
The Pseudo Scientists(Young Australian Skeptics)
The Skeptic Zone
The Amazing Show starring James Randi
Psyconoclasm
Geologic Podcast
The Conspiracy Skeptic Podcast
The Reality Check
Are We Alone?
Science Podcast: Free Podcasts from Scientific American
Science Podcasters
Center Stage
This Week in Science
Reasonable Doubts
The Completely Unnecessary Skeptical Podcast(The CUSP)
Brain Science Podcast
The Amateur Scientist
Astronomy Cast
Token Skeptic
Radio Freethinkers
Rational Alchemy
Skepchick Podcast
Skeptically Speaking
The Skeptographers
The Tank Vodcast
Two Smokin' Hot Freethinkers

Blogs

Related to the SGU are several blogs by its hosts:

Neurologica
Steven Novella (Neurologist) on skepticism in (mostly) medical news.

The Rogues Gallery
Authored by the cast of SGU.

Science Based Medicine
Multi-authored blog started by Dr. Novella.

Memoirs of a Skepchick

Blog by SGU's very sexy and smart Rebecca Watson.

Crap-based Medicine
A blog that started as a joke by Rebecca Watson. The joke is there is no true dichotomy of "evidence based" medicine and "alternative" medicine. There is only evidence based and crap based medicine.

Other blogs:

SWIFT Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

Skepticblog
Authored by the cast of the Skeptologists, a new pilot skeptical reality show.

Bad Science
Ben is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and medical doctor who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dodgy government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks. He has written the weekly Bad Science column in the Guardian since 2003. It’s archived on this site along with blogposts, columns for the British Medical Journal, and other stuff.

Skeptico
"Critical thinking for an irrational world."

Bad Astronomy Astronomer Phil Plait fights misuse of science with a focus on astronomical absurdities.

Respectful Insolence

"The miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine,
quackery, science, pseudoscience, history, and pseudohistory (and anything else that interests him)"

Mano Singham's Web Journal
Mano Singham is a theoretical physicist at Case Western Reserve University.

Just A Theory
A blog that deals with the misconceptions of science spoken from people who say, "well that's just a theory". The misconception being that scientists just dream up ideas and claim them as facts.

Richard Wiseman's Blog
Psychologist, magician, and author Prof Richard Wiseman posts daily on quirky mind stuff. Based at University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

The Gotham Skeptic
Gotham Skeptic is the official blog of New York City Skeptics.

Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York.



Forums

James Randi Forum

The Skeptics Society Forum

Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Forum

Skepticality Forum

Skeptic Friends Forum

Richard Dawkins.net Forum

Freethought & Rationalism Discussion Board

CFI Forums

Skeptalk E-Mail Discussion List

Skeptoid Forum

The Skeptical Community

Project Reason Forum


Other Resources

The Skeptic's Dictionary
An encyclopedia of many things to be skeptical about from the skeptic's point of view.

Quack Watch
Steven Barrett's guide to questionable medical practices and alternative "therapies."

Snopes.com
Next time you hear a crazy story at the water cooler or get a ridiculous scary email forward from Aunt Edna, check here first. However, as always don't let this be your only source, especially since snopes purposely includes a few fake entries just to prove that point.

SkepticWiki
An ever-growing encyclopedia of topics of interest to skeptics from the skeptical point of view.

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Promotes scientific skepticism, science education and critical thinking.

James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)
The JREF was founded by James Randi, a magician who is famous for offering money for anyone who can prove a supernatural claim. He has exposed many falsehoods and frauds such as Uri Geller, faith healer Peter Popoff (see video), and even showed that erudite professors studying psychic phenomena can be fooled by people trained in the art of trickery. (see video)
By the way, a lot of famous skeptics are magicians because they have learned how easy it is to fool people and can spot these tricks being used by others.

Grassroots Skeptics Resources
Grassroots Skeptics is a volunteer organization that promotes critical thinking and a reason-centered worldview by helping local skeptics groups to share tools, information and strategies, and connect with skeptical individuals and activists both locally and globally. This is Grassroots Skeptics Resource page. It indexes many excellent resources like local groups, websites, blogs, media, and a Skeptical Speakers Bureau.

The Mythbusters
This well known Discovery Channel show makes skepticism fun and brings science to the masses. Take this Mythbusters quiz on urban legends. As for the accuracy of the answers, you'll have to verify that yourself!

The New England Skeptical Society
This successful group is responsible for the podcast The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe as well as numerous blogs.

The Skeptics' Society

Scientific and educational society founded by prominent skeptic, Michael Shermer. Publishes Skeptic Magazine (see above).

What's the Harm?

This website answers the question skeptics often hear, "What's the harm if someone believes in...?"

National Center for Science Education
"The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations."

Sense About Science
Sense About Science is an independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence in public debates. We do this by promoting respect for evidence and by urging scientists to engage actively with a wide range of groups, particularly when debates are controversial or difficult.

Why Is Science Important?

Critical Thinking 101

Resurch+ORG
"RESURCH+ORG started as my personal collection of links, references, insights, and inspirations that I have compiled while writing The Skepdad Blog. Since launch, it has grown thanks to the contributions of numerous users."

Skepticator
An aggregator for skeptical news.

Museum of Hoaxes
"Examining dubious claims and mischief of all kinds," you could browse the many interesting entries all day.

Books on Skepticism

Members of the Cleveland Skeptics recommend:

The Real X-Files by Joe Nickel

The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-Life X-Files by Joe Nickel
"I really love Joe Nickel. He investigates unusual claims. He does not try to "debunk" and if he cannot find an explanation, he just says that, but remarks on various possibilities."

Flim-Flam! The Truth About Unicorns, Parapsychology, and Other Delusions By James Randi

The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark By Carl Sagan
"This is probably my favorite because it was my first introduction to skepticism and critical thinking. It literally changed the way I thought and left me with a desire to learn more about applying skepticism to pseudoscientific claims and science in general."

In Search of the Light: The Adventures of a Parapsychologist By Susan Blackmore

"Two great new books that are a little more on the science side of things:"
Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer and Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Furniture of the World by Mario Agosto Bunge "only because I really think that the idea is not to DE-bunk untruths, but rather to start out with a philosophy or system of truths first - that is, not to DIS-prove, but to start out with a known proof and work from there."


A Complete List of Skeptic Books

What is Skepticism?

Skepticism is using critical thinking and the scientific method to examine the validity of claims. Skeptics practice critical thinking, reject logical fallacies and recognize that lazy thinking is faulty thinking. Most of all, skeptics question their own beliefs because no one is above being sucked into believing a false idea.

Some of skeptics favorite topics of scrutiny include:
Paranormal claims like esp and psychic phenomena
Cryptozoology such as Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster,
New Age claims of magical thinking such as The Secret
Misuses of scientific ideas such quantum theory, energy or the theory of realitivity,
Alternative health practices with little or no scientific support like homeopathy, reiki, or the latest diet craze,
Conspiracy theories like chem trails or alternative theories about 911,
Urban legends and myths
Intelligent Design
Any other extraordinary claims, like free energy machines or the latest email chain mail hoax

Finally, skeptics would rather believe what is true than believing in what makes them comfortable.


Dr. Paul Kurtz succinctly describes the type of skepticism The Cleveland Skeptics aims to promote:





"Skepticism is a perspective that does not accept or reject claims at face value, but withholds judgment until sufficient evidence is available to make a decision." -Eugenie Scott


"A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." -Steve Novella



"...It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -Carl Sagan

About The Cleveland Skeptics

Since 2008, our members have been making friends, learning, challenging and being challenged with people who like to explore commonly held ideas and beliefs with a scientific eye. Take a break from those who buy into the latest “cure” or conspiracy theory, or those who won't let go of  the oldest religious idea, or social standard based on "truthiness" alone. Hang out for a laugh, write an action letter, and learn to think critically.  Get to know a group of people who want a better world through examining new and old ideas alike! Learn more about what is skepticism and see our current events calendar where you register to RSVP.
The Cleveland Skeptics hold about 3-5 activities per month including events like:

  • Regular book club, gaming nights and monthly Drinking Skeptically (non-drinkers are welcome and plentiful!)
  • Frequent museum trips to see latest exhibits and lectures (Natural history, science, art or others)
  • Annual Darwin Day
  • Regular Book Club
  • Thinking Skeptically lectures/discussions
  • Stop on the CSI Paranormal Roadtrip
  • Movies- sometimes related to skepticism sometimes just for fun
  • Charitable Fundraisers such as the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon
  • Historical tour of Kirtland's Mormon Temple
  • Attending a Christian Halloween “Judgment House”
  • Occasional trips to new age fairs with "New Age Bingo"
  • Casual gatherings, sometimes with a theme of discussion
  • Annual review of new year's "psychic" predictions of our members
  • Miscellaneous good times such as bowling, picnics, hikes, science fairs, playhouse square, etc.
  • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.