Skepticism

A Motley Memo

I haven’t posted in two months. I took a big trip to Spain last month, went to TAM last week, and have been trying to finish school while working more than full-time. Oh yeah, and every once in awhile I do something fun.

But if you don’t remember me, that’s ok, because I’m about to go through a sort of metamorphasis from MBA student to doctoral candidate, from splitting my time between the study of finance, international business, and skepticism to going full-bore with the psychological aspects of business with a dotted line to evolutionary theory.

The “all about me” tag has been removed, and I’ll take that as a hint to keep this sort of content as short as possible. But I’m about to tie in the potential relevance to the blog.

The program I’m looking at is in Organizational Behavior, which is the intersection of psychology, sociology, and business. It fits my background and interests perfectly. And psychology offers a plethora of interesting topics. This month’s PT alone has articles about sexual fantasies, dark secrets, “b-list” lovers (back-up partners), lack of ambition, and the deformalization of office politics.

But psychology, while fascinating, is a somewhat nebulous topic, and has plenty of hypotheses that aren’t well thought out. And I think it is an underexplored topic in the skeptical community.

I plan to experiment with a shift in my focus to the examination of ideas offered by the psychological community, subjecting each conclusion to the scrutiny of the scientific method and the skeptical eye of myself and the skepchick readership. Why? Because if I know any fantastically intelligent community that will provide uncensored rational feedback (and take me to task for missing something), it’s you. I hope it will be interesting and that the ensuing discussion will be enlightening.

I’m working on my first related post now and plan to post it this week.

Before I wrap this up, I have a few thoughts on TAM.

This was my second TAM, and my first in Vegas. I loved Vegas and want to go back. I suppose it has to do with my hotel background, since Vegas is home to the most outrageous hotels in the world. Everywhere I looked there were volcanoes, castles, the eiffle tower, dancing fountains…anything I could imagine. And despite the fact that hotels are perpetually torn down and rebuilt, the strip is haunted with the memories of people that won and lost fortunes there. Vegas, for me, was very much a fantasy, and a true escape.

I’m also pleased to say that I met several skepchick commenters including the infamous Blake Stacey, who is just as clever and pithy in person – Blake, I can’t wait to read that book we talked about. I also met Joshua, who is as kind and soft spoken as he is well-dressed – Joshua, thanks for helping me implement that joint-mingling strategy. And last (but not least), I met James Fox, who doesn’t look anything like his avatar!

And the Skepchick bloggers are all such warm, smart, and funny people.  I wish I’d spent more time with them – next time.

I posted a link to my Flickr site below, which has my Vegas pics, and I hope to add a lot more pictures soon since I finally got a real camera! Here are my two fave pics from TAM:

ScrutLicksJohnEdward

Scrut slips John Edward the tongue…

Michael Shermer

I meet Michael Shermer, who wrote one of the first books I read about skepticism, Why People Believe Weird Things.

Here are the rest!

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26 Comments

  1. Welcome back. Glad to see you around, and to hear you had a good time… although I hate for going while I couldn’t. :P

    Rest assured, the only kind of feedback I give is uncensored, one way or another.

    Also, Shermer’s a lucky guy for getting his picture taken with such a lovely creature. Maybe I needs to write a book…

  2. Sadly, I can almost guarantee I won’t be able to make it next year. Please accept my advance apologies. I would love to be able to go, and would even allow my picture to be taken with you, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. :(

  3. Canadian – not sure what “this” is, but I have to admit that I’ve been so busy that I feel like a zombie lately – always operating on too little sleep and food, with my working brain cells spread between several projects. So, I wouldn’t argue with that assessment.

  4. Know? That’s a very strong word. I can’t know the future any more than anyone else can. I can, however, look at trends and probabilities, and make rather accurate predictions of certain events.

    In this case, barring a very unlikely turn of events, I won’t be able to make it to TAM next year, or indeed to any future TAM.

  5. Canadian – got it. And I think you’re right. It was in Spain that my eyes turned red and my skin became deathly pale. It was all downhill after that – I quit blogging and started walking around in a trance.

    Help…I’m a mythological being and need to be debunked!

  6. @ Stacey: I’m excited to hear about your doctoral studies. I majored in sociology for my BA (seven long years ago) and recently decided to pursue an MBA next year. Skepticism had a lot to do with that decision. I work in real estate and there is clearly a lack of critical thinking in that field. I’ve become very interested in the psychology/sociology of business and am very encouraged to see a fellow Skepchick interested in the same sort of thing. I’m looking forward to your future posts on the topic.

    Oh, and any advice you might have to offer a future MBA student would be greatly appreciated! :)

  7. Peaches – congrats on your decision to pursue your MBA! And I definitely agree there is plenty of opportunity for improved critical thinking, in the business field in general. I’d love to talk about the MBA track with you – you can either send a message to the “contact us” box and I will respond, or you can message me on Facebook or My Space.

  8. hey stacy–
    it was great meeting you…wish we could have spent more time together, but i guess there’s always next year.

    and this new angle you’re talking about sounds great! i’ve often thought that psychologists get away with going off half cocked a bit more than other scientists…i can’t wait to read what you (and our lovely commenters) have to say.

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