Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies 6.23

  • RIP George Carlin
  • The American professoriate: godless liberals? – Yes and no.  “In other words, yes, a modern liberal arts education might make one more skeptical of conventional “mainstream” world-views, but that skepticism is often not complemented much with a commitment toward rational & empirical analysis of the issues at hand.”
  • Religion as knitting– Revere of Effect Measure expands upon the famous quote of PZ’s featured in Expelled.
  • Sarcasm is an evolutionary skill– And a way to get your buddy eaten by a lion according to the article excerpt.

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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19 Comments

  1. I’ve been rediscovering Zelazny, on suggestion from a friend. In particular, I’m reading My Name Is Legion, published in 1976. It’s very good, despite being based on an extrapolation of future technology based on the computers of 1976. But I came across this quote in “Home Is The Hangman”. The context isn’t necessary, but in essence they’re talking about an artificial intelligence that is based on the personalities of four of its creators. The main character is speaking with one of the four creators, and suggests that the intelligence (the Hangman) may have mastered and integrated the four additional personalities into its own, and he refers to a “Hermacis Complex”:

    “Hermaphroditus having been united in one body with the nymph Salmacis, I’ve just done the same with their names. That being would then have had four parents against whom to react.”

    “Cute,” she said, smiling. “If the liberal arts do nothing else, they provie engaging metaphors for the thinking they displace.”

  2. Carlin was, bar none, my favorite comedian. I was so happy I got to see him in 2000 or 2001, whenever it was. He was, at the time, working on material for a special called “I Kinda Like It When A Lotta People Die” (or something like that). It was a long riff on the way the news blows up tragedies and how we all watch and watch when bad things happen but pretend we aren’t interested.

    Of course, not long after a HUGE thing called 9/11 happened and George (or perhaps HBO) changed the name of his special to “Complaints and Grievances.” Probably the right choice, all told, if not entirely consistent.

    I think that, now that he’s gone, we should take his advice from Bill and Ted and “be excellent to each other.”

  3. 28% of math/science teachers do not believe in god.

    What’s up with the other 72%?

    Well, from the stats, it appears that 20% believe in an impersonal god, 18% didn’t answer, and 34% believe in a personal god. So for those keeping score, that’s 66% who almost definitely aren’t into the whole evangelical thing. And 34% who may or may not be. That seems like a pretty decent ratio. As I think we’ve gone over exhaustively in the last week, not everyone who understands and accepts scientific evidence is also an atheist. As far as I know, no study has yet disproved the existence of god. You can certainly make strong arguments about the validity or lack thereof in regards to specific religious beliefs, but I somehow doubt we’ll ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of a supreme entity.

  4. Yes, RIP George Carlin – a huge blow, that I expected about 12 months ago… so it caught me off-guard as I was getting ready for work this morning.

    George, if you’re reading this, or looking down on me as I write this, sitting with the angels, and with Jesus: mate, you affected my life more than any other public figure. My thinking and outlook took a turn for the skeptical, and I learned that old people, while mostly grumpy and forgetful, CAN be funny, have great memories, and be very insightful. So, kudos to you, brother. Have a beer with Jimi Hendrix.

    But, no, he’s not reading this, or looking down … so… whatever… just wasted my breath…

    Damn, I shoulda wrote him that letter 6 months ago when I meant to… Crap.

    Oh well. Bye George! :D

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