Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, 11.3

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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25 Comments

  1. That reflection of the kid’s ghost looks like an unidentified blurb, which equals to nothing. I don’t even see a face there. It’s just a reflection of something unidentified for Ghost’s sake.

  2. I’m still mildly surprised at the ripples the D&D charity thing is having. Though, it seems that all of the things that I’m interested in now are either growing really close together, or were never that far apart to begin with. Fun, that.

    As for the de-conversion story, to the high school part, that sounds exactly like my roommate. He hasn’t talked to the girl God told him that he was supposed to marry in five years. He believes that she’s going to come back to him and marry him out of the blue.

    The later parts read like what happened to my second roommate when he “found religion” in his first year of college. The poor fool is easily led, unfortunately. I’d think he’s slowly finding his way to rational thinking, but it’s a long path ahead of him. At the very least, he doesn’t think that semen can get a woman pregnant by seeping into her skin anymore. Boy, was that a fun conversation!

  3. I sent a very polite email to the charity in the D&D story. Although I think any charity can accept or refuse funds as they wish (for example if their other donors would object, then it’s sensible to say no), but they do need to be educated that D&D is not satanic or evil.

  4. So Expelled contributed to someone’s de-conversion? Way to go, Ben! You did make a difference after all!

    And I like the ending very much.

    But the more I know about a secular view of the world, the better it gets. I no longer need a belief in a second life to make this first one precious. Far from being nihilistic, I care about humanity with a passion that I seldom had as a Christian. God isn’t helping us – the only peace and justice to be found in this world are the peace and justice we fight for. I’m finding in free thought more morality and purpose than I ever found in Christianity.

  5. The “ghost” looks to me like a real, live person. The first few frames are too bright to make out but the last one definitely looks like a person. Ifigure it’s someone walking from bright sunlight into shadow. If I had to guess, I’d say a kid (maybe 6 years old or so) in the back yard peeked in the patio door and spoiled the shot. The interview cuts to a different camera angle right after that, indicating an attempt to edit it out.

  6. The ghost video:

    I’m pretty sure it does actually show a human walking up to a door to go through it. The cameras were adjusted for inside lighting, meaning that everything outside in the bright sun is going to show up as overexposed and washed out. Not to mention blurry, as the focus was on the couple being interviewed. Case closed.

  7. SORCERER IN CHIEF????

    Obama believes in superstitious woo-woo — and in a BIG way!! He & his staff are using “magic charms” to win the election!!!! And according to the article (link below) Obama does not make his superstitiousness a secret and his recent behavior is not unusual — his & his teams magic charms currently consists of:

    – whiskers (going unshaven),
    – a pink quartz crystal from an anonymous donor radiating an aura,
    – a lucky poker chip (Obama’s charm),
    – an eagle pin (Obama’s charm),
    – a Monkey King statute (Obama’s charm),
    – some pre-election basketball play (Obama’s ritual), and
    – blue jeans & boots (charms which are, presumably, “better” than J. Carville’s dirty underwear [worn in B. Clinton’s campaign]as Obama’s staff are bathing [so they claim]).

    Presumably he’ll win…which makes one wonder if/what soothsayers will gain Whitehouse employ?

    This is a LOT worse than Ronald Reagan’s wife’s use of an astrologer!!

    Full article below:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081103/pl_politico/15194;_ylt=AkLMDVQVq5V4j2Eg4fuavDrCw5R4

    The worst they could claim for McCain was that he used the same hotel rooms–which is more of a habit than superstition.

  8. @Kev: I’d hardly call a pocket full of knick-knacks and playing basketball “believing in woo in a big way.” He’s apparently no more superstitious than McCain, if you do a quick Google:

    He keeps on his person a lucky compass, a lucky feather, a lucky penny and, at times, a lucky rock. He assigns Weaver to carry his lucky pen–a Zebra Jimnie Gel Rollerball (medium, blue)–at all times. For added luck, he wears his magical L.L. Bean rubber-soled dress shoes.

    McCain insists that he and his staff eat barbecue–“our lucky food,” says Cindy McCain, the candidate’s wife–before each debate

    That’s from the Washington Post.

    It’s all just silliness.

  9. I think this is an interesting example of how people turn to superstition when they don’t feel like they are in control of a situation. I read an interesting article on that on this site and this seems to dovetail with that very nicely.

  10. That was indeed an intense de-conversion.

    I so, so, so wish I could fully de-convert but I find it so damn hard. A childhood filled with Catholicism is hard to forget. I mean I studied earth sciences at university and I have never, ever been a creationist. I find it laughable that some christians try to take the bible so literally.

    I know that it is completely irrational but the only thing that is keeping me from completely doing away with my religion is superstition. I cannot bear to throw away my rosary and crucifix. Just the same way I can’t throw away the snoopy toy I was given the day I was born 27 years ago.

    It is so frustrating! I do not need the reward of heaven or the punishment of hell in order to be a good person. I’m quite happy being a good person without getting the reward of living on a cloud with some big wings on my back. However, I still pray when I’m in trouble and I still take my rosary when I’m travelling for protection. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! As if God is going to directly intervene just because I recited the our father and hail mary! As if God will ensure that the wing of my plane doesn’t fall off just because I’m carrying a bloody rosary!!!!!!!

    Maybe I need time, maybe I need a talking to. Either way I really wish i’d never been forced to subscribe to this stuff when I was young and impressionable. My mother and father have fully deconverted since my family made a group decision to stop going to church. However, I just cannot let go. Suggestions? Insight? Gladly recieved.

  11. @dacy_ebd: I may not be the best person to dispense advice on this (I was raised without religion, so never had the challenge of throwing it off), but it seems like you’ve taken some really difficult steps already. Personally, I don’t think you should be too hard on yourself for praying or keeping your rosary around in times of trouble. It seems to me it’s less a superstition thing and more of a comfort thing. Also, if you’re only 27, I think you have plenty of time to ease out of the old habits you no longer want. No reason to have to do it all at once. It must be frustrating to still have to deal with all that, but it sounds like you’re making progress, and that’s the most important part. :)

  12. @dacy_ebd: “It is so frustrating! I do not need the reward of heaven or the punishment of hell in order to be a good person. I’m quite happy being a good person without getting the reward of living on a cloud with some big wings on my back. However, I still pray when I’m in trouble and I still take my rosary when I’m travelling for protection. AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! ”

    I think there was an AI on this a while back.. let me say I get what you are going through.

    Sometimes we do things because they make us feel better despite the fact that they aren’t really magical or relevant or actaully doing anything.

    I sort of think tht is all fine and dandy… you know what isn’t real, so bringing your rosary with you may be more of a comfort thing… and maybe someday you won’t “need” it anymore.

    Little steps.

    Trust me

  13. @Gabrielbrawley: superstition… or prayer.

    Both ways of dealing with a lack of control.

    Really… why are superstitions treated any diff than praying? Both McCain and O! pray I am sure… but no one makes a big deal about that.

    (I know why -in our society at least- but it still bugs me… all woo is woo. Period.)

  14. Update: Equally polite response from the charity .

    Dear Concerned Gamer:

    Thank you for writing to Anne Goddard and sharing your concerns. Anne was traveling when she received your email. We discussed your concern and she asked that I respond on her behalf Please know that we take your email very seriously.

    There appears to be a misunderstanding which I would like to correct. When Gen Con contacted CCF about its auction, we were pleased to accept donations. However, we couldn’t lend our name for publication because our policies have specific criteria for endorsements. We were unaware that this had caused any problem or concern for Gen Con until we began receiving emails. This decision was in no way intended to be a reflection on Mr. Gygax, gaming enthusiasts or the game Dungeon and Dragons. We have the utmost respect for the gaming community and were touched by the generosity expressed through your auction. We were disappointed that we were not the recipients of the donation but we were pleased that another worthy organization benefited.

    We realize this has become a topic of discussion in the gaming community and we hope you will help us by sharing this response.

    The needs of children are great and we welcome your support. Should you wish to learn more we invite you to visit our website at http://www.christianchildrensfund.org.

    Again, I thank you for taking the time to voice your concern. Your passion for gaming and your support for children are admirable.

  15. I’m not sure the statement: “We don’t want anyone to know we accepted your money” is much better than: “We don’t want your money.” But it was a reasonable response, I suppose. Meh. I would be unlikely to donate to CCF anyway, because of their sectarian nature.

    As for the “ghost” video… My first instinct was “something off camera reflected in the glass.” But I can’t be sure because, really, it’s just a couple pixels that are badly mutilated by video compression artifacts. It would be silly to draw any conclusions without access to the original video. It would be doubly silly to conclude that it’s a ghost.

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