Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 12.1

Amanda

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

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  1. Statistically, cynical mistrust is correlated with premature sudden death from cardio vascular disease. Since the skeptics who write venomous blogs trust in nothing, I imagine that God will outlive them

    Sources, Mr. Chopra? Oh, right, silly me. Citing sources and checking facts is what those bitter cynical skeptics do. That’s why they die young. Being a joyful, luminous being bound to outlive God, Mr. Chopra just pulled that statistic out of his arse wrapped in a rainbow.

    For the motto and battle cry of these soaring spirits is:

    “They have the facts, but we have the TRUTH!”

  2. With Twilight, I suppose it’s the classics vs. popular culture. A lot of us are fans of the horror genra, and the vampire/werewolf mythos. Some of us have even studied it academically. We’ve read the classics, wrote the post-modern analysis of the social/political implications of Nosferatu, the sat through the bad B-movies, either played, or knew people who played The Masquerade, wondered what the hell VanHelsing was on about; we’ve paid our dues. We have an ownership of this material. And then some upstart with only passing familiarity with the genre comes along, pulls sparkly teen pulp out of thin air, and teenage girls think it’s the best thing since N’Sync and throw billions of dollars at it.

    No accounting for taste, I suppose.

  3. Chopra’s conflations and lies notwithstanding, the comments are worth reading on the HuffPo piece. Especially this one by RealityBaseCamp:

    Believers decide to believe things. Cynics choose not to believe things. Skeptics ask too many questions for either of the first two.

  4. Skeptics know in advance — or think they know — what right thought is.

    Ohhhhhhhh, there’s Chopra’s problem, he doesn’t know what “skeptic” means. Can we start a fund to buy him a dictionary with the word highlighted? Let’s also highlight “charlatan” and “insane” for his own personal consumption.

    Right thought is materialistic, statistical, data-driven, and always, always, conformist.

    I’d like to see him point out someone who isn’t conformist in virtually every way. Welcome to the human race, we’re a species of conformity! People to kvetch about conformity tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to refusing to think of themselves at all (this isn’t to say there’s no novel thought or insight; just that humans tend to conform in many ways because it’s easier).

    Wrong thought is imaginative, provisional, often fantastic, and no respecter of fixed beliefs.

    I’ll just leave this here, because it applies to science and skepticism both;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty33v7UYYbw

    (Especially note the verse, “I like the stories / about angels, unicorns and elves / Now I like those stories / As much as anybody else / But when I’m seeking knowledge / Either simple or abstract / The facts are with science.”)

  5. Deepak Chopra: No skeptic, to my knowledge, ever made a major scientific discovery or advanced the welfare of others.

    Buh?
    Have any advancements to the welfar of others or any scientific discoveries (major or minor) in the entire history of humanity ever been the result of anything but thinking skeptically?

    Evolution is not a major scientific discovery now? Because I think it’s exceedingly fair to label Darwin a skeptic.

  6. I have a co-worker who crows about the benefits of the neti pot. The same co-worker, though, is absolutely in love with the Twilight series and takes personal offense to anyone who suggests it might not be that great. Maybe that’s why I still refuse to use a neti pot. Or maybe it’s just because I don’t stick things up my nose.

  7. I’m not sure I could use a Neti Pot, though I probably really should with my sinus issues. I think it’d probably trigger a visceral fear response after I nearly drowned in a pool as a kid and my nose burned like hell from the chlorine.

  8. It never occurs to skeptics that a sense of wonder is paramount, even for scientists.

    Yep, no skeptic ever said anything like this:

    “[O]ur species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.”

    Or this:

    “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”

    Or this:

    “We wish to pursue the truth no matter where it leads. But to find the truth, we need imagination and skepticism both. We will not be afraid to speculate, but we will be careful to distinguish speculation from fact. The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature.”

  9. 1) I adore my neti pot. I’ve even got my kids and husband to use it. But you gotta make sure you get the saline-to-water ratio correct or it burns like a mufugga.

    2) Deepak has been all over NPR lately. What the hell? Is he using his quantum mind-o-meter to trick them into giving him airtime?

  10. Per the Neti Pot:

    I don’t use mine daily, but I do use it when my allergies act up, or after plane trips when I sometimes get sinus issues from the canned air. (My sinuses are unusually deep and my teeth will actually go numb with moderate sinus pressure. It sucks.) Combined with an aspirin or ibuprofen and a steaming cup of tea, I have found this treatment to clear out almost every sinus-based headache, and as a bonus, I’m not hyped up on pseudoephedrine (still the best med to clear out the sinuses).

    But if I think I have a real sinusitus, then I go check out with my doctor what she wants me to do. (Oddly enough, they want me to Neti Pot a few times a day since it’s usually just heavy congestion or viral, not a bacterial infection.) I cannot imagine doing it every day of the rest of my life though. I can happily go months without using it.

    Per the Twilight link – oh god, thank you. I can’t repost this, though, because it would insult half my friends…

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