Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 12.14

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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  1. Proof of God: A little discussion yesterday with the wifey about critical thinking and alternative medicine/spirit/god. I’ve helped her become more skeptical about such things but she still holds on to some of it. I told her that I used to believe some things and felt I had good critical thinking to support my beliefs. And that I still wish some of it were true, especially that we are all entities manifested in physical reality – how wonderful would it be to continue on after physical death and that there was a purpose? But then I just have to read things like arguments for god, logical fallacies, etc. to bring me back to thinking critically again.

    Gender lines: I have noticed the same thing as well. The wifey thinks exactly like the woman who wrote that article. What they both fail to see is in the process of trying to get to the moon we made many discoveries and technologies that benefit us all today. While I tend to think that manned flight isn’t worth the risk and investment at our current capacity financially and technologically, I do think we should continue to explore.

    Paranormal flexibility: At least people are trying to bend their beliefs to conform to reality instead of the other way around. I think once you get someone to open up to new ideas you can start introducing them to dismantling their beliefs altogether.

    Ray Comfort: Epic doofus.

  2. On the first I think blending is a good step in the road to questioning. It means you feel one doesn’t do it all. Definitely a good thing imo.

    Also I feel really sorry for the author of the astronomy story. For so many reasons.

  3. I want to give the woman in the astronomy story a little bit of credit. She is specifically trying to NOT enforce the stereotype that women don’t like science in her sons’ eyes.

    Of course, it has less to do with gender than just a difference in personality, I suppose. I love astronomy. My brothers are huge sports fanatics. My mother could care less about those topics except she cares that we care and nurtured those interests. Your kids will always be different from you, isn’t that a good thing?

  4. @Nicole: I agree that understanding and supporting personality differences, for parents or otherwise, is totally important and admirable. Of course, it’s annoying when those personality differences are assumed to be drawn along gender lines. It’s hard for me to tell if the author is making enough of an effort to fight that tendency.

  5. I don’t think this “blending” is anything new. It’s been going on for centuries. Two or more cultures coexist in one way or another along side each other, find ways to interact, war, trade, etc, and their traditions blend and merge. That’s where we get Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny from. That’s where we get Valentines Day from the Lupercalia, the Roman spring fertility festival. That’s where Voodoo and Hoodoo come from. Buddhism prides itself on surviving the centuries by being flexible enough to merge with other dominant cultures.

    The only difference is, that we’re aware enough to observe it happening. Wash, rinse, repeat.

  6. Liked the Times piece. In many ways, it’s better for society to have this “pick and choose” attitude toward religion- the most frightening people I’ve met interpret the Bible literally. This combo-spiritualism has the potential to be far less dangerous than the evangelical Christian spiritualism. Perhaps the same people who believe in the spirit inside the mountains believe that people should be allowed to marry whomever they choose or that the “spirit” started in the beginning and evolved into everything in the world. I am a little weirded out by all of the respondents who believe that people can cast curses with the evil eye, though- no saying what kind of self defense pleas that will lead to.

  7. @Nicole: According to Chemical & Engineering News, in chemistry for 2008 36% of all doctoral degrees in chemistry awarded in America went to women, down from 37% in 2007.

    I’m pretty sure the number of women at the Bachelor’s level in chemistry is higher than that, closing on 45% or so, but damned if I can find the reference for it.

  8. @Jen: I didn’t really get the impression that she was assuming that it was because of her gender that she didn’t like astronomy. She even notes that “inconveniently” her disinterest aligns with gender stereotypes. I do feel bad for her though- she’s missing out on an amazing opportunity to experience the wonder of astronomy with her children.

  9. Yeah, girls don’t like astronomy. I’ll have to tell that to my former girlfriend who thought that going to an observatory was a good idea for a date.

    Regarding Ray Comfort: It isn’t a question at this point that he clearly did plagiarize. The question now is what is bad enough that it constitutes a copyright violation that can have a big fun lawsuit where by the end Ray is lucky if he still owns the shirt on his back?

  10. You’d think Thou shalt not steal would mean something.

    But according to Way of the Master (Comfort and Cameron’s patented Good Christianity System) you’re already a thief; there’s nothing you can do about that… except buy Way of the Master and learn how to properly accept Christ!

  11. as far as plausibility goes, astrology, mountain energy, acupuncture and an undead magic carpenter god are pretty much equivalent in my eyes – why should ‘traditional’ religious beliefs like christianity be distinguished from other paranormal beliefs in the pew study?

  12. @Nicole: Spot on, Nicole. I give the woman credit for at least making an effort and even getting involved in her children’s interests. So many parents don’t even try. I definitely don’t think the message of the article is “girls don’t like astronomy.” My sister has always had very little interest in sports, but after having two boys who love sports, she’s become a real athletic supporter. ;-)

  13. Way of the Master

    Staring Kirk Cameron as “The Apprentice”
    and Ray “Bananna Man” Comfort as “The Master”

    More hot christian on christian love than has ever been on the screen before.

    You will believe that a banana is made for his mouth.

    Easter 2010

  14. Way of the Master

    Act I
    Scene I

    Open on Ray Comfort sitting on a throne carved to look like it is made of banana bunches. He is dressed in short robe that ends just above mid-thigh. The robe is covered in pictures of bananas and the word master.

    An extreme close up shows that Comfort’s right hand has a tatoo of the words “Christian Love” on his right hand. We see that Comfort is stroking one of the carved bananas on his throne with his right hand.

    Kirk Cameron enters stage left. He too is wearing a short robe covered in bananas but his has the word apprentice all over it.

    Cameron kneels and then prostrates himself before Comfort and the banana throne.

    Cameron: “What is your bidding, my master?”

    Comfort: “Is that a banana in the pocket of your robe?”

    Cameron: “Yes master” pulls the banana out of his pocket and holds it up.

    Comfort: “Rise my apprentice and bring me the banana”

    Cameron returns to his knees and the stands and walks hunched over with his head down to the foot of the banana throne.

    Comfort: “Please the atheist nightmare for me”

    Cameron begins to peal the banana, extreme close up.

    Comfort: “Not so fast my apprentice, peal the banana slowly, take your time”

    Cameron: “Yes master” the pealing of the banana is accomplished much more slowly, extreme close up until the banana is pealed.

    Pull back just enough to show that both Cameron and Comfort are both soaked with sweat and very red in the face.

    Comfort: “Come apprentice, mount my throne and bring me the succulent symbol of god’s love.”

    Cameron, visibly excited, walks up the steps, shaking with excitiming he extends the banana to Comfort.

    Comfort: “The banana appears too dry, moisten it for me.”

    Cameron slowly licks the banana until it glistens.

    Comfort: “Well done my apprentice. Now place god’s love in your master’s mouth.”

    Cameron slowly extends his hand until the banana slides into Comforts waiting mouth.

    End Scene I

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