Skepticism

A Very Special Skepchick Xmas Podcast, 2010!

For the third year in a row, the Skepchicks sit down to talk about Christmas. This year, the topics covered include:

Why does Bug Girl hate Christmas so much?

What packages has Maria been grabbing?

Who would win in a fight: Santa or Jesus?

Should non-believers celebrate Christmas?

Like previous years, this one is loud and chatty and occasionally risque and NSFW! Listen on iTunes or right here (or get the direct download here):

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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22 Comments

  1. “Should non-believers celebrate Christmas?”
    Well, many atheists celebrate Fridays, Halloween, anniversaries, Thanksgiving and attend church weddings when invited so why the hell not have some Christmas cheer? I’ll listen to what you guys have to say later.

  2. Listened, fun stuff. Santa was always tongue in cheek for our kids and they left dark chocolate and Scotch out because they knew (I) Santa would appreciate that. And now I think Santa is totally secular and a cultural phenomena who’s popular image has more to do with advertisements and children’s books than the story of Saint Nicholas, who was a Greek Bishop in the 300’s when all Christians were Catholic.

  3. Well, I was going to either “comment” or “not comment, having not consumed the medium”, but then I remembered how Skepchick had ironically propagated ironic homophobic stereotypes, a few posts ago.

    Suddenly, I don’t give a damn. You’re falling off my blogroll soon.

  4. @AstroCJ:

    While it is inarguable that Skepchick.org is occasionaly sexist and frequently chauvinistic (female chauvinism, distaff black pantherism, etc.), I would be amazed if it was ever homophobic in any sense at all, whether that be ironic or otherwise — keeping mind that one person’s irony is little more than another person’s complete misunderstanding and limited comprehension.

  5. Argh, you’re all too nice. I’m sorry; I’ve was sent some upsetting semi-anonymous email last night and I briefly lost sight of what was helpful and what was not. I didn’t deserve your very non-hostile and constructive responses; thank you. The previous paragraph was *not* sarcsam.

    My comment was in reference to the Dec 18th post by Elyse (http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/12/ai-more-like-afgaynistan/) in which several people, myself included, expressed discomfort with the use of homophobic language, which continued in the comments. Apparently the use of language was ironic, those uncomfortable dismissed, the comment thread died and the blog moved on.

    I probably have absolutely no perspective this early this morning, so please don’t put much weight on this comment. I do wonder how many people were made uncomfortable that didn’t bother posting to register this.

    (I am aware that the comment thread of a post by Ms. Watson is not the appropriate forum for this discussion; I place this note here to explain my previous, extremely unhelpful, note.)

  6. Oh, thanks CJ! That makes more sense.
    Not all the Skepchicks are the same; and we frequently disagree among ourselves. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that post myself, although I didn’t read the comments the same way you did, nor come to the same conclusion.

    Please do feel free to bring it to our attention when you think we’ve gotten something wrong!
    I suspect if the question had been phrased differently, as “what completely crazy shit will conservapedia predict as the consequence of DADT repeal?” that might have given a better context to the discussion. Once I figured out that was what going on, I was ok with it.

    Everybody brings something different to the reading of a text (or so my po-mo friends tell me :p ), and it’s always good to get feedback on different interpretations.

    Also, I -SO- hope that I’m the “distaff black panther” that John mentions.

    Now, who wants a slice of Cheesus?
    I’ve got sacramental wine, too!

  7. Funny and thoughtful chat. Thanks.

    Re: the Santa/Jesus conflict, a few words from an Italian standpoint.

    When I was a kid, I remember that there were two different kind of things that could be done.

    One was (is still) the “Presepe” or nativity scene, which is regarded as being strictly Christian. And you would get your presents from “Gesù bambino”. How? Well, I suppose it’s some kind of miracle.
    (Actually, there are some pre-Christian traditions for the presepe as well, back to Roman times).

    The other way was having a fir tree, and waiting for “Babbo Natale” (ie. Father Christmas, the local equivalent of Santa Claus) to bring you presents.

    In my secular family, the second path would be followed, then at some point my father went beyond the fir tree, and started putting lines of fake green moss all over the house, with hanging Christmas glass balls and such. A very festive atmosphere.

    Maybe that’s why I always have a hard time understanding those that claim Atheists don’t have this and that, and miss this and that. We certainly enjoyed ourselves while being thoroughly godless.

  8. @AstroCJ:

    I’m sorry you feel like you need to stop reading skepchick. If you read the comments, you’ll see that I was NOT dismissive. I’m sorry I offended people. That was not my intention. My intention was to point out the ridiculousness of the “homosexual agenda” destroying the miltary. The point was to ridicule and mock the other side.

    I understand that not everyone agrees with that tactic. I understand why those statements are hurtful. I understand. And I never meant to offend the people whose victory I was celebrating. However, I disagree that mocking the incredibly ignorant is harmful. I think it needs to be done. It’s not the only tactic to use; it’s one of many.

    I apologize for not being more clear in that I was mocking Conservapedia and folks like John McCain. I’m sorry I hurt prople’s feelings and left them feeling like Skepchick is not ther ally.

    I am very proud of the inclusiveness of Skepchick. I am proud of this community. Perhaps I take it for granted that the community knows me well enough to understand my humor.

  9. @AstroCJ: Ahh. I understand your concern, and it’s true that “ironic” racism/sexism/homophobia etc. can be just as, if not more, damaging than the outright variety.

    In this case though, I’d think of it as on par with atheists making “I’m gonna go eat some babies” jokes. Of course it’s different because that would be atheists making a joke about perceptions of themselves and not another community, but I think the principle is the same.

    As a regular reader but infrequent commenter, I think everyone is welcome and can feel very safe in the skepchick community, who generally take those issues very seriously even if they attack them humorously.

    Now to the point of the post: Like Rebecca and Amy, I love the holidays, and my family did Santa and it was in fact a good critical thinking lesson for my brothers and me :)

  10. @Luciano: In the constellation Cancer (the crab) is an open cluster called the Beehive Cluster, also known as Praesepe. (It’s quite beautiful in good binoculars or a low-power telescope, and will be high in the sky near the Moon at about midnight tonight.) Anyway, according to Wikipedia, Praesepe is Latin for “manger”.

    So the big question is will the beehive connection to Christmas turn Bug_Girl around?

    (By pure coincidence, I was cleaning up my desk yesterday and came across a photo of my niece, then 4, playing bee at the interactive bee exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science. She’s wearing a bee costume and a Red Sox “B” hat, which she thought appropriate for the occasion, and is practicing collecting nectar and pollen and bringing them back to the hive, tending eggs and feeding larvae. If you ever need to entertain some preschoolers for an afternoon, the Discovery Center at the Boston MOS is great for any budding entomologist or other scientist, which should be all preschoolers…)

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