Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 9.26

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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10 Comments

  1. What?!?! Someone made famous by Oprah peddling nonsense? Wait until someone tells her that her reputation among the scientifically literate has been besmirched. I am sure she will sic her alternative-law attorneys on him!

  2. “That he should have been executed without having committed anything that would appear to constitute a crime …”

    Well, that’s not precisely true. It seems clear that he did commit an act that was defined as a crime in Saudi Arabia. They call it sorcery.

    As long as we’re skeptics, we should be honest and call what he did “fraud”. He’s the type of person the skeptical community is usually pretty angry about.

    Should purveyors of fraudulent medicine and magic be convicted? Of course, they should. The sole objectionable part is the sentence. The death penalty is completely out of proportion to the crime.

    1. The sentence was not the only objectionable aspect, the conviction was also. Note that he was not given a death sentence for fraud, but for sorcery. Presumably they would have convicted him of fraud if he hadn’t been practicing REAL witchcraft. Sure purveyors of magical bullshit are annoying, but it is really frightening when entire governments believe in it, and are sufficiently frightened to behead people over it. It serves as a reminder that the modern world is more a place than a time.

  3. Bigger news in Saudi Arabia is that it appears women are going to receive the right to vote (and hold political office). By dictate — this is of course a monarchy we’re talking about. (@[email protected])

    The big open question now is how much longer the Saudi house can truly control the fate of the country. Revolution has been creeping up on them for a long time, and now with several outbreaks in neighboring countries showing the strain. They’re taking various direct actions to quell unrest and instability, but how long can it work? A decade? Two? Three?

    There’s an elephant in the room in terms of several Mid-East economies, and that is their dwindling oil supplies. The more those shrink, the higher the price will rise and the greater the incentive for the buyer to look elsewhere for their energy needs.

    Regarding Dr. Oz … he’s a quack. What can you say? This guy makes a fool of himself nearly every time he opens his mouth. He may cross the threshold into criminal fraud at this rate.

    It’s good news that more people are paying attention to women in computer science and its relevance to the future economy and technical innovation. The two articles take two different approaches which are both significant. Social impetus to eliminate biases preventing women from entering STEM is critical, but it is equally important that women enter leadership positions in existing institutions in order to create the role models which are so desperately needed.

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