Skepchick Quickies, Weekend Edition – 9.21


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. Remember the Yemeni girl, married off at eight, who went to go ask for a divorce? She got it, and is now back in school.

    Strangest “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” essay ever.

    Every once in a while, some form of sanity prevails. I hope she gets the most out of her education.

  2. Did I miss something? When did “Naturalist” become synonymous with “TV Show Host?” Are there no women whose science credentials alone qualify them to make the list?

    I don’t want to diminish the work of the women chosen, but a list populated entirely by nature show presenters leads me to suspect that the criteria included something more than just “really good at science.” Maybe it should have been called “Top 5 Women Naturalists ON TV.”

  3. @ekimbrough: Why is it that everything the evangelicals do comes off so creepy. I always feel like I am watching a nasty twilight zone episode. They seem to be just one step away from child orgies and human sacrifice.

  4. Regarding the “Belief” article, it seems to me that the book’s author is confusing “false” with “unproven”. His argument that people are hard-wired to believe things that are “obviously” false doesn’t hold water – all Believers rationalize their Beliefs. The logic used may be flawed or the conclusions based on emotion (“It just feels right”), but the rational basis is still there. This book sounds like just another evolutionary argument for religion. Replace “Religion exists because of evolution” with “Religion is true because of evolution” and you get what I mean. The idea that Believers have an evolutionary leg up on non-believers because of the unifying effect of religion sounds unlikely. Religion is probably just a by-product of our human desire to explain things and nothing more. I don’t think the rise of religion is the result of an instinct to believe nonsense.

  5. @Detroitus: While I can’t speak for the listmakers, the media/audience vortex of approbation definitely imposes standards of physical attractiveness on men. They’re not necessarily as stringent, and, unlike for women, they relax as men age, but they’re still there. Hence Brad Pitt, movie star and Steve Buscemi, character actor.

    I’m afraid I might have to give up my aspiration of someday appearing in a ‘top something’ list…..

    You and me both, brother.

  6. Re: Impossible things
    I’m not sure I agree with his assessment that only humans understand cause and effect. Perhaps he’s defining it in a different way, but to me, my dog seems to understand cause and effect, and I would think the higher-thinking mammals do also.
    On the other hand, a lot of humans don’t really understand it – they confuse correlation with causation. :)

  7. Re: impossible things
    Rationalista has some good points. Some of the belief, IMHO, is because most people see their lives as boring and meaningless. It’s exciting to believe in alien abductions, ghosts, etc. They forget that most of our entertainment is exactly that – and they are naked and unarmed when it comes to critical thinking.

    Ssteppe also has a good point. Remember our discussion about the corvids? The story about The Great Wendy’s Burger Theft is a good demonstration of understanding exactly that. It is quite apparent to me that they and some other species indeed do understand cause and effect. This has been shown in various experiments.

    Gabrielbrawley – I have the same reaction to the evangelicals, especially the ones that allegedly “speak in tongues,” believe in spiritual healings, etc. “They seem to be just one step away from child orgies and human sacrifice.” True, because there really is nothing to stop their illogical beliefs from taking that route. We have all seen them modify their view of their alleged sacred writings purely as a matter of convenience to do whatever they want to do. This is precisely why the separation of church and state is so vital.

  8. I second that about the top naturalists being outright foxes. Does hotness somehow boost scientific ability among women or is this list somehow biased?

    First, as others have noted, these are TV people so they get picked for TV partly because of their looks. However, as a male who does look at women and has gone to a lot of anthro conferences, I can say that the highest percentage of hot women in physical anthro are in primatology.

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