Skepchick Quickies 12.11

  • Chav yourself a Merry Christmas – “A ‘chav’ nativity play where Jesus turns water into strong lager and the three wise men bear gifts of Adidas and Burberry clothes was handed to teenagers to learn at a school during a drama lesson.”  Thanks Emory.
  • Merry Chrismukah – “Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Hanukkah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works about 1300 years.”  Thanks Question Authority.
  • Virgin Mary appears in an MRI – Thanks Steve.
  • Obama picks Nobel winner as Energy Secretary – Steven Chu, Novel winning physicist, has been tapped by Obama to be his Energy Secretary. JJ sent this in and says, “Huzzah for science!  Suck it outgoing administration!”


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Sorry this isn’t part of the quickies but NPR is talking with Amanda Peet about being pro-vaccination and they aren’t doing the stupid two sided interview. They are showing that there is only one real side. They are flat stating that there is no controversy about vaccination in the science community and they are talking about the outbreaks of preventable diseases. They are also debunking the fake connection of autism/vaccination. Good good interview.

  2. Wow, I expected that chav nativity to be much more offensive. I mean, it’s really more making fun of the chavs than it’s making fun of religion, innit? I was expecting to see them actually acting out the story with Joseph and Mary saying all those “awful” things, instead of just being told the story in that manner. Comedically speaking, they would’ve had essentially the same effect telling any well-known story like that.

  3. Okay in order.
    It is a freaking play in a drama class, that’s it and it was just a little skit at that. It isn’t the grammer class or the science class it is the drama class. Worry about something else.

    Chrismukah – meh

    Why doesn’t the virgin mary just show up and talk to people? Why only stains and burnt toast and brain scans? Is she afraid that she would be labled insane and locked up? I can see it now “Homeless woman claiming to be the Virgin Mary is being held for observation. Bored catholics around the world flock to her hotel room in the hopes of seeing her.”

    Cool, a novel winning scientist will be heading a science agency. Good sign. Now if he just avoids that trap of appointing an anti-vaccination Kennedy to the EPA post.

  4. @GabrielBrawley, marilove: Hear, hear. It’s about damn time. This should be in the MSM constantly.

    @GabrielBrawley: …because she’s a myth? Or is it because it would be too easy to just show up in person?

    Happy ChrisKwanzAnnukah, everyone! ;-)

  5. I can’t say I really have a problem with the woman selling the MaRI. At least in the article it sounded like her train of thought was something along the lines of “I need a crapload of money. Wait! I’ve got this MRI that looks kinda like the Virgin Mary! People pay thousands of dollars for her on grilled cheese sandwiches and stuff, don’t they? I’m totally selling that bastard.” Which I feel to be a perfectly acceptable line of logic.

  6. @Gabrielbrawley: In my opinion, I think they should do two-sided interviews. And in doing so, I also think that they should scrutinize Amanda Peet with the actual data and make her look like an idiot.

  7. @TheSkepticalMale: There aren’t two sides to this issue at least not two valid sides. There isn’t any evidence that vaccinating children causes autism. There is ample evidence that failure to vaccinate children leaves them vulnerable to terrible and preventable disesases. Amanda Peet coming out and saying that parents should have their children vaccinated doesn’t make her an idiot. All of the actual data on this subject is on her side.

  8. @Gabrielbrawley: I’m sorry, I totally misread that (was thinking of Jenny McCarthy). I thought Peet was an anti-vaccination celebrity. My bad. Thanks for clearing that up.

  9. Regarding Jesus’ supposed ability to multiple foodstuff, have you ever worried before your holiday pot-luck that you might not have enough food, and then after everybody shows up, you are wondering where all that food could possibly have come from?

  10. @TheSkepticalMale: True. While most of American media leaves much to be desired (NPR isn’t 100% but still gets an A in my book) one program really stands out is “Is it Real” on the National Geographic Channel. It is probably the best skeptical show out there but I never hear about it in skeptics circles. It’s much the same format as TheSkepticalMale calls for. Let the proponents of pseudoscience have the first half of the show, then spend the second half tearing their position down with facts and science.

  11. @skepticalhippie: I think alot of the focus of the media is upon creating fear (i.e., fear sells), particularly with respect to local news stories. From what I understand (correct me if I’m wrong), the whole vaccination/autism thing got it’s start with local news coverage in the U.K.

    I will have to see ‘Is It Real.’ I also like ‘Mythbusters’ (although not very substantive) and ‘Bullshit’ (because it adds a sense of anti-politically correct humor).

  12. @Kimbo Jones: What I thought was interesting about the case was that the big legal guns for ID (the Foundation for Thought and Ethics) were denied a motion to intervene in the case … because they missed the deadline for filng the motion. Not so intelligent, huh? lol! (OK, maybe that’s only funny for lawyers.)

    Although I think it is a great victory, I have to wonder if a federal court down in Texas (where Sam is having similar battles in the school boards) would rule the same way. I also wonder if the current U.S. Supreme Court would affirm on the merits.

  13. To all who are interested:

    What is so nice about the show is that they don’t leave the question “is it real?” unanswered. They definitively come down with a conclusion that these phenomena are not real and detail why. My only complaint is they tend to go after low hanging fruit (bigfoot, lockness ect) but their next episode seems promising.

    The next episode is:
    Melatonin. Honey. Hoodia. Noni juice. Alleged “miracle cures” abound for those of us seeking slimmer thighs, migraine relief, or a full night’s sleep. But do they work? NGC travels the globe to find out.

    I don’t know if they are on hulu.com and I can’t check now because my company blocks that site. Maybe bittorrent some episodes?

  14. @TheSkepticalMale: I’m mostly thinking about the part where Behe had to admit he hadn’t read any of the immunology research that didn’t support his views of irreducible complexity for that system. That alone was a bit of a personal victory for me.

  15. @TheSkepticalMale: I like Mythbusters as well but you’re right in that it’s not very substantive at times. I haven’t seen Bullshit in a while though as I’m not a fan of their style. I was always a little uneasy seeing there targets get one sided and edited to look like bigger idiots then they are and their ideas not presented correctly (basically making strawmen). What really put me over the edge was the circumcision episode; to me it feels like they just pushed all science aside and made an appeal to emotions. And since they have a voice in the skeptical community I feel this has made a fair number of skeptics unskeptical on this issue. But that’s just me, I know a lot of people like it for it’s entertainment value.

  16. @Kimbo Jones: I have checked that PBS special out from the library several times. Evolutionary biology and the law, two of my favorite subjects wrapped together in one instance.

  17. For me the best part of the Dover trial was having a conservative evangelical Christian Bush appointed judge hand down the ruling. Not just any ruling, but a scathing criticism of the whole ID movement in which he accuses the ID proponents (Christians) of doing very unchristian things to further there agenda. It makes me all warm and squishy inside knowing that a judge can but aside his ideological beliefs in order to objectively interpret the law. Of course I think the judges in the highest court in the land are more than capable of doing the same. Wait, what is this here: Scalia Accepts Cort Wrotnowski Case on Obama Citizenship to Conference. Never mind.

  18. PZ Myers pointed out (and I happen to agree) that the MRI looks strikingly like a particular part of anatomy that only the fairer sex has…I guess it’s all about where your mind is when you’re looking at the image?

  19. @TheSkepticalMale: TIHS HAPPENED TODAY.

    My boss actually ended up getting MORE food, afraid there wouldn’t be enough, and oh BOY was there ever enough, and then some. We are swimming in awesome food. The good news is that I was able to grab enough for dinner tonight for me and a friend, along with desert, and I will most certainly not have to bring in lunch tomorrow. Woot.

  20. Bush’s Secretary of Energy is a Bush Cronie, a Bush loyalist, which “SEEMINGLY” is the only criteria to be chosen for a job in his administration ( hell … read EMPERIAL LIFE in the EMERALD CITY and you’ll see that to get a gov’t job in Iraq it was mandatory for most to be pro-abortion ). Here’s a brief profile of Samuel Bodman as described by the U.S. Dept of Energy Website:

    “Samuel Wright Bodman was sworn in as the 11th Secretary of Energy on February 1, 2005 after the United States Senate unanimously confirmed him on January 31, 2005. He leads the Department of Energy with a budget in excess of $23 billion and over 100,000 federal and contractor employees.

    Previously, Secretary Bodman served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury beginning in February 2004. He also served the Bush Administration as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce beginning in 2001. A financier and executive by trade, with three decades of experience in the private sector, Secretary Bodman was well suited to manage the day-to-day operations of both of these cabinet agencies.”

    Well suited to what? To serve Bush and his administratrion?

    Compare that to Chu’s bio:

    “Steven Chu, a renowned physicist and green-energy advocate, has reportedly been tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to run the federal Department of Energy … Chu’s resume contains an item never before seen on a DOE director’s CV: a Nobel Prize in physics. ”

    Listen, Obama will make mistakes. All Presidents shall. He’ll make a lot of them. But I’m a huge advocate of knowing the cabinet before I vote for a candiate rather than merely knowing who the Vice President is. Hmmm … energy is to physics as logic is to having a reason plan of attack. No mistake here.

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