Skepchick Quickies, 10.25


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. We visited the chapel at the airforce academy when we were in Colorado earlier this year. The pagan circle wasn’t part of the chapel itself, since it’s off in the woods somewhere. My wife wanted to see it, being pagan herself and all, but apparently it’s closed to the public on account of the vandalism.

  2. Air Force academy now welcomes spell-casters. (From cerberus40.)

    Hmm, not really an improvement, is it?

    Biologist says chupacabras are just coyotes with scabies.

    That’s disappointing. I always thought they were bats, ignorant me having done no research into them bar the Super Furry Animals song, originally entitled “Chupacabras”.

    Great tune, by the way.


    It says:
    Soy super bien soy super super bien soy bien bien super bien bien bien super super!

  3. “Say you have cancer, and someone does a healing spell for you. It doesn’t mean the cancer disappears overnight. It could mean your doctor thinks up a different treatment.”

    That’s rich!

  4. Say you have an orc in an adjacent 5×5 square, and I wanted to cast Otiluke’s Icy Sphere on him…it doesn’t mean the Orc’s hit points necessarily disappear immediately. It could mean you came up with a better way of stabbing him with your +1 flaming longsword.

  5. Apropos of nothing, I noticed this over the weekend and figured I should note it, as I couldn’t recall seeing any responses on the skeptic sites I follow:

    Parapsychologist discovers that if you keep running tiny sample groups for years, dumb luck will eventually give you a result good enough to fool a couple dunderheaded peer reviewers. Film, including requisite bullshit invocations of quantum mechanics, at 11.

    (No, quantum mechanics doesn’t allow you to transmit information back in time. Shoddy explanations of it can make it seem otherwise, but when you chase the ideas through and think clearly, it all works out. In fact, physicists do consider models in which time travel is added to quantum physics as an extra feature, to see how that would change things. It’s a what-if game: if you have two hypotheses, call them A and B, which look different but always predict the same outcomes for experiments, then you can’t say on experimental grounds whether A or B is a “better” hypothesis. So, you can try a bit of sideways thinking: “Would A and B predict different outcomes if travel back in time were possible?” The counterfactual exploration might illuminate the mathematical differences between A and B, and eventually, it might even give you an idea for how A and B differ in the real world.)

  6. @TheCzech: Not necessarily. You could have an agreement with yourself for an open relationship.
    What’s confusing to me is if you are polyamorous, does that mean you can marry yourself multiple times?

  7. Look, I think it’s an improvement that they let in W and P if they’re gonna let in C, M, and K. I’m all for equality and tolerance. People should be allowed to believe in whatever they want as long as it doesn’t interfere with what they’re there to do. Learn how to take orders to kill people efficiently.

    (This comes from a disabled USAF vet.)

    This is a case of weighing the importance of equality with our skepticism of religions in general.

  8. Any conversation in which grown-ass adults discuss evidence-free magic as if it is a real thing is pretty painful… It’s like listening to people disect and discuss at length the rules to a made-up childrens game:

    “look, if we can accept that Matthew cannot be harmed by bullets because he is made of metal, can we then use him as a craft to traverse the floor, which is made of lava?”

    “Impossible, metal Matthew is clearly too heavy to float and besides, everyone knows floor lava melts metal!’

    “Too true… now Dave insists that he can fly, but he just doesn’t want to right now. Can we start a comittee to convince Dave to fly us across the floor lava?”

    “Possibly, but I’d like to hold out on the freeze ray James has been working on thinking up. He’s got the “pew pew pew” sounds down, but I think there’s some problems with proper floor lava solidification.”

  9. I would think any progress made at inclusion in the armed forces is a good thing (although it sounds a lot like lip service).

    Not all pagans are nutters. Although I supposed I could be viewed as biased, as I identify as pagan myself, though I do not view it as a religious belief per se. And I have met plenty of crazies including a number of people who shunned ‘allopathic’ (i.e. real) medicine, vaccines etc. But that doesn’t mean everyone is like that – and there are many pagans who are atheist (in the sense of not believing in a deity).

    Magic and Wiccan ritual aren’t any crazier than Judeo-Christian prayer etc. But those religions tend to get at least a minimal amount of respect and tolerance in most atheist discussions I’ve come across.

    Having said all that, anyone trying to cast a ‘spell’ to heal ‘pizza poisoning’ needs taking aside for a quiet word…!

  10. I would HOPE that the US Airforce was using more powerful spells than Magic Missile. Because I hear the Taliban have almost leveled up to the point where they can use Meteor Storm.

    PS. What kind of sick bastard would poison a pizza?

  11. @mikerattlesnake: I love this so much more than the article. I think this needs to be made into a youtube video right now.

    I had the same thought this morning in the car. The radio landed on Christian talk radio, and I could not turn it off. I was transfixed by the bizarreness of it. Some old man was relating how we know some biblical prophet was having a “vision” and not a dream and explaining what the vision of a man on a red horse meant for us, and he was an angel, and the preincarnate christ, etc, and all I could think was, “Is this an episode of Axe Cop???”

  12. @mikespeir:

    I suppose if the doctor came up with an entirely new, never before discovered way to treat cancer immediately after the prayer, then maybe that could be viewed as one positive outcome.

  13. The “marry yourself” thing isn’t really all that new, although this is the first time I’ve heard of it outside western countries. I have friends who have made similar commitments, and I’m happy for them. The idea that one can be their own best partner is a good thing for many people.

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