Take action — and tell us about it!

Ways and means of promoting skepticism
Daniel Loxton
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Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Daniel Loxton » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:51 pm

Skepticality #98 and both the full PDF discussion and the Quick Reference Guide version of "What Do I Do Next?" encourage you personally to take some sort of action for skepticism — and tell us about it!

Try something inspired by the 105 suggestions within "What Do I Do Next?" or bring your own particular genius into play. Your action can be something as simple and time-tested as a letter to the editor — or as innovative as you are.

Then tell us what you did! Comment below, or write to juniorskeptic@skeptic.com and swoopy@skepticality.com — or even post a video to YouTube explaining what action you took!

Remember, this next step is up to you. You can be the example for others! When people see other people take action, they are inspired themselves.

Your action, no matter how large or small, could be the snowball that builds into an avalanche!

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby vanderpoel » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:27 am

"When you put a toucan on a monkey’s ass, don’t be fooled by the brightly colored plumage, beware of the enormous bill!"

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby teacherninja » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:49 am

I was interested in reading this list because I sometimes feel I'm a "bad" skeptic--not involved enough. I only joined my local skeptic group (Atlanta Skeptic's in the Pub!) once over the summer but then classes got in the way. I went to the Skeptrack at Dragon*Con, but wished I could have had the time to volunteer. But working full time, having a family and being in grad school might have something to do with all that. Yet as I ran down the list, I was happy to see that I had positively contributed to many suggested items (#2, 3, 10, 15, 22, 28, 55, 56, 62, 86, 88, 89, 90, 92, 95, 97, 99, 103) although the 100s are hard to quantify.

Time prevents me from spending much time on forums, but I'll try to check them more often and I do follow and comment on may science/skeptical blogs.

I'm a teacher and in grad school to become a school librarian where I hope to have a much stronger impact on my student's critical thinking.

Thanks again for this resource!
"What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable."
-Roger Ebert

Daniel Loxton
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Daniel Loxton » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:45 pm

teacherninja, thanks for the kind words!

A critically-minded teacher is automatically a valuable contributor to the skeptical enterprise, but yes, I think there is something for almost everyone on that list.

One nice thing about the explosion of social tools and new media — and those tools are really the matrix for the skeptical movement as it exists today — is that they allow us to tackle diffuse problems with similarly distributed responses. "Every little bit counts" and "many hands make light work" were always true, but the wisdom of those strategies is a lot easier to see when we can share our many small successes online…

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Internet gambling / Skeptic VS Psychics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:47 am

I have a strange suggestion.

The JREF million dollar challenge ends in 2010.
The JREF and related skeptic forums receive many emails from claimants that "UFOs will land on that day", "Jesus will return on this day" and so on.

In Australia and the UK there are internet betting firms that allow one person to bet against another person on any topic including UFOs landing etc. ( I believe internet betting is illegal in the USA).

I wonder if it is ethical to approach one of these firms and request a for "Skeptics VS Psychics" where any individual may challenge another to place a bet.

Frankly, I doubt any psychic would make such a bet but it would allow for a nice PR release "We gave them a chance to put their money where their mouth is".

Do you think it is worth me doing any research on this or is it a bit unethical?

reedes
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby reedes » Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:49 am

Daniel Loxton wrote:Then tell us what you did!


I volunteered to be the 'speaker wrangler' for the upcoming Skepticamp event in Colorado (our third!)

Things are going very well! We had planned for a day of talks spread over two rooms. Now with six weeks to go prior to our event, we've already filled the schedule! We're having to ask our hosts for more space.

Talks cover a wide variety of topics and are drawn from skeptics of all walks of life along Colorado's Front Range.

So regarding #29, I think we've nailed it. :mrgreen:

(See http://skepticamp.org/events/1-skepticamp-colorado-2009 for the list of registrations.)

Theo Clark
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Theo Clark » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:14 am

I have a free ebook on fallacies in thinking Humbug! The skeptic's field guide to spotting fallacies in thinking. Associated with it is a podcast, and plenty of real life examples of fallacies on the website. All are here: http://www.skepticsfieldguide.net.

The podcast is called Hunting Humbug 101 and is on itunes. The background to all this is that I have been partially influenced by Tim Farely's The Long Tail of Skeptical Websites (http://skeptools.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/long-tail-of-skeptical-web/) (a spin off of the first essay - Where Do We Go From Here),which he raises again in this new project. That is, specialisation. As Tim says:
We need more sites that drill down to specific topics and cover them in excruciating detail. You can then become the “go to” site for that topic.


I don't think the detail I go into is "excruciating" though... In 2005 I'd already co-authored (with my father Jef) a humourous paperback book on fallacies: Humbug! The skeptic's field guide to spotting fallacies in thinking. This naturally led to a blog looking at specific examples of fallacies. Last year, when I read Tim's post, I thought about what I could do. I decided to release the book as a free ebook. The other area that seemed would be good to go was into podcasting. So now I have an associated podcast that looks at specific fallacies.

The SGU 5x5 does this, but it's only for 5 minutes. So does skeptoid, but its format is different. My podcast is about 40 mins and looks at one fallacy each episode in great detail. I use various audio clips that have clear examples of fallacies that I discuss with my father (and co-author) Jef. This mode of communication, especially the discussion format, allows for greater depth and nuanced analysis.

Skeptics always mention the importance of teaching critical thinking. I hope that my contribution, specifically explaining fallacies in thinking and providing free classroom usable resources, can aid this.

Anyway, the 105 points in What Do I Do Next? - actually giving people a specific things they could do - is great idea. This discussion format really works well. On my preliminary perusal it looks to be a great document. Well done.

Daniel Loxton
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Daniel Loxton » Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:27 pm

Theo Clark wrote:I have a free ebook on fallacies in thinking Humbug! The skeptic's field guide to spotting fallacies in thinking. Associated with it is a podcast…called Hunting Humbug 101


Wow, ambitious! Great to hear about such a valuable project.


Theo Clark wrote:The background to all this is that I have been partially influenced by Tim Farely's The Long Tail of Skeptical Websites…a spin off of the first essay - Where Do We Go From Here…


That's a powerful unstated premise in "What Do I Do Next?": when you choose to do something, that serves an example for others. It's the best kind of domino effect.


Theo Clark wrote:Anyway, the 105 points in What Do I Do Next? - actually giving people a specific things they could do - is great idea. This discussion format really works well. On my preliminary perusal it looks to be a great document. Well done.


Thanks, Theo, for the kind words.

WD3X2
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby WD3X2 » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:49 am

Hi
New here
Jumping in!

My actions?
believe it or not on a model airplane forum that has a section "Life the Universe and politics".
Some good discussions.
Sign up and you can post in the LTUP section but not start new threads until your post count in other areas reaches 50.
The skeptics there need help!
Lots of other interesting subject as well

To save search time here are some direct links to a few threads.
T.V.Sets for polar bears?
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=854642

Brink of Ice age
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=982154

Solar iridation from 1500>
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=830814

Global warming (yes another one)
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1024501

Rapid Global Temp changes!
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=829249

And many more!

WD

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Josh111485 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:59 pm

I have definitely been doing item 2 in What Do I Do Next?

I have purchased a one year subscription to Skeptic magazine and I have bought several back issues from the Skeptic Society website. My one year subscription will be up this summer and I plan on subscribing for three more years. I have also purchased a "Baloney Detection Kit" and the "How to Debate a Creationist" booklet from skeptic.com. Very useful and practical.

I have also purchased a one year subscription to Skeptical Inquirer as well as a few back issues from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI, formerly CSICOP).

I have also bought TAM 5.5 and TAM 6 DVD sets from the JREF online store. I highly recommend the TAM 5.5 DVD set because it's theme is "Skepticism & Activism: Go out there and do something!".

I have done number 3. I have written to Dr. Michael Shermer, Brian Dunning, and D.J. Groethe with support and encouragement.

I have done 9 & 10. I have been reading and studying the skeptical literature, but I still need to go more in depth with the paranormal literature. I did read and watch The Secret. Does that count?

I have definitely been doing #28! I am an assistant organizer for the meetup group "The Cleveland Skeptics". http://www.meetup.com/ is great for a local group. I just organized my first meetup not too long ago. It's going to be at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It's going to be a lecture by Dr. Bob Park author of the new book Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science. Excellent book! The organizer of this group started a website at http://www.clevelandskeptics.org/

I have contributed to this website with what I think is important "Critical Thinking 101" which can be found at: http://www.clevelandskeptics.org/2008/1 ... agons.html

I think the basics of critical thinking are important and I'm continually studying them and trying to improve my "Critical Thinking 101" post.

I have also done 29. I have registered for the very first Skepticamp Ohio. This will be taking place on May 2nd in Columbus, OH. Here is the website to register: http://ohioskeptic.com/skepticamp/

I will be giving a talk at Skepticamp Ohio about how I became a skeptic and why I think skepticism and the skeptical movement are important. I am really excited about it! I wont be able to go to TAM 7 this year, but Skepticamp Ohio is close by and it's free.

I have also done numbers 87, 89, 90, 93, 94, 97. I put an "I Doubt It!" sticker on my Dell Laptop from Skeptical Inquirer. I joined and contributed to the Skeptics Forum and the JREF forum. I have promoted several skeptical websites and podcasts on my Facebook page as well as join skeptical groups.

I have more to do and "What Do I Do Next" is a great resource!

Thanks,
Josh

Daniel Loxton
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Daniel Loxton » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:04 pm

Josh, you're certainly keeping busy! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about it.

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby kairologic » Fri May 15, 2009 4:27 pm

I've been shouting out to various people in the Four Corners region of the US... in ways that I hope will give them more of a logical, or skeptical, perspective. One of the major subjects I touch on is consciousness:

http://divideby7.blogspot.com/

It drives me crazy when people consider the chemical interactions of biology to be self-aware... or when they consider a tree to be a spiritual life form... when it was we who invented spirit to accommodate our new suffix - our evolution - to, and upon, biological life. It's called "culture," by the by. The universe may be comprised of energetic and pulsing geometric formality, but it is all pattern until it gets complex enough within a singular entity to be used for memory and the distinction between objects and events... 'displacement' and 'open system' communications are relatively new in the scope of life itself. So, too, is self-awareness. We can model that by observing biological life everywhere; and, we have been doing so for some time.

Consciousness is in the brain of the beholder. Though, if said beholder has no brain... and there is therefore no objectivity - only subjectivity - then he/she/it is either a simple inorganic or a simple organic process.

The comatose tell no tales.

(just added --- http://www.nomorefluoridedurango.blogspot.com)


In Harmony,
Brendan Bombaci
http://www.kairologic.com
Last edited by kairologic on Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lux et Veritas,
Brendan Bombaci

~~~~~~~~~
"Geometry existed before the Creation. It is co-eternal with the mind of God... Geometry provided God with a model for the Creation... Geometry is God Himself." - Johannes Kepler [in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos"]

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Guest » Tue May 26, 2009 3:16 pm

Interviewees needed!

I'm producing a podcast intended to promote critical thinking and the scientific method and need interviewees who are active in the skeptical movement. If anyone is interested in appearing personally of knows anyone who would be interested let me know! I'm looking for ordinary people who are also active in skepticism and also those who are involved full time-anyone involved is valuable.

sjjleo@hotmail.com

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Pyrrho
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Pyrrho » Wed May 27, 2009 11:23 am

Click on email links at your own risk.
For any forum questions or concerns please e-mail skepticforum@gmail.com or send a PM.

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

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OlegTheBatty
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed May 27, 2009 2:24 pm

Pyrrho wrote:Click on email links at your own risk.


Does that include the email link in your sig?
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Pyrrho
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Pyrrho » Wed May 27, 2009 10:42 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Pyrrho wrote:Click on email links at your own risk.


Does that include the email link in your sig?

Most definitely.
For any forum questions or concerns please e-mail skepticforum@gmail.com or send a PM.

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

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kairologic
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby kairologic » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:35 am

Pyrrho wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote:
Pyrrho wrote:Click on email links at your own risk.


Does that include the email link in your sig?

Most definitely.


:lol: :lol: :lol:
Lux et Veritas,
Brendan Bombaci

~~~~~~~~~
"Geometry existed before the Creation. It is co-eternal with the mind of God... Geometry provided God with a model for the Creation... Geometry is God Himself." - Johannes Kepler [in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos"]

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby kairologic » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:36 am

Guest wrote:Interviewees needed!

I'm producing a podcast intended to promote critical thinking and the scientific method and need interviewees who are active in the skeptical movement. If anyone is interested in appearing personally of knows anyone who would be interested let me know! I'm looking for ordinary people who are also active in skepticism and also those who are involved full time-anyone involved is valuable.

sjjleo@hotmail.com


Well, why don't you set up a user name and such on here? I'd be interested, for sure, but give us some details!
Lux et Veritas,
Brendan Bombaci

~~~~~~~~~
"Geometry existed before the Creation. It is co-eternal with the mind of God... Geometry provided God with a model for the Creation... Geometry is God Himself." - Johannes Kepler [in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos"]

Josh111485
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Josh111485 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:53 pm

I just wanted to highlight my effort as far as learning the basics of critical thinking. I think learning the basics of critical thinking/skepticism is important.

That's why I created this:
http://www.clevelandskeptics.org/2008/1 ... agons.html


I have posted this to a lot of forums and I wanted to get anyone's feedback on how to make it better and get it out there more.

Thanks!
Josh

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:12 pm

I intend to make sure people are sufficiently skeptical of skeptical analysis.

Guest

Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:00 pm

Greetings all at Skeptic;
This is my first time dropping in.
My first real expereince being a skeptic was in the 8th Grade when the teacher introduced The Big Bang Theory. It just did not sit well with me and I had questions. Being raised Catholic one was not supposed to ask too many questions, but this time was just overwhelming. When I asked the teacher about it he replied that he did not know, which was a real sign of intelligent life I thought, and awesome because it meant that one of the biggest questions in the universe was left unanswered.
Over the years I've studied, read, dreamed, and envisioned stuff about what the universe might possibly be and the final best answer is the same one the teacher gave me in 1964, "I don't know".
A few years ago I bought a website as a little birthday gift to myself and I post some of my writing and art there where people around the world look in on it.
cosmologyawakening.com
Thanks for reading and if you drop by my site please leave a note with a thumbs up or down or just "hi".
Matthew Watts, MA, Transformative Art

Jayson_D_Cooke
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Jayson_D_Cooke » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:01 am

The GUSSF 2010 Project

It has long been a goal of the Griffith University Society for Skeptics and Freethinkers founding members to engage in charity events and become more active in the community. Now this is officially taking place with the launch of the GUSSF 2010 project.

Beginning this year with the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal charity door knock event, members of our group will be invited to participate in the appeal under our banner. This will allow us to give back to the community and do something for those less fortunate, as well as promoting the ethics of what we as a group stand for. We will also be holding occasional fundraisers for our group in order to further our community outreach. During all our activities we will have Skeptic tee-shirts as conversation starters! These tee-shirts (and our first ever pair of shoes) are available at http://www.zazzle.com.au/jaysondcooke


We will also have raffles and donation tins at events, but will not badger people for donations! Once our internal fundraising target is to have enough funds to cover the cost of stalls and signage for displays at the Health, Harmony and Soul Expo Brisbane, QLD Nursing and Health Expo, The Gold Coast Show and the Mudgeeraba show (we will perform demonstrations and provide information to the public at these events).

All further funds raised will be divided into five equal portions, one of which is to go to a designated charity for that semester (Save the Children this semester), and the remaining four donations going to
1. The Australian Skeptics
2. The Centre for Inquiry
3. The Skeptic Society(Amherst)
4. The James Randi Education Foundation

We aim to provide resources with each talk or article detailing what the reader can do about it, i.e. which government official of newspaper editor can they approach about an issue( I just received a lovely reply email from ABC’s Media watch thanking me for referring them to Gary Abblett Snrs recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald) .

Active skepticism is vital, but not at all something to be rushed into. It’s with this in mind that we plan to run seminars on “Interpersonal Skepticism”, or “How to be an active skeptic and not come off as a know it all or a wanker”as well as my newly completed seminar “Can education solve the “problem” of widespread paranormal belief?” which had conclusions that surprised me!

As well as this we strive to have representatives at every creationist talk, every psychic fair and at every health and/or wellbeing expo to ask the right questions at the right times and do what we can. We will also inform all members of any lectures or events that might be of interest on educational terms outside the confines of skepticism but are fascinating examples of human endeveour. In this regard we will be promoting the events of the Briscience Talks as well as every QSkeptics talk. On that note we intend to form much greater ties to the QSkeptics and the Gold Coast Skeptics from now on. For our own events I have invited the staff of every school and department from both Griffith University (all campuses) and the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Bond University and Southern Cross University for potential speakers and/or recommendations of speakers, and am already having a really positive response with at least 7 speakers on board. I am promoting our talks as “a great opportunity for students and academics alike to share their experiences as well as their research in an informal and appreciative setting.”
Throughout the year all events will be posted on our facebook, meetup and blog pages and anyone who would like to help out can let us know and I’ll organise it from there.
We are currently promoting 19 different events on our facebook page and I’m hoping to work with the Gold Coast Skeptics on organising both a “Skeptics in the Pub” here on the Gold Coast, as well as in Brisbane and have terrific venues already on board . Having checked Meetup.com and seeing 65 people waiting for a skeptic group on the Gold Coast I have opened:
http://www.meetup.com/SkepticsandFreethinkers/
This will basically mirror our facebook site and hopefully engage the public outside of the university circles. As I’ve written elsewhere, as of Semester 2 2010 we will be spread across three of Griffith’s main campuses, Mt Gravatt and Nathan campuses in Brisbane as well as remaining at our original home on Queensland’s Gold Coast. To the best of my knowledge we will be the only Griffith group to do this, which will catch some valuable attention in media and academic circles.


This is a project I would really like to see replicated through other groups as it will surely be a valuable enterprise for all. Engaging the community and working together in our regional groups can’t be a bad thing for the Skeptic Movement. It’s time to get out amongst the public and show them who we are and why we do what we do, after all that’s the most important thing to remember and to be reminded of.

Thanks everyone,

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby tkrawforQ3Kn4 » Sun May 23, 2010 5:04 am

When I finally get my student teacher position, I am going have the class take an issue they feel strongly about and argue first from the affirmative, and then the negative position.

I think skepticism is pretty much about balance. I think this would be a valuable lesson for any kid 7 though 12th grade which is where I've set my sights for the time being.
Tom
Ann Arbor
( '_*

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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby apenotmonkey » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:26 pm

I'm so passionate about Skepticism that I've created a comic strip devoted to it.

It's called Ape, Not Monkey (http://www.apenotmonkey.com).

THe comic is about an Atheist/Skeptic Ape, a Christian Bear, and a superstitious dog, and others. They all live in a Zoo and try their best to get along.

Here's some links to some strips, if you're interested:

http://www.apenotmonkey.com/2010/03/29/purpose-of-life/
http://www.apenotmonkey.com/2009/05/25/ ... ul-design/
http://www.apenotmonkey.com/2009/10/12/ ... -religion/

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Pyrrho
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby Pyrrho » Sun Jun 20, 2010 10:30 pm

One such post is enough, thanks.
For any forum questions or concerns please e-mail skepticforum@gmail.com or send a PM.

The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

AnuYagi
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby AnuYagi » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:58 pm

PSYCHIC MEDIUM JOHN EDWARD'S SUPPORTERS EAGER TO ARGUE

I'm an alt. weekly columnist on Maui, and I'm eager to use my platform for skeptical activism.

Recently, I ruffled a few feathers by writing a short piece titled "Charlatan's Web" about psychic medium John Edward (http://mauifeed.com/kulakid/charlatans-web/).

Though it's usually my (and my pub's) policy not to reply to online comments, I've felt it necessary to engage with his supporters -- and have done so kindly, I'd like to think. But just this morning they've made it very personal (i.e. apparently its unacceptable that -- a year ago -- I posted a few photos to my personal Facebook page about my experience with leukemia).

It's been hard for me to bite my tongue and not give them the satisfaction of another response. And frankly, I'm exhausted anyway. Is it fair to humbly ask for backup?

Mahalo...

jillw
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Re: Take action — and tell us about it!

Postby jillw » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:11 pm

Hi,
This is my first time posting anything on a forum but I am really fed up with feeling like the only person who thinks and feels the way I do (apart form my husband wh is also a huge skeptic) I am a psychologist working in research and obviously think critically and very skeptically and this is the accepted way at work. However outside of work I think my family and friends think I'm a pain in the ar*e as I don't believe in anything remotely supernatural from homeopathy to hypnosis and of course religion. Unfortunately some of my family believe in a lot of this stuff and I always seem to put a dampner on it, I feel like I'm always spoiling their fun! I can see them thinking here she goes again.
Anyway what has really got to me lately is a good friend of mine who was very rational has gone a bit off the rails in sofar as not getting her baby immunised against MMR as it can cause autism!! and Barack Obama is the anti-christ and she can sense there is going to be a further world disaster after Japan etc. I have had many conversations with her to try to get her to think rationally but I get met with a bored look and more conspiracy theories. I am just wondering how I can continue to be friends with such a irrational person.
My only way to counter this is to teach my children who are still very young that to be rational is the only way forward in life. To be incredibly critical even if others don't like it and to not let anyone tell them otherwise unless the evidence is overwhelming but to be able to carry this out in a measured diplomatic way. My action is very understated but in my own little sphere to teach my children to think this way I think is very valuable and will stand them in good stead throughout life


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