21 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 Children Are Naturally Skeptical of Santa Claus

First, researchers asked children between the ages of 3 and 9 about the possibility of various extraordinary events, some possible and some impossible. None of the events were related to Santa or to Christmas. (Shtulman used his own 4-year-old son as a “data point” in the study.) Next, the researchers asked children to help write a letter to Santa. Although children were free to include whatever they wanted, they were specifically encouraged to ask Santa some questions. “What we found...
Folksonomies: skepticism parenting
Folksonomies: skepticism parenting
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16 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 Why Do Supernatural Acts Require Mood-Setting Rituals?

If any spiritualistic medium can do stunts, there is no more need for special conditions than there is for a chemist to turn down lights, start operations with a hymn, and ask whether there's any chemical present that has affinity with something named Hydrogen.
Folksonomies: skepticism supernatural
Folksonomies: skepticism supernatural
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Chemists don't need to turn down the lights. Physicists don't need to chant.

05 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Skepticism Means Wrestling with Issues Without Knowing if...

I use the word skeptical in an etymological or philosophical sense, because to be skeptical does not mean that one doubts, but that one investigates or searches without the need to find definite conclusion or affirmation. There are those who examine a problem and feel they must find an explanation or a solution, whether it is accurate or not. [...] So then, they will say to me: “What is your religion?” And I will respond: my religion is to look for truth in life and life in truth,...
Folksonomies: skepticism spirituality
Folksonomies: skepticism spirituality
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Miguel de Unamuno rallies against what he calls the "spiritual laziness" of dogmatists and describes his quest for spiritual meaning.

20 SEP 2011 by ideonexus

 Research Conquers our Ignorance

Hard problems often yield before science, and though we still don’t understand how every complex biochemical system evolved, we are learning more every day. After all, biochemical evolution is a field in still its infancy. If the history of science teaches us anything, it is that what conquers our ignorance is research, not giving up and attributing our ignorance to the miraculous work of a creator. When you hear someone claim otherwise, just remember these words of Darwin: “Ignorance mor...
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Science yields answers in time, ignorance begets confidence in the present.

16 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 Lyrics to Storm

Inner North London, top floor flatAll white walls, white carpet, white cat,Rice Paper partitionsModern art and ambitionThe host’s a physician,Lovely bloke, has his own practiceHis girlfriend’s an actressAn old mate from homeAnd they’re always great fun.So to dinner we’ve come. The 5th guest is an unknown,The hosts have just thrownUs together for a favourbecause this girl’s just arrived from AustraliaAnd has moved to North LondonAnd she’s the sister of someoneOr has some connectio...
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A beat poem that is hilarious in its defense of skepticism against pseudoscience.

02 JUN 2011 by ideonexus

 Einstein on Being Raise Religious

When I was a fairly precocious young man I became thoroughly impressed with the futility of the hopes and strivings that chase most men restlessly through life. Moreover, I soon discovered the cruelty of that chase, which in those years was much more carefully covered up by hypocrisy and glittering words than is the case today. By the mere existence of his stomach everyone was condemned to participate in that chase. The stomach might well be satisfied by such participation, but not man insofa...
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We are programmed by our parent's religion, and are freed from the burden of a personal god through rationalism and exploring nature.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Scooby Doo is a Show About Skeptics

A series called 'The X Files', which pays lip-service to sceptical examination of the paranormal, is skewed heavily towards the reality of alien abductions, strange powers and government complicity in covering up just about everything interesting. Almost never does the paranormal claim turn out to be a hoax or a psychological aberration or a misunderstanding of the natural world. Much closer to reality, as well as a much greater public service, would be an adult series ('Scooby Doo' does it f...
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It is the exact opposite of the X-Files.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 Skepticism and Wonder.

Both scepticism and wonder are skills that need honing and practice. Their harmonious marriage within the mind of every schoolchild ought to be a principal goal of public education. I'd love to see such a domestic felicity portrayed in the media, television especially: a community of people really working the mix - full of wonder, generously open to every notion, dismissing nothing except for good reason, but at the same time, and as second nature, demanding stringent standards of evidence; a...
Folksonomies: skepticism wonder
Folksonomies: skepticism wonder
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We must cultivate both virtues.

18 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 We Must Apply the Scientific Method to Ourselves

If it is to be applied consistently, science imposes, in exchange for its manifold gifts, a certain onerous burden: we are enjoined, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, to consider ourselves and our cultural institutions scientifically and not to accept uncritically whatever we're told; to surmount as best we can our hopes, conceits and unexamined beliefs; to view ourselves as we really are. Can we conscientiously and courageously follow planetary motion or bacterial genetics wherever th...
Folksonomies: science skepticism culture
Folksonomies: science skepticism culture
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Skepticism must extend to ourselves, our culture, and our institutions.

17 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 The Baloney Detection Kit

In science we may start with experimental results, data, observations, measurements, 'facts'. We invent, if we can, a rich array of possible explanations and systematically confront each explanation with the facts. In the course of their training, scientists are equipped with a baloney detection kit. The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, ...
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Bullet points for the baloney detection kit according to Carl Sagan.