Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Simple Galileo Fallacy

I frequently hear those on the fringe say that while there is no evidence for their claims, they are in good company. Galileo was called a crank in his day, but he was right. By that logic homoeopathy, for example, must be right as well. Let me take a moment to pop that absurd little bubble.

Galileo's public support of heliocentrism was, indeed, harshly criticised by many, as is homeopathy now. But like the wild-eyed incredulous, anti-science alternative medicine movement, Galileo was also maligned mostly by the anti-science lunatic fringe. Scientists generally agreed with him because his arguments had logic, reason, and evidence. Those who rejected him and his ideas were those who rejected, or were afraid of, science. Just like the Alt-Med people. The homeopaths are not in good company. Do the cranks think before they speak? I don't think so either.

Meetup Group

We finally have a meetup group set up. check it out at We will keep that updated for future meetups and communications! Hopefully we will continue to post on here as well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Skeptical Book Group: His Dark Materials

The skeptics have voted, and the first book for the new book group component of skeptics in the pub will be “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman.  I’ve never read this series, and am thrilled to be checking them out; from what I have been told, you can expect a C.S. Lewis style novel with more of an atheist bent, and no Jesus Lion. 
                His Dark Materials is a trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, so while many of us are reading all three, there is no pressure to do so, read what you can and come join us for discussion.
                I have both the audio files for the audio book as well as the PDF of the Ebook if you prefer to read that way, in addition to the torrent trackers so you can download them yourselves if it is not convenient to get them directly from me.
                The book group plans on meeting in early March, but as of yet, we don’t have a set date for when we should meet.  We have three options on the table so far: the book group could meet before or after the normal skeptic meetup, we could make the book group a part of the skeptical meetup once every month (my only hesitation is that while most of the group seems to be interested in the book group, I would be hesitant to hoist it upon those who aren’t), or we could meet on a separate night entirely; as we approach March we will pin down the specifics.

                In addition to His Dark Materials, some of the other books that seemed to have the most support were:
Robin Baker’s “Sperm Wars,” which is sort of an “everything you never knew about human sexuality book”

“Preacher” by Garth Ennis which is a graphic novel about a cleric who decides to hunt down God and make him pay for abandoning humanity.

"Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams.  This is, in my opinion, one of Adams’ finest works, and he said so until his passing.  Last Chance to see is the collected stories of Adams traveling the globe seeing animals that may be extinct in the very near future.

Of course nothing has been decided yet, but it’s likely that we will be reading at least one of these in the upcoming months, so if you were looking for a preview of things to come there it is.  If you have any questions, or want to get involved just leave a comment and I can get you the info you need.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy New Year (its the lunar new year?)

Sorry I've been lax in posting our locations and meetings, for the latest info on our group, please send me an email and i will add you to our list. We are meeting this saturday (7pm) at Wild Boar on south college just across from the university. We are working on getting a group started on or a similar site, so keep checking back in for updates on that.
Hope to see everyone this week!

Ford: "It's rather unpleasantly like being drunk"
Arthur: "What's so unpleasant about being drunk ?"
Ford: "Try asking a glass of water"