Atheists Aren’t Guaranteed Skeptics… And Other Links

Atheists Aren’t Guaranteed Skeptics… And Other Links February 4, 2013

How many atheists do you know who aren’t skeptics? Some years back I attended a talk at the Perth Atheists, which was presented by a conspiracy theorist who thought that Einstein had “corrupted science”. The poor organiser was mortified that he’d let a conspiracy theorist present, but as I said then (and now), the talk was by an atheist, as the Meetup advertised… just not by a skeptic.

Since then, I’ve been a little wary of people who assume atheists = skeptics automatically.

Anyway, this is most likely the last post I’ll do on this matter, because if you have questions of Dr Steven Novella about skepticism and atheism, he’s open to answering them over on his blogpost (which I’ve noticed has been very civil rather than saying insulting things like narcissistic, arrogantnot-X-enough or ignorant – “I see the light! I shall change my ways!” isn’t going to be a response to approaches, in my opinion, and it’s a contradiction in regards to improving tone and outreach efforts, particularly by those who say they know better about persuasion and reasoning).

Bill Maher has been mentioned several times; fellow atheist Richard Branson also came to my mind due to Wikipedia’s mention of his projects with Deepak Chopra and his failed effort to “open a chain of health care clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homoeopathic and complementary therapies” [it ended up not happening]. I’m certain there’s more atheists who are distinctly not “skeptical enough” in a variety of ways (conspiracy theorists?) and perhaps you can add them to the discussion along with questions over at that site if you wish. I noticed that people of faith who are popular skeptical figures hasn’t been mentioned, but that was already covered a while back.

Other links?

The Birmingham Skeptics have produced a series of DVDs that I’ve been working my way through them (the Skeptical Look at Atheists talk comes to mind, funnily enough!) and I highly recommend checking them out and do consider purchasing.

Everyone’s already mentioned this, I’m sure – but hey: Ottawa Cancer Foundation Drops Jenny McCarthy From Bust A Move Fundraiser. By the way, McCarthy HAS recently written a book about leaving the Catholic faith, but she’s not an atheist. But, you never know… will we add her to the atheist- not-skeptic list soon?

The Trouble with Pseudoscience—It Can Be a Catastrophe by Sharon Hill over on Sounds Sciencey!

Pseudoscience is just what pseudoscientists do, say the scientists. That is not very helpful for someone who wants to make heads or tails out of a controversial area of research. This is the thread that winds through Michael Gordin’s book The Pseudoscience Wars. Gordin describes the origin of our modern characterization of pseudoscience as starting with “a book and a man”—Immanuel Velikovsky and his book Worlds in Collision.

Dr Petra Boynton gets a mention in the Daily Mail’s article on Disturbing rise of the G-spot jab: It’s the latest cosmetic treatment that promises to pep up your sex life. But, warn doctors, it could do exactly the opposite.

Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday? – Ben Radford on CFI’S A Skeptic Reads The Newspaper:

This case offers an interesting glimpse into the religious mind, and what happens when logic is applied to scripture. My purpose here is not to bash nor criticize Mormons; those who know my work know that I’m an equal-opportunity critic of all religions when their claims conflict with science or logic. In this case, I am the one who has been accused of misrepresenting Mormon scripture. I offer this as a case study, and am pleased to let readers make up their own minds.

AllTrials Kickstarter! Head over and help out! I’m kickstarting a campaign for Sense About Science because patients suffer when trials are withheld.”

And thanks to Sharon – Sympathy For Slender Man (a computer game that alternatively had me yawning and then going “&^#*&^#$&^!!”):

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