In 2008, the Amaz!ng Meeting 6 took on the theme “I, Skeptic”, exploring the role skeptics play in the modern, digital age. We are happy to present our keynote speaker from that meeting, astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who delivers a fiery defense of critical thinking and a skeptical worldview.
You can check out JREF's other videos from The Amaz!ng Meetings, which have been viewed nearly 1.5 million times since we started making them available online for free, at YouTube.com/JamesRandiFoundation.
The following hastily scrawled letter was found one morning slipped under the door at the JREF Blog Department of Education addressed to “Any Skeptical Professor.” If you are an educator and would like to contribute to the Swift Blog’s series about skepticism and education, please contact Bob Blaskiewicz.
Dear Skeptical Professor,
I am a college student, and recently my biology instructor has said some strange things. The other day, he was talking about "all the toxins in our food and our environment.” He also said, "With all the pesticides in our food, it's no wonder cancer is now the number one killer in America, even more than heart disease." He also talked about the professor who was reported to be looking for young woman to surrogate a Neanderthal baby. He apparently didn't know the professor had been misquoted.
I'm at a loss. I don't want to embarrass him in front of the class, but I also hate that he's passing on misinformation. I also have to consider that if I make trouble, there goes my GPA!
Here is a rundown of the top stories in pseudoscience, psychics, anomalies and oddness from the past week courtesy of Doubtful News.
The media does a fine job of promoting an idea that has zero evidence of existence. This week, it was spontaneous human combustion. Did a man catch on fire from an internal source? If officials can't find the obvious source of ignition right away, that option is "not ruled out". Hmm.
Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s cancer “success” stories (DavidGorski) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/stanislaw-burzynskis-cancer-success-stories/ The upcoming movie about Burzynski and his cancer treatments relies on success stories, attacks on Burzynski’s critics, attempts to justify billing patients for research, and a mention of a supposed clinical trial out of Japan that has not yet been published. Burzynski’s approach abuses the clinical trial process, and the patient testimonials are not what they seem.
Sex, Gender, and Sexuality: It’s Complicated (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/sex-gender-and-sexuality-its-complicated/ Sex refers to biological traits, gender to social roles. The distinction is blurred because we can’t always tell which characteristics are biologically determined, and there is no either/or test for male and female. Even the XX versus XY distinction is complicated by anomalies like XXY, XYY, XO, and mosaics. Sex, gender, and sexuality constitute a multidimensional spectrum with various axes, biological, social, and psychological.