I’ve been meaning to start a local get-together for South Bay skeptics for some time now. Since nobody seems to be in a hurry to beat me to it, here goes.
Let’s start with O’Flaherty’s in San Jose, it being about as close a thing to a pub as we have in the South Bay. If the meet is successful enough to render O’Flaherty’s too cozy, we can move ourselves accordingly.
Just in case this “informal forum” doesn’t lift itself up by its own bootstraps, I’m offering up the following framework:
1. Personal Introductions
- Personal Background (and how it inspired the skeptic in you)
- Favorite Self-Label: skeptic? atheist? freethinker? contrarian? drunk?
- Favorite Topics: religion, pseudoscience, alternative medicine, climate change, etc.
2. In the News
Astrology in Crisis, by Steven Novella (Jan 18)
Sign of the Times: Astrology story soars like a comet, StarTribune.com (Jan 14)
Murder, Mass Die Offs, and the Meaning of Randomness, Michael Shermer (Jan 12)
Gun violence and bird die-offs in America
Pakistan rally backs blasphemy law — Al-Jazeera (Jan 9)
Deadly warning to Pakistan liberals — Al-Jazeera (Jan 7)
3. Hot Topics
Topics recently covered by noted skeptics
Testability: Skeptics Guide 5×5 #100 (Jan 13)
- Falsifiability: necessary but not sufficient
- Can it be used to make predictions?
- Some claims are non-falsifiabile by design (e.g. the claim that the earth was created to look like it’s billions of years old)
- “The Big Bang theory … was once considered untestable”
- The distinction between scientific and unscientific can be fuzzy (e.g. string theory)
- Carl Sagan’s invisible floating dragon that breathes heatless fire.
- Untestable propositions aren’t necessarily wrong; merely outside the domain of science.
Repressed Memories: Skeptics Guide 5×5 #97 (Dec 20)
You just think we’ve never met. You’re just repressing me, that’s all.
Mystery Spots: Skeptoid #240 (Jan 11)
Patronized your local gravitational anomaly lately?
Gluten Free Diets: Skeptoid #239 (Jan 4)
Is bread making you sick?