Blog Archives

Cat Thursday: Skeptical Cats, Throwback 1


cat thursday 2

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

This week, I bring you lolcats who played significant roles in illustrating skeptical and logical fallacy posts elsewhere on this blog and others. The top three are my own wonderful beasts, unfortunately no longer with us but who I remember fondly for bringing me such joy on dark days. The last two were stock images taken from cheezburger.com and personally captioned. Here I celebrate the lives of three of my furbabies with a touch of the skeptical outlook, and hope for the future…

Mew, dammit!

evilspockkitteh1

Old Sammy

a837ea53-2951-4cb4-a734-34338ac56d6c

Gumbyman

skeptical_cat_2

Mistykins

5e9e5866-f6b0-48f3-b0e0-f1a0c2c20437

27d7358f-4539-47d9-8f4a-bef31e67c5ad

The Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup: 2014/06/01


English: Photograph of the head of Johnny Depp

English: Photograph of the head of Johnny Depp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday! I’ve got a pair of guests over for the week, one of whom is already here…Willow the Pillow, the Queen of the Fluffies was brought over in her cat-carrier earlier this evening, with fellow blogger and friend @Ravenpenny to follow soon when all is ready.

Last week, I got to see Godzilla, and despite the alleged protests as to Gojira’s physique by Japanese fans, I thought he looked more plausible, even given the scale problems of something that big.

I’ve got a post to finish by Monday morning, after Cosmos is finished, on The Impudent Algorithm, an ongoing review of a book I’m reading and studying from. I’ll reblog it here when it’s posted.

I’ll be occupied with things to do, and that’s always a good thing. I’m planning on posting on my sites semi-regularly, but distributing the load among them, the blog used depending on the nature of the entry.

Should be cool, but I’ll keep that reasonable, and balanced with my studies. I’ve working with complex number maths that by rights I should’ve learned years ago and only getting into now — for fun — and to better understand fractal geometry.

May you never step on the tail of a vengeful cat…

Talotaa frang.

The Weekly Blogs Roundup

Roundup of Other’s Blogs

The Odd, the Strange & the Sciencey

Spooked Trailer: a paranormal comedy

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Three Faces of Skepticism


hedron1 copyRather than go into a single definition of what modern skepticism is, already done in great detail here by Sharon Hill, I’d like to discuss those aspects, those faces, that make it up.

What are those faces of skepticism? There are three of them, and they are…

One: skepticism is a set of values, both intellectual and ethical: Skepticism favors intellectual honesty, sincerity, integrity, and a high value on the truth of whatever matter we look into. We have little patience with those who deceive, save those ‘honest liars,’ professional conjurors who are forthright about their trade. To skeptics, those who defraud, harm, or control others are fair game for skeptical scrutiny and critiquing. In my view, innocent believers are deserving of compassion. It’s the willing deceivers who exploit them who bear the brunt of our attention and our ire. Skepticism accepts and respects the limits of human perception, understanding and reasoning. It tells us that “I don’t know,” is a better answer to a question than an answer that isn’t even worthy of being wrong. If a skeptic is in error or is knowingly dishonest, he will be corrected or exposed by others who are not. Whatever your personal inclinations, if you are not honest in your work, other skeptics will be, and you will be found out.

Two: Skepticism is a set of methods, a way of evaluating arguments and evidence to determine the likely truth-status of claims. These are the methods of science, empiricism, and rational inquiry. Skepticism lets us know when someone’s trying to put us on, or putting others on, and that’s the first step to exposing them. Skepticism lets us distinguish sound claims from unsound and good argument from bad. It lets us know, when we are careful, when our prejudices are being pandered to, giving us the first line of defense against fraud and chicanery. These methods assume scientific literacy, scientific thinking, and an understanding of how we deceive ourselves and others through biases and motivated reasoning.

Three: The values and methods of skepticism assume a particular approach to reality. It assumes that there is such a thing as truth. It assumes the world is comprehensible and that it is possible to tell truth from falsehood. Moreover, it assumes that the world is real, regardless of the nature of that reality, it exists, and must for anything at all to be meaningfully true, false, or even possible. It assumes that the methods of science, empiricism, and rational inquiry are valid, useful, and powerful ways of knowing reality. It assumes in its methods that solid, reliable and effective ways of knowing are preferable to those that not only lead to error, but are neither self-correcting nor concerned with the actual truth of a matter. While it doesn’t necessarily assume philosophical naturalism, it does assume naturalistic methods, and so eschews resorting to unobservable or unfalsifiable ‘explanations’ for phenomena. But it has no trouble investigating anything that is knowably real and open to objective inquiry.

These are the three faces, the three aspects, of skepticism, and together they form the core of my understanding of the modern skeptical enterprise as a whole.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup: 2014/02/16


Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original c...

Part of Image:Planetary society.jpg Original caption: “Founding of the Planetary Society Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman, the founders of The Planetary Society at the time of signing the papers formally incorporating the organization. The fourth person is Harry Ashmore, an advisor, who greatly helped in the founding of the Society. Ashmore was a Pulitizer Prize winning journalist and leader in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday! This last week, two big things happened:

First, I finally got to game again, and was able to give my old 2007 iMac to Christopher, over at Ravens ‘N Pennies, who decided it would make a good media center with it’s large monitor screen, and fair sound system. Second, it was the second week in a row that I’ve been able to blog thoughout the week on my new blogging protocol and still get things done.

Coolness.

There were pictures and videos taken during a walk on the beach this Friday, and some of those will make it to this weeks installment of Wordless Wotan’s Day. Ye Greate Olde Ones, I love my iPad… but enough of that for now. There will be more walking outside when the weather gets a little less chilly… *tentacles metaphorically crossed*

I found out that one of my friends, Carl, from over at Virginian Opinions, had been diagnosed with an unpleasant visitor of the carcinomic sort, and has recently undergone surgery to have it expelled.

Here’s hoping he recovers fully soon, without any recurrence, but one never knows. He’s been lucky to get this caught so early.

I’m currently on a project for creating a set of deckplans for a starship owned by one of my old SF villains, using a modified Mandelbox as a sort of biological cube. This coming Thursday I’ll post the results of the project, with the sliced images I’ll be using to draw the deckplans by hand. Should be a good opportunity to practice and try out my sketch tablet and software on the laptop.

I’ll also be doing more memes, and have posted two in the last week, both included with this post’s blog links. Whatever hemisphere you’re on, stay warm or cool as the case may be, and I’ll be back with Monday’s post, barring any weirdness.

My Weekly Blogs Roundup

*There are no such characters, but it would be frightfully silly and cute if there were.

Roundup of The Other Blogs

The Odd, the Strange & the Sciencey

This Week’s Blog Stats

  • 140,241 pageviews on this site,
  • 2,052 comments posted,
  • 2,282 posts published, including this one,
  • 229 WordPress and email subscribers,
  • 527 Tumblr fellows,
  • 2,134 Twitter fellows

Video(s)

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Lapse in Due Skepticism


Yesterday, on FB, I shared an item in my timeline, without reading it in detail, and without further thought

www.snopes.com

http://www.snopes.com (Photo credit: biggraham)

– without being skeptical.

Yes, my skepto-meter was broken yesterday.

It was a chain email about Holocaust denialism, and an alleged Holocaust Teaching Ban in Britain.

A.

Fricking.

Chain email.

This item going around is a hoax, and I fell for it. I’ll admit being fooled before.

A.

Hoax.

One of my dear friends, and a damn good skeptic posted the Snopes link above in the comments to the item, alerting me to my lapse.

I then took down the post. I don’t claim to be particularly rational, but this was a good reason we skeptics need to look out for each other as well as be constantly vigilant for ourselves, especially about things that ‘push our buttons.’

We can’t just assume that whatever is posted has been fact-checked beforehand, and we have to be careful of things that play to our individual quirks, weaknesses, our biases and prejudices.

Lesson learned. Now to get on with life. *sigh*

Enhanced by Zemanta
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,080 other followers

%d bloggers like this: