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January 2011

The February MISkeptics Get Together

Our next Get Together is Saturday Feb 12th at 4:00PM in Ginger.

We’re planning some big things for this month so you’re definitely going to want to come out!

As you probably know, the 12th is Darwin Day, so let’s have a bit of a celebration!

Preserve Auschwitz, Prevent Future Holocausts

Sixty-six years ago today, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated. While it might have provided some catharsis to bulldoze the site, scholars and survivors alike are glad that it has been left mostly alone. Now called the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, it looks much as it did during the war years, where more than one million Jews were cycled through and murdered.

A Skeptic Chat With…Michael Rosch of ‘Skepacabra’

This is a blog series where I interview writers, bloggers, podcasters, etc. about topics relevant to science, skepticism, and critical thinking. Hello and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about your blog, Skepacabra.  Can you please start off by introducing yourself to the readers of the Michigan Skeptics, about who you […]

Statistics – Destroyer of Superstitious Pretension

In Philip Ball’s Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another, he articulates something rather profound: statistics destroys superstition. The idea, once expressed, is simple but does not stem its profundity. Incidents in small numbers sometimes become ‘miraculous’ only because they appear unique, within a context that fuels such thinking. Ball’s own example is Uri Geller: in the 1970’s, the self-proclaimed psychic stated he would stop the watches of several viewers. He, perhaps, twisted his face and furrowed his brow and all over America watches stopped. America, no doubt, turned into an exclamation mark of incredulity. What takes the incident out of the sphere of the miraculous, however, is the consideration of statistics: With so many millions of people watching, what was the likelihood of at least some people’s watches stopping anyway? What about all those watches that did not stop?

How should one respond to the Tuscon shooting?

For the past several days I’ve been wondering if I should write an article about the shooting in Tuscon. If I do post something, what would I write about? I spent days trying to find the right thing to say and if I say anything at all. Then several several friends had tweeted an excerpt from the Daily Show that talked about the shooting. Many people had been calling him “the sanest person in America right now”. I watched the clip, and if he’s not the sanest, he’s definitely the most rational at the moment.

Five myths about why the South seceded

One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War began, we’re still fighting it — or at least fighting over its history. I’ve polled thousands of high school history teachers and spoken about the war to audiences across the country, and there is little agreement even on why the South seceded. Was it over slavery? […]

Walking in an Underwater Land: Episode 6 of the Drunken Skeptics

In this episode we have a recording of a presentation that was given at one of our Get Togethers. Our speaker that month was Peter Sinclair of Climate Crocks. His blog and Youtube channel are simply amazing! He gave a wonderful presentation that we saved just for you.