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Conspiracy Theories

We all know one conspiracy theorist. Here you will find reference for debate.

PineCreek, the Best Atheist YouTube Channel You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

If you’re a skeptical atheist in search of a new YouTube channel, but looking for something that isn’t heavy on mockery or debate – one that offers great conversations with a touch of class and humor – then Doug’s YouTube channel, PineCreek, is for you. He doesn’t have a ton of subscribers yet, but he probably should. His videos do tend to run long, but they’re great to listen to and he has some well known guests like Richard Carrier, Paul from Paulogia, Greg Locke and James White (though White’s comments were prerecorded). Doug  has satisfying conversations with all of them about their beliefs.

Sometimes his interviews are about religion, and not just with Christians. He interviewed several pagans on his channel. Sometimes it’s about the shape of the Earth, as he has a number of videos with flat-earthers as guests. There’s a recap of the Robert Price VS Bart Ehrman debate along with other reviews of videos posted to YouTube. And he answers comments. So do some of his guests, so be prepared for a response if you post comments about anyone he’s interviewed. If you catch his videos live, you can even participate in live chats with him and his guests.

Doug is a former Mennonite and, not unlike myself, he is married to someone who still believes in God. Here is what it says on his Twitter account:

I believe doubt is a virtue that can lead to humility and certainty can lead to arrogance.

Note that Doug’s videos can run for more than two hours, so if you can only stand small soundbites, this might not be for you. I often take them in pieces, not always listening to them in full at one sitting. But some of them are half-an-hour or less. He goes through some of his longer videos and breaks them down into chapters so you can advance through them, one subject at a time, using links in the description below his videos.

Here are some recommendations if you want to get started with Doug’s channel. I hope you’ll give it a try.

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The MISkeptics September Get Together: Mirage Men

DVD Cover of Mirage Men
How the US government created a UFO myth that took over the world.

This month we are watching the 2013 documentary Mirage Men. Our Get Together will be held on September 13th at 4:00 PM. RSVP for the location.

UFOs: weapons of mass deception… For over 60 years teams within the US Air Force and Intelligence services exploited and manipulated beliefs about UFOs and ET visitations as part of their counterintelligence programmes. In doing so they spawned a mythology so powerful that it captivated and warped many brilliant minds, including several of their own. Now, for the first time, some of those behind these operations, and their victims, speak out, revealing a true story that is part Manchurian Candidate and part Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

We will also have our news round up and an announcement of an upcoming event.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. You can RSVP via our Meetup Group or by Facebook.

Don’t forget that our group is funded entirely by donations. Please chip in by clicking here. There will also be a donation jar at the Get Together and we are able to take credit cards on site as well.

I hope to see you all there!

Skeptics in the Pub: Conclave!

This artwork by Jael has been the official logo of ConClave since 1996.
This artwork by Jael has been the official logo of ConClave since 1996.

We are moving our normal second Saturday Get Together back in a week to host a special event. This Saturday come join us for a special Skeptics in the Pub at ConClave!

Last month, we were contacted by the ConClave Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention to host discussion panels about skepticism. After a lot of work and back and forth with the Organizer, it has finally come time to host our panels! This Saturday, October 12th at 3:00 and 4:00 PM Michigan Skeptics will host two panels.

The first is “DON’T PANIC!”

There is a great deal of alarming and some down-right scary stories in the media these day. Many of them directly conflicting with each other. How can we sort through the pseudo-science, the snake oil and the media myths? This panel will give you some suggestions so you can figure out for yourself what is really worth its weight.

During this panel we will be teaching the audience about sensationalism, scams, snake-oil, media hype and scare tactics and most of all, arming them with the tools they need to figure out for themselves what is real and what is not.

The second panel is “The Skeptics Movement.”

The Skeptics are a group that entreats us to use critical thinking and evidence when dealing with every day life. They use these tools when dealing with Conspiracy Theories like the supposed faking of the moon landing or with the likelihood of psychics and mind-readers. What are their positions, and how does one join?

Here is where we get to shine and talk about us. Our goal is to well, talk about the skeptics movement. Who we are, what we do, and what makes us so great. And why we think more people need to be skeptics.

I know, it’s an uphill battle, right? It’s tough for people to change their way of life. It’s even harder to convince someone to do it. I think the important thing is to talk to people and tell them there is something they can do about the world around them. This is the way to do it.

If you have never been to a SciFi/Fantasy Convention before then you are definitely missing out. You will find a bit of everything there. From cosplay to  Con-Suites. There are all kinds of people there and all kinds of Woo. Which makes it a great place to talk skepticism.

Lyle of our sister group Yooper Skeptics. (he even looks like a yooper, doesn't he?)
Lyle of our sister group Yooper Skeptics. (he even looks like a yooper, doesn’t he?)

We would love for you to come and join us during the panels and help support skepticism in the community. A Saturday only day pass will run you $35, while a full three-day pass will cost $50. If you can make it we would love to see you there. If you can’t, we are hosting an event that evening where you don’t have to pay an admission fee.

We are hosting one last event for the Convention. We’re having a Skeptics in the Pub in the hotel bar at 7:00 PM! This event is open to the public so come on out and support skepticism! We will even have a special guest. Nathan Lyle of our sister group Yooper Skeptics, (and his son, mini-guest Ray) from all the way up in Marquette, Michigan will be in town and joining us for drinks and fun conversations.

Tickets for ConClave, both the Saturday only ticket and the full three-day pass are available at the door. Remember you don’t need to purchase a ticket for Skeptics in the Pub. You only need to pay for your food and drinks.

You can register for Skeptics in the Pub: Conclave at our Meetup site or on our Facebook page.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Today at 3PM: Peter Sinclair will be a guest on The Magic Sandwich Show

http://www.magicsandwichshow.com/

Peter Sinclair, one of our recent Get Together guests and blogger on Climate Denial Crock of the Week will be a guest on The Magic Sandwich Show.

Peter Sinclair \
Peter Sinclair

The Magic Sandwich Show is a bi-weekly live call in show, broadcast every other Sunday on BlogTV and uStream. During the show a panel of 3 or 4 discuss topical issues relating to religion and science.

You can access the show on BlogTV and uStream.

After the show check out his blog for the latest information on his Dark Show Project.

Don’t forget to subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter!

Our March Get Together: MUFON

Michigan MUFON Logo

This month we are pleased to welcome William Konkolesky, the State Director for MUFON, The Mutual UFO Network. He’s going to talk to us about aliens and UFOs.

Because of the large field of of the topic we need to limit today to just UFOs. If there’s time afterwards, we can entertain other questions. We will ask Mr. Konkolesky back to discuss other topics such like abductions, crop circles, and that guy on the History Channel with the crazy hair.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. We’re expecting a large crowd for this so be sure to RSVP early. You can RSVP at our Meetup site, our Facebook Event Page, or our Google Plus Event Page.

I look forward to seeing you there!

The MISkeptics September Get Together: 9/11

9/11 Memorial Fountain
Family members line the perimeter of the 9/11 Memorial South Pool during the tenth anniversary ceremonies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2011 in New York City. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

This September 11th will mark the 11th anniversary of one of the most devastating attacks on American soil. The 9/11 attacks by terrorists ran two fully loaded and manned passenger aircraft into the two main World Trade Center Buildings. Causing their collapse and the resulting damage spread to other buildings as well.

A total of 2752 people lost their lives that day, including hundreds of rescue workers rushing to save civilians.

This Sept 8th, at 1:00 PM, we’re going to talk about the facts of that day as well as some of the more popular conspiracy theories about it.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. You can RSVP at our Meetup site, on Facebook, or on Google Plus.

I hope to see you all there!

It’s Our Second Birthday and You Are Invited!

A balloon saying "happy second birthday"
The traditional 2nd anniversary gift is cotton. But the traditional 2nd birthday gift is cake!

Two years ago, we started the Michigan Skeptics Association in the hopes of creating a resource for skepticism and humanism in Michigan. Today, thanks to you, we have a vibrant and diverse membership throughout the state and satellite groups starting in areas that cannot come to our monthly Get Togethers and events.

This month, we are celebrating our second anniversary. You are invited to come out and join us in celebrating the ascent of reason over misconception and pseudo-science. We’re also going to talk about the future and our plans for MISkeptics. Plus we’re going to have prizes and fun. Come one out and help us celebrate!

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

We also have special guests and speakers that contribute to the conversation and/or debate.

Please be sure to RSVP on either our Facebook Event or on our Meetup page so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

I hope to see you all there!

Alpena, Michigan Was Apparently The Start of The American Rebellion

This symbol I pulled from the Whatdoesitmean.com site. I have no idea what it means.

I came across this simply amazing piece of woo-filled-tripe (tripe-filled-woo?) today. It’s from a website I’ve never heard of  before called the European Union Times. They had posted an article that I’m still having a hard time figuring out whether it’s satire. The headline reads: “380 American Rebels Reported Killed In Michigan Battle.” This article is a complete “cut and paste” from a site called Whatdoesitmean.com. Which is a home of genuine nutballery.

A shocking Federal Security Service (FSB) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that last week an “intense” battle erupted in the US State of Michigan between military forces loyal to the Obama regime and American rebels that killed at least 380 men, women and children who had gathered to oppose their nations slide towards a totalitarian dictatorship.

Just to verify this claim, I went to the FSB website. It is completely in Russian but with help of Google Translate I browsed and searched the site. There are no press releases or anything that turned up in a key word search containing “Michigan”, “Alpena” or “Obama”. If you can read Russian please check out the site and let me know if there actually is something about this on the site.

The article goes on to give a very detailed account of an attack that killed 380 civilians including bombing runs with 2000 lb laser guided bombs. I don’t know if you have seen what the impact of a 2000 lb bomb looks like, but it looks like this:

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New Evidence Knocks Down Daryl Bems Claim of Psychic Proof

 

crystal ball
The results were clear. "We found nothing," Ritchie said.

LiveScience is reporting on experiments done by researchers at three universities trying to replicate Daryl Bem‘s 2010 claim that he had found scientific proof of psychic ability. The researchers Stuart Ritchie of the University of Edinburgh, University of Hertfordshire psychologist Richard Wiseman and University of London psychologist Christopher French all conducted the experiment separately at their respective universities with 50 participants each.

 The researchers chose the strongest of the eight positive findings that Bem originally published. In the experiment, Bem’s participants seemed to reverse the usual cause-effect sequence of time. They saw a list of 48 words flashed onto a computer screen and were then treated to a surprise memory test in which they were asked to type in as many of the words as they remembered.

Next, a random sample of 24 of the previous 48 words was presented again. The participants did some practice exercises with these words, and then the experiment ended. Analyzing the memory-test results, Bem and his colleagues found that the students were more likely to recall the words that they’d soon see again than the words that were not on the later exercise list, as if they could see the future.

“It’s almost as if you study for an exam, you do the exam and then you study for it afterwards and then you get a better mark,” Ritchie told LiveScience. “So you can see why we were kind of surprised by that.”

Bem encouraged replication of his results, and he put the computer program he used in his experiment online so other researchers could use it.

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The Facts Behind The Kony 2012 Video

Kony 2012 Banner
For $30, The Action kit includes a t-shirt, bumper sticker, bracelet and become an "Advocate of Awesome"

Last week Invisible Children, a non-profit organization founded and head by film maker Jason Russell, released a 30 minute documentary video called “Kony 2012“. The documentary details a Ugandan warlord/rebel named Joseph Kony and the crimes he has committed against civilians and children.  The documentary video went viral in a few days with over 37 million views.

Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) a militant group that is an offshoot of an armed resistance in Northern Uganda called the Holy Spirit Movement. The Holy Spirit Movement was formed by Alice Auma in 1987 as a resistance army protected by the holy spirit.

The Holy Spirit Movement fought as a regular army – taking and controlling territory, as well as holding pitched battles with NRA forces – but had a number of practices that outsiders found bizarre. Spiritual “controllers” were integrated into each unit. Along with duties such as tending to Alice Auma while she was possessed, they smeared blessed oil on combatants that was supposed to stop bullets if the combatant’s soul was pure. [via Wikipedia]

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