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MISkeptics Pi Day with Alan Turing

March 14th is Pi Day. In celebration of Pi Day, we will be celebrating one of the world’s greatest mathematicians, Alan Turing. A biopic of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game was nominated for 8 Academy Awards winning the Best Screenplay Oscar.

Alan Turing in 1951. Three years before his death.

Alan Turing was a  British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, mathematical biologist, and marathon and ultra distance runner. He was instrumental for his work on code-breaking during World War II. It is possible that without him, we would not have won the war.

Turing died on June 7th, 1954 after undergoing court ordered chemical castration because of a conviction of gross indecency. Being homosexual was a criminal offense.

We will have a presentation on Alan Turing along with our news round up and a small discussion on Pi Day.

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.

I hope to see you all there!

Darwin Day 2015 featuring Dr. Mark Reimers

–UPDATE– Instead of The Genius of Charles Darwin documentary, we will have Dr. Mark Reimers speaking on the evolution of the brain.

February 12th is International Darwin Day. This year it will also be Charles Darwin’s 206th birthday. On This month we will be joining with the International Darwin Day organization in celebrating Darwin and his history changing accomplishments.

Charles Robert Darwin at age 72. Painted by John Collier.

Charles Robert Darwin at age 72. Painted by John Collier.

Join us on Saturday February 14th at 1:00 PM for our Darwin Day celebration. Details and RSVP information are at the bottom of this post.

While Darwin’s remarkable impact on biology, cosmology, and the scientific process generally cannot be understated, it is again his undeniable desire for truth through scientific discovery, his unwavering curiosity to discover that which was hidden (naturally or purposefully), and his determination to brave intellectual depths that inspires us. ~ International Darwin Day

We celebrate Darwin Day because his discovery completely changed history and the way we look at our world. We also celebrate because there are many people who seek to discredit his work. Not because it is wrong, which it isn’t, but because they simply do not like it. And on this day we push back and laud the great man for his great accomplishments.

For our Get Together we will be joined by Dr Mark Reimers. He is a Professor of Neuroscience at Michigan State University. He also is a bicyclist, humanist, mathematician, scientist and a strong advocate of communicating science with the public

Dr. Mark Reimers

Our human mind and consciousness has evolved from an ape mind over the past six million years. How have our brains and genes changed to bring this about? We are very similar to apes in some ways, in which scientists previously thought humans were unique, but quite different in other ways, such as our capacity for joint attention, which scientists had not realized were so important. This talk will present genetic, anatomical, and behavioral evidence bearing on the changes to the brain that supported the emergence of the human mind and its capacity for culture.

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 RSVP for more details and the location of the event. You can RSVP at our Meetup Page, our Facebook Page, or our Google+ Page.

See you there!

 

The End of the World is Coming! (again) Let’s Have a Party

The end of the world was signalled in York last night as a horn was blown to herald the beginning of the apocalypse

On November 14th, the Norse God Heimdallr blew the Gjallerhorn to warn of the Viking apocalypse. Actually, Heimdallr was unavailable. This is just some guy in eyeliner.

On November 14th, 2013 the Mythic Gjallerhorn was blown. Which is a sign that the world will end 100 days later. Traditionally it was supposed to be blown by the Norse God Heimdallr, but he was otherwise occupied. Nevertheless, the horn was blown and it means one thing. THE END OF THE WORLD IS COMING!

Ragnarök

The blowing of the horn is a calling of the gods (the Norse ones) to a great battle. According to the Edda, a Norse Epic Poem, the great battle will cause the deaths of the great gods. Odin, Thor, Týr, Freyr, Heimdallr, and Loki will all be slain. Ragnarök, which literally means “Twilight of the Gods” will cause natural disasters, the Sun will turn black, wolves will increase in numbers, and the world will be plunged into the sea. But don’t worry! The gods will fix it all when they come back to life and the world will be born again.

How do we know Ragnarök is at hand? Let’s look at this handy checklist of signs:

How to know the world is ending: Continue reading

Nelson Mandela for our January Get Together

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008.

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 2008.

On December 5th 2013, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died. He was South Africa’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. He also served over 27 years in prison for his activism prior to that. The end of Apartheid in South Africa is credited largely to him. He was called a lot of things when he died, a hero, a savior, a great leader, a terrorist, a communist, and a murderer. But what was he really?

On Saturday, January 18 at 1:00 PM, we’re teaming up with Minority Atheists of Michigan to talk about Nelson Mandela. We will cut through the hype and hyperbole and learn the facts of his life and work. We will learn about the good and the bad and decide for ourselves who he was.

Our guest speaker will be Jamon Jordan. He is the Co-Founder and Facilitator of the Black Scroll Study Group. A local organization that researches any and all phenomena related to Black people.

Jamon Jordan Image

Jamon Jordan is the Co-Founder and Facilitator of the Black Scroll Study Group

They present their findings through educational materials for institutions to use in order to present data on Black/African history and culture that is frequently overlooked.

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.

You can RSVP for the event at our Meetup Page, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

Notre Dame Professor Debunks Christian Myth of Persecution

 

Professor Candida Moss Portrait

Professor Candida Moss teaches early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame.

Candida Moss, a Professor at Notre Dame University and practicing Catholic, has written a book that tackles the “myth of martyrdom in the Christian faith.”

Sunday school tales of early Christians being rounded up at their secret catacomb meetings and thrown to the lions by evil Romans are mere fairy tales, Moss writes in a new book. In fact, in the first 250 years of Christianity, Romans mostly regarded the religion’s practitioners as meddlesome members of a superstitious cult.

The government actively persecuted Christians for only about 10 years, Moss suggests, and even then intermittently. And, she says, many of the best known early stories of brave Christian martyrs were entirely fabricated.

In Professor Moss’ new book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, she maintains that the Catholic Church and historians have known for centuries that most early Christian martyr stories were exaggerated or invented.

[W]hen Christians were executed, it was often not because of their religious beliefs but because they wouldn’t follow Roman rules. Many laws that led to early Christians’ execution were not specifically targeted at them—such as a law requiring all Roman citizens to engage in a public sacrifice to the gods—but their refusal to observe those laws and other mores of Roman society led to their deaths.

Moss calls early Christians “rude, subversive and disrespectful,” noting that they refused to swear oaths, join the military or participate in any other part of Roman society.

Continue reading

The MISkeptics May Get Together: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men Movie Poster

12 Angry Men Movie Poster

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.

This month we are going to watch a classic in critical thinking and a classic in its own right, 12 Angry Men. We’re going to see the movie then review the logical problems in 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.

Remember! We are using our summer hours now. We start at 4:00 PM. We will go back to fall/winter hours in September.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

You can RSVP on our Meetup page, our Facebook page, or our Google Plus page.

Don’t forget to follow us on Meetup, Facebook, and Google+ for further events, news articles and interesting ideas.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

It’s Time For Our Annual Darwin Day Event

Image of Darwin

February 12th is Darwin’s 204th birthday

This month we are going to celebrate Darwin Day. February marks Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday.

For our third Darwin Day celebration, we are going to watch “Charles Darwin and The Tree of Life”. A stunning BBC documentary hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Last year we tried to see this documentary but no one could hear it because the venue was too loud. We have a better venue this time around and we will finally be able to see the movie.

We’re going to follow that up with a presentation on how Darwin’s work has been twisted into murderous intent.

And we will finish up with one of Chris Lindsay‘s famous games. Which will include prizes for the winners. (Yes, we promise there will be winners.)

You can RSVP for the celebration by going to our Meetup Site, our Facebook Page or our Google Plus Page. Please be sure to RSVP, these events fill up quickly.

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.

 

This Saturday: A guided tour of The Henry Ford

Museum clock tower, at night.

Museum clock tower, at night. The building is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

-UPDATE- I neglected to mention the tour was for the Benson Ford Research Center located at Henry Ford.

We’ve got a little treat lined up.  Our very own Diane has managed to score us a guided tour of the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford Museum.

This two hour event also includes the archives that are normally off-limits to normal visitors, including the giant refrigerated area designed to preserve artifacts and items. Bring a jacket, it will probably get chilly in there!

This event has a limit of 15 people so be sure to RSVP as soon as you can. This will fill up quickly.

If for any reason you wish to go but cannot use the pay form on Meetup, contact us and we will make arrangements for getting the payment to us.

Tickets for the event will cost $20 to cover the cost of the tour. The ticket price is refundable is you need to cancel. See the refund section below.

The Henry Ford Museum began as a simple yet bold idea to document the genius of ordinary people by recognizing and preserving the objects they used in the course of their everyday lives. It grew into the ultimate place to explore what Americans past and present have imagined and invented — a remarkable destination that brings American ideas and innovations to life. The sheer scope and design of Henry Ford Museum is as grand as the vision that inspired it. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of awe as your mind adjusts to a different sense of scale — more vast, more expansive and more diverse— by far— than anything you’ll encounter in everyday life. The sweeping, single-floor space with its soaring 40-foot ceilings covers nine acres dedicated to showcasing the finest collection of its kind ever assembled.

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!

Michigan Skeptics is Celebrating Alan Turing’s 100th Birthday

Image of Alan Turing

Alan Turing was born on June 23rd 1912 and died on June 7th 1954.

This month is the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s Birth. It’s also the 58th anniversary of his tragic death. So this month at our monthly Get Together we’re going to celebrate the father of modern computing and the one of the key architects of the allied victory in World War II. We’re going to learn about his life and his accomplishments. We will also the events that lead up his death by suicide in 1954.

We’re meeting on June 9th at 4:00 PM. 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 take part in the discussion.

Please be sure to RSVP at our meet-up page for the location and so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

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