Logical-LA to be held February 9-11, 2018: Scientific Skepticism Celebrated

In support of the scientific skeptic movement, LogiCal-LA creates a place for critical thinkers to meet face-to-face and to experience presentations from nationally recognized speakers who will share their knowledge and insights.

LogiCal-LA 2018 presents internationally known theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Lawrence M. Krauss as keynote speaker.

What is scientific skepticism?

Scientific skeptics believe that empirical investigation of reality leads to the truth, and that the scientific method is best suited to this purpose. They attempt to evaluate claims based on verifiability and falsifiability and discourage accepting claims on faith or anecdotal evidence.  Scientific skeptics often focus their criticism on claims they consider to be implausible, dubious or clearly contradictory to generally accepted science.

Scientific skeptics do not assert that unusual claims should be automatically rejected out of hand on a priori grounds—rather they argue that claims of paranormal or anomalous phenomena should be critically examined and that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence before they can be accepted. From a scientific point of view, theories are judged on many criteria, such as falsifiability, Occam’s Razor, and explanatory power, as well as the degree to which their predictions match experimental results. Skepticism is part of the scientific method; for instance, an experimental result is not regarded as established until it can be shown to be repeatable independently.

For further information, see this article about scientific skepticism.

For the full schedule:

http://logicalla.com/blog1/schedule/

No, a man was not convicted in Sweden for ‘eating bacon’

Today Infowars linked to the following story, now widely shared on various social media sites. Before you start sharing away, The Local Se, a website dedicated to providing Sweden’s news in English, gives a more accurate accounting of the case.

Sweden: Man sentenced for eating bacon in front of Muslims

https://www.thelocal.se/20170901/no-a-man-was-not-convicted-in-sweden-for-eating-bacon

A story making headlines in some media outlets claims that a man was convicted in Sweden for ‘eating bacon’ in front of women wearing veils. But the reality is that the man was charged after insulting them on the grounds of their ethnicity and religion.

The incident, which happened on a commuter train to Stockholm suburb Märsta in 2015, saw a 52-year-old man walk up to a group of three women who were wearing veils, then hold bacon in front of their face and demand that they should eat it.

When the three women changed to different seats, the man followed them. He also said he “hates muslims”. Attunda District Court judged that the man’s intention was to insult the three passengers on the grounds of their ethnic origin and creed.

According to the court’s judgement, which The Local has seen, the man “held bacon up to their faces, demanded that they eat it, then ate it in front of them. From CCTV evidence from the train it is clear that there was ample seating space in other parts of the train. Despite that, he followed the plaintiffs when they changed place in order to avoid him, and facing them, which is made clear by the CCTV film, continued to eat bacon in front of them”.

“At this stage, he stated to the plaintiffs that he ‘hates Muslims’. The district court considers his actions make it clear that the purpose was to insult the plaintiffs because of their ethnic origin and creed,” the document continues.

Evidence from CCTV footage, witness statements and accounts provided by the three women was used in the case. The man was ordered to pay damages of 5,000 kronor to each of the women, as well as 60 “day-fines” – a type of fine based on the offender’s income.

The 52-year-old also stood accused of racial agitation over an incident a year later at a subway station in Stockholm where it was claimed that he said “I hate muslims” and “bloody Arab” (“jävla arab”). The man was acquitted in that case however as it was judged that there was not sufficient proof for a conviction.

Richard Feynman: Curiosity: Four minutes of wonder

Created by Reid Gower

CREDITS
MUSIC : Ludovico Einaudi – Primavera – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lu…
NARRATION: Richard Feynman – Take The World From Another Point Of View
BBC The Great Rift – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mfldk
Koyaanisqatsi – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085809/
Microcosmos – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117040/
BBC Life – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_(BB…)
Chronos – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088919/
BBC Planet Earth – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_E…
BBC The Secret Life of Chaos – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pv1c3
Wonders of the Universe – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonders_…
Trinity and Beyond – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114728/

Copyright Tamiko Thiel 1984

Allegory of the Cave: A Visual Primer

By Gretchen Mullen, Skeptic Review

My recent review of Reasons to Believe, a new film by Ben Fama Jr., prompted me to refresh my understanding of “The Allegory of the Cave,” also known as “Plato’s Cave.” Fama opens Reasons to Believe with his own depiction of this famous parable, endowing the allegory with tremendous significance as a precursor to a most serious discussion on the nature of belief and its real world consequences, carried out by modern scholars Michael Shermer, Peter Boghossian, Caleb Lack, Jennifer Whitson and Chad Woodruff. (To read my full summary and review of “Reasons to Believe,” click here. http://skepticreview.com/2017/08/20/skeptic-review-f…m-by-ben-fama-jr/)

Neither Socrates nor Plato would want me to give you my interpretation of the allegory. That is for you decide on your own. I must say, however, that a few key concepts stood out to me:

Enlightened vs. Unenlightened                         Light vs. Shadows

Upper World vs. Underground Cave                 Reality vs. Illusion            

Do yourself a favor and please spend a few moments of your day on these three delightful renditions of “The Allegory of the Cave.” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments in the section below, or just thank me for making your day.

DEPICTION ONE: The Cave: A Parable Told by Orson Welles (1975)

Full citation:  Welles, Orson, 1915-1985, Wismer, C. B, Wolff, Larry, Oden, Dick, Bosustow, Nick et al. The Cave : a parable told by Orson Welles. CRM/McGraw Hill Films, [Del Mar, Calif.], 1975.

DEPICTION TWO: The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay (2008)

Bullhead Entertainment presents the award-winning animation film featured in over 100 film festivals worldwide. This 3-minute film took first place in animation at the USA Film Festival Short Film and Video Competition.

DEPICTION THREE: Allegory of the Cave (2014)

The product of an Advance Placement Language Class,  high school students move the allegory into today’s modern world. This short film would be an ideal and relatable teaching tool targeted to young adults.

 

FACTITIOUS: Game helps users learn to spot fake news

Real or fake? At a time when the reading public daily grapples with the question of fake news, the American University Game Lab/JOLT has created an accessible, easy-to-play game that helps you sort fake news from real.

The brainchild of former AU JOLT Fellow Maggie Farley, she pitched the concept more than a year ago, before the 2016 presidential campaign brought the challenges of fake news to the spotlight. For purposes of the game, “fake news” is defined as stories fabricated for fun, influence or profit, as well as satire, opinion and spin.

“Fake news is impossible to stop, so we wanted to playfully teach people how to recognize it,” said Farley. “But the game is fun to play in itself.”

The game engine in the next phase should also be available to newsrooms, schools, or groups that want to adapt a version for their own use.

PS: My first crack at the game yielded 93%. Second crack, not so much. I highly recommend you try this game! It’s fun, enlightening and horrifying. I am especially excited to hear it will be available as a teaching tool. My nephew asked me this week if I had read the warning that “people are injecting the AIDS virus into bananas.”–Gretchen Mullen, Editor, Skeptic Review

Edvard Munch

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PLAY FACTITIOUS HERE:

http://factitious.augamestudio.com/

 

Tweets We Love

News: Godless Billboards Return to Sioux Falls, South Dakota

YouTube Channels We Love: Anthony Magnabosco

Anthony Magnabosco is a Street Epistemologist who converses with and interviews random strangers on the street to ask about their beliefs, such as faith, superstitions, and so much more.

Check out his YouTube channel at: 

https://www.youtube.com/user/magnabosco210

According to Magnabosco, “I initiate friendly conversations with people to see how they arrived at their deeply-held beliefs (e.g., Gods, karma, ghosts, politics, etc.), and then ask respectful questions to help them discover if the method(s) used are unreliable so that more reliable methods can be employed to maintain the belief and/or the level of confidence in the belief can be adjusted to be more in line with reality.”

Of particular interest are these playlists:

My Top Ten Talks

Street Epistemology Presentations

Relativism (“It’s true for me.”)

Street Epistemology Tutorials

(20,599 subscribers • 2,096,049 views  Joined Dec 25, 2011)

Skeptics We Love: Peter Boghossian

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Peter Boghossian teaches Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience, the Philosophy of Education, and Atheism at Portland State University, is an Affiliate Research Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in the Department of General Internal Medicine, is a national speaker for the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Student Alliance, an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

Boghossian’s primary research areas are critical thinking and moral reasoning. His doctoral research studies, funded by the State of Oregon and supported by the Oregon Department of Corrections, consisted of using the Socratic method to help prison inmates to increase their critical thinking and moral reasoning abilities and to increase their desistance to criminal behavior.

Boghossian published A Manual for Creating Atheists in 2013 and developed the Atheos app to help people have non-confrontational discussions about gods, religion, faith, and superstition. As of August, 2017 he is wrapping up his second book. More on this to follow.

Our Favorite Quotes:

“Belief in God(s) is not the problem. Belief without evidence is the problem.”

“Your new role is that of interventionist. Liberator. Your target is faith. Your pro bono clients are individuals who’ve been infected by faith.”

“Few things are more dangerous than people who think they’re in possession of absolute truth. Honest inquirers with sincere questions and an open mind rarely contribute to the misery of the world.”

Website: www.peterboghossian.com