What's New in Science and Skepticism?

What's New in Science and Skepticism? 
Skeptics in the Pub, May

- We'll go over a number of recent items in the news that have involved science, pseudoscience, and skepticism. 

Do you have a certain news item you want discussed or to contribute? Let us know in the comments, or bring it up at the pub on Sunday!

This will be the LAST meetup at East Bank Saloon, at least for the time being.... We need to stretch our legs and try out new places! Any suggestions are welcome. 

And like the last few months, come join some of us afterwards for the live, free COSMOS episode showing at the Mission theater in NW Portland afterwards, it's a perfect end to the evening.

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  • Bill D.

    Off the topic, part way through the meeting - Valerie Goodness - a regular protagonist in the GMO Soapbox Facebook page - came to mind. Valerie is never afraid to play the Native American card when the going gets rough. Sample in the comments here - e.g. Second comment down is a classic. Never a dull moment. https://www.facebook.com/groups/GMOsoapbox/permalink/575984272497870/

    May 29

  • Bill D.

    Anna assumed that she was the only Asian. I've lived in Hong Kong most of my life and have my own views
    Claims on an Asian perspective are dubious. It’s a region of distinct identities. Japanese claiming acupuncture is laughable to the Chinese; it came from China.
    HK people trust science-based medicine. Attitudes to acupuncture are similar to the US although older people follow traditional practices.
    I think she was offended to have closely held beliefs challenged. As skeptics we need to put aside our own personal feelings. They are NOT relevant.
    I also believe she was playing to American sensitivities on race and a reluctance to cause offense. And I suspect it's not the first time she has done that. I can tell you that in NZ/Australia/UK that would be shutdown.
    She might have a point on the echo chamber. We do think alike and there is little debate. We might need to look at our positioning and introduction of new members so that they have a better idea of what to expect.

    May 29

  • A former member
    A former member

    well, suckah emcees, it's been fun, but again, I don't have time for people who flaunt themselves as intellectually open and curious but actually seem to just be building some sort of weird echo chamber where everybody disagrees with someone.

    I am disappointed, but no worries - I won't be coming in to burst your bubbles in the future. Although, do me a favor: if you start to feel drowsy in that bubble you live your life in, please - pull over. I don't need you threatening me on some peaceful morning bike commute because it takes too much bravery to step outside the realm of your privilege and culturally uninformed assumptions. I'll give you a tip, absolutely free of charge: accupuncture (and for that matter, yoga practice) are NOT NEW AGE.

    May 28

    • Mark

      In logical terms you are committing an zd hominem fallacy - every time someone disagrees with your ideas you attack them personally (and everyone who looks like them, is from the same country or is in a 20 foot radius at the time. You will no doubt reply that logic itself is some western conspiracy...

      May 28

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was asked about how "westerners could never understand the Asian mind". I agreed with that, and here's why: there is still a strong overtone of "orientalism" (Said & Fanon) or the "colonizer gaze" (postcolonial/feminist study).

    History leaves an imprint: consider western history and interactions with China, "Indochina", India, Indonesia: all colonial relationships. Perhaps this imprint will change, but not so now; I encounter attitudes that remind me how unequal the rest of us are. Consider that you all thought I was born in the US: well, you were wrong. So when I hear judgements of accupuncture &c, as they are practiced IN ASIA, that sucks.

    People from the so-called "first world" are not used to a listening posture. There are tons of assumptions to clear away - it just isn't that much fun for people of color to have so much work in constantly having the burden of proof. THAT is privilege too: people who disagree for no reason are simply seeking refuge in said white privilege.

    May 27

    • A former member
      A former member

      IF the westerners can confront their current hegemonic attitudes as shaped by their extremely violent past, perhaps I will reassess this agreement at that time. As a buddhist, I'm obliged to reassess and change my mind about a conclusion if I receive new information I did not have before. You may sneer the nastiest sneers you would like at the personal life choices people make, but your white supremacy is your own burden now, not mine. I stand by my conclusion within this conversation.

      May 28

    • Mark

      Aside from one guy who was angry and rude noone did anything but politely disagree with you. You are the only person bringing up race and nationality and you are assuming everything out of everyone's mouth is racist and superior. Several people at the meetup including myself were openly entertaining the idea that you could be right and they could bd wrong so to treat us all like we are somehow biased or bigotted against you is unfair and does itself sound a lot like bigotry, especially when you keep bringing up tbe color of peoples' skin as a bad thing.

      May 28

  • Soren

    Um...science?

    May 28

  • A former member
    A former member

    and a retraction: I had stated last night that I thought that water systems (perhaps grey water?) were popular in heating tiny homes. I took a look around my tiny home resources and I'm incorrect about this, or at least, I can't find references to using water as a method of space heating.

    Just trying to address these things in a timely way before it becomes some sort of reflection on my character. thanks.

    May 26

    • A former member
      A former member

      no, no, it was very clear the burden of proof was on me. I disagree.

      May 28

    • A former member
      A former member

      it's odd how this public conversation seems to be taking a different cast than when you approached me privately in the pub. sigh.

      May 28

  • A former member
    A former member

    A Clarification: I had stated last night that the polio vaccination campaign had been "incomplete", meaning that only 2 of the 3 required series of shots were administered. I looked back over my research.

    (and since time flies, it's been 2 years, not one year since I wrote it, so I'm having trouble nailing down my source from my biblio list. sorry.)

    The details of the claim have never been outlined in the mainstream media (most of my sources were BBC, Guardian, and the like - there was no way that Americans were going to hear about the backlash to kill ObL.). The conclusion of an incomplete vaccination campaign has been accepted by the mainstream media, but I wanted to be absolutely concise with my assertion and name the source(s) as interaction.org. Two NGO workers named Schermerhorn and Lenzer studied the timeline and concluded that there was no way that a complete series could have been administered within the time of the campaign as per medical protocol.

    May 26

    • Eric T.

      I hope no one tolerates that kind of behavior. I won't. That was an ugly, first time, not-gonna-tolerate-anyth­ing-like-it-again event. It's actually rare that tempers ever flare up, I think ironically the last time that happened was last year when some anti-GMO opinions started getting shouty.
      Anyway, our Facebook group is a great way to continue the conversations from the meetups, and more people participate there. https://www.facebook.c...­

      May 27

    • A former member
      A former member

      If I do not enjoy face *time* with someone, I do not make room on my facebook for them either. FB is annoying enough.

      May 28

  • John K.

    Still unpacking from our move! Catch you guys next month?

    May 25

    • Eric T.

      Yep. Always the last Sunday of the month. New location tba

      May 26

    • John K.

      Great! Hope I'll be unpacked by then.

      May 27

  • John K.

    Well, if you want me to suggest a location, I'd say we should meet at the Brooklyn Park Pub. Never been there, but it gives me an excuse to check out their whiskey selection.

    1 · May 19

    • Eric T.

      yeah i've never been there either. I need to see if there's a space big enough for everyone, I guess I'll just have to take a reconnaissance trip and stop for a beer sometime soon =)

      1 · May 23

    • John K.

      There's a nice outdoor area with 8-person tables. Ping me if you decide to recon and I'll join you if I can.

      May 27

  • A former member
    A former member

    absolute last questions on this board, b/c I *really* need to get on with my week.

    I wonder if the guy who was sitting across from me would weigh in more on these topics: you were setting off my vet radar, big time. And after memorial day and what stateside folks' notions of democracy belie, I feel more like reaching out to someone who did not seem smug or passive aggressive, and who did not demand proof.

    Speaking of the burden proof, I wonder why the dude in the booth didn't get so much of a microscope treatment: I distinctly recall him saying he also sought treatments. I'm just dying to know why people were more eager to hear my answers than his.

    thanks. and sorry to the other 200 some odd people who might be seeing these posts and are wondering what the hell is going on.

    1 · May 27

  • George

    Speaking of water in tiny homes, there are now sinks that collect the water when you wash your hands and then use it the next time you flush the toilet. They're gaining popularity because they not only save water but also save space in the bathrooms of small houses and apartments. Amazing that it's taken 100 years for this to catch on. Google search for "sink toilet".

    May 26

    • A former member
      A former member

      I hate to drop the spoiler alert, but Japan has had these in place on a widespread basis since at least the 70's.....a grey water toilet tank system. I see now that they've fancied them up, too -- Japanese consumers usually favor the pristine white porcelain look, but the ones I've seen lately have had brass bowls on top of the tank.

      May 27

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yes, perhaps election politics would be a tasty topic. Otherwise I am not sure if people are burned out yet on climate science and policy developments....?

    1 · May 24

    • A former member
      A former member

      HA! well I think we could still come up with something: "waning attractions, defections, and migrating orbits: a tale of two atoms".

      1 · May 25

    • A former member
      A former member

      and I think your boy Tyson would be like, "reading too much physics? is that a thing?"

      1 · May 25

  • Bill D.

    GMO labeling ballot text? I see that a group including OSPRIG and Whole Foods (how convenient for them) is collecting petition names to put GMO labeling on the Oregon Nov ballot. Here is the OPB story: http://earthfix.opb.org/communities/article/groups-aim-to-put-gmo-food-labeling-measure-on-the/
    OPB claims that the following is the ballot proposal, many of these claims look like misinformation to me. I trust someone will be challenging this and getting the text corrected and balanced: http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2014/044text.pdf

    1 · May 22

    • Eric T.

      we'll definitely cover that, thanks!

      May 23

  • Carlin B.

    I will be in Vegas…….. suckers. :)

    May 19

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