"A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion." - Dr. Steven Novella of The New England Skeptics and The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.

The fallibility of human memory: Awareness Test

At Tuesdays meetup the topic of the Awareness Test that shows how fallible human memory can be was discussed. We had a few that had not come across this yet. The net connection at the time wasn't the best so I've located the video (or one very close to the one I was thinking of) and posted it below.

Rise of Atheism - 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne

Is anyone else here registering for the Rise of Atheism convention in Melbourne, March 2010? I bought my ticket today and am awfully excited haha

http://www.atheistconvention.org.au/

EU tightening up on regulatory claims - good news for quality science, bad news for the cowboys

Looks like the EU are making it increasingly difficult for products claiming to have health benefits making it to the market.

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Publications/Food-Beverage-Nutrition...

DEATH FROM CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE!!!!!

......"thats shocking!!!! I hate how our children are being guinea pigs for all of these new vaccines that they are coming up with!!!!...."Wow - Even more reason NOT to have my daughter vaccinated."...."GlaxoSmithKline, like other drug companies, will never allow results from confirming what many people already know.".....

Don't know if anyone noticed, but there was a death in the UK

Tuesday 2009-10-06 : Post Conference Meetup

Announcing a new Meetup for Christchurch Skeptics in the Pub!

What: Post Conference Meetup

When: October 6, 2009 5:30 PM

Where:
The Twisted Hop
6 Poplar Street
Christchurch
+64339623688

What's the harm?

The recent case of baby Gloria poignantly illustrates the harm that can happen with unproven or disproven treatments.

"Homeopath, wife jailed over baby's death:

Kiwifruit may help flatulence

That's just fantastic, a common food helping a common problem. Isn't it?

Except that the article goes on to talk about a different condition entirely, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Not sure what the relevance is to farting there at all, outside of the fact that if you eat too many kiwifruit you'll probably get a case of the shits. Then reading further we get to the nitty gritty of what this claim is all about:

Five things Christians can do to seem more Intelligent

This article is in response to a comment PZ Myers made in his post, Advice for atheists?, which was, in turn, a response to "Five things that would make atheists seem nicer".

I'm not going to address the points in the original post. PZ does a damned fine job of that. Instead I'm going to make my own list. I'd like to recommend that others do the same and use the trackback URL to link back to the original post.

So...

NZ Skeptics Conference 2009 AGM

The AGM of the NZ Skeptics Inc was held at the NZ Skeptics Conference 2009.

As with most AGM's this was fairly dry, procedural stuff. There were two things that are worthy of reporting on however.

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