Circular Reasoning

An archive site for the Skeptics' Circle. It includes a list of past Skeptics' Circles, future hosts, and announcements.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Skeptical and doubting it: The 21st Skeptics' Circle

NOTE: The 21st Skeptics' Circle is being republished here because Matt might have retired from blogging, and I would like to save it for posterity right here on the main Skeptics' Circle archive site, just in case he ever decides to delete his blog.

Skeptical and doubting it: The 21st Skeptics' Circle

A school of thought, lacking credulity,
In Skeptics' Circle, where we lay our scene,
From doubting mind springs forth some sanity,
Where decent thought doth wash the B.S. clean.
'Tis here we place the quacks in fatal throes,
For lies do seem to take on their own life;
And greatly do increase the public's woes,
Thus do the skeptics ever dwell in strife.
'Tis this, the thing which doubters most do love:
To purge the crap and bring the truth to light.
They do not ask for answers from above,
But use critical thinking as they might.
If your most patient eyes do wish to read,
The Circle hath such answers as you need.

Act 1
(Pooflingers Anonymous, a blog)
(Enter Matt and Orac)

Matt: Orac, O' my word, 'tis time for the Circle to meet!

Orac: But when they arrive, should we give them meat?

Matt: By all means; and drink! But alas, I fear that though the Circle comes of age this day, your pub resides in days past. Perhaps, upon investigating, we might find some tasty wine.

Orac: And if not, intendest thou to whine? T'would be a thing most offensive, in my sight; and to mine ears as well.

Matt: No, I shall not complain, though the rest of the circle might have at me. Still, you must admit that for our meeting I have found a worthy site.

Orac: 'Tis true, O' my honor. But hark! The Skeptics do approach!

(Enter the rest of the Circle)

Circle: We thirst! Where hath the frosty brew gone? Or hast thou, goodly Sir Matt, forgotten us? Be that the case, you may soon find yourself in dire straits.

Matt: Nay, I have not forgotten. Fill thy glasses to your liking, but do not expect me to join in your reverie. I fear I may have imbibed too much last night.

Circle: Do you bite your thumb at drink, sir?

Matt: No sirs, I do not bite my thumb at drink, but I do bite my thumb ('Tis the only thing that can ease the pounding in my head!) But come, good sirs: spew thy tales of doubt that we might be entertained (and educated, should lady luck find reason to smile)!

Act 2
(The World of the Skeptic, in the House of Reason)

Gadfly: Alas, dear skeptics! I fear that I begin this meeting with a tale of woe, for oft do men opine that their happiness is a choice, yet studies showeth this is not the case. Forgive me that I tell you this; but come! 'Tis time that we should have another drink!

Circle: Hear, hear! T'was good! Let us have another!

Tom: 'Tis been a while, since on this thing we've dwelt: I take you now into the world of birds. The woodpecker known as the Ivory-bill I think is nothing more than a mistake. There may be those (perhaps some here) t'would disagree; but doubt must be expressed, if just by me!

Lord Runolfr: Into the world of cinema is where I take you now: of Gotham and her villains is this thing on which I speak. Through the plotting of those scoundrels entertainment may be had: the movie is a good one... 'tis the science that is bad.

Circle: O Skeptico, Skeptico! Wherefore art thou Skeptico? Deny the liars and refuse the quacks; or, if thou wilt not, be sworn at by us, and we'll no longer be reading your stuff.

Skeptico: Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? But skeptics: I shall take thee at thy word. Today, 'tis true, I haven't much to say, but on this topic something needs be said; a fallacious argument that we've all heard: the appeal to other ways of knowing.

Circle: Fallacious arguments do entertain. They are the bread and butter for our kind.

Rockstar: There is this thing of which doth make me ill; a fallacy insidious as hell. An answer have I posted to address the men who say "don't knock it till you've tried".

Mark: On this do I also wish my two cents, though it doth seem my feelings are the same. Still, though on this thing do we both agree some points are so good that we should repeat.

Act 3
(The Realm of Faith; also known as the House of Fundies)

Hallq: It seems that in the world of faith the credulous are found, yet here also the skeptic may reside. I tell you now a tale most magical: a Christian skeptic and illusionist. I ask that you don't get your hopes up yet, for in the end he proveth like the rest.

Circle: 'Tis good, this tale, but can we have some more?

Beajerry: Of faith and fundies is this tale I bring: whilst watching my son at the skating rink, something I perceived that hath made me think: Creationists are all about the bling!

Jake: There are those times on occasion when one wonders why fundie "science" is bad (perhaps they'd like to see all treated fair). An answer do I have for those who ask: why do we care? All I can say is this.

Austin Cline: 'Tis often that the fundies will tell us that evolution leads to racism. On this do I wish now to make my point: in real life the opposite is true!

Matt: Another fundie project have I found: "The Evolution Cruncher" is its name. To my surprise I've found an argument not normally found in the fundie tracts: a claim that Darwin was himself a witch.

Act 4
(The Courtyard of House Paranormal)

Two Percent Company: The time has come to speak of crystal balls: of Allison DuBois we tell a tale. Her psychic claims are stuff of legends made, yet seemeth she to be a hypocrite.

plittle: A short post is all I have for today, yet this is all the story doth require. I think the headline speaketh for itself: astrologer predicts his death and fails!

Act 5
(The Houses of Healing)

EoR: Whilst watching an altie show on the tube I glimpsed a bit about acupuncture. Second Opinion doth be the show's name and post-viewing I'd like one of my own.

Orac: Dear Skeptics, a worrisome tale I bring: a story of a child and her illness. Though to her chemo she did respond well, her altie parents have another plan. Their plot is something studies do reject: an intravenous Vitamin C dose.

Coturnix: I take you now into Serbia's realm where men are lining up to get a shock. The doctor here in question is a quack with get-rich schemes about fertility. Despite all this men let him zap their sacks.

Matt: O fellow skeptics, give thyselves a hand: this has surely been a goodly meeting, and no more can I demand.

Circle: But we can give thee more, for it is truth: our job is never done. The skeptical life is ever a joy, and we most certainly must meet again!

Contented sighs this ending with it bring;
The Skeptics, now, can go and take their rest:
Go forth, and have more talk of doubtful things;
Locate more quacks and put them to the test:
For next we have a new host for our show;
On Wednesday, two weeks hence: Mile Zero.

(One day early because of Thanksgiving... You need to sendeth your submissions here)

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