Circular Reasoning

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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The 33rd Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle

The 33rd Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle has been posted at Science and Politics. Bora has kindly provided an abstract:
Complaints like "hurts my brain" and "blows my mind" as a result of exposure to incredible stories have recently been definitively tied to the neuronal cell death (apoptosis). Furthermore, the notion of the usefullness of the Baloney Detection Kit (BDK) in protection of brain cells against the negative effects of incredulity has recently garnered significant support. In this review, the authors gather the most notable examples in recent scientific and medical literature on the subject, evaluate the currently available data on the effectivness of BDK and propose new avenues for further research.

Check out how use of skepticism and the BDK can protect your neurons from the same fate by joining Bora to check out the best of the skeptical blogosphere from the last fortnight.

Next time the Skeptics' Circle will be heading down under and will be hosted by Australian skeptic EoR at The Second Sight on Thursday, May 11. Get your skeptical studies ready for "peer review" by making sure they conform to the guidelines and get them submitted by May 10 to

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The 32nd Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle

I have to hand it to Matt (a.k.a. The Pooflinger). When he hosts a Skeptics' Circle, he does it up right. Last time, he envisioned the 21st Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle as a Shakespearean play. This time around, he envisions a very frightening future world in which credulity and religious fanaticism have been dominant for hundreds of years.

And then an archaelogist finds a mysterious and rather mysterious object:
Unlike most anybody, Dr. Ivanoa didn't consider unexpected late-night phone calls to be a bad thing at all. With no surviving relatives and less than a few friends (even at her own university), she didn't usually worry about "bad news calls" at all. Besides that, she'd learned long ago to quickly evaluate the probable nature of late-night calls with uncanny accuracy.

"Let's see," she muttered to the quiet dark of her bedroom (a habit picked up from years of lonely work and late nights in her lab... late nights that had gained her the position as head of Archaeology at Johnson University). "I'm reasonably sure I'm not dead, and there's no way they'd fire me at this time of night. That can only mean one thing..."

Somebody had found something interesting.

As it happened, a couple of utility workers had stumbled across the entrance to an underground chamber of sorts while digging a trench for a new water line. Most discoveries during her career, it seemed, were of this nature (at least the exciting ones). That, she had learned from experience, could be both a blessing and a curse. For one, the work involved in actually finding a site evaporated, saving her much time and money. The flipside, as she had also found through her forty years in the field, was that utility workers tended to be curious and sometimes damaged the context of the site, causing no end of frustration and many long days of work for her.

As she stepped out of her vehicle, a representative from the utilities department approached.

"Did any of your workers physically enter the chamber?" she asked, dreading the answer somewhat.

"Two of them went in," came the expected response. "The backhoe wiped out the door that was there, so nobody thought it would be a big deal if they took a quick peek. I can personally assure you that they took nothing. Actually, they buggered out of there pretty quick after one of them touched something."

"They touched something?"

"They said it was some sort of box filled with wiring and stuff. One of them dusted it off to get a better look and it started insulting them. Scared the piss out of those two, it did."
What was this box that they found and what did it have to do with skepticism? Find out by visiting the 32nd Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle.

Next up is Bora over at Science and Politics. He's scheduled for April 27 and will become the first blogger ever to pull a three-peat hosting the Circle. Start getting your skeptical entries ready to submit to him by April 26.

Hmmm. Maybe I should get my name back on the schedule. I'm the friggin' organizer, and I've only hosted twice...