Circular Reasoning

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

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Twentieth Meeting of the Skeptics Circle

The Twentieth Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle has been posted at The Uncredible Hallq. Take a break from the usual credulity of the blogosphere to appreciate bloggers who are trying to apply critical thinking and science to claims that desperately cry out for such treatment. Chris has done a fine job of lining up a variety of skeptical professors to teach at the College of Skepticism.

Next up on November 10 is Pooflingers Anonymous, an up-and-coming skeptical blog. I just hope that Matt has recovered from the epic task he took upon himself and recently completed. The task? Sitting through and then debunking 12 Kent Hovind videotapes about evolution, a task he calls The Hovind Files: Lying for Jesus. Such concentrated exposure to such an enormous amount of antiscientific creationist twaddle can tax even the most dedicated skeptic. On the other hand, Matt sure made a name for himself.

I have to give Matt a lot of credit, though. Having tried to listen to the InfidelGuy's interview with Kent Hovind (iTunes required), I realize just how big a bullet Matt took for the team, skeptically speaking. That was a .44 Magnum slug! I couldn't get through more than about 15 minutes of Hovind's blathering and asking if you "came from a rock" or "came from a monkey" before I couldn't stand it anymore and had to turn it off in order to preserve what little remains of my sanity. I could feel my neurons dying after just a brief exposure. Personally, if I'm going to kill off any of the neurons in my brain, I'd rather do it in a pleasurable fashion, perhaps by drinking some good beer, rather than listening to someone like Hovind. Matt must be made of sterner (or crazier) stuff.

Finally, as always, I'm looking for hosts. If you think you'd like to host a Skeptics' Circle, drop me a line at The schedule and guidelines are here and here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Just a reminder: There's one week to go before the next edition of the Skeptics' Circle. It will be held on Thursday, October 27 at The Uncredible Hallq. Get your best skeptical blogging submitted to him before Wednesday night and join us for the festivities. I suspect that, with the legal proceedings going on in Dover these days, that there will be a lot to say about some of the more ridiculous statements emanating from the pro-ID side...

And, as always, Orac sez: If you're a blogger and want to host a future edition of the Circle, drop me a line at The guidelines and schedule are here, with more detailed guidelines (for the hardcore) here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Nineteenth Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle

The Nineteenth Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle has been called to order at Time to Lean. Let's give Kelly a hand for overcoming great adversity to put together another fine collection of skeptical blogging, hosted by, well, I'll let Kelly tell the tale:

Hear ye, hear ye! Welcome, all you bums and rabblerowsers to the 19th Skeptic's Circle, hosted by me, carny and reformed convict, Bill "Leatherface" Jones, which features many skeptical acts all over the midway!

Says Leatherface, haggard, complete with the stench of vodka, "There was some grift over at Time to Lean, but I got something up my sleeve for those hooligans who did the crime: Cold, mean skepticism served with a wrinkled face and a furrowed brow. Step right up if you dare to compete, you townies! What are you...chicken?"

Kelly's right. Skepticism really is a dish best served up cold.

Before I rush off to the O.R., let me just mention that next up for the Twentieth Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle is The Uncredible Hallq. He'll be here in a fortnight with another collection of the best skepticism the blogosphere has to offer.

As always, the schedule of past and future Meetings of the Skeptics' Circle is here. If you have a blog and think you have what it takes to host, drop me a line at, and I'll see about getting you on the schedule.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Skepticism is a dish best served cold--like vengeance

Great news. Kelly is going to host this week's Skeptics' Circle after all. She has Time to Lean up and running again, albeit still missing many posts (kind of like the Enterprise running only on impulse power). It turns out her soon-to-be ex deleted her blog and messed with her e-mail accounts. I did not reveal this last night for privacy reasons, but now that she's mentioned it on her own blog I no longer feel constrained from openly wondering what kind of a petty little lame-ass would do something like that.

Fortunately, Kelly's a trooper and plans on continuing. Unfortunately, if you sent her an entry Monday night, she may not have gotten it. I've forwarded everything sent to me on to Kelly, but that doesn't necessarily mean she got it. So, if you sent in your submission last night or this morning, you might want to consider sending it again. Help her get up to warp speed again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Skeptics' Circle emergency announcement

This week's host of the Skeptics' Circle, Kelly, has informed me that she is having serious technical difficulties with her blog, Time to Lean, which is presently inaccessible and may have even been deleted. More details will be forthcoming just as soon as I learn them, and there may come a need to change where the carnival is posted this week.

In the meantime, in the 45 hours or so remaining before the deadline, if you have not done so already, please send your entries to Kelly at or to me at

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Under new management

Due to St. Nate's decision to depart from the blogosphere in July, the Skeptics' Circle is now under new management. My thoughts on how the Circle should be run from now on, which complement Nate's original guidelines, can be found here. Over the next few weeks, I will be revamping this page as I get the time. In the meantime, far more importantly, I'm on the lookout for hosts. If you're interested in hosting the Skeptics' Circle, contact me, Orac, at

And check back here for updates and a schedule of past, present, and future Skeptics' Circles.

The Skeptics' Circle archive and schedule

The Skeptics' Circle is a biweekly carnival for bloggers who apply critical thought to questionable stories.

It is intended to be, as much as possible, apolitical. For purposes of the Circle that means not touching social causes mired in political action and for which multiple viewpoints can be reasonably supported by empiric data or for which the heart of the disagreement is primarily political or philosophical. That means no posts about how the war in Iraq is going to bankrupt our nation or how liberal activists are pushing “institutionalized racism,” malpractice caps, or anything about abortion, with only very rare exceptions. This is also not the place for personal causes. If you think personal light rail is a bad idea in your area, take that up with your local politicians and media. The Circle was created to clear up things rendered unnecessarily mysterious and fight frauds (paranormal, urban legends, etc.), pseudoscience (creationism, perpetual motion machines, for example), quackery (homeopathy, for example), and pseudohistory (Holocaust denial, for example), not to push anyone’s political agenda. Admittedly, there are times when the line between politics and skepticism may not be so clear, but most of the time it is fairly obvious.

Most importantly, the data used to debunk or make a case should be empirical, which is why hotly debated social issues where there really is no clear answer at present are outside the scope of this carnival. Posts discussing or arguing such issues should be submitted to one of the many political blog carnivals out there. On the other hand, a few specific issues that are unavoidably political are within the scope of this carnival. The most prominent examples come from creationism and intelligent design, because they are clearly not scientific concepts but, particularly in the case of intelligent design, are being represented as such for political and ideological, rather than scientific, reasons.

Appropriate Subjects

Here are the ideal topics for a Skeptics’ Circle submission:

Urban legends. Heard a story about a friend-of-a-friend repeated from other friends and want to find out whether or not it’s true? See a hoax you want to warn people about? Have a strange looking picture forwarded to your e-mail? Don’t leave it all to Snopes, do a little digging and see for yourself whether or not it’s true.

The paranormal. Want to prove how silly astrologists, psychics, ghosts, UFOs, or Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) are? You better believe we’ve got a place for you! All we ask is to keep it more scientific-based than snarky, although there’s nothing wrong with some sarcasm to keep it funny.

Quackery. Of all the subjects included in the Circle, this may be the most likely to save someone's life. There is a lot of potentially harmful questionable medical advice out there being pushed faster than researchers can debunk it.

Pseudoscience. You don’t need to be a professor to know something flat-out doesn’t make sense. If you hear a theory that makes everything you learned from your high school laboratory experiments sound wrong, odds are it’s wrong. Intelligent design fits into this category, because it’s less of a political issue than it is an attempt to superimpose beliefs over factsand the political connotations are side-issues at best.

Historical revision. If someone’s promoting a crooked timeline to try to deny or ignore a major event in history or forcing an incorrect view of the past, prove them wrong. Ideological reinterpretations have done too much harm to the world already.

Critical thinking. Posts dealing with the meta-analytical process behind sorting out the reason from the misinformation fit in this catch-all category.


To have your writing included in an upcoming edition of the Skeptics' Circle, send an e-mail with the URL for your post along with a brief description to the host.

To host an upcoming circle, send an e-mail to Additional guidelines can be found here.





January 3, 2008
The 77th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Whitecoat Underground

January 17, 2008
The 78th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Skeptical Surfer

January 31, 2008
The 79th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Podblack Blog

Februrary 14, 2008
The 80th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Bug Girl's Blog

February 28, 2008
The 81st Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Conspiracy Factory

March 13, 2008
The 82nd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes

March 27, 2008
The 83rd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Mike's Weekly Skeptic Rant

April 10, 2008
The 84th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Archaeoporn

April 24, 2008
The 85th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Andrea's Buzzing About:

May 8, 2008
The 86th Skeptics' Circle
, hosted by The Skepbitch

May 22, 2008
The 87th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Action Skeptics

June 5, 2008
The 88th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Jyunri Kankei

June 19, 2008
The 89th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ionian Enchantment

July 3, 2008
The 90th Skeptics' Circle
, hosted by The Millenium Project

July 17, 2008
The 91st Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Sorting Out Science

July 31, 2008
The 92nd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Lay Scientist

August 14, 2008
The 93rd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by City of Skeptics

August 28, 2008
The 94th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by Reduce to Common Sense

September 11, 2008
The 95th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Skeptimedia

September 25, 2008
The 96th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Endcycle

October 9, 2008
The 97th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Evolved and Rational

October 23, 2008
The 98th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Uncredible Hallq

November 6, 2008
The 99th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ferret's Cage

November 20, 2008
The 100th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Respectful Insolence.

December 4, 2008
The 101st Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ionian Enchantment

December 18, 2008
The 102nd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes

January 1, 2009
No Skeptics' Circle due to the Holiday. (Even skeptics need a holiday or two every now and then.)

January 15, 2009
The 103rd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Bug Girl's Blog

January 29, 2009
The 104th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Space City Skeptics

February 12, 2009
The 105th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by It's the Thought That Counts

February 26, 2009
The 106th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Disillusioned Words

March 12, 2009
The 107th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Skeptics' Field Guide

March 26, 2009
The 108th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Podblack Cat

April 9, 2009
The 109th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Lay Scientist

April 23, 2009
Cancelled, due to the illness of the host (Waffle)

May 7, 2009
The 110th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ferret's Cage

May 21, 2009
The 111th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Action Skeptics

June 4, 2009
The 112th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by Chelshire

June 18, 2009
The 113th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Uncredible Hallq

July 2, 2009
The 114th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Homologous Legs

July 16, 2009
The 115th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by Effort Sisyphus

July 30, 2009
The 116th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Beyond the Short Coat

August 13, 2009
The 117th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ionian Enchantment

August 27, 2009
The 118th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Evolving Mind

September 10, 2009
The 119th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Cubik's Rube

September 24, 2009
The 120th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Pro-Science

October 8, 2009
The 121st Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Mad Skeptic

October 22, 2009
The 122nd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Young Australian Skeptics

November 5, 2009
The 123rd Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Blue Genes

November 19, 2009
The 124th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Beyond the Short Coat

December 3, 2009
The 125th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Effort Sisyphus

December 17, 2009
The 126th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Weird Things

December 31, 2009
The 127th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Life, The Universe, and One Brow

January 14, 2010
The 128th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Ionian Enchantment

January 28, 2010
The 129th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The SkeptVet

February 11, 2010
The 130th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by The Lay Scientist

February 25, 2010
The 131th Skeptics' Circle, hosted by Providentia

March 11, 2010
The 132th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by Ionian Enchantment

March 25, 2010
The 133rd Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by The Digital Cuttlefish

April 8, 2010
The 134th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by Divisible by Pi

April 22, 2010
The 135th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by The Skeptical Teacher

May 6, 2010
The 136th Skeptics' Circle, to be hosted by 360 Degree Skeptic

Besides the holes in the schedule above, every other Thursday from May 20, 2010 onward is also OPEN FOR ANY SKEPTICAL BLOGGER WHO WANTS TO VOLUNTEER TO HOST!


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