Archive for category: Skepticism

Going To Do My Civic Duty

27 Aug
August 27, 2017

I got something that I haven’t gotten for about fifteen years – a jury summons. It’s been even longer than that since I sat at the courthouse waiting to be called. That got me to thinking of what has changed in my thinking since the last time I sat in the pool.

1. I started carrying a gun on a regular basis. That alone has radically shifted my worldview, but then I attended trainings and started learning about the legalities of self defense – and the intricacies of the legal system.

2. I don’t have the automatic deference to police that my younger self had. Because of the powers that a police officer are granted, I’m more likely to hold them to a higher standard.

3. I don’t trust forensics as much as I used to. Some forensic tools, such as DNA testing, were developed through rigorous processes, and are generally reliable. Others, such as handwriting and hair analysis, were developed in crime labs, and are less reliable. Then there’s the small item of the numerous lab scandals.

4. I no longer expect the heroic prosecutors and scumbag defense attorneys. If anything, I don’t trust either side. Probably about as much as I trust MSNBC and Fox to present their cases.

And now I have to go through my EDC and start yanking out stuff that is not allowed at the courthouse. That may take a bit.

Friday Quote- 5/20/16

20 May
May 20, 2016

“To love truth for the truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.”

John Locke

Friday Quote – 4/8/16

08 Apr
April 8, 2016

“Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.”

Christopher Hitchens

Friday Quote- 3/18/16

18 Mar
March 18, 2016

“A fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity is to hold a belief true because you think it useful and not because you believe it to be true.”

Bertrand Russell

Michael Shermer Blasts Lack of Ideological Diversity in Social Sciences

18 Feb
February 18, 2016

His article in Sci-Am is worth a read.

Shermer begins with saying the insanity taking place on college campuses can be laid at the feet of having no other ideologies to act as a reality balance. Locked in an echo chamber, it’s a race to the extremes – kind of like a primary race. 

Then Shermer lays out that bias affects not only the descriptive terms used during studies (conservative values as indicators of mental disorders), but in how the data is interpreted. 

RTWT

Friday Quote – 1/29/16

29 Jan
January 29, 2016
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

Richard Feynman, from the Rogers Commission Report on the Challenger disaster

Friday Quote – 12/4/15

04 Dec
December 4, 2015

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?

Carl Sagan 

Perhaps the Most Glorious Scientific Paper Written

13 Nov
November 13, 2015

https://isotropic.org/papers/chicken.pdf​

Doug Zongker of University of Washington, you are my hero!

P.S. There’s even a PowerPoint!

Friday Quote- 8/14/15

14 Aug
August 14, 2015

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself.

Dr. Richard Feynman

Friday Quote – 6/26/15

26 Jun
June 26, 2015

No amount of belief makes something a fact.

James Randi