Thursday, December 4, 2008

What do you want?

I'm out of town during the next week and a half, so I won't have a lot of blogging time. Remember that Salt Lake Skeptics in the Pub is on the 17th! I hope to you there!

I'd like to know what you would like to see in a skeptics group. If you are reading this, that means you! Please post in the comments and tell me a little about what you'd like to participate in, who you'd like to see, what your interests are, etc. Would you like laid-back house parties on particular issues? Drinking nights? Guest speakers? Lame contests with cool skeptical prizes (I have a few to give away on the 17th)?

Now is your chance! Post in the comments!

I mean it. Do it!


  1. Stumbled on this blog. It's a shame that I'm no longer in Salt Lake (I'm in Korea); would have loved this kind of group to help me cope living there. Good luck with the group.

  2. Hey Scott! If you ever make it back to Salt Lake, drop a line! :)

  3. I know what I want. I would like to see this website express some skepticism about science itself, not just attacks on science.

    What are some serious, mainstream scientific views held by academic which you think deserves more questioning.

    And don't take the easy way out and say "string theory" -plenty of people do that, e.g. Peter Woit.


  4. Nice bait, NS. Anyone who refers to "legitimate commentators like nutritionist Kevin Trudeau" on their blog is almost certainly a troll.

    Continuous questioning of "serious, mainstream" views is what science IS. Questioning, refining and questioning again is what scientists DO.

    All questions posed by science deserve "more questioning" so that we can continually improve upon our model of the universe.

  5. I didn't say Kevin Trudeau was right about anything. But he uses legitimate arguments and ideas. And he has a fundamental respect for science. That can't be said for some others!

    Of course I'm not defending his history with the law...


  6. Kevin Trudeau does many things, but using "legitimate arguments and ideas" is not among them. The man would sit by and watch a cancer patient die in agony if he thought he could make twenty bucks off of it.

  7. Oh christ- there wasn't even anything "expressed" on this page NS, just "hey, what do ya wanna do?", you know when we meet in person? Where you won't be anyway.

    You gotta troll everywhere, don't you?

    (Quit feeding him)

    I say, drinks, maybe book discussions, videos? Um, brawls? Yeah, drunken skeptical brawls.

  8. Ibby,

    That comment of yours is not constructive. There is literally nothing "troll" about what I am doing. I HAVE MY OWN BLOG. And I comment on other blogs that interest me - mostly blogs related to my chosen topics (science and math). Also, I'm not even sparking big discussions - a few comments here and there at best.

    So I don't know why you people keep labeling anything outside of your comfort zone as "troll."


  9. Whatever NS- I thought the question was "what should we do Wednesday night", we weren't discussing science (pseudo- or otherwise). Maybe you posted on the wrong blog entry.


  11. Now with added linkiness!:

    To anyone else reading these comments:
    Please don't let this stuff with NS distract you from adding your thoughts! The little comment war here has spanned at LEAST four separate blogs and should probably be put to rest here.

    I'd still ike to know what your thoughts are on what you'd like to see out fo the group.

  12. Kidding. well, maybe kidding. Drunken brawls plus fun.

    I can't wait til that conference coming up. That should be a big point to be made, like a save the date (if you can).

    Since I suck so bad at links Patrick....

    (I know it's been mentioned before, but it seems you never know this might be the only page one sees....)

  13. (Don't forget to point out- Steven Pinker!)

    The Evolution of Human Aggression: Lessons for Today’s Conflicts

    The 3rd Annual Barbara L. and Norman C. Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy Forum

    February 25 to 27, 2009 at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

    This forum is organized around four topics that illustrate how evolutionary theory can inform our understanding of human aggression, and tendencies toward violence. Can evolutionary theory help us prevent violence? Presentations will be by invited speakers representing a diversity of disciplines including evolutionary psychology, biological, physical, and cultural anthropology, archeology, and primatology. The meeting will also include a contributed poster session (see call for abstracts below). All sessions will be open to the public.

    Conflict and conflict resolution in great apes: This session will explore power, interpersonal violence, coalitional violence, and reconciliation in our closest primate cousins. Speakers and discussants in the session include:
    Frans De Waal, who will also give a Wednesday evening keynote lecture,
    Richard Wrangham,
    Joan Silk and
    Michael Plavcan.

    Coalitionary violence and warfare: This session focuses on raiding and warfare cross-culturally. What factors (cultural and environmental) favor coalitionary violence? How can we explain behavior that may be beneficial for the group but costly for participating individuals? These and related questions will be discussed by:
    Patricia Lambert,
    Pauline Wiessner
    Steven Pinker,
    Peter Turchin,
    Dominic Johnson and
    Richard Wrangham.

    Hormones and human dominance and aggression: Aggressive behavior is modulated by hormones. The literature shows that testosterone and its relationship to dominance and aggression is context-sensitive, affected by threat, competition, group stability, marriage, and childbearing. This session will consider how evolution has shaped these hormonal responses. Speakers and discussants in this session include:
    John Archer,
    Aaron Sell and
    Mark Flinn.

    Domestic violence: We will consider two domains of domestic violence that have received attention in the evolutionary social science literature: (1) spousal abuse, control over female sexuality, and homicide; and (2) child abuse and neglect, with special attention to economic and familial risks. Speakers and discussants in this session include:
    Martin Daly,
    Margo Wilson, and
    Sarah Hrdy
    John Archer
    Julie Fitness
    Aaron Goetz
    Lars Rodseth.

    Community forum on Violence: Conference participants will join with prominent community members and policy experts to discuss the implications of the evolutionary findings on violence for social policy.

  14. Yep! I'll add the conference as an event to the Meetup and Facebook groups shortly.

    I invited Steven Pinker and Frans De Waal to join us for a Skeptics in the Pub. Because of the conference, neither could commit, but welcomed anyone from the group to come say hi during the conference... So, let's go say hi and twist their arms a bit. ;)

    I'm excited for this one!