Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Doubting with the SciSchmooze

Herb Masters
10 June 2024

Greetings Science Appreciators, Critical Thinkers and Science and Reason based Skeptics,

The challenge of understanding the meaning, intent, and consequences of what we face these days is immense. I think we need to be able to have confidence in the validity of what you personally believe to make informed decisions that may have major consequences to each of us as well as to the community as a whole. So how do you know what to accept or believe?

Consider any or all of these recent examples… One of those always hot topics is climate change. Here are a few items you may not have seen recently. Panama’s Gardi Sugdub has started it’s evacuation because of the impact of sea level rise. CO2 levels are continuing to set records, 0.80% increase in the last year. One consequence of global warming is giving society a few extra years to prepare for a potential Y2K-style glitch, There are many other challenges that might be considered real and present threats.

Science has been misrepresented in law enforcement for years. Voice stress analysis is a flawed and unreliable technology that is currently in use and being marketed to law enforcement agencies. How about “forensic DNA phenotyping”? This is also in use and being marketed!

It seems that AI is something we will never escape and it threatens so many creative people with stealing there intellectual property as well as identity and wealth. Cara, the AI-Skeptical Artist Portfolio App starts this way… “I want AI to do my laundry and dishes so that I can do art and writing, not for AI to do my art and writing so that I can do my laundry and dishes,”

I don’t want to go very far into politics but the upcoming elections have the potential to do serious damage to the public understanding of science, and the public too! There are tools we can use to sort things out that we might not think we can understand. Here are a few suggestions… 11 Rules for Critical Thinking and Daniel Dennett: Tools for Critical Thinking

There are two great opportunities next month to really dive in to some great skeptical thinking and resources. Starting on June 19 and going, literally, for 24 hours is Global Skeptics in the Pub! It will begin at 7pm local time in New Zealand on Friday, July 19, will go around the world, and end at 9pm local time in Hawai’i (24 hours later on the same calendar day) There will be people from all around the world. (If you have any doubts let me put them to rest… The earth is round!) Also, if you have friends, colleagues, and/or family around the world this is a good opportunity for them to get involved in some interesting discussions. It is being hosted by Oregonians for Science and Reason in conjunction with SkeptiCal 2024 which will run from July 19-21

Now that summer is almost here (technically) there are some different opportunities to celebrate and learn about how the universe works. Here are a few that I like and recommend…

The Science of Healthy Muscle, Strength, and Aging Tue @ 7:00 is a bit north but I know I need more info on the subject!

Are Americans Really Anti-Science? Livestream Thu 7:00 AM

Foothills Family Nature Walk Sat @ 11:00

There are many local museums and other organizations that work hard to keep their programming and exhibits fresh and interesting. I hope that you don’t just go once in awhile or not at all. A better action is to take out membership and keep going back to see and learn cool new stuff. I hope you will send me some suggestions to include next week. Check out…

Kinetic Creations at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo. CuriOdyssey, (like the Bay Model Visitor Center) is a local treasure that really deserves a visit from you and your family and friends from anywhere. Kinetic Creations is a blast and and there’s a zoo there as well!

ExtraOrdinary! at the explOratorium is a must see if you get anywhere near The City. The advertising is all over but the art pieces are amazing. Remember that they are open Thursday evenings for adults only.

There are so many things to read and catch up on! If you’re looking for some more or something different here are a few suggestions

From Mesopotamia and ancient Greece to precolonial India and medieval London, gender has always been more than a binary.

Alzheimer’s Type Identified That Involves Gene Variant Carried by 2% of Population

I ran a marathon in full PPE not to long ago most people didn’t know what PPE is!

Appreciating the world is random can foster perseverance, gratitude for our own luck and empathy for the plight of others

Siberia’s Spectacular ‘Garbage’ Beach

There’s so much more going on! Please keep curious and get out and share life with others.
herb masters

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Isaac Asimov “Cult of Ignorance” 1980

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