Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 22 Meetup

I'll be out of town, Bryan is in charge and he has decreed NO TOPIC. I'll admit this makes me a bit nervous as a group of skeptics with no focus may let their imaginations run wild and I'll be seeing the headlines from LA "Secretive Group Barricades Themselves in Bar, Declares Hale's Free State" or some such piracy. Which of course would make me very proud. Anyway, have fun and I'll see you in January.

PS Could someone remind Bryan to make reservations?

Monday, December 6, 2010


To see the topic for the meetup on December 8th which will be the topic for the meetup from November 24th that was canceled then wasn't then was. Sorry about the confusion....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hey we're gonna be there!

Hale's is open as of Tuesday and things can only get better so the meetup is still on. Don't come unless you can get there safely.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Yes, I'm late and again I apologize - life gets in the way. Next week's meetup will be moderated by Kelly and he has chosen a favorite form of woo, Astrology.

Please to watch this video

I'm quite sure it will make your head explode! Then off to Phil Plait's site for a little lesson in bad astronomy and off to the Skeptic's Dictionary for a description of the Forer Effect.

What's going on with this astrologer? How was he so accurate? What did you notice about the video that may have provided a clue? All this and more on Wednesday night at Hales - see you then!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meeting #? recap and new meetup info...

I've lost count but the homeopathic overdose was awesome. Andrew and Wes suffered no ill-effects, I had a hangover but I think it was due to the two 8% beers I had. Or maybe just having to get up at 5:30 after getting home at 11 and the requisite insomnia. Either way, well-done, participants and I hope we all OD again real soon. Stay tuned for more 10^23 news.

Co-founder of Kitsap County Skeptics, Skeptic Bryan, has decided that the next meetup should focus on the anti-vaccination movement and it's not too soon as 10 infants in California have died this year from an out break of whooping cough. I don't even know where to start so I won't. Please listen to Skeptically Speaking episode #82 Desiree Schell gonna raise a little hell! or on Itunes.

Also please subscribe to Vaccine Times and forward this to your GP should you be lucky enough to have health insurance. Print out a copy or two and leave it in their office. They like that. Kind of like a welcome Watchtower.

See you next week!
Amber K.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Please excuse the lateness of this post!

But I've been fighting this illness everyone else in Kitsap County seems to have - a combination of TB and Typhoid that renders you too disgusting for public but not quite sick enough to take more than a couple days off of work. Awesome.

Perhaps I should head to Super Supplements and procure a homeopathic remedy! OR maybe not, because there's nothing in it! Skeptic Wes suggested we further explore CAM, especially homeopathy and I'm fully on board with that cause there's nothing more disgusting than people charging a gazillion dollars for a bottle of purified water...I think many in the US think homeopathy is herbal medicine but I assure you it is NOT.

So here's a couple podcasts to pique your interest the  RI podcast detailing the 10^23 overdose and our favorite UK skeptic Marsh in his dulcet tones, explaining the event.

Also Andy Wilson (of Merseyside Skeptics & InKredulous) was recently on Token Skeptic with the lovely Kylie Sturgess speaking of the next 10^23 stunt to be executed on Feb 5 - during qedcon which most of us will not likely be able to attend...which you can listen to here or read the transcript at

I've contacted Andy and he's going to forward our info to DJ Grothe so we can take part in whatever is going on with the 10^23 campaign here in the states. Cheers, Andy!

Also you can visit the 10^23 website or look at the wikipedia entry on homeopathy for more info.

Looking forward to seeing you all on October 27th and also lets keep a mass Trick or Treating in mind for those of us with children of that age...I'm going as Christine O'Donnell...I'm not a witch - I'm you!

Amber K.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


For plant biologists, CAM is a super funky method of photosynthesis. Plants are much more interesting than people, folks! However, for the rest of us, CAM stands for "Complimentary and Alternative Medicine."

What is Complimentary and Alternative Medicine? It's a $34 BILLION industry (just in the US!) based on untested and unproven quackery to rival science-based medicine - often touted as better because conventional medicine is only "in it for the money." And it really pisses me off. 

Many of you may be aware of the 10^23 campaign run by Michael Marshall and our friends at the Merseyside Skeptics Society - if you're not, read up on it, but even more importantly Marsh and Hayley Stevens of BARsoc did an interview with Rhys Morgan - a 15 year old that deals with the pain of Crohn's disease and noticed that someone on his Crohn's disease support forum was touting the "Miracle Mineral Solution" or MMS. He did some research and found the FDA warning on the substance (see it here) which he posted and was subsequently banned from the site. Since then he's been on quite a few podcasts and in the UK papers, warning people of the dangers of drinking what is touted as a cure all for AIDS, cancer, the flu, etc etc but is, in fact, industrial bleach.

For this week's discussion please listen to episode 67 of the Righteous Indignation podcast which can be found here or on Itunes. There's a special bit at the end of this podcast which has nothing to do with MMS, but if you don't listen to it I'll know about it. Special thanks to Marsh and Trystan Swale of Righteous Indignation. That's all I can say at this point.

Also if you have time, listen to episode 68 of the same podcast, the first part of an interview with the "inventor" of MMS, Jim Humble. It is well worth listening to. The second part will be posted forthwith. You have no idea how much I've wanted to use "forthwith" in a sentence since losing the 4th grade spelling bee over that word. Just kidding, I actually lost it over "necessary".

OK - there are a thousand other places to research CAM and there's a gazillion (that's a real word) different methods. Why should we believe evil Big Pharma and the FDA and not believe in CAM? Because we have a very useful tool on our side - science - which is not run by evil corporations (though it is abused by them) but by the good guys - scientists. We have peer review - a plodding, flawed system that makes mistakes but is the best tool we have to move things along. Once a method of CAM has been peer-reviewed and showed to be efficacious it loses it's CAM designation and we call it something different - medicine.

Can't wait to see you all on October 13th at Hales.
Amber K.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It was aliens! I seen 'em!

Apologies that this is so late...this has been a busy week.

This weeks discussion was chosen by skeptic Bryan and an excellent one it is, UFO's and Ufology. It's one that's sure to be a lot of fun.
Discussion materials are Skeptoid episodes 208 & 218 (they're short)
and an eight minute video preview of the Westhall UFO documentary. I can't find the entire show online, I did see it when it came out but the link I had has disappeared.
How can so many people at once, over such a long time period, over the entire surface of the earth claim to see alien craft and yet no definitive evidence of actual aliens and alien craft exist? GOOOOOOD question and one we'll discuss Wednesday night at Hales. - please RSVP so I know how big the table should be - also if you're ALWAYS going to be there and want me to just assume that, let me know as well.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday Outreach Booth called off....

Well, folks, the enthusiasm which greeted this idea at the meeting did not actually translate into any offers of ideas or volunteers so I have to call it off. I didn't want to put anymore time into it until I got some help, so I'm only out an hour or two and a few pulled strings. If anyone is interested in this kind of thing in the future, let me know. I'm willing to put a lot of effort into this group, but I'm no martyr and I'm just as busy as everyone else. Sorry it didn't work out this time.

I also got some ideas for volunteerism we could do as a group which I'll post here later as well as a topic for the next meetup which I haven't even considered yet. Discussion ideas, as always, are welcome.

Oh by the way my phone died in a bizarre gardening accident and I won't have a new one till Wednesday or Thursday so I can't get calls or texts till then. Email or FB pleez.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kitsap County Skeptics Community Outreach booth

Well, last meetup was the best yet, lots of lively debate and differing opinions with the minimum required dickery. I think the general consensus at the end was that being a skepdick is required in some situations, not suitable in others and it's up to us as skeptics to be able to know the difference. I think Michael Marshall summed it up best when he said something to the effect of stop arguing about whether or not to be a dick, just go out and do your skepticism and make a difference.

So we're taking his advice. We've arranged to have a booth at the opening day of the Minder's Meats corn maze, Saturday, September 25. I've got us a space and a booth, table and chairs - now what we need is input from all the skeptics about what kind of literature we went to present and we really need a LOGO! I know some of you are artisty-types (I'm not naming names, you know who you are ;) - so if anyone wants to tackle this project using the initials KCS and something skepticky, please do so. If it's left to me it'll be lame, I promise you. Anyway we'd like to avoid the magnifying glass because it is, as Adam Carolla says, rather "fucked-out."  If anyone just wants to shout out ideas to be developed into a logo, PLEASE PLEASE do so.

So we need - a logo, distribution materials (I just need .pdf files, I'll copy them on neon paper we've got lying around at work, I've informed my boss I will be stealing office supplies), maybe some decorative stuff for the booth and bodies to man it. Or woman it. Human it.

Ideas for materials include a brochure describing us and what we do and contact info plus maybe contact info for JREF, Center For Inquiry, etc. Also this is a kid-heavy event so I think we should hit the science education aspect hard. We could have flyers on-hand for space camp, skepticamp and stuff like Junior Skeptic.

I'll be there to set up the booth in time for opening at 10am. The event goes till 10 but most vendors will be leaving by 6 and I think that's more than enough - if things are slow we can probably pull out early. This may end up being great or it may suck, but we'll never know until we give it a shot. I think two people at a time can be at the booth and I'd like to keep everyone to two hour shifts unless you want to work longer, so basically we'll need 1 person from 10-12, two from 12-2, two from 2-4, and one from 4-6 (I'll take opening and closing cause I'm responsible for the tent) So 5 people, 2 hours each or MORE if you want...we can have 4 or 5 people there at a time, I just want to make sure nobody is there by themselves. I'll post a "schedule" you can sign up for somehow on the weekend.

So there it is, we have a little over a week to organize this but since everyone in the group is exceptionally intelligent and creative I don't think we'll have any problem getting it together.  Comment here, on the meetup page or on FB,  email or call or text me or Bryan for more info and any contributions you may have. Oh. The booth is $10, so if everyone wants to bring a dollar to the atheists meetup or the booth itself, that'll help!

Amber K.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Meetup #4 and Meetup #3 Recap...

Meetup #3 - Ghosts and the Paranormal was well-attended and managed to stay on topic for almost 45 minutes! We're getting there.

Also yesterday a Skeptical Heathens hike in an undisclosed location on the Olympic Peninsula was awesome and we really do need to arrange more of those in the future. Here's a crappy cell-phone photo of our destination.

 If you look carefully you can see there are some areas of the photo that are in focus.

I'm going to be posting links to this blog on the events page on both the Facebook Group and Meetup Group pages and all information will be posted here from now on. This is the PLACE TO BE to find info on the next meetup.

Skeptic Rick has graciously offered to take the reins for Meetup #4 on September 15th at Hales Ales in Silverdale. Please RSVP either on the Facebook Group or the Meetup Group so I can get a proper reservation....See you there - Take it away...RICK!

Meetup #4 prep for discussion....

Basically the discussion boils down to: do you, as a skeptic, employ harsh criticism and ridicule against your enemy to jolt them away from their stupid ways, or do you use soft spoken, kind, respectful language in a friendly debate to ease the person away from their silly beliefs? Are you a dick, or an accomodationist?

Phil Plait's speech at TAM8, although it didn't start the whole discussion, it certainly put a fire under it:

Phil Plait is criticised for not really using any real data or evidence to prove that "being a dick" is bad for a skeptic, but it seems to make sense that not being a dick would be better and nicer and make us (the skeptics) out to be the good guys. On the other hand, it also seems to make sense that you can't ONLY be nice and kind to people who are doing things that could potentially kill you or your kids (antivaxxers come to mind...).

He wrote some blog updates, part 2 and 3:

Here are the two main criticisms, 2 from PZ Myers and 1 brief comment from Richard Dawkins:

There are plenty of links in there too for additional reading. And in case you don't regularly read either Plait's or Myers' blogs, here are the links for those as well:
Phil Plait's blog:
PZ Myers' blog: http://scienceblogs.c...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meetup #3 & Meetup 2 Recap

Sorry this is so late but though I had meant to be home early tonight, the Kitsap Atheists meetup was so fun I lingered far longer than I intended.

First, a recap on the last meetup - it was a bit disjointed and off-topic, the music is a bit loud at the Global Bean so we'll be moving our meetings to Hales, just like the Atheists meetup. We'll be working on making the discussion more productive over the next months...we welcome any suggestions and PLEASE if you want to run a meetup yourself and have a topic you are passionate about - please let us know. Bryan and I are both parents and exhausted most of the time...we welcome your interest and your focus, youth and vitality. We assume you have all of those...That said, the topic "cognitive dissonance" was a fantastic one and one we should revisit at a later date. I learned a lot and so did Bryan and I think we may not have given the topic its due.

Second, this meetup was originally going to be on the paranormal - ghosts, spirits, psychic phenomena and cryptozoology but I think we're going to leave cryptozoology to it's own meetup, it's too much to cover in one. I've been listening to podcasts all week trying to figure out which one we should focus on. Of course it wouldn't be a discussion of the paranormal without Ben Radford - so I listened to no fewer than 10 interviews on various podcasts and I think the one that asks the most interesting questions and different questions is that on "For Good Reason" with DJ Grothe - here
or of course on Itunes at For Good Reason 5/22/2010. It's about 27 minutes long. That's the only one of Ben Radford that will be discussed at the Meetup, but if you google Ben Radford you'll find a bunch of other podcasts he's been on, including Skepticality and Righteous Indignation. All are worth listening to.

Secondly, I don't know how we could possibly address this subject without the help of James Randi. So the second podcast  will be James Randi on Monster Talk talking about The Columbus Poltergeist. This is on Itunes on Monster Talk 7/21/2010 or at

For further info on the topic because, dammit, I listened to a two dozen podcasts...there's one at the podcast "Beyond Ghosts Interactive Paranormal Podcast" (Google it) with Ben Radford in which he explains the skeptic vs believer point of view very well, however the podcast hosts are so horrible to listen to I didn't want to ask anyone to listen to it. The believers didn't make a good case and so it's very one-sided but still has valuable information. 

So two podcasts, about an hour and a half total listening and a lot of good information. I hope we can all come to the meetup armed with a story of something we believed in in the past and how we changed that belief and also a story of someone close to us who believes in something we don't and we can all get together and figure out how to explain to them why we don't accept their beliefs in a respectful way. Or just have a beer and a good time...

See you next week...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kitsap Skeptics Meetup #2

August 18th at the Global Bean, Silverdale, 7-9pm

The topic for this meeting will be cognitive dissonance. Two podcasts have been chosen for pre-meetup listening. They are episodes 8 & 63 of "Psychology in Everyday Life: The Psych Files" - which you can search on Itunes or use this link

These podcasts explain the concept of cognitive dissonance and include discussion of several very interesting studies on the subject, including "the Monty Hall Problem." Both are about 20 minutes long and should inspire some interesting discussion on the 18th. See you there!

Friday, August 6, 2010

First meeting went...ok!

Ok so some emails were missed and some participants weren't aware of the discussion topic, but we slogged through. Imagine so many methods of communication and still managed a FAIL. My bad. I hope everyone is dialed in now to our three web interfaces, Facebook, Meetup and Blogspot. You can just search Kitsap County Skeptics on any of these to get to where the info is.

At this meetup we explored:

Do extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?
How a professional "debater" can win an argument with no evidence.
Does Alex Tskaris really believe what he's saying, or is he a charlatan?
Some types of logical fallacy.
Controls in scientific experiments - the null hypothesis.

Next meetup will be a discussion of cognitive dissonance...I'm sure we all have a lot to say about this, especially in today's political climate with our incredibly crazy cable news media. We all have a relative that says government is evil while simultaneously enjoying the accomplishments of our government such as clean air, water, roads, Social Security or Medicare, for example. Skeptic Bryan Shorten will be hosting this meetup and we'll be posting the relevant study links/podcasts as soon as they're available.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcome to Kitsap County Skeptics Blog

I'll come up with a better name for it later. Here's the info on the first meetup.

Meetup #1
7pm, August 4th
The Global Bean, Silverdale

We're going to hit the ground running for the first meeting. The first topic of discussion will be paranormal claims in this case psychic mediums and how they are tested.

The following podcast will be referenced...the interview with Alex Tsakiris in particular.

This is Righteous Indignation Podcast Unluckydip#4, also available on Itunes. The reason I've chosen this particular interview is that Alex is very good at what he does...and uses all the tricks of logical fallacy to try to win this argument. It's a veritable crash course in the Gish Gallop.
You can look up this and types of logical fallacy on

We'll be discussing the following study done by Julie Beischel

It's also discussed on Alex Tsakiris's show Skeptiko –

One thing we'll be discussing is how to test psychic claims and how to design a scientific experiment the proper way. If you are confused as to what is actually wrong with the way this study was done, here is a pretty good rundown of the issues with the paper.

And also RI #33 has an interview with Alex Tsakiris as well.

Thanks and hope to see you at the Global Bean, this Thursday at 7pm!