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.