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Preview: Michigan Skeptics Association

Michigan Skeptics Association



Critical Thinkers and Skeptics of Michigan Unite!



Updated: 2017-06-07T21:29:44Z

 



PineCreek, the Best Atheist YouTube Channel You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

2017-06-07T21:29:44Z

If you’re a skeptical atheist in search of a new YouTube channel, but looking for something that isn’t heavy on mockery or debate – one that offers great conversations with […] class='youtube-player' type='text/html' width='900' height='537' src='http://www.youtube.com/embed/iOg9gO5u6qw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent' allowfullscreen='true' style='border:0;'> If you’re a skeptical atheist in search of a new YouTube channel, but looking for something that isn’t heavy on mockery or debate – one that offers great conversations with a touch of class and humor – then Doug’s YouTube channel, PineCreek, is for you. He doesn’t have a ton of subscribers yet, but he probably should. His videos do tend to run long, but they’re great to listen to and he has some well known guests like Richard Carrier, Paul from Paulogia, Greg Locke and James White (though White’s comments were prerecorded). Doug  has satisfying conversations with all of them about their beliefs. Sometimes his interviews are about religion, and not just with Christians. He interviewed several pagans on his channel. Sometimes it’s about the shape of the Earth, as he has a number of videos with flat-earthers as guests. There’s a recap of the Robert Price VS Bart Ehrman debate along with other reviews of videos posted to YouTube. And he answers comments. So do some of his guests, so be prepared for a response if you post comments about anyone he’s interviewed. If you catch his videos live, you can even participate in live chats with him and his guests. Doug is a former Mennonite and, not unlike myself, he is married to someone who still believes in God. Here is what it says on his Twitter account: I believe doubt is a virtue that can lead to humility and certainty can lead to arrogance. Note that Doug’s videos can run for more than two hours, so if you can only stand small soundbites, this might not be for you. I often take them in pieces, not always listening to them in full at one sitting. But some of them are half-an-hour or less. He goes through some of his longer videos and breaks them down into chapters so you can advance through them, one subject at a time, using links in the description below his videos. Here are some recommendations if you want to get started with Doug’s channel. I hope you’ll give it a try. A christian who accepts evolution and one that doesn’t. This is the video pictured at the top of the page. Doug has had both guests on before (see the other links below). Both are Christians. One is a scientist who believes evolution is true (he promotes this web site in one of his other interviews with Doug). The other is a pastor (with his own YouTube channel) who doesn’t buy into the theory. A lot of good stuff in this one. Faith and Science; Dr. Mary Schweitzer and Dr. Randy Isaac Randy Isaac is the scientist interviewed in the first link above. Both he and Mary are scientists who also happen to be Christians. Doug respectfully talks to them about their beliefs and about how they reconcile their faith with the knowledge of science. Pastor Mike Winger and I talk about Objective Morality This is another one with Mike Winger, the Pastor from the first video. Mike’s points were good enough to make me think about the merits of skepticism. I’m still a skeptic, but it isn’t that often when a believer presents ideas that I haven’t heard before. Mike Brown, MDiv, MA: Belief, Evidence, and Dragons. I won’t lie to you. This one was tough. So much so that I finally started commenting on it myself. Mike Brown is a PhD candidate with a B.S. in history. When Doug asks him some challenging questions about his views on the historicity of Jesus and his views on the Bible as an authoritative source, Mike refuses to answer one or more of Doug’s questions. This got a lot of us riled up, as you’ll see in the comments, w[...]



Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Still Have a Major Pedophile Problem?

2016-03-15T17:57:07Z

A lot has happened since I wrote What You Don’t Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses And Pedophiles back in 2013. In that article, I tried to raise awareness of a problem […]A lot has happened since I wrote What You Don’t Know About Jehovah’s Witnesses And Pedophiles back in 2013. In that article, I tried to raise awareness of a problem that has largely gone unnoticed by the general public and even many Jehovah’s Witnesses. The issue concerns pedophiles and the rules that make it far too easy for them to molest children within their congregations. One of the biggest problems is known as the “two witness rule.” This policy stops elders from acting on an accusation of wrongdoing unless two people witness the crime or the accused confesses. I doubt many pedophiles would molest a child in front of another person, so the two witnesses rule leaves the deck stacked in the pedophiles’ favor right from the start. The problem is made even worse because victims, and their parents, are forbidden from turning to law enforcement unless the elders find the accused person guilty. That’s right, they have to go to the elders before they can report the crime. If a victim does turn to law enforcement, they will be “disfellowshipped” (excommunicated and shunned even by their own families) which is the severest form of punishment a committee of elders can dish out. Meanwhile, the perpetrator is assumed to be innocent by the congregation and will be treated as a member of the faith in good standing. This is how all accusations of wrongdoing are handled within congregations, not just those concerning pedophiles. But the problems with this system are obvious. At the time I wrote my previous article, Candace Conti’s court case against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the corporate entity behind Jehovah’s Witnesses) was the biggest news to happen on this front. Yet even then, most people have never heard of her and few know about the details behind the Society’s larger pedophile problem. You can listen to Conti’s experiences in her own words here. In the United States, Silent Lambs and many others have urged the Society to change these rules. So far, they have refused. In short, yes, it’s still a major problem. But some interesting updates can be found below. Australia began holding public hearings on national TV regarding allegations that the Watchtower Society had failed to report over 1,000 cases of known pedophilia within their ranks to authorities. Note that, in Australia, there are less than 67,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and just under 800 congregations in total (as of this writing at least). Since these hearings were broadcast on national television, some have recorded them and uploaded them to sites like YouTube. You can watch the hearings for yourself here. I should also mention that Jehovah’s Witnesses weren’t the only group being investigated. There is an official website you can visit for more information on Australia’s Royal Commission. A similar commission is being formed in the U.K. as I write this, so Australia isn’t alone. The U.K. commission will also be looking into allegations against the Watchtower Society. Wait. That’s not all. It appears the Society has instructed authorities at Kingdom Halls across the globe to start destroying evidence regarding pedophiles in their midst. Not everything is to be destroyed – at least, not officially according to this document. Just stuff the elders wrote down in their personal notes, written minutes of meetings, and agendas. Which is weird since the Goddard Inquiry (the U.K. commission investigating pedophile allegations against the Society) has instructed them to keep every single piece of evidence, regardless of how important the Society thinks it might be, so the committee can review it. If you’re curious, a copy of the Society’s instructions can be found online so you can see for yourselves. While the destruction of things[...]



The MISkeptics November Get Together: Nuclear Power

2015-10-28T16:09:10Z

This month we are proud to announce that we will have Dr. Fleming back to talk to us about nuclear energy. He will also update us on things he has learned since then.
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Dr. Ron Fleming

Three years ago we hosted Dr. Ron Fleming as our special guest. He is an expert on nuclear engineering and a retired professor from the University or Michigan.

To this day, that remains one of our most popular talks.

This month we are proud to announce that we will have Dr. Fleming back to talk to us about nuclear energy. He will also update us on things he has learned since then. Such as:

• There are new lessons-learned from Fukushima.

• There are some insights into Michigan’s electricity regulation.

• There are new bi-lateral agreements: Canada-China, China-UK, Iran-US et al.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Reservations are required. You can RSVP at our Meetup Page or our Facebook Page.

I hope to see you all there!




The Michigan Skeptics Association October Get Together Gets Spooky

2015-09-16T15:27:49Z

Television reality shows have made ghost hunting very popular but what is the actual reality of it?

This month we are talking paranormal research. Television reality shows have made ghost hunting very popular but what is the actual reality of it? Let’s get away from television ratings stunts and find about the reality of paranormal research.

(image)
Marter Paranormal

Our special guest is Mark Briones of Marter Paranormal. He will be discussing their technique, equipment, and procedures used in their investigations.

Marter Paranormal Research Team is a dedicated group of technology based paranormal investigators who use the latest in high tech equipment applied to theories old and new to study cases of paranormal activity. Working with other teams through the Michigan Paranormal Association and the National Paranormal Alliance, Marter Paranormal stays up to date on the latest techniques and is constantly building and testing new theories, even building our own specialty equipment when needed. With years of expertise working together, Marter Paranormal strives to advance our understanding of the Paranormal with a professional and scientific approach.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

You can RSVP at our Facebook Page or our Meetup Page.

I hope to see you all there!




MISkeptics Does a Study On That

2015-09-06T12:50:45Z

What makes a scientific study well, scientific? We’ve all seen claims made by deniers, new age gurus, and pseudoskeptics where they make a claim, usually shared from some Facebook page […]
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But it’s a study, so it must be true!

What makes a scientific study well, scientific?

We’ve all seen claims made by deniers, new age gurus, and pseudoskeptics where they make a claim, usually shared from some Facebook page talking about a dubious claim which is strangely backed up my a study. Where do these studies come from? How are they actually making it into the scientific community? And seriously, oil pulling?

This month we are going to take a look at the not-so-scientific journal world. How it came about, why it is so big and what people are doing about it.

Conversely, we will also look at what makes a real scientific study valid and how to spot the difference.

It’s not like anyone will stop sharing Natural News articles but at least it will help.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

To RSVP for the talk, head to our Meetup Page, or our Facebook Page.

I look forward to seeing you there!




The Boy Who Played With Fusion; MISkeptics Get Together

2015-06-30T12:18:21Z

On Saturday July 18th, the Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics and the Michigan Skeptics Association will be together hosting an exciting meetup with Ann Arbor science writer, Tom Clynes, who will talk about his new book, "The Boy Who Played With Fusion."
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Author and photojournalist Tom Clynes

On Saturday July 18th, the Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics and the Michigan Skeptics Association will be together hosting an exciting meetup with Ann Arbor science writer, Tom Clynes, who will talk about his new book, “The Boy Who Played With Fusion.”

The book centers around a young science prodigy, Taylor Wilson, inspired by the idea of coming up with new ways to discover isotopes, sought out to build his own nuclear fusion reactor.

Author Clynes’s book also discusses the complex issue of parenting gifted children, and the nature of what is seemingly unlimited potential in exceptional young people, like Taylor Wilson.

We will be meeting in one of the private rooms at CJ’s Brewing Company, which is a small restaurant located inside Compuware Arena on Beck Road (just off of M-14, approximately 10 minutes from Ann Arbor). The hosts will be able to direct you to our meeting area, and there will be Michigan Skeptics signs as well.

(image) The first part of the event will be for general socializing and ordering refreshments. After which, there will be some announcements, and then we’ll start the discussion at approximately 5:00pm.

There is no cost to attend but donations to cover the guest speaker’s meal and beverages, as well as general group expenses are appreciated.




The Warren Reason Station Needs Your Help!

2015-06-03T14:36:46Z

You may already know from the news that fellow secularist Douglas Marshall “won” his lawsuit over the Prayer Station in Warren City Hall. We would all have preferred a solution […]

You may already know from the news that fellow secularist Douglas Marshall “won” his lawsuit over the Prayer Station in Warren City Hall. We would all have preferred a solution that would have removed the Prayer Station and all other religious displays from the government building. Instead, we won the right to equal representation. This means that if we want to protest the Prayer Station, we need to have our own Reason Station and the volunteers to staff it.

We’re using VolunteerSpot to help us organize our staffing needs for the Reason Station in Warren City Hall.

Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our Sign-Up on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/QyXB6d
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on VolunteerSpot.

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.




The MISkeptics June Get Together: The Creative Thought Process

2015-05-27T11:43:15Z

What is the creative thought process? How does it work? Experience, problem solving, learning, adapting, simulation, and experience. All these are components that contribute to creative thought. It is a […]

What is the creative thought process? How does it work? Experience, problem solving, learning, adapting, simulation, and experience. All these are components that contribute to creative thought. It is a misunderstood process we all employ throughout our lives, whether cooking at home, solving difficult “problems” at work or building quantum computers, it is all the same process.

(image) On June 13th, at 4:00 PM, our guest will be Tom Flowers. A retired automotive engineer, naval aviator, and engineering inspector for the Saturn V main engines and the Sikorsky H-3 helicopter.

He will talk to us about the creative thought process, how and why it works and the implications it had for explaining how we view the world.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Be sure to RSVP, that way the restaurant can make sure we have enough staff. You can RSVP via, our Meetup event, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

I hope to see you all there!




MISkeptics May Get Together. Dr. Bob Sornson

2015-05-05T13:16:02Z

This Saturday we are discussing education reform. We can all agree that there are many issues with education in this nation. What are the challenges and what are possibilities that […]
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Bob Sornson, Ph.D. is the founder of the Early Learning Foundation

This Saturday we are discussing education reform. We can all agree that there are many issues with education in this nation. What are the challenges and what are possibilities that we can reach towards?

Our guest this week is Bob Sornson, Ph.D. Dr. Sornson is the founder of the Early Learning Foundation. He is a best-selling author and international speaker, trainer, and consultant.

As a teacher and school administrator, Bob recognized the importance of early learning success in the development of patterns of learning success which affect students for life. In Northville, MI he developed a model which decreased the need for special education placement and saved millions of dollars each year for the district. After founding the Early Learning Foundation in 2001, he developed a comprehensive early learning success model which includes identifying essential skills in each of the domains of early childhood, systematically measuring progress towards competency, and giving each child the time and instruction to develop essential skills.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so we know how many are coming. You can RSVP via our Facebook Page, our Google Plus Event, or our Meetup Page.

I hope to see you all there!




Extraterrestrial Intelligence. The MISkeptics Get Together

2015-04-02T17:46:32Z

Our guest is Dr. Dale L Partin, First Vice President for Program of the Warren Astronomical Society.
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Warren Astronomical Society

Our guest is Dr. Dale L Partin, First Vice President for Program of the Warren Astronomical Society.

The possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence has generated increasing interest with the discovery of thousands of planets outside the Solar System.  Some of these exoplanets appear to be in the habitable zone of their stars. The story of these ongoing discoveries of planets, and the search for life on them, will be described. While we are so far lacking a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life, the considerations which influence our perceptions of such an eventual discovery of such life, and especially of intelligent life, will be discussed.

Dr. Dale Partin is currently an adjunct professor at Macomb Community College teaching astronomy.  He is also the First Vice President for Program of the Warren Astronomical Society.  He formerly did advanced research and development in the automotive industry, where he had 38 US patents and over 80 publications in scientific journals. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of Sigma Xi, a scientific research society. He is active in amateur astronomy and in the study of human nature.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

You can RSVP at our Meetup Page, Our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

I hope to see you all there!