Posts under Tag: skepticism
Skeptoid #400 “It’s Just Science” Music Video

Here is the new music video for Skeptoid’s 400th episode! I am happy to be a part of this video as a nurse, dancer, and posse member.

Skeptoid #400: It’s Just Science

Check out the Skeptoid website for the podcast, blog, and more. There is also a facebook page. The 400th podcast episode and the lyrics for the song are here.

Skeptoid shirt

Skeptoid is currently the 13th most popular podcast on iTunes in the “Science & Medicine” category. Congrats to Brian Dunning on his 400th episode and all of his success. He has helped provide the public with essential critical thinking skills and information.

Skeptoid on iTunes - #13 in Science & Medicine

 

Here are some photos from the shoot:
CherryTeresa in nurse costume-first pic Conspiracy Proof $100
Alien? CherryTeresa in nurse costume-2nd pic

 

Thanks to all the cast and crew. And check out NewRuleFx for your special effects props and equipment needs!

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CSI Skeptical Briefs Newsletter

If you subscribe to CSI’s “Skeptical Briefs,” I have a piece in the current newsletter that’s been mailed out for your skeptical reading desires.

Thanks to Benjamin Radford and the rest of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

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The Pope did not state that all religions are true

I saw this going around yesterday, which was claimed to have been said by the current Pope:
“All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them.”

A search on Google yesterday showed no valid source for this quote and it has been posted as false on Snopes.com today. It wasn’t a statement worth applauding anyway. This reminds me of junk like “The Secret”. That is not how truth works. Something is not true just because you believe super squeezy hard for it to be reality. I can deeply believe that the white rabbit/imp-like creature Kuromi is a real-life being I can hang out with, but she is not. And what if the same amount of people wish equally for it to be true and not true? Kuromi can’t both exist and not exist at the same time.

Furthermore, religions contradict each other and some explicitly state that if you don’t believe this exact branch, you are wrong and will be punished eternally for it. Only 0 or 1 religions can be true. They cannot all be true.

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Teen atheist asks Dawkins advice on how to come out

Friday night, at the talk given by Richard Dawkins and D.J. Grothe at University of Southern California, there was a portion for audience member questions. One person, whom I believe said he was 14 years old and from the SoCal area, asked how he could come out as an atheist. Dr. Dawkins paused and appeared to be in thought on how to respond to this in the short time and limited information he knew about him. He asked the young man if his parents knew about his atheism and were okay with it, to which he said yes. Dawkins said that it was a good start for him and that he was in a much better position to live life out as a nonbeliever compared to many others.

I agree with Dawkins’ assessment, as the advice for one person would be much different from someone in a different situation, whether it be living in a religious part of the country or being part of a family where this sort of thing could result in a nonbeliever being shunned.

I have some additional thoughts on this as well. You can make a big announcement if you want, but since not everyone feels comfortable doing this, here are some things that worked for me, which I would mention to a young person in a similar situation to his.

Mention it in the classroom. You are at a time when discussions are likely a regular part of certain classes. If a teacher mentions something about how we are a nation of many religions, you might raise your hand and add that we’re also a nation of the nonreligious, including yourself. In Philosophy class, if you are learning about many of the great thinkers but the syllabus doesn’t include any free thinkers, you might find a way to mention those like Bertrand Russell or Daniel Dennett. These are just examples. Feel free to do it in a way that best suits you.

Disclose it to your peers. This doesn’t have to be a special phone call or announcement, it can just be mentioned when it comes up naturally in conversation. When a classmate asks in December which holiday you celebrate, you could reply with something like, “I celebrate Christmas, but it’s for cultural reasons, as I don’t believe in a god,” “My family celebrates Hanukah, but I am a secular Jew,” “I celebrate the Winter Solstice, since that’s the reason for the season,” “I don’t celebrate any religious holidays since I do not believe in any of them,” or whatever answer fits your customs and beliefs. Your answer may end up leading to a bigger conversation and get more in-depth. If they’re curious about what you do or don’t celebrate and brought it up to you in the first place, they may be interested to learn more about you.

Share your atheism on social networking sites. If you are allowed to be online and have profiles, you can mention your views on your bios. On facebook, you can choose atheism, secular humanism, and the like as your religious view.

Display symbols related to atheism. There’s the option of incorporating atheist symbols or the logos of organizations related to that. Not everyone wants to do this, but if you find it appealing, you could wear a necklace, put badges on your backpack, wear a shirt related to free thought, put stickers on your binders, or display magnets on your locker. Something as simple as wearing the Scarlet A symbol on a shirt or necklace can start a discussion. Those who know what it means will know you’re an atheist. Those who don’t may end up asking what the A stands for. There’s also the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the atomic whirl, Invisible Pink Unicorn, and other symbols, as well as shirts that have messages and images. Wearing any of these can not only help you express yourself, but can also encourage others to come out as well.

You don’t have to do all of these or any of these. There’s no order of which to do first, it’s what you are comfortable with. The important thing to mention is that we all are in different situations, so only do what you feel is right. Do these when and if you feel ready. Don’t feel forced to come out and don’t force anyone else out. But know that when you do come out there is a community who will be there for you. There are organizations in SoCal like Center for Inquiry and Atheists United and there is an even greater online community of atheists around the world. The young man on Friday night took a big step by mentioning his atheism and I hope that the positive response he got from Dawkins and fellow audience members can be the beginning of him being able to live openly.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has the Out Campaign website, which is a good resource for additional information.

This piece was reposted on the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science.

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“How I Was Scammed By Kevin Trudeau” on JREF Swift blog!

I’m excited to say that I have a piece on the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Swift Blog. It’s my story about how I was scammed by Kevin Trudeau.

Kevin Trudeau spent a night in jail last month and then his living expenses were cut off by a judge the following week, so I’ve decided to share my story. This is how I fell for Kevin Trudeau’s lies, how I realized I was being deceived, what I learned from it, and how I use my experience to try to help others. It’s not fun admitting you’ve been had, but not exposing this fraudster wouldn’t be great, either.

In 2005, I started experiencing severe pain that persisted even with strong painkillers. It became so bad that I had to quit my job and band, deplete my savings, ruin my credit, and put my life on hold to figure out what was wrong and to get treatment. I had to have several surgeries over the years and I continue to take medication for it to this day.

While I was going through the worst of this ordeal, I became very frustrated with the U.S. healthcare system. It took a long time to even find out what was wrong due to referrals and approvals, among many other issues, and I had some bad doctors, improper medication, and a failed surgery that made my affliction worse. Since my condition made me unable to work, I had to go a year with no income and without a life while I waited in pain. I nearly got evicted, all while creditors were hounding me for bills I could not pay.

Read the rest at randi.org

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Recorded episode of Virtual Skeptics #58

If you missed the live broadcast of Virtual Skeptics episode #58 which I guested on, you can check out their blog post with the video embedded in it. If you’re on a device where that doesn’t work, you can go to the direct YouTube link.

Here’s their pages, so you can stay updated on future episodes and join in on the conversation:

Host:

Brian Gregory is also the host and creator of Virtual Drinking Skeptically, so if you want to meet and chat with other skeptics, you can do so monthly on Google Hangouts.

Panelists:

Thanks so much to the Virtual Skeptics for having me on and being so cool. It was great chatting with people who do great work and have a wealth of knowledge in various areas of science and critical thinking. I had a blast and learned a few things.

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Strange letter I received from Kevin Trudeau

I am currently working on a post about how I was scammed by Kevin Trudeau. He is in the news again since he spent a night in jail last week. One of the things I wanted to point out is that he is involved in fakery far beyond what you may have seen on his infomercials. Some believe that Kevin’s victims are people who are “dumb enough” to fall for his lies and are just getting what they deserve. But you could simply buy just one of his books, realize it was filled with false information and throw it away, and you’d still be dealing with him years later due to that one purchase.

I was once a believer in him from reading Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About and More Natural “Cures” Revealed but I eventually realized both were filled with quackery. I then began getting credit card charges for items I never bought. It was a losing battle trying to fight those charges, so I ended up having to get a new card to stop more charges from coming.

I put it all behind me, but then a couple years later I received this strange letter in the mail. The only things I have edited in this are my legal name, address, and account number. Other than that, this is verbatim: (more…)

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Do atheists believe in life after death?

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Some atheists believe in life after death. Some believe there’s some sort of “energy” that we turn into, that we are reincarnated, or that we become ghosts or spirits, in addition to many other beliefs. There are varying opinions among atheists.

Some atheists do not believe in an afterlife and I am one of them. People are nonbelievers for different reasons. I am an atheist because there’s not enough solid evidence for me to believe in a god. The same thing goes for an afterlife or multiple lives. I think the closest thing there is to still living after death is to live on, in a sense, through what we’ve done. If our work and our words inspire others, then we are kind of still carrying on. If we continue to ‘live’ in the memories of people still alive, then what we’ve done still affects others. There are musicians who only lived until age 27, but their work and personas helped shaped the lives of countless others for years to come. So, while they are dead, part of them ‘lives on’.

So, when people ask, “What’s the inspiration to do good in this life if it’s there’s no heaven or hell?”, that’s part of it. There’s also making sure you meet your goals because this is probably the only shot we get. Also, just being and doing good for goodness’ sake and because you enjoy it in the moment.

The above was a question someone submitted on my tumblr blog. I will start cross-posting certain Q&As to my cherryteresa.com blog.

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Reflecting on the 14th anniversary of Columbine after the Boston bombings

Columbine was 14 years ago today. I remember how the media and public were quick to jump in with inaccurate information and many people still believe those myths today. Unfortunately, there are many who haven’t learned from the past and are doing this with the Boston Marathon bombings. Once false information is spread, it’s hard for every single person to unlearn it, no matter how much we backtrack and correct it, so it’s better to prevent misinformation from coming out in the first place. None of us are perfect, but let’s do our best to wait for facts to come to light. This may take time, but it’s better for facts to come out in the future than for lies to be spread now.

Let’s also please keep this in mind: Some of you who are jumping to judge other groups because of the Boston bombings may have been unfairly judged after Columbine (looking “goth”, being introverted, listening to rock music, etc). I know students who were unfairly harassed – sometimes even by their own teachers – simply because of their looks or artistic preferences, not based on any valid concerns. Some schools even put into place unjust rules targeting certain groups of students in the name of “security”. Let’s not have this happen after the tragedies that happened this week.
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Video: “Unborn Ghosts” f/Richard Dawkins

“Unborn Ghosts”, featuring the spoken word of Richard Dawkins is now on YouTube.

Explanation of the song: http://cherryteresa.com/wp/2013/01/29/new-song-unborn-ghosts.

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