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November 15, 2016

I'm back in Australasian Science magazine looking at unskeptical skeptics.

Skeptics aren't always skeptical.

Most of the people I associate with in my life could be called "Skeptics", people who exhibit some level of critical thinking when they choose between things they believe are possible and things that are either highly unlikely or actually impossible. This leads them to accept scientific research (if conducted by reputable researchers) and reject claims which are not backed by evidence. Examples would be accepting that vaccines are effective and about as safe as they can be made and that pharmaceutical drugs which have passed rigorous clinical trials are more likely to be effective than turmeric, cannabis and coconut oil in the treatment of cancer. They feel that on the balance of probabilities the white trails behind highflying aircraft are more likely to consist of condensed water vapour from jet engine exhausts rather than chemical sprays to control the population. They joke about astrology (I was predestined to be skeptical because I was born on the equinox at the cusp of Virgo and Libra) but don't think that it's very much use for predicting personality or the future.

One area in which I differ from many my friends is on the topic of science fiction. I've never been a great fan of the genre, and I've had to give polite answers when asked whether I prefer "Star Trek" or "Star Wars" (the answer is "neither"), and I have to be very careful if I feel like saying that "Dr Who" is about the most boring TV show I've ever seen.

You can read the rest here.

November 26, 2016

In November I travelled to Melbourne for two speaking engagements. The first was at Skepticamp where I talked about lawyers and the law. A transcript and the slides from my PowerPoint show can be seen here.

The next day I spoke about the premature announcement of the death of philosophy at the Australian Skeptics' Annual Convention.


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