Hayley is a Ghost

Another skeptical round up!

Posted on: April 9, 2011

I wrote a blog post similar to this a few weeks ago and it was really popular with visitors so I thought I’d write another. I was inspired to write the first by the Birmingham Skeptics who write a similar post every week. You should check the rest of their site out too – all rather interesting.

Firstly, the Skepchicks have announced a call to action regarding Anti-vax ads that are going to be aired on the screens in Times Square, this dangerous misinformation is going to be seen by thousands of people. Please check the article out and sign the petition to make this not happen. It’s one of the most important things you’ll do today.

I recommend you also check out ‘Science, Reason and Critical thinking’, the blog of Crispian Jago who was recently long listed by for the Orwell Prize! He recently wrote a blog post called ‘Blogger Farm: A Fairytale’ that was written in a similar fashion to Animal Farm by Orwell. That alone made it superb to read, but it also explores bloggers & mainstream media and certainly made some good points.

Kylie Sturgess (Happy birthday, Kylie!) recently conducted an interview with Tim Minchin for CSIcop about using music and comedy to spread “the skeptical word”. With the ‘STORM’ movie recently being launched, it is certainly worth a read.

Something else by Kylie for CSIcop is this interview with Paul Willis, who overdosed on homeopathy in Antarctica as part of the Ten23 overdose in February. I remember being sat in Manchester while Marsh was on stage running through the overdoses that had already happened and the turnouts and the successes (makes me feel proud to have been part of it all over again just writing about it!) Paul was represented on the presentation by the picture of a penguin, but he has spoken to Kylie upon his return to Australia.

Speaking of homeopathy & the Merseyside Skeptics Society, you should also check out this article about the success they encountered recently regarding the funding of homeopathy on the NHS in the Wirral region.

I know, through speaking to Marsh regularly, just how much work the MSS have put into their campaign, the sacrifices that members made and the way their personal lives were occasionally put on hold as the beast they unleashed by the name of Ten23, grew and grew and grew.

Ten23 has been criticised by a wide range of people – not just homeopaths – as a fruitless campaign that wouldn’t achieve anything. So it’s great to see the critics proven wrong (as I knew they would be…)

Speaking about Marsh… (I didn’t realise how heavily the MSS featured in my chosen links for this week, typical!) Marsh recently did a presentation at ‘ThinkCon!’ that was organised and run by Dr Andrew Holding of the Cambridge Skeptics.

Other speakers included Rhys Morgan (whom I discovered would totally make an awesome ghost hunter when I spoke at Cardiff SitP recently…), Professor David Colquhoun & others…

The talks from the speakers mentioned above have been made available online and can be found here. You should check them out if you get the chance.

Next up on my list of recommended articles is this interview by Vue with Daniel Loxton about his upcoming talk titled ‘The Reasonableness of Weird Things’ for LogiCon 2011. Basically, I am extremely jealous of all the people who are attending LogiCon.

The best quote from the Vue article is this:

“Nobody owns critical thinking. Scholarship, critical thinking, investigation, everybody has a right to those things, but we aren’t born knowing them. We have to be taught.”

It’s the point I often raise in the talks I deliver to SitP groups, and it’s the reason I talk at paranormal conferences that are likely to have people in the audience that disagree with me. It’s easy to mock people for having “stupid beliefs”, but that isn’t going to help them see the error of their ways.

As an ex-believer, I say that with certainty. If you’re going to LogiCon, make sure you listen to this talk!

This article over on The 21st Floor talks about a study done by the Yerkes National Primate Research Center by Campbell and de Waal (2011) that has found a link between social groups and empathy in chimpanzees as demonstrated by involuntary yawning responses. I could link to the study directly, but I’ve linked to The 21st floor article because a) it’s where I first read about it and b) I want to bring The 21st Floor website to the attention of my blog readers as it’s a great site and worth checking out regularly.

Oh, also, yawning Chimpanzees! Squee!

Last, but not least, and leading on from the yawning chimps (squee…) is a story from my local newspaper, ‘The Wiltshire Times’ about Annie the elephant who was recently saved from cruel treatment with a circus company (she was the last circus elephant in the UK, she’s 57 years old and didn’t deserve the treatment she suffered at the hands of her grooms).

She was rescued and now lives at Longleat Safari park which is 30 minutes from my front door.It’s a great story and reinforces my love for Longleat Safari Park which I have been visiting since the age of three. If you get the chance you should visit Longleat. I certainly will be as soon as I possible can to see their newest resident.

I think I’ve covered all the articles and features that I found interesting this week. I’m sure there are more, I hope to write a similar blog post next week so feel free to send me articles that have interested you and be sure to enter my Haiku contest to be in with the chance of winning a glow-in-the-dark Placebo band.

I’d like to round up this blog post by personally thanking the person I blogged about last week who couldn’t take the criticism levelled their way and decided instead to write to my boss to “tell” on me. I didn’t get in trouble because my blog clearly states the side bar that what I write does not represent the people I work for or work with. However, it did prove to me that actions do speak louder than words. Your actions, that is.

Have a good weekend 🙂

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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