March Against Myths (a discussion)

Saturday, October 22, 2016
12:30 PM

Location: Black Rock

Kavin Senapathy and Dave Sutherland co-founded March Against Myths (MAMyths) in 2015 with Dr. Karl Haro von Mogel to wield science activism in the name of social justice, especially when it comes to “GMOs.” For too long, myth mongers have saturated minds with pseudoscience myths that instill unfounded fear, and fuel a lobby that keeps technologies out the hands of those who need them. This hurts farmers, the needy, consumers, and the environment. Senapathy and Sutherland will discuss GMOs, MAMyths, and where they go from here.


about our speakers:
Kavin Senapathy is a freelance writer, science communicator, and mother of two young children living in Madison, Wisconsin. She believes that critical thinking is key in raising well-rounded children, and that embracing biotechnology is imperative to this objective.
David Sutherland is a Chicago-based artist by profession, vegan & animal rights activist in his free time. As part of his early activism he contributed efforts to anti-GMO causes. With a discovered interest in science and critical thinking he had a change of heart and mind. Now he has a mission and passion to undo those wrongs and demystify the issues surrounding GMOs and biotech.
http://www.mamyths.org/

Skepticism about Doing Good: Effective Altruism and Starting Evidence-based Charities

Saturday, November 19, 2016
12:30 PM

Location: Black Rock

Where should I donate to charity? How do I know if a charity is effective? These are questions at the heart of effective altruism, which is premised on doing the most good you can. These are also ideas that should be central in the creation of any new charity and yet only a couple of evidence-based direct charities have ever been founded with the explicit goal of doing the most good they can.

The talk will give an overview of the principles of effective altruism and give an inside look into the research and considerations that go into the creation of an evidence-based charity.


about our speaker:
Marcus is one of the founding members of the team at Charity Science which did 6 months of research on starting an effective charity before launching Charity Science: Health, which is project focused on sending text message reminders for vaccinations. Before joining Charity Science, he volunteered for several effective altruism projects and was a regular at Chicago Skeptics events. You can find out more about Charity Science: Health at www.charitysciencehealth.com.

Skeptical Salon: Merchants of Doubt

Thursday, December 1
7:30 PM

Location: Jennifer and Jeff’s Place

For November, we’ll be reading Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway.

From amazon.com:
Now a powerful documentary from the acclaimed director of Food Inc., Merchants of Doubt was one of the most talked-about climate change books of recent years, for reasons easy to understand: It tells the controversial story of how a loose-knit group of high-level scientists and scientific advisers, with deep connections in politics and industry, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. The same individuals who claim the science of global warming is “not settled” have also denied the truth about studies linking smoking to lung cancer, coal smoke to acid rain, and CFCs to the ozone hole. “Doubt is our product,” wrote one tobacco executive. These “experts” supplied it.

Skeptical Salon: Witness for the Defense: The Accused, the Eyewitness and the Expert Who Puts Memory on Trial

Thursday, October 20
7:30 PM

Location: Jennifer and Jeff’s Place

For October, we’ll be reading Witness for the Defense: The Accused, the Eyewitness and the Expert Who Puts Memory on Trial by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham.

From amazon.com:
“The study of memory had become my specialty, my passion. In the next few years I wrote dozens of papers about how memory works and how it fails, but unlike most researchers studying memory, my work kept reaching out into the real world. To what extent, I wondered, could a person’s memory be shaped by suggestion? When people witness a serious automobile accident, how accurate is their recollection of the facts? If a witness is questioned by a police officer, will the manner of questioning alter the representation of the memory? Can memories be supplemented with additional, false information?”

The “passion” Loftus describes in the lines above led her to a teaching career at the University of Washington and, perhaps more importantly, into hundreds of courtrooms as an expert witness on the fallibility of eyewitness accounts. As she has explained in numerous trials, and as she convincingly argues in this absorbing book, eyewitness accounts can be and often are so distorted that they no longer resemble the truth.

Our 10th Anniversary!

Saturday, September 17, 2016
12:30 PM

Location: Black Rock

According to Meetup, this group was started in September 2006. That means it’s one of those Big Deal Anniversary things, right? So let’s have a party!

Same time, same place as usual, but probably with a little something extra. Come join your friends to celebrate a decade of skepticism and critical thinking, and toast ten more!