Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm SUCH a Geek

There aren't very many reasons for me to want to go to Vegas. But if I had one, this would be it. This would make me go to Vegas and I would love every inch of that filthy town. I'd also eat a lot, see a lot, visit the desert and maybe drink a bit but between July 14th-17th I'd totally geek out.

TAM (The Amazing Meeting), it's the 9th annual celebration of science, skepticism, and critical thinking. Bill Nye (yes, the science guy) is going to be there, James Randi, Adam Savage (I once had a plant that I named after him but then the plant died), Phil Plait, Rebecca Watson, Elyse Anders (the anti Jenny McCarthy -don't get me started-), Banachek (hell YA!!), Richard Dawkins (In my opinion, he is the Deepak Chopra of science), Penn and Teller, and more. I really am just a big ol' geek who gets off on listening to people talk rationally about things. Or just talk science. I do not have anything to contribute to any of it other than I would be the biggest, most absorbent sponge in that room.

I'm sure I'd stick out like a sore thumb as the girl who missed the turn to the outlet mall and ended up at a Science Convention but inside, I'm not.

Is that wrong?

Oh my goodness, I'm such a geek.

Do I even know anyone who knows what TAM is? Anyone out there (comment if you do, please)?

I think somewhere out there the idea of Skepticism gets confused with Conspiracy Theories, which isn't the case at all. To me, Skepticism is questioning- never taking things at face value. The questioning of assumptions. Where as Conspiracy Theories tend to be based on assumptions.

-Best definition of Skepticism is actually Critical Thinking
-Definition of Conspiracy Theories


Calvin said...

TAM? Of course.

amourissima said...

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!??? How long have we been friend Calvin and I am only just finding out that you know what TAM is???

Calvin said...

I'm going to guess 6 years?

I find hypocrisy tends to annoy me more than the lack of critical thinking, consequently I don't spend much time paying attention to self-described skeptics.

amourissima said...

(ME)<- self-described skeptic

Calvin said...

But are you a hypocritical one? In the process of questioning others' thoughts, assumptions, and assertions, do you question your own?

Last year, I recall a famous TAM speaker tweeting something like, "I will not disprove the science behind healing bracelets, because there is none!" Or words to that effect, followed by more tweets about how they are bunk, and blah, blah, blah, but no proof.

Of course they probably are bunk, but it would have been relatively easy for this person to actually *prove* it. Just pick a few placebos and do a study to show that the bracelets are no better for you than any other placebo, and, more than most, he would have the resources to do it. But no. Instead one belief was being substituted for another with no actual *proof* that either was correct. For a skeptic, this is hypocritical, and I find that irritating.

Surprisingly, skeptics find it annoying when I point out this hypocrisy (yes, fought that battle a few times before.) Consequently I don't pay too much attention.

It's a fine ideal, I just have a problem with people that profess that ideal and then don't live it themselves.

I have the exact same complaint about the religious.

amourissima said...

Yes, I question myself the same way that I question the things around me. I am constantly challenging my own belief system because how am I to know what I believe in is actually accurate. My opinions about things are based on my interruption of the facts and that isn't always correct. This I do know.

I agree, with some there is such a reliance on science. That science rules all but even science can be off a little. My favorite example of this is the bumble bee (maybe I should write a post about that).

For decades science could not explain why and how the bumble bee could fly, but it was obvious that it could. It wasn't until recently that they were able to determine how (the wings are flexible and bend, cupping the air), but for the longest time science said this was wrong.

As with many, there are good skeptics and there are not so good skeptics. It would be safe to say I am skeptical of skeptics (example, I do not agree with a lot of what Penn and Teller have to say. I find thier arguments are very one sided- but that could also be for the purpose of thier show) but there are some who are interesting and I find that for me, this way of thinking works well.

Don't even get me started on the religious.