Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Carnival of the Africans 8

Posted by Simon Halliday | Sunday, June 28, 2009 | Category: |

Welcome back to the Carnival of the Africans - a carnival of Scepticism and Science, with posts supplied by Africans. I have scoured posts that have been submitted to me and harvested the web for suitable African fruit. Enjoy the African tastes that are spread before you. Also, because the Carnival has experienced an hiatus, I thought that I would extend the time limit to the past two months, rather than only the past month. Consequently, there are a fair number of posts that fitted into the Carnival's outline.

I have decided to cut the Carnival into two parts, the first which covering purely sceptical and scientific concerns, and the second - a more narrative frame - covers science and scepticism as lived by individuals.

Part 1: Scepticism and Criticism
We kick off with a post from my own blog, Amanuensis, about a recent paper by Sam Bowles on the role of warfare (or inter-group violent conflict) in the evolution of human altruism, Bowles, his Critics, the Price equation, and Group Selection. I'd appreciate any comments or criticism.

Two posts look at the role of 'quantum mechanics' in popular culture. Rupert Neethling at Orion's Spur who tells us to take a look at a book of sceptical importance, Quantum Gods. He argues, as have others, that it easily debunks books like The Secret and others that claim some control of humans over 'quantum reality'. In a similar vein, a post at a subtle shift in emphasis provides a valuable post, if it says quantum, it must be true.

Michelle, The Skeptic Blacksheep, discusses The End of the World Part 1: Polar Shifts, so is it happening? Take a look to see. She also goes on to discuss the entertaining Gary Mannion, Psychic Surgeon. Have a laugh while reading.

Angela, the Skeptic Detective, asks,"Should I vaccinate my baby?" And concludes that any rational mother would. She shows us a video conversation between a doctor and some pregnant mothers on this topic.

James at Acinonyx Scepticus calls our attention to how Alternative Treatments will Receive Greater Scrutiny, discussing some of the relevant material as covered by the Associated Press. Bullshit Fatigue offers a brief comment, introduced by a description of frustrating Natura adverts that seem to have made their way onto South African televison, take a look at 'Magic Water, Sugar Pills, and Fairy Dust' for a general comment and some links to sceptical fun.

Owen Swart at 01 and the universe asks Is Science a Religion? He answers resoundingly, 'No!' There are several points worthy of discussion in his post and I think linking to it could stimulate the debate further and take it up a notch.

Shadowshide at Shadowshide's blog posts on some recent commentary on SA education in their post 'Thinking Begins at Home'. It brought a quotation from Emerson to mind, "[Colleges] can only highly serve us, when they aim not to drill, but to create; when they gather from far every ray of various genius to their hospitable halls, and, by the concentrated fires, set they hearts of their youth on flame."

George Classen brings us a post from Prometheus Unbound, Taken by a charlatan, in which he comments on problems related to Danie Krugel. He takes particular joy laughing at Krugel's comment that what he himseld does is 'science, science, science.'

Part 2: Sceptical Living
Leonie Joubert, gives us a cross-post from a piece she wrote for the South African Mail & Guardian called 'Pseudoscience: warts and all'. She recounts a childhood anecdote which resulted in her believing a strange pseudoscientific 'cure' for a wart on her knee. It's a good read.

Shadowshide also tells an interesting tale of how he ended up as 'ignostic' in his memoir piece, 'Religion: My Driver'. The author reports the crucial point in his penultimate paragraph, "So to a large degree religion was certainly one of the key drivers in my life, but the direction it drove me in was as far away from religion as possible." Though The Carnival of the Africans isn't strictly about atheism, I found this to be an interesting account of the clash between science, sceptical thinking and religion.

Bongi's Other Things Amanzi provides a description of startling events in the ICU in his article Leaking where he recounts the problems involved in dealing with patients who require substantial pain medication for horrendous burn wounds - what do you do?

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Nice! Quite the linkfest. Most interesting. Work distractions in abundance.