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New! Boston Skeptics Slack Chat Room We're taking Boston Skeptics to the next level by introducing a Slack chat room for Boston Skeptics to keep and touch, share ideas, and be skeptical in near-real time with each other! Don't have...

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New! Boston Skeptics Slack Chat Room We're taking Boston Skeptics to the next level by introducing a Slack chat room for Boston Skeptics to keep and touch, share ideas, and be skeptical in near-real time with each other! Don't have...

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Boston Skeptics in the Theater & Pub | Bill Nye: Science... Come join the Boston Skeptics at the Brattle Theatre on December 3, where we’ll be attending a screening of a new film about Bill Nye, aptly named “Bill Nye: Science Guy.” We’ll go somewhere nearby...

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October 2017 Organizational Meeting Updates Thanks again to everyone who attended our October 2017 organizational meeting. There were a few items we had drafted and captured more ideas around that we would love to open up for comment and feedback...

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Save the Date: March for Science 2018 will be April 14. #MarchForScience

Posted on : 30-01-2018 | By : Mary Mangan | In : Blog Post, Member Post, news

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Hey skeptics: Science Marches On.

The national organization sent around an announcement email yesterday, and they provided the date for this year’s March for Science: April 14 2018. Put it on your calendars now, but it’s too early to set up a formal meetup of any sort. We don’t have the details on the local organization yet.

We could also discuss if we wanted to have a more formal relationship with the organizers–helping out in some way?

March for Science (National)https://www.marchforscience.com/2018

Boston division

FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1283459638410385/
Twitter: @Mrch4ScienceBOS
Website: www.marchforscienceboston.com

[Alliance Event] Why Darwin? Stephen Matheson muses on the role of Darwin as a humanist icon

Posted on : 20-01-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post

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**RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/BostonSkeptics/events/247137902/

One aspect of the Boston Skeptics group that we’ve been working on is creating alliances with other local groups that have overlapping interests with the skeptics community. We recently reached out to the Humanist Hub to explore ideas and interests both groups might share. To begin exploring an alliance between us, we’d like to invite the Boston Skeptics members (new and existing!) to meet up at the Humanist Hub’s upcoming Sunday Speakers Series talk “Why Darwin?” by Stephen Matheson. Here’s the abstract for this talk: 

Charles Darwin, one of the most important scientists of the 19th century, is also a very misunderstood figure of history.“Charles Darwin is a humanist icon, or at least enough of an icon that International Darwin Day, celebrated every year on or about February 12, was first established by the American Humanist Association. We love to celebrate Darwin Day at the Hub, and this year is no exception.

But why? Why Darwin? Why not Newton or Galileo or Copernicus? Why not Curie or Lovelace or Franklin?

We will discuss these questions together: 1) Why is Darwin a humanist icon? In other words, why Darwin Day? and 2) Should Darwin be a humanist icon? In other words, should we celebrate Darwin Day? If so, how? If not, then what?”

Stephen Matheson is a biologist and a scientific editor working in Cambridge. He is also the Director of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Hub. You can learn more about the Humanist Hub team here.

This will be part of the regular Sunday events at the Humanist Hub. The Sunday Speakers Program is a weekly community meeting where the Humanist Hub gathers to reconnect with one another. The program often consists of a welcome, a song or poem, a talk by an invited speaker or a community member, questions-and-answers, and small group discussion, followed by refreshments and socializing. You can look for upcoming Humanist Hub events on their website and on their Meetup page. Note: this is not their Darwin Day event, which will occur in February.

We hope you’ll join us. And we’d like to hear what you think about alliances and ideas for other groups in the area to connect with.

Support a fellow skeptic–being sued for speaking out

Posted on : 14-01-2018 | By : Mary Mangan | In : Blog Post, Member Post, skepticism

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Many of you probably know Britt Marie Hermes. She was trained as a naturopath but had a Damascene conversion when she began to practice and realized what was actually going on. Her story has been told a number of times, but her own words are the most remarkable to read. You can read more about the revelations she had at Science Based Medicine in this post: ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out.

She has continued to make science-based noise about the issues of the training of naturopaths, as well as shine a spotlight on harmful treatments. In fact, she tried to warn us here in Massachusetts that we were about to be beset by that terrible naturopathic licensing that gives a veneer of legitimacy to these bad practices.

I really did think that the legislation had died a natural death at the end of the previous session in the summer. Out of nowhere the zombie had returned. She was right. But I wasn’t able to figure out how to combat it. I wrote to the Governor’s office, implored him not to sign it, but over the Christmas holidays it went under the radar and became real. Alas. We need to organize better on policy issues and learn to influence these things.

Still, I was really glad she was trying to help us. And it’s time to return the favor. Britt has been sued by one of the bad actors that she has called out. A woman who runs a cancer clinic offering baking soda treatments (!!!) seems to dislike the spotlight on these practices. She has sued Britt for defamation. You can hear from Britt here. She describes the situation and provides the background for you as well.

A legal defense fundraiser on her behalf is being held by Australian Skeptics. You can see their description of it, and you can donate to the effort: BRITT HERMES LEGAL COSTS FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN.

If you can, please consider donating to this fund. Britt’s voice is important on this issue, and we need to ensure that she is not silenced. But there’s a larger issue as well–all of us skeptics who call out bad actors are at risk from legal harassment by cranks and quacks. This happened to Steven Novella not long ago.

Cancer quackery gets on my last nerve–misleading vulnerable people in harmful ways and taking their money at this perilous time for them. Spend some of your money to stop them from getting away with it.

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Edit to add: There are other folks describing more details of Britt’s story or other related issues. I’ll link them here for further context.

Orac includes a good section about other lawsuits by quacks to hit the skeptic community: Defend Britt Hermes from a naturopathic cancer quack trying to silence her through legal thuggery

Kevin Folta delivers the bat signal: Nerd Shield Activate! Defend Britt from Fake-Medicine-Industry Intimidation

Pharmacist Scott Gavura adds: Naturopathy’s fiercest and most-knowledgeable critic is being sued by a naturopath