This is Gotham Skeptic signing off

It is a bittersweet goodbye that I deliver to Gotham Skeptic on its last day. Sweet because the amount of free time in my schedule just expanded dramatically, and bitter because I personally gained more than I had ever expected from my time working on the blog. I came to the project hopeful to cut my [...]

Why I was a Gotham Skeptic

I sat on the subway today hastily running from the classes I taught in the morning to the class in which I would take my final exam. I love riding the subway, especially in the middle of the day when the train is crowded, not quite rush hour but, standing room only.  There is a vibration, almost like a harmony, in the way people flow in and out of a crowded subway car.  One can always spot the tourist; the klutz at the dance.

I arrived at Penn Station. We spilled out of the train, down the stairs, as if choreographed, and then up onto the street. I walked across 34th street, headed east towards 6th Avenue. It was mid-afternoon, the streets were filled, but not clogged, with holiday shoppers. I stopped and looked up at the Empire State Building.

I had been thinking since first receiving word that the Gotham Skeptic was going offline what I would write as a final piece. And as I stood there, I felt dwarfed by the enormity of New York; tiny. I then tried to imagine how truly small I am in the universe. It’s difficult, really, to picture just how contextually microscopic all of us are, or conversely, the enormity of the universe itself. It was challenging to do, as I paused there, undoubtedly in someone’s way, for that moment. But the difficulty I experienced revealed something rather surprising, something I hadn’t considered. … continue reading this entry.

Farewell, Gotham Skeptic

Three years ago, I believed a lot of strange things and only had a faint awareness of the skeptical movement. Then on November 15, 2007 I attended an atheist event where Michael Shermer happened to also be in attendance. I’d only just discovered  a few clips on YouTube featuring him as well [...]

Happy Trails to Gothamites Everywhere

I have to ask you to imagine the person on the horse riding into this picture, because I can't find a public domain picture of it...

There’s something particular that writers get scared of when no one else is around.  It’s not writers block.  That comes and goes, younger writers tend to let it overwhelm them, but as you get older you learn that the best way to deal with writer’s block is to write through it.  It doesn’t matter what you write to write through it, just write something, feel your fingers typing, maybe the mechanical action of writing alone will make your brain work again.  But there is one fear that never goes away: the fear of the blank page.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that fearing the blank page is similar to writer’s block.  You’d be forgiven for thinking so, of course you’d be wrong too, but it’s an understandable mistake.  Writer’s block is about not being able to write.  It’s about the inability to get past a sentence or two without thinking that the ideas embodied in that sentence are worthless.  This is why you need to write through the block, force yourself to get past those ideas.  The fear of the blank page is more primal, more urgent.  It’s a fear of the limitless possibilities that page represents.  You don’t know what will come up on that blank page.  You don’t know if it’ll be good or bad, you don’t know if it’ll become something that you wish you’d never written or something that finally makes you as a writer. … continue reading this entry.

Gotham Skeptic to Shut Down

After more than a year and a half of daily posts from the Gotham Skeptic bloggers examining skepticism, critical thinking, personal exploration, science, society, and even a little bit of politics, the Gotham Skeptic, the official blog of the New York City Skeptics is signing off. But don’t think this implies that New York City Skeptics [...]

Upcoming Must See NYC Skeptics Events

Of course you love Gotham Skeptic.

And all of the cool kids attended Skepticamp NYC this past weekend.

And you you might be rejected from the East Coast if you don’t make it to the Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism (NECSS 2011 will be held April 9-10th).

But did you know that NYC Skeptics puts on several special [...]

Was there a theme to Skepticamp NYC 2010?

Thanks to Craig Sachs for the use of this early Skepticamp photo.

It might just be me, but every one of our skeptical events seems to develop its own meta-theme. Our first NECSS seemed to mostly revolve around skepticism and the media, our second about how can skeptics represent themselves in today’s media world. With that in mind, what do [...]

Flash Wednesday

2011 is almost upon us, but there is still time to make a tax-free donation to NYC Skeptics by becoming a member! Help support us today!

Only a few slots remain for this week’s SkepticampNYC. T-shirts are no longer available online, but they will be sold at the event. Don’t forget to register today!

The latest [...]

Extraordinary [religious] claims require extraordinary evidence

Beware of dragon

“George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd.”

- Sam Harris

If you replaced the phrase “Christians love him for it” with “skeptics must shut up” in the above quote, Sam Harris could be describing the current state of the skeptical movement.

Recently, one of my least favorite issues has resurfaced, what role, if any, atheism has within the skeptical movement. The controversy seems to have begun with Jeff Wagg writing a blog singling out a flyer and four scheduled talks at Skepticon3 focused on atheism or more accurately religious criticism, one of which with a heavy emphasis on physics. Though Wagg hadn’t seen the talks yet, he expressed more than mild disapproval of them based on their titles and his opinions of the speakers themselves. In fact, he suggested these topics have no right being discussed at a skeptical conference at all. According to Wagg, this doesn’t look like a skeptics conference at all, but rather something entirely different, “an atheist conference”…or worse “an anti-Christian conference.”

BUT DON’T PANIC!!! … continue reading this entry.

A Happy Marriage Between Magic and Science

Occasionally, something interesting happens in an eastern city that is not NYC. Very occasionally. But I caught wind of a new scheme thought up by the curators at Harvard’s Natural History Museum to capitalize on Harry Potter mania and to teach kids about the natural world. The Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt is a clever way to [...]

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