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.

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.

Flash Wednesday

SkepticampNYC is just a couple of week away! Registration is still open but we are sure to sell out and tickets may not be available at the door. Secure your seat today! Registration is $15 for the full day conference. Skepticamp t-shirts are also available for an additional $5.

Don’t forget, Rationally Speaking co-host and NYC Skeptics [...]

Flash Wednesday

SkepticampNYC 2010 is filling up fast. Reserve your spot today!

The latest Rationally Speaking podcast is now available for download featuring Joshua Knobe on Experimental Philosophy. Our last episode has been downloaded a record 20,000 times. Thank you everyone for listening!

Rationally Speaking co-host and NYC Skeptics board member Julia Galef will be moderating a panel [...]

Flash Wednesday

Save the date for NECSS 2011 with keynote speaker Dr. Phil Plait! April 9-10, 2011 in New York City — for the latest news and updates, stay tuned to www.necsscon.org, the NECSS facebook page, and twitter feed (@NECSS).

SkepticampNYC is only a month away! Registration is still open for the second annual “Skepticamp” — an “un-conference” where [...]

Announcing NECSS 2011!

Save the date for NECSS 2011

Next year’s Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism will take place on April 9-10, 2011 in New York City. This will be our third annual conference, and it promises to be bigger and better in every way — with a larger venue, more [...]

Hey Phil! I wasn’t a dick!

On Friday I did something that was fairly new for me.  I’ve been online writing about my opinions for… years.  I’ve been getting into random arguments with strangers for… years.  What I’d never done before was get up in front of a room full of Christians and try to represent an atheistic and highly skeptical viewpoint.  And now I have!  The people that ran the event say they’ll have it up online by the end of the week, when it is I’ll give everybody the link and if you want to see me with my ratty blond beard being told that I’m representing the New York City Skeptics (I told them that I wasn’t a representative of NYCS, but just a member, but they didn’t always listen) and saying why I don’t believe in God, you can check it out to your hearts content.  For today, I’m going to do what I can to tell you about the event, say what I took from it, where I think I could have done better.  Basically, I’m going to use this blog that I hope you tend to enjoy as my diary.  Aren’t you lucky? … continue reading this entry.

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