Embrace Your Inner Skeptic 2: Nobody loves a critic

This is a partial transcript of the talk I gave at St. Charles Community College on December 2, 2014.

  1. Amazing news!
  2. Nobody loves a critic
  3. Why skepticism is healthy
  4. What about religion?
  5. Evaluating information in the internet age
  6. Is Skepticism Right For YOU?
  7. Some advice on community building
  8. Q&A

Being gullible is a problem that affects everybody. If you think you’re not capable of falling for something, that’s exactly the time when you’re most vulnerable. The world is full of people trying to take advantage of you in some way. It doesn’t even have to be a life or death situation. Any time there is a motivation for significant personal gain, you’re going to find someone willing to delude themselves or lie to others in order to rake in a profit.

With that in mind, you would think it’s just common sense to be careful of how easily you accept what you are told. But you’d be surprised at how many people are opposed to skepticism itself, attacking the very idea that you should be critical of new information.

Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is a new age guru who promotes alternative medicine, and tells people that you can directly manipulate the nature of reality using only the power of your mind. Deepak says:

“I’ve debated skeptics, and am amazed that they mistake self-righteousness for happiness. A sort of bitter satisfaction is what they reap. No skeptic, to my knowledge, ever made a major scientific discovery or advanced the welfare of others. Typically they sit by the side of the road with a sign that reads ‘You’re Wrong’ so that every passerby, whether an Einstein, Gandhi, Newton, or Darwin, can gain the benefit of their illuminated skepticism.”

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Embrace Your Inner Skeptic 1: Amazing News!

I gave a talk yesterday for the Secular Student Alliance Group at St. Charles Community College in Missouri. The group was wonderful to me, and the turnout was very impressive. With about 80 people in the audience, it is probably the largest live lecture I have done so far. There was an experienced audio/video guy on hand, and I am confident that I will be able to make a high quality video available fairly soon. In the meantime, I’m going to be transcribing the seven sections of my talk, aiming for one post a day for the next week. The title of the talk was “Embrace Your Inner Skeptic!”

The Secular Student Alliance of St. Charles Community College


Welcome, everyone! My name is Russell Glasser. I’ve been invited to talk about skepticism by the local chapter of the Secular Student Alliance here at St. Charles Community College.

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Godless parenting link collection

Because we get asked so often about parenting advice by atheists, I wrote a couple of posts a few years ago laying out some basic advice on the subject. Since then I have done two appearances with Dale McGowan, author of “Parenting Beyond Belief.” Now when anybody asks about the topic I provide a short list of links, which so far have seemed to thoroughly cover most questions people have. Because of that, I am reposting that entire list here.

Hope that helps you parents out there.

Roundup: Some more thoughts on Islamophobia

On the show this Sunday I predicted some angry backlash when I said that yes, sometimes criticism of Islam winds up sinking to the level of racism and xenophobia. I won’t run through everything, although I will throw up a handful of Q&A type responses at the end of this post. I guess the best one was this:

Just wanted to say Russel’s tone is smug and pretentious. Makes it hard to listen to the show even if you agree with him.

Okay. Now I know.

In any case, I’ve been seeing a few related conversations around the web lately, so I thought I’d share them.

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Open thread for AETV #882: Matt and Jen

Looks like this post is a bit late.

On a side note: Blip.tv apparently canceled a whole bunch of accounts including ours, completely without warning, pursuing an unspecified “new business strategy.” The entire archive has been deleted, we have no login, and a complaint we sent was met with a generic message repeating what I just said without further explanation. We’re working to restore our video archives and come up with a strategy for posting new videos. This may or may not involve YouTube. We’ll keep you posted.

Another debate review:  Justin vs. Steven vs. a Barbarian

I had a lot of fun reviewing the Matt vs. Sye debate on my Twitch channel a couple of months ago, so I thought I’d do it again. Justin Schieber, of the very excellent podcast Reasonable Doubts, debated Christian apologist Steven Kozak on the topic “Does the Christian God exist?” You can watch the original debate video here, or just listen to it straight up by subscribing to Reasonable Doubts. But my preferred method of watching a debate is to kill some minions of hell in Diablo III, while commenting at the same time.

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