Skeptics in the Park


Skeptics in the Park

This is group for skeptical parents, but you don't have to identify as a skeptic (or even be a parent) to join. This is just an opportunity to connect with people who value science and reason.

Location: Albuquerque
Members: 5
Latest Activity: Feb 8, 2010

Albuquerque's Community Forum


We're now on Facebook. And a time has been set for the first meetup. Saturday, Feb 20 at 1 pm, we'll…Continue

Started by Lexicakes Feb 8, 2010.

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Comment by Ray Thomason on January 25, 2010 at 6:00am
I'm having trouble keeping up with commitments at this time, but I do look forward to seeing comments on this page regarding some of the issues brought up. I'll attempt to check in once a week at least to see if the thread is continuing.

My contact with Descartes is hackneyed -- "I think therefore I am"; could you comment a bit on philosophical skepicism and Descartes? I am aware of radical doubt as a philosophical position, questioning everything, seeing if any new answers emerge, building a conceptual understanding strictly limited to speculation, conjecture, then using any emergent theories to experiment in an environment or data set, then refining or changing the emergent theory. Is this anywhere near?

I got this from wiki (and I assume it's okay to copy wiki text into a comment) --

philosophical skepticism (from Greek σκέψις - skepsis meaning "enquiry" - UK and traditional spelling, scepticism) is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt.[1] This skepticism can range from disbelief in contemporary philosophical solutions, to agnosticism, to rejecting the reality of the external world. One kind of scientific skepticism refers to the critical analysis of claims lacking empirical evidence. We are all skeptical of some things, especially since doubt and opposition are not always clearly distinguished. Philosophical skepticism, however, is an old movement with many variations, and contrasts with the view that at least one thing is certain, but if by being certain we mean absolute or unconditional certainty, then it is doubtful if it is rational to claim to be certain about anything. Indeed, for Hellenistic philosophers claiming that at least one thing is certain makes one a dogmatist.

"Meaning systems of our times" is certainly interesting to me, and one central meaning system of interest, and some distaste to me, is the one being created by television, film, pop literature, and more recently, the internet culture. What effect is this having on my children, who spend a great deal of time on Youtube, and surfing the net? They are bright, impressionable humans who suck up unstated assumptions from their books, films and internet experience. I frequently can detect some of those as I unpack their statements, arguments, positions taken in talk. What am I allowing them to adopt, or at least test, without my examination, and with only the protection of their own possibly ill-prepared or matured meaning systems? My son was surfing last month on a seeminly innocent site, and was confronted by a "screamer" -- Linda Blair's spinning, vomiting head accompanied by a ear-splitting screeching blast of sound. He was traumatized for some time. We talked about it, and potential lessons to be learned about other people, and this medium. He dropped it as a topic shortly. I guess it's bullying, from one point of view. Terrorism seems to fit too.

Well, I hope you all had a good Christmas!
Comment by Lexicakes on January 6, 2010 at 7:41am
It has been a busy couple of months. There hasn't been any talk about a meet up, but I am hoping to organize a trip to Explora soon.
Comment by Barelas Babe on January 5, 2010 at 9:11pm
I know December is a busy time, but I'm curious if anyone has talked about meeting up soon?
Comment by Ray Thomason on December 9, 2009 at 3:37am
Lexicakes, I am in agreement with the problems with magical thinking, if you mean that conclusions are reached by assumptions not suggested or proven by some kind of data. I would, though, consider intuitions or hunches by someone if they can present some events or reasoning to support, or even suggest a form of support for them. I agree also with the confusion of the anti-vaccine position, and with the dangers of avoiding all vaccines.

I would like to get this book Science-based Parenting, and see where a discussion goes about it.

I am interested in discussing how to deal with irritation and fighting between siblings. I have been using a 'let's slow down and discuss what each of you want,' mediating first the agreement that one person can talk while the other persons listen, then when that is finally occurring, allowing the talker to air out his angers, focusing on his wishes, unpacking them, getting them clearly stated, and also giving him the sense (usually only impatiently granted), that the other is actually listening for a moment. When successful, this has led to some compromises, some planning for how future similar situations might work out, etc.

Being trained as a 'communication' analyst, my approach obviously emerges from that, done on the fly as it seems to be occurring. I wonder what other parents do in such situations?
Comment by Barelas Babe on December 3, 2009 at 11:01pm
I got so excited when I saw this because I thought it would be a group for those who espoused philosophical skepticism - you know, like Descartes? ;)

The Science-based Parenting movement looks pretty interesting. Good luck with the group!
Comment by Lexicakes on December 3, 2009 at 4:14pm
I am not familiar with that book, but I just Googled it and found the Parenting Beyond Belief blog. I'll have to read the book.
Comment by jeff on December 3, 2009 at 10:16am
this seems like a good idea. we attended the humanist "sunday school" a couple times before it disbanded. are you familiar with the book "parenting beyond belief"?
Comment by Lexicakes on December 3, 2009 at 9:35am
By science, I mean the scientific method. By reason, I mean being able to reach conclusions based on evidence, as opposed to some sort of magical thinking.

To elaborate, I started this group because I have find a lot of parenting communities to be full of irrational ideas (my biggest peeve is the anti-vaccine movement). I got the idea from Science-based Parenting. I'd like to eventually organize kid- friendly meet ups with other folks.

I thought this could be a good way to meet people and share ideas.
Comment by Ray Thomason on December 3, 2009 at 4:22am
The description sounds interesting. What type of science and reasoning? I was following post-modern thought in the 80s and 90s, till marriage and children swallowed me up. I would enjoy hearing and sharing some philosophical observations of other thinkers, parents, etc.

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