Friday, November 19, 2010

Extraordinary Claims

Today marks the official launch of the Extraordinary Claims campaign by the Centre for Inquiry, Canada. A lot of the work behind this campaign was done by members of the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS). While I'm listed as a member of that committee I haven't been very active for the past six months while I've been working on my book. The credit goes to Michael Kruse and Iain Martel and all the other members who worked so hard.

If you're a CFI member, support CFI by attending the Official Launch Part this evening at the Centre for Inquiry, 216 Beverley Street, Toronto (just south of the St. George campus of the University of Toronto).1 If you're not a member then go anyway and join up!

1. I wish I could be there but a prior commitment got in the way.


  1. Most people won't be able to watch the video because it is geo restricted :-(

  2. The first extraordinary claim on the posters and the bus ad is "Allah". Now that is extraordinarily ballsy even in Canada. Way to go, CIF!

  3. @XiXiDu,

    I changed the link. Does it work now?

  4. A lot of skeptic organizations shy away from religion to one degree or another, so I'm glad to see CIF tackling it by the balls.

  5. I would contend that Darwin's central argument that the diversity and complexity of life can be explained away simply by reference to chance and necessity (variation and selection) is an *extraordinary claim* but which sadly provides little, if any, supporting evidence.

    Natural selection is the law of conservation in biology, but Darwin envisaged it as a substitute for divine teleology and a force for major innovation.

    I have not seen any demonstrable ,testable and reproducible evidence that this is in fact the case. The burden of proof is always on the exponent of a theory.

    But don't let me spoil the party: I respect your quasi-religious views, however wacky they may be.

  6. Are you really going to investigate the Easter Bunny? Isn't this carrying skepticism a bit too far!

    What about the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk or the Cremation of Sam McGee?

  7. Reza:
    I have not seen any demonstrable ,testable and reproducible evidence that this is in fact the case.

    Well that settles it then! After all, even Darwin himself knew that Reza, the commenter on the Sandwalk, was the arbiter of truth. And if the same Reza, the arbiter of truth, had determined that a theory was false, then it was false. Reza, the arbiter, did not need evidence, much less understand how so-called evidence was situated with theory. Theory? Bah! Reza had a few theories, and they were all worthless, why believe the theories of strangers? Much less strangers who disagreed?

    No, in this time, we were lucky to have Reza to point out our errors.

    Praise be Reza, the infallible.

  8. Brian,

    Its OK....people like myself only appear once in a millennium. Darwin had a great imagination - he dreamed that bears would jump into the ocean and transmutate into whales.

    Although Larry claims he is not a Darwinist, I betcha he believes that it is not impossible for a cyclin-coding gene (a copy at least) to evolve into an opsin-coding one through a process of adaptation or accident.

  9. Nope, it states that the video includes content from Sony Music Entertainment which is not available in my country (Germany). You won't be able to fix that until one removes the content or uses another video platform. Don't worry, I just wanted to let you know about it. It's probably not available in most countries.

  10. I'm getting a raincoat, something is about to hit the fan.

  11. @ XiXiDu,

    Germany seems to have hyper-active copyright laws regarding the use of music in other medias. I'm in Köln now, and many clips that my friends watch from other countries are blocked from my German work IP.

    Due to the music, I think the only way to see that clip is to wait for a copy, and see it before Youtube flags the content for Germany

  12. @Reza,

    I think your should check out this posting...