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Vaccine Rejection: A Flat Earth Theory for the 21st Century

18 Jan

The flat-earthers are back!

Well, not exactly, but their descendants have come up with the flat-earth equivalent for the 21st century. They reject vaccination.

Vaccine rejectionists are all over the web promoting the “dangers” of vaccination. Vaccine rejectionism isn’t about vaccination, though. It’s all about parents and how they wish to view themselves.

It is important to understand that vaccine rejection is not based on science. There is no scientific data that supports vaccine rejection. Indeed vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of all time and virtually every accusation about vaccines by vaccine rejectionists is factually false.

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Standing Up to Gender Bullying

5 Jan

You’ve probably seen this Tumblr post already, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

In summary: Kristen, a woman who works as a shift manager for Gamestop, recently witnessed a father trying to bully his son, age 10–12, out of buying a purple game controller along with a game with a female protagonist. Luckily, the boy’s elder brother, a high school wrestler,  stepped in and stood up to the man. Kristen also comforted the boy by assuring him that “There’s nothing wrong with what you like. Even if it’s different than what people think you should.”

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Why Students are a Priceless Investment

5 Jan

This post originally appeared on CFI’s A Course of Reason—A CFI On Campus Blog on January 3, 2012.

Students, young people, and the “30 under 30” that some people reference are part of a growing trend to include students in activism and secular organizations. Some organizations, like American Atheists, have done innovative things to get students involved. Offering free or reduced rates for organization membership, giving free or very inexpensive entry to conferences, and offering grants and scholarships to students for their hard work and dedication to our missions are all simple measures that attract students and make them feel important to our movement.

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What’s Small and Cute and Pink All Over? Almost Every Toy in the “Girls” Aisle of the Toy Store

31 Dec

When I started We Are SkeptiXX, I was so pumped about the blog—especially after PZ Myers mentioned it on Pharyngula, which resulted in the views on the blog jumping from 18 on its inaugural day of December 1 to 1,604 on December 3 and a whopping 2,249 on December 4. I pretty much invited everyone I know to contribute, male or female. As long as the post is in keeping with the blog’s stated purpose of “supporting women in the skeptics movement,” I would love to consider any and all submissions for the site. When Ben sent me the expanded version of a piece he had done for Discovery News as a submission for SkeptiXX, I hadn’t even read the original post yet and so told him I’d need to look it over before posting it. When I finally got the chance to read it, I was actually pretty taken aback. I was hesitant to post it, but not because I disagree with the majority of what he wrote—after all, a big part of skepticism is civil argument about questioned claims. But I couldn’t figure out what the post had to do with “supporting women in the skeptics movement.” I started to reply to the article on a very long Facebook thread, but then I realized I might as well reply in this forum instead. Below you’ll find Ben’s original We Are SkeptiXX submission that expands on his online article. Below that is my counter-response. I hope you enjoy the exchange and will let us know what you think in the comments section.

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Reality TV’s Effects on Teenage Girls

23 Dec

Skeptical Inquirer’s deputy editor, Ben Radford, recently wrote a post on the Center for Inquiry’s blog Free Thinking about a new study released by the Girl Scouts on the effects of reality TV on girls. Upon reading the post, SI’s assistant editor, Julia Burke, had some pointed questions about Ben’s conclusions. I thought their exchange would be of interest to We Are SkeptiXX readers. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

Poll Holds Surprises About Teen Self-Image, Reality TV Effects

By Benjamin Radford

A new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute issued a report titled “Real to Me: Girls and Reality TV” which came to a variety of conclusions about the effects of reality TV on beliefs and attitudes of teen girls.

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