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Author: skepticalseeker

Sunday Blasphemy: What is real?

At the close of this Christmas season and the start of the New Year, I want to make this point about belief and about what is real. Most of my readers are probably familiar with the “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” letter that was posted in the New York Sun in 1897, since it has worked its way into Christmas tradition. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how...

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Questioning our Stories

I’ve always been a tester as long as I remember. When someone tells me something out of the ordinary … well, it’s not that I don’t trust your judgement or anything but I would like to know if there are facts to back that up. Even though I must admit that at first I would only look for confirming evidence (before I knew about confirmation bias), but if I could not find it I would get suspicious. Even if someone is honestly telling you what they believe, they can still be wrong. That’s how I’ve always felt about a family claim of Cherokee ancestry — especially since the details seemed lost to time. Not a name, not even a certain spot on the family tree. Grandpa’s grandma … or great grandma … or maybe great-great grandma? In search of evidence, I got a DNA test with one of the commercial providers which showed that there is negligible trace of Native American DNA in my genome, and even that is speculative. It’s not just me being skeptical. I’ve always thought it was fun to tease out the details of a claim and see what I can find. Even finding out for sure something is not really true is a discovery. I forget sometimes that not everyone feels this way. I showed my results to some family members, and they seemed put out by...

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We are moving!

The ball is already rolling for The Skeptical Seeker to move to Hostmonster! I am moving to my own hosting account in order to have more control of my website design. The skepticalseeker.com domain is currently in the process of being transfered to the new registrar. The site may be down briefly when the transfer is complete, and then I will be back in my new...

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A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol has been my favorite Christmas movie for as long as I remember. However for the last several years I have been discovering other movies — A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, The Year Without a Santa Claus — and other classics that I never saw when I was a kid. I finally got around to purchasing the George Scott version of A Christmas Carol, and when I watched it this year I saw it much through different eyes than I did as a child. My earliest memory of the film (I don’t remember if it was...

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