from the world's big
Life as a skeptic is summed up in this parody documentary
This parody documentary skewers both the skeptic and the superstitious, and accurately shows what issues skeptics face.
- A video from QED 2018 has made the rounds on the internet, poking fun at skeptics and the credulous alike.
- It features a nearly perfect impression of Sir David Attenborough, jabs at peddlers of pseudoscience, and sharp British humor.
- The clip reminds us that while it can be difficult to be a skeptic in a superstitious world we must take a moment to laugh at these difficulties.
Living as a skeptic in a superstitious world can be difficult. Luckily, the brilliant minds at QED 2018, a conference for skeptics, created the five-minute masterpiece The Migration of the Skeptic to give us a laugh and a good look at some of the issues facing people who look at the world without superstitious mindsets. It even has voice actor Adam Diggle doing a spot-on impression of Sir David Attenborough's narration style.
Did you catch that?
The "bell ends" shown at the start of the video include Dr. Oz, who is so fond of pseudoscience that he won the Pigasus Award for pseudoscience three times. Despite having a fine record as a surgeon, he likes to promote unscientific health practices, such as miracle cures involving coffee beans and reiki, all the while acting like a single scientific truth cannot be found.
Jordan Peterson and your sister's aura
Photo: 'Migration of the Skeptic' (2018)
One of the things that the mixed-faith couple decides they agree on is if "Jordan Peterson is a bit of a dick." Peterson, who has been interviewed by Big Think, is controversial for some of his views, such as asserting that women on the pill are "a new biological entity" or that it is hypocrisy to wear makeup and not want to be catcalled. He also isn't above pseudoscience himself with his strange understanding of DNA, archaeology, or how people can quit smoking without being religious.
Both Jordan Peterson and Dr. Oz are very popular, but earn the ire of skeptics the world over for their statements. The chance to get a jab in at them couldn't be passed up.
The magnets holding up the list the mixed-faith couple made feature both famous writer and religious skeptic Christopher Hitchens next to Will Smith as the romcom movie character Hitch, showing how very differently skeptics can interpret even a five letter word from the typical person.
Being a skeptic in a superstitious world
The video, jokingly, brings up some of the various issues that skeptics can face in everyday life. Most Americans don't trust people who are skeptical about the existence of God and wouldn't vote for them. Mixed faith couples and couples where one partner is a skeptic are increasingly common, presenting new challenges for everybody.
Showing that some people can still make fun of themselves, the video also points out how insufferable some skeptics can be as a result of having to deal with these things. It shows, accurately, how despite the existence of organizations for skeptics and those who take a scientific view of the world, most people who would be interested in them don't bother to participate. This is a shame since such organizations can provide the community and social capital that religious organizations offer others.
By means of a funny video, the people at QED remind us that the world and the people in it aren't quite as rational as we often think and that it can be challenging to live in it with a dedication to skepticism, rational inquiry, and an unending desire to tell other people they're wrong. It might never become the sort of viral video that encourages people to re-evaluate how they see the world, but it is good for a laugh and a reminder not to take your rationalism too seriously.
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."