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Leftovers

SGU-24, our flawed gem of a webcast, has come and gone. During the show, quite a few viewers were chatting on the various IM channels were calling for more, such as SGU-48 and even a few cries for SGU-72.  While those exercises in insanity will never come to be, there were a few things which I prepared and was not able to find time to cram into the show.

So without further adieu, here are “Evan’s SGU-24 Leftovers”.  

I will present them as they were intended to be read aloud. Until now, they have remained untouched, vacuum-sealed in Saran Wrap so as not to spoil any organic content.  I now lay them before you – feast your eyes and you minds, if you so wish!

On This Day In Science and Skepticism: 

September 24, In The Year of Our Lord 1890.

A letter penned on this day read as follows:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

 I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false.

We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And here is a very charming photo of the President of TCOJCLDS from that era:

What a man!  I can see why droves of women would want to marry someone who’s stare looks like he’s shooting needles your way.

Let’s see, what else is leftover … Ah, I have to finish my top 10 list of people who have said the most absurd thing in defense of nonsense. The ones I was able to prattle off during the show were #9 through #2, but I did not get a chance to share my #10 and #1 items.  So here they are now!

The #10 most absurd thing someone has said in defense of nonsense:  

Hello, I’m Charlie Sheen.

-Charlie Sheen

And the #1 most absurd thing someone has said in defense of nonsense:

In the course of my life I have very often been a prophet, and have usually been ridiculed for it. During the time of my struggle for power, it was in the first instance the Jewish race that received my prophecies with laughter – when I said that I would one day take over the leadership of the State, and with it that of the whole nation, and that I would then, among many other things, settle the Jewish problem.

 I think that for some time now they have been laughing on the other side of their face (laughter). Today I will once more be a prophet. If the international Jewish financiers, inside and outside Europe, succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!

-Adolph Hitler

OK moving on, what else, what else …. Aha!  I had a bunch of Who’s That Noisy segments to play, but we did not seem to find any time to get to them.  Here is one of them, so go ahead and try to guess Whos That Noisy .

And finally my top-10 list of the greatest skeptical books of all time.  This was perhaps the most difficult list to comprise, because it is really hard to limit this list to just 10.  I could have made it a top 100 list, even though I have not read 100 skeptical books, but they are on my to-do bucket-list in life.  I really hope I am not insulting any authors that did not make this list, and I am sure you all have favorites that are not here, but regardless, my list is as follows.

#10 – Frauds Myths and Mysteries – Kenneth Feder

#9 – An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural  – James Randi

#8 – Vodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness to Fraud  - Robert Park

#7 – Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence – Terrence Hines

 #6 – The Men Who Stare at Goats – Jon Ronson

 #5 – Quirkology: How We Discover The Big Truths In Small Things  -Richard Wiseman

 #4 – Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, From Astrology to the Moon Landing “Hoax” – Philip Plait

 #3 – Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions – James Randi

  #2 – Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time – Michael Shermer

  and the #1 greatest skeptical book of all time …

The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – Cal Sagan

Probably no big surprise there with DHW, but its the perfect cherry on the top of this delicious pile of leftovers.  

Thank you for indulging yourselves on these leftovers, and I know we have said it many times before, but a huge THANK YOU to everyone who tuned in and an extra thank you to those who donated.  Without you, the readers and listeners, the SGU could not do all of things we do.

3 comments to Leftovers

  • The “Who’s That Noisy” sounds like the most awesome pinball game ever. :-)

    Definitely agree with your #1 choice (“Cal” Sagan?); DHW is one of those books that should be required reading at some point before graduating from high school.

    I was actually kind of disappointed by Shermer’s WPBWT, mostly because the book never really answered (to my satisfaction, anyway) _why_ people believe weird things. I think Daniel Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon” does a better job in that respect.

  • halincoh

    Excellent!

    Evan, I so hope, as it was impossible for me to watch more than a few hours ( life intervened )that there is a best of the 24 hour DVD. First of all, think of how even more excellent everything would become with the benefit of editing. And secondly, I would certainly pay for that DVD. I’m certain I am not alone.

  • vanadamme

    Awesome, I’ve read your top 5!

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