September 1990 +quot;BASIS+quot;, newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics Bay Area Skeptics In
September 1990 "BASIS", newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics
Bay Area Skeptics Information Sheet
Vol. 9, No. 9
Editor: Yves Barbero
DON'T CALL ME BROTHER
by Austin Miles
[Austin Miles was one of the first to expose Jim Bakker's PTL Club
con game. The excesses were dizzying. A sincerely religious man,
Miles had to literally force his eyes open. But there were early
indications of the problems to come. Below is an excerpt from
"Don't Call Me Brother" (Prometheus, 1989, $19.95), the book that
recounts his amazing encounters with America's spiritual con men
"The greatest of all time." he [Pastor Bedzyk] continued, "was
William Branham. He had a word of knowledge so precise that there
was no way it could have been anything but of God. And this was
proved! Even the most hardened skeptics would fall down on their
knees in from of him."
I was already vaguely aware of the Reverend William Branham. Many
"miracles" had been attributed to his ministry, and his "words of
knowledge" seemed so uncanny that they made Oral Roberts envious.
Reverend Roberts has once complained to a close friend, "I can't
understand why God hasn't given me the ability to read minds like
"You said that Reverend Branham had a `precise' word of knowledge,
and that it was `proved.' How did he work?"
"Well," Pastor Bedzyk answered, excitement building in his voice,
"as you know, people sometimes think the evangelist can call out
anything and someone will respond to it. To prove that this was not
just guesswork and that it really was from God, Bill Branham had
everyone write down on a piece of paper any illness or problem that
they wanted God to help them with. This way, it was all on record
and could not be altered. They then sealed the piece of paper in an
When they all came up in the prayer line, Bill Branham walked down
the line taking all the envelopes, and then stacked them up on the
pulpit. As each person came forward, Brother Branham held that
envelope in the air. Then -- he proceeded to tell that person
everything that they needed and wanted from God. He would open the
envelope and absolutely everything. word for word, that he had said
was right there written down! Miraculous healings took place. 1
Cancers just fell off people! People got `the shakes.' William
Branham was probably the most anointed -- "
I did not hear the last part of what Pastor Bedzyk was saying.
Suddenly, I felt sick to my stomach. "Pastor Bedzyk -- would you
mind taking me back to my room? I don't feel well."
"Sure. Sure, we'll go right away."
As we got back in the car, Pastor Bedzyk kept talking: "Brother
Branham put such a fear of God in people that one time a couple of
men came up for prayer, both claiming to have several serious
diseases. They were trying to put one over on Brother Branham. He
put his hands on their heads, started to pray, then with great
anger yelled, `You don't have any of these diseases! You were
trying to fool a prophet of God! Do you know what's going to happen
to you? I'm going to tell God to put on you every disease you
claimed to have -- right now! And you will be eaten alive by every
loathsome disease you lied about!'"
Pastor Bedzyk began to chuckle. "Those rascals fell to their knees,
grabbed Brother Barnham's feet, and kissed his shoes, begging and
pleading with him not to put those diseases on them. It sure taught
them a lesson they'd never forget, and this was in front of several
thousand people. Brother Miles -- you do look sick. I'll get you
back as quickly as possible."
The first thing I did when we got back was to be sick in the
bathroom. Then I lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. My
mind drifted back to the time when I was twelve years old, in
Salinas, California. Like many boys, I was very interested in magic
and had managed to accumulate several tricks. I had bought some
props with paper route money, and made others from instructions in
During my stay in Salinas, the Foley and Burke Carnival came to
town. When they were setting up, I noticed a banner announcing
"Senor Lopez -- The Magician from Mexico." I introduced myself to
Senor Lopez and agreed to be his assistant for the week in exchange
for magic lessons.
One afternoon he said, "Today I will teach you the envelope trick."
This was a `mind reading' trick that had fascinated me more than
all the others. People in the audience would write questions on a
piece of paper along with their name and address, and seal the
questions in an envelope. During the show, the envelopes would be
passed up the stage, and Senor Lopez would begin to "read the
minds" of his audience.
He would take the first envelope with a flourish, tap it against
his head, and say, "Where is Mary Johnson?"
Someone in the audience would respond, "Here I am."
"Your question is -- `I lost a valuable diamond-studded earring
last Tuesday. It has great sentimental value. Will I find it?'"
Senor Lopez would then begin to tear the envelope open. "Let's
check what you wrote. Yes -- here is it -- `I lost a valuable
diamond-studded earring last Tuesday. It has great sentimental
value. Will I find it?'"
Everyone was amazed how Senor Lopez could have known what was
written on the slip sealed in the envelope. Then he would continue,
"Look in your closet. You have a pair of red shoes there. The
earring dropped off while you were in the closet and landed inside
the left shoe."
Mary Johnson would now be very animated. "I do have a pair of red
shoes in the closet. This couldn't have been a trick! You really
can read minds!"
Enthusiastic applause would burst forth. Senor Lopez would then
take the next envelope, accurately describe everything written on
the enclosed slip before he unsealed the envelope, and give advice
for solving the problem.
"This is one of my favorite tricks," Senor Lopez said to me as he
began instructing me in the secret. "The first person whose mind
you read is a plant -- in this case, Mary Johnson. You do the
earring story, or any other one you make up, first. When you open
the envelope, you really open the envelope of the next person whose
mind you're going to `read.' While pretending to read the
information written by Mary Johnson, you're really reading the
information for your next subject. You can even get away with
putting the piece of paper down on your table and reading from it
while you hold the next unopened envelope to your head. You are
always one envelope ahead. This is the most effective of all the
mind reading tricks."
The renowned Reverend William Branham, faith healer and prophet of
God, had been using parlor tricks! He was deliberately staging his
supposed messages from God in order to manipulate vulnerable
people. Nobody had ever guessed the truth.
When William Branham died in a winter flood that swept through
Louisville, Kentucky, his followers would not bury him. They were
convinced that God would raise him from the dead on Easter Sunday
morning -- four months hence. Easter Sunday came and went. Brother
Branham stayed dead. Finally, they buried him.
[Used with the kind permission of Austin Miles.]
"It is error alone that needs the support of government.
Truth can stand by itself."
-- Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia)
MILES ON CABLE
When Austin Miles spoke at the Bay Area Skeptics' June meeting, a
video tape was of this splendid talk made by Dan Dugan. The tape
was turned over to Paul Bernadino of the Public Access Cable
Channel 25 of the San Francisco cable company.
The talk will be broadcast in its entirety on September 8, Channel
25, at 5:00 pm.
If you missed this talk, and you have San Francisco cable, don't
miss this opportunity to view the talk. Be sure to tell your
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable
man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore,
all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
-- George Bernard Shaw
AN INNOCENT IN WONDERLAND
by Diogenes Arouet
[We've had some brilliant theorists talk about the various
subtleties involved in the oxymoronically-termed Creation Science.
We've had excellent political analysts dissect the subject to
microscopic levels. Educators have had their say and then some. Now
comes a man of exceptional creativity. He actually went down to the
Institute for Creation Research and had a look-see. Yes, "BASIS"
does favor on-site reports. -- The Editor]
Last year, out of sheer curiosity, I visited the ICR "campus" in
About 20 miles northeast of San Diego, as a non-evolutionary crow
would fly if there were such, is the town of Santee, California.
There, along the commercial strip of a freeway frontage-road, hard
by auto parts dealers, a drive-in movie, and various other
enterprises, stands that bastion of fundamentalist thought (sic):
The Institute for Creation Research.
The ICR "campus," (after all, it does claim to be a graduate
school) shares a two-story building with a combination copy
center/office supplies store. But this is not just another of the
store-front diploma mills, which appear to prosper in California.
No, the ICR's classrooms and laboratories are BEHIND and BELOW the
office supplies store. No PhDs by mail here!
I made my way across a parking lot and noted a bumper sticker (a
master's thesis?): CREATION SCIENCE. Yes, this was the place. One
wonders idly, do they have a football team? Do they play Oral
Roberts University? Or Jerry Falwell's Liberty U? But no -- sports
are played by undergraduates, and this is a GRADUATE school! Be
In the lobby I was confronted by racks of religious tracts and
shelves of books and tapes of creationist dogma which were for
sale. A receptionist greeted me pleasantly and asked if she could
be of help. I asked to see a catalog, and was told that I could see
one but couldn't take it with me. This because "the catalog is in
revision." (This was late March 1989.)
A quick scan of the brief catalog showed courses in astrophysics,
geology, science education, and the like. The titles (at least)
were worthy of Cal Tech or Berkeley. The course descriptions
however, certainly would not be found at Cal Tech, Berkeley, or
even a Marx Brothers film. (Remember Groucho was President of
Darwin U. in one film!) Bizarre outlines told how "The Great Flood"
is PROVED, of the case against that old devil EVOLUTION, and all
the rest (my italics). The faculty list showed several persons
trained in engineering, a few in science, and a few in theology.
Having checked the catalog, I asked the receptionist if I might
visit the classroom and laboratory area. After all, when one visits
a research institute, one wants to see the center of activity. The
receptionist flashed a Nancy Reagan/cheerleader's smile and
explained, "You can't do that because they're under renovation."
Further, "The Institute is installing a new carbon-14 dating
laboratory. "In response to my question of what do they DO in a
carbon-14 lab she allowed as how she really didn't know, but she
knew it was important, and "You can ask one of the professors."
(The ICR has been very critical of carbon-14 dating methods,
claiming that the isotope decay rates CHANGE IN TIME, thus
"supporting" the ICR notion that the Earth is less than 6,000 years
old! By the way, ICR also holds that the speed of light has
changed! This "explains" why distant galaxies are only a few
thousand light years away instead of "millions and millions!!!")
Fine, I said, let me do that. "You can't because none of the
professors are around." How about a student then? Well, they too
were "not around," leading me to conclude that faculty and students
this day were as rare as busts of Darwin in a bible college.
But this "Catch-22" dialogue was not entirely in vain. No, there
was HOPE! Though thwarted in my desires to take home a catalog,
visit a lab, and talk to a professor or student, all was not lost!
I was welcome to browse through the lobby materials, buy some tapes
and reading matter, and visit the MUSEUM. The museum! My hostess
escorted me past offices filled with wholesome-looking workers. She
paused at the museum door, flashed another Nancy grin, and unlocked
it (one protects what one values). I was cautioned to be careful
because, "It's dark in there." Her warning had some merit, although
the interior was beyond the illumination furnished by mere lamp
bulbs. In this "museum" The Dark Ages were rampant!
This archive of the ICR, perhaps the equivalent in floor area of
two living rooms, had few artifacts on display (WHAT could they
show?). There were posters, lists of names, biblical quotations,
and photographs -- lots of photographs. There were photos of
expeditions in search of Noah's Ark, and of fossil digs and other
activities designed to demonstrate conclusively the errors of
evolution. One knew these were serious scientists in the photos
because they were dressed in safari clothes and pith helmets.
These exhibits inform one that the universe is no older than 6,000
years, that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, and that astronomers
now "know" that galaxies are only a few thousand years old. Here
one learns that the Grand Canyon's vivid exhibits of eons of
geological history are not to be believed! There were many other
examples, but these will suffice to capture the crackpot tone of
the place. I scanned the Comments column in the Museum Guest Book,
among those heaping praise found this terse and apt notation from
a New York visitor: "Ludicrous and loathsome!"
I had more than my fill of ICR by now. On the other hand, if I
could find a professor, I might be able to pick up a graduate
degree. After all, I had most of the afternoon open.
["Diogenes Arouet" is the pen-name of a university instructor and
electronics engineering consultant in the Bay Area.]
MINISTER PREACHES "SCIENTIFIC" CREATIONISM IN
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOL!
by Eugenie C. Scott, PhD
A fundamentalist minister showed and discussed the creationist
film, "Origins, Two Models" to a Weed, California public elementary
school's seventh and eighth grade science classes in late March.
Weed is located in the northern part of the state, near Mount
A handout sheet accompanied the presentation, outlining the
rationale for teaching creationism in the science classes, and
various "evidences" in support of creationism. It also claimed that
many scientists now consider the creation account a scientific
A new, non-tenured science teacher, in his first year at the
school, was informed by the principal that the minister's visit was
going to take place, "was traditional," and had been taking place
for some fifteen years (the minister is in fact, the principal's
pastor.) The teacher protested the activity, but it took place
Reportedly, the eighth grade students questioned the minister
closely, and many times he was forced to fall back to "explain" a
point by saying "because the Bible says so." A Catholic student
questioned whether she could believe God created (but did it
through evolution) and still be a Christian. She was told "No."
The Ministerial Alliance has requested formalizing the visit in the
future, whereas NCSE [National Center for Science Education - Ed.]
members Ken Goehring and Michael Roesch have requested that the
activity cease. The Board of Education has requested an opinion
from the county attorney and the Department of Education on the
teaching of creationism in the school. Thus far, there is no
specific law or regulation prohibiting the teaching of creationism
in California public schools.
However, the California Science Framework, specifically states that
only science may be taught in science classes, and that
"scientific" creationism is not scientific. Although not
prohibited, the teaching of "scientific" creationism is
unprofessional, and because it is a sectarian religious position,
its advocacy contravenes the First Amendment clause of the
In May, the Institute for Creation Research held a "Back to
Genesis" conference in Weed. Ken Goehring, physical anthropologist
at the College of the Siskiyous, presented a public lecture on
human evolution a week later.
DR. SCOTT is executive director of the National Center for Science
Education and an advisor to Bay Area Skeptics. The article is
reprinted from BACC Science 3(2), Box 59072, San Jose, California.
Subscriptions are $5 a year. DR. SCOTT will lead the tour of the
LIFE THROUGH TIME exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences
September 22nd. Details are printed elsewhere in this issue.
"Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage
in which man is kept imprisoned."
-- Swami Nirmalananda, "Enlightened Anarchism"
EXCERPTS FROM WEED CREATION-SCIENCE HANDOUT
"We understand that evolutionary dogma is properly identified as a
religious belief system...and thus should also submit to the First
"If you are the produce of mechanistic chance, then life looses
[sic] much of its meaning."
"A significant number of qualified scientists are now finding that
a creation account of origins fits better than does evolution."
"Conclusion: If the worldwide flood really occurred, it would be
the primary explanation for most geological phenomena."
[Source: "BACC Science" 3(2)]
"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it."
-- Abbie Hoffman
CHRISTIAN GODMEN FROM THE WEST
by A.K. Savani, Nagpur, India
(Courtesy "INDIAN SKEPTIC", January 1990)
In February, 1989, Nagpur was privileged to have miracle workers
descend on the city on behalf of a Christian organization called
"Global Network." A global con, in fact, where disease was to be
cured by prayer. The wonder workers were Rev. Mike Huggins, Rev.
Roger Jude and Sister Judy Such of the USA, along with Rev. Martin
Bullman of Switzerland. These were ably assisted by Rev. Satish
Rathore and 30 other experts. The venue of this miracle melee was
Kasturchand Park. It was to extend from February 15th to 19th, but,
thanks to the determined efforts of the Andha Shraddha Nirmulan
Samithi, it fizzled out in a somewhat unspectacular way.
Large ads in local dailies, posters, banners and sign-boards
announced the event. The promoters claimed all physical
disabilities, skin diseases, cataract and blindness - anything that
had defied medical remedy - could be cured instantly by prayer.
Even persons attending the meetings were assured of better health
- probably with residual blessings rubbing off on them too.
SKEPTICS OBJECT, DEMONSTRATE AND GET ARRESTED
When the skeptics (ANS) noted this false propaganda, the secretary,
Mr. Harish Deshmukh, submitted a written complaint to the Sadar
Police Station. He pointed out that instant cure by prayer was not
possible, and such publicity merely helps spread blind belief and
superstition. It must therefore be stopped at once.
The police did nothing. So a procession was organized against the
godmen. Marching with the volunteers were physically handicapped
people, the blind and the deaf, and even some dwarfs. They carried
banners appealing for a cure for their disabilities by prayer. The
committee offered the godmen Rs. 3,00,000 in prize money to
demonstrate their miracles. Shouting slogans, they converged on
Kasturchand Park and the police promptly arrested all 63 of them.
POLICE ARREST GODMEN
However, a similar march and demonstration was staged the next day.
This time the police visited the venue where prayer meetings were
in progress. They saw a healer touch a blind man's eyes and assure
him he could see, when he couldn't. A lame man's leg was touched
and he was told he could walk. Convinced this was all a con, the
police arrested the Christian faith-healers and the organizers.
GODMEN FACE MAGISTRATE
Cases were registered against them under the drugs and Magical
remedies objectionable Advertisement Act, 1954, and violation of
Medical Practitioners Act, 1961 (Maharashtra). Thereafter touching
of the bodies of the sick, and the laying on of hands while praying
was stopped. Earlier, when similar claims by a Mr. Hotsna, Rev.
McLean and Rev. Peter were challenged, they had fled from the
The protest demonstrators were led by Mr. Umesh Chaube, Mr. Harish
Deshmukh, Mr. Ashok Chate, Mr. Dnyanesh Mawale, Nitin Choudhary,
Yamini Chaudhary, Rekha Dendige, Vijay Metkar and other activists
of the Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samithi.
"Every form of mysticism is reactionary, and the reactionary man is
mystical." -- Wilhelm Reich
STEERING COMMITTEE NAMED
The Steering Committee to help in the local organization of the
1991 CSICOP Conference to be held in the Berkeley area has been,
for the most part, named. In alphabetical order, they are:
-- Yves Barbero (Chair), San Francisco
-- Ken Goehring, Weed
-- Larry Loebig, Oakland
-- Rick Moen, San Francisco
-- Gil Shapiro (Deputy Chair), Moraga
-- Norm Sperling, Oakland
-- Bob Steiner, El Cerrito
In addition, individuals from other areas of California will be
invited to join the committee to coordinate publicity in their area
and one member of Berkeley Skeptics will be invited to coordinate
student activities on campus.
BAY AREA SKEPTICS, as host organization, has instructed the chair
of the committee to make any future appointments. If you feel you
have something to contribute to make this a successful conference,
please contact him at 415-285-4358. Membership on the committee
will be based entirely on merit without regard to group
A NOTE FROM THE NEW EDITOR...
I've been hanging around Bay Area Skeptics for a number of years
now. At first, I folded, stapled and mailed this newsletter.
Later, I graduated to being meeting coordinator and with the help
of a lot of fine people, managed to look pretty good in that job.
After several years of excellent work by Kent Harker, I've taken
over as editor of "BASIS".
Don't expect any false modesty from me. I think I'm pretty
qualified. I spent a year and a half as a reporter for the "Bangor
Daily News" in Maine. I've had a novel published by Doubleday ("The
CTZ Paradigm," 1975) and have had numerous articles published here
and there. Some of you may have even seen some of my stuff in these
pages. I also helped edit the "Hard Hat News" for the labor
movement, a newsletter which borrowed its technical format from
For this newsletter to continue succeeding, it will require many
hours of my time and the time of our friends and supporters. I
invite articles of facts and opinions, letters, both friendly and
critical (they can be both), and suggestions. I hope to be
professional in my use of material. This means that I will edit
materials as suits the needs of the publication. You may send
editorial matter directly to me. Editorial matter sent to "BASIS"
remains yours after publication although we have a policy of
allowing newsletters from like-minded group to reprint articles.
1073 Dolores Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
The primary focus of BAY AREA SKEPTICS is the promotion of science
education, consumer protection against psychic fraud, exposing
various confidence schemes related to medical and spiritual
situations, the promotion of critical thinking and the
investigation of the paranormal. The goal of "BASIS" is to reflect
this focus, whether the editorial material be serious, humorous
(nothing requires us to be somber) or satirical.
Skepticism is not an absolute or ideology. It is a methodology,
that is, a way of looking at things. It is not really an ethical
system either. There are plenty of scoundrels in the movement. It
assumes that the universe is neutral in the affairs of individuals
and nations. Skepticism can never answer questions of spirituality
or purpose. So we leave those questions to groups better suited to
Its one focus is the discovery of facts, a thing that is
unconcerned about virtue or villainy. This doesn't mean that
skeptics do not have ethics. Most of us are involved in an ethical
organization or one sort or another, whether this be humanist,
political, religious or whatever. Skepticism is a tool. Motivation
must come from other sources. As human beings, naturally, we do not
normally make such distinctions. We do it only on reflection so as
to understand our intellect better. The distinction, however,
should help us understand why such diverse elements as
libertarians, atheists, religious, labor activists, communists,
mainstream political types, cops, computer experts etc. gather
under the skeptics' banner.
By inserting ourselves into the mainstream and questioning
(sometimes loudly and in the public media) psychics, faith healers
and the like, we draw attention to ourselves and help educate the
public. We have, in this process, reminded academics to come down
(sometimes grudgingly) from their ivory towers and join in the fray
and have, I'd like to think, helped in linking the scientific
community to the public.
We ain't perfect! A lot more needs to be done to reach out to the
community at large. Considering the voluntary nature of our
organization, we've done a good deal. But it's not enough. I hope
I can contribute to the growth of the organization by putting out
a sharp newsletter. I expect the reader to let me know when I'm off
base. I'd like to be tipped off to abuses by individuals or
organizations preying on the public. I will work best if I get
Lastly, if you have a need to understand where I come from, I work
under the following principles.
=> It's possible for the bad guys to win. They're as smart as the
=> Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs.
=> No one has all the answers.
=> Explanations which attribute all things to a single cause are
=> The cosmos are indifferent but tend to favor the prepared.
I do not put these in a philosophically eloquent form but I've
found them to be good rules of thumb.
"How can you call yourself an expert on the occult when occult
means hidden or secret?"
-- Anton Szandor LaVey
THANK YOU, KENT HARKER
by Bob Steiner
Thank you, Kent Harker, Editor Emeritus, from me, from all people
associated with Bay Area Skeptics, from the readers, from the
community at large, and from the many around planet Earth who have
been touched by the far-reaching ripples of the wisdom that
trickled from your computer over the past years.
Your writing and your service to Bay Area Skeptics have been an
inspiration to many. You are an excellent writer, an analytical
thinker, and are extremely knowledgeable about not just skepticism,
but about life in general. The icing on the cake is that you are
professionally expert at the computer.
We appreciate your well-considered editorials, your processing the
considerable data submitted to you, your organizational skills,
your participation in the activities of Bay Area Skeptics, . . .
the list goes on.
We were indeed fortunate to have had Kent Harker as our eminently
qualified Editor over the past few years.
THANK YOU, KENT!
WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT
Whether it be caused by serendipity or dedication, one has the
distinct impression that the editorship of "BASIS" has a charmed
After I struggled with the first several issues, I was able to
cajole Mike McCarthy into assuming the editorship of "BASIS". If
you were to make a list of ideal qualifications for the Editor of
BASIS, you would find that Mike qualifies on every count.
After Mike's excellent service as Editor, some of us were worried
about the future when Mike decided to move on. He would be a tough
act to follow.
Mike located Ray Spangenburg and Diane Moser to assume the
position. Whew! We did it! Ray and Diane were excellent. They, too,
met every qualification on the hypothetical wish-list. They too
came through with flying colors.
When Ray and Diane (now Kit) were ready to move on, there was no
panic necessary. Kent was ready and able to pick up the ball and
keep going. In case you noticed, the word willing was missing from
the previous sentence. Not to worry. If all it took was to convince
Kent to take a non-paying job that he had already told three
different people he would not take, I considered myself prepared to
tackle that task.
As you well know from reading "BASIS" over the past three years, we
all won when Kent took over the position. He too meets every
qualification on the wish-list.
Now that Kent has decided to move one, Yves Barbero is here to pick
up the reins. Yves had been a dedicated activist for Bay Area
Skeptics for many years. He is an excellent writer and, happily, is
a computer whiz, as have been all the other Editors of "BASIS".
Yes, he satisfies all of the wish-list qualifications.
Much luck and success to you, Yves, as you embark on this new
And to everybody else, please cooperate with Yves. Submit articles,
letters, commentary, news reports, and moral support. Yves, as does
every editor, wants them all.
Stick around and watch, Kent. You will find that the building you
have helped to erect will continue to grow and prosper and educate.
"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
-- Satchell Paige
...A SMALL GEM
"The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations". Edited by Charles Bufe. 203
pages. See Sharp Press, P.O. Box 6118, San Francisco, CA 94101.
($11.95 plus 1.50 P/H) Don't forget the sales tax.
"He is a true fugitive who flies from reason."
-- Marcus Aurelius
Someone has finally done it. Charles Bufe has compiled a book of
quotations for US! Most books of quotations are lofty,
inspirational or intended to make us solid citizens. To find
something useful, you have to put on deep boots and wade through
pious cliches. Bufe has rejected this guideline and assembled a
book which serves the merely intelligent, the ordinary social
critic, the curious skeptic.
You will find a number of quotations throughout this month's issue.
They are all from Bufe's handbook.
Bufe covers scientific thinking, religion (or its lack), politics,
women's issues, labor, patriotism, capitalism, revolution, freedom,
law and a wide variety of other concerns. The book is not for the
faint of heart or those who have all the answers. In fact, Bufe
shows contrast by devoting a good portion to the opposition.
"Give to every human being every right that you claim for
yourself." -- Robert Ingersoll
"Obedience to the Law is Freedom"
-- Sign over entrance to the Fort Dix [N.J.] stockade
To be sure, the handbook favors the activist over the conservative.
But it doesn't spare totalitarians of any stripe.
"The National Socialist Party will prevent in the future, by force
if necessary, all meetings and lectures which are likely to
exercise a depressing influence..."
-- Adolf Hitler (Speech in Munich, January 4, 1921)
"...deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak."
-- Mao Tse Tung ("On the People's Democratic Dictatorship")
"Books of apostates, heretics, schismatics, and all other writers
defending heresy or schism or in any way attacking the foundations
of religion, are altogether prohibited."
-- Pope Leo XIII ("General Decrees Concerning the
Prohibition and Censorship of Books", January 25, 1897)
His capsule bibliography at the end of the book not only reflects
on those quoted in an informative manner but is a delight to read.
AL CAPONE - American businessman and gun fancier.
The bibliography is full of little known facts about individuals
who have fallen through the cracks of history.
GEORGE WASHINGTON - 1732-1799, first U.S. president.
The best thing about the book is that it's a great deal of fun.
THE SKEPTIC'S ELECTRONIC BULLETIN BOARD
=> 2400 Baud, 415-648-8944
=> 24 hours, 7 days a week
=> Rick Moen, Sysop
LIFE THROUGH TIME
If the parking problems are any indication, the California Academy
of Sciences LIFE THROUGH TIME exhibit is one of the more successful
in recent memory.
Years in the planning and building, this permanent exhibit uses the
most advanced visual and computer technology around and mixes it
seamlessly with live specimens and models to explain evolution.
Dr. Eugenie C. Scott of the National Center for Science Education,
which is on the forefront of the battle to prevent the corruption
of science education in the classroom, will lead the tour.
Long the scourge of "scientific" creationists, Dr. Scott was
trained as an anthropologist. Her leadership in the area of
defending evolution against know-nothingism has made her one of the
most knowledgeable scholars in the field. She can only add luster
to an already excellent exhibit.
The cost is $1. Kids under five are free.
| WANTED |
| => Original and appropriate graphics. |
| => Someone who can accurately transcribe |
| interviews from cassette tapes. |
| => A good photographer. |
| THE HOURS are lousy, there is no pay |
| (except that we quickly if grudgingly |
| pay expenses) and you have to put up |
| with our company. |
| A sense of humor is helpful but not |
| required. |
Life Through Time
by: Eugenie C. Scott, PhD
Saturday, September 22, 1:30 pm
California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is located in Golden Gate Park
in San Francisco across from the DeYoung Museum. Use the 9th Avenue
entrance from the south, the 6th Avenue or Arguello entrance from
the north or the Fell Street entrance from the east. Parking is
tough on Saturdays. Give yourself some time.
Watch for coming events in the BAS CALENDAR, or call 415-LA-TRUTH
for up to the minute details on events. If you have ideas about
topics or speakers, leave a message on the hotline.
WARNING: We STRONGLY URGE that you call the hotline shortly before
attending any Calendar activity to see if there have been any
BAS BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chair: Larry Loebig
Vice Chair: Yves Barbero
Secretary: Rick Moen
Treasurer: Kent Harker
Yves Barbero, editor; Sharon Crawford, assoc. editor;
Wilma Russell, distribution; Rick Moen, circulation;
Kate Talbot, meeting coordinator; John Taube, media watch.
William J. Bennetta, Scientific Consultant
Dean Edell, M.D., ABC Medical Reporter
Donald Goldsmith, Ph.D., Astronomer and Attorney
Earl Hautala, Research Chemist
Alexander Jason, Investigative Consultant
Thomas H. Jukes, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
John E. McCosker, Ph.D., Director, Steinhart Aquarium
Diane Moser, Science writer
Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.,U. C. Berkeley
Bernard Oliver, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center
Kevin Padian, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
James Randi, Magician, Author, Lecturer
Francis Rigney, M.D., Pacific Presbyterian Med. Center
Wallace I. Sampson, M.D., Stanford University
Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D., Anthropologist
Robert Sheaffer, Technical Writer, UFO expert
Robert A. Steiner, CPA, Magician, Lecturer, Writer
Ray Spangenburg, Science writer
Jill C. Tarter, Ph.D., U. C. Berkeley
Opinions expressed in "BASIS" are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect those of BAS, its board or its advisors.
The above are selected articles from the September 1990 issue of
"BASIS", the monthly publication of Bay Area Skeptics. You can
obtain a free sample copy by sending your name and address to BAY
AREA SKEPTICS, 4030 Moraga, San Francisco, CA 94122-3928 or by
leaving a message on "The Skeptic's Board" BBS (415-648-8944) or
on the 415-LA-TRUTH (voice) hotline.
Copyright (C) 1990 BAY AREA SKEPTICS. Reprints must credit "BASIS,
newsletter of the Bay Area Skeptics, 4030 Moraga, San Francisco,
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank