Jan 19

To celebrate the success of the Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game, I’ve brought back the popular science doodle of the amazing scientist and war hero. To get your Alan Turing manga doodle, simply make a donation!

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Thanks for your support!

Dec 21

You may have read some debate over Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait, promoting Mayim Bialik, an actress with a PhD in neuroscience, as a role model for promoting women in science. Bialik portrays a scientist on TV, but is a spokesperson for a long list of pseudo-scientific garbage that no respectable science role model should be peddling. As a woman with a passion for science myself, I find it frustratingly insulting for a science communicator like Plait to be scrapping the bottom of the barrel like this; there’s no reason to make excuses for a woman who promotes dangerous anti-science views simply because she’s an actress with a degree. Especially when there are so very many brilliant female role models in science for us to promote.

So, I came up with my own graphic of 25 women in science worth promoting as role models. They weren’t hard to find and there are plenty more.

25womeninscience

Jun 4

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This month brings a very special Monthly Manga Doodle—two, in fact! Get a hand drawn ink of Jacques Cousteau by donating any amount. Your donations help support indie art and celebrates science! Explorer and inventor, Jacques Cousteau was born June 11th, 1910. Donate any amount and receive a Super Mario inspired Cousteau!

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As a special bonus, you could get one of five manga doodles of Alan Turing, born June 23rd, 1912. The top five highest donations given until the 23rd will get the British mathematician in addition to the French explorer of sea life!

Get Jacques Cousteau with any donation amount!

The top five highest donors by June 23rd get a bonus Alan Turing!




May 9

Atheism is a religion in the same way that not-stamp-collecting is a hobby. In a similar way, skepticism is an ideology about not using ideology. Not when we want to know the difference between what is true and what we simply want to be true. Mysticism is about answers; skepticism is about questions. It’s not so much criticizing your conclusions, as it is the methods you used to get to them. If you evaluate a claim using methods that decrease bias and account for error, you are being skeptical.

So, when I hear people who self-identify as skeptics say that “______” needs to be applied to skepticism, I wonder how they can so fundamentally misunderstand the point of skepticism (insert your worldview in the blank). The absolutely most important thing about skepticism is that it is doesn’t investigate through ideology. Claims about reality should be tested free from our personal views because reality has demonstrated over and over again that it doesn’t necessarily align with those worldviews.

But the world we live in is so devastatingly lacking in critical thinking skills that it’s necessary to band together and promote skepticism through local groups and organizations…a movement. What people like PZ Myers, who claimed to “divorce” himself from skepticism because he feels it is anti-atheist, don’t seem to realize is that there are going to be people in the skeptic movement with different philosophical, social, and political views from your own because skepticism is for everyone.

“Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them.” —Peter Ustinov

Skeptics are united, not by belief, not by denial, but by doubt. We promote the fact that it’s even easier to be deceived by ourselves than by others. The hard part is actually applying this to ourselves (realizing we may indeed be deceiving ourselves, instead of simply noticing self-deception in others). But we all have different worldviews and sometimes these views make us purport ideas which are testable claims, and sometimes they are value judgments. The challenge for those of us who want to promote science-based thinking is to realize that the price we pay for having skepticism be for everyone is that we must work together, even with those we may disagree with.

What’s really going on when you want ideas from your social or political views added (+) to skepticism is that you want those ideas protected from skepticism. But the point and greatest strength of skepticism is that it is critical of all -isms. All of them. When you start wanting your ideas protected from criticism, that’s when you stop being a skeptic.

May 3

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Richard Feynman was born May 11, 1918. This months’ manga donation doodle celebrates this Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist! As always, you can get your hand drawn and signed manga doodle simply by making a donation of any amount.

Buying these science themed drawings not only celebrates a love of great thinkers, but also helps fund an indie artist like myself to keep on creating. Your support means a lot to me.

Please Donate!

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Previous Months: Darwin Day, Einstein Day, Da Vinci Day

Apr 27

The Rising Star grant is my new fundraiser to send young talent (between ages 18-30) to the Amazing Meeting 2013. So far, it will be sending 6 rising stars to the event this July, in Las Vegas. Keep donating!

JessicaCastillo

Jessica Castillo

Currently studying philosophy at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, Jessica plans on pursuing a career in education. She’s 29, has two lovely daughters, and many different passions in life all stemming from overwhelming curiosity and a genuine love of learning. Ultimately, she’s eager to become an advocate for skepticism and education.

 

 

AnaRuiz

Ana Ruiz 

Ana was born in Miami Florida, with parents from Cuba. She grew up as a Catholic Christian, but converted to evangelical Christianity in her early teens. As a devoted evangelical Christian, she became disillusioned after attending University. She moved to New York when she was 12 and has lived there ever since, currently working as a freelance web developer, with the hope to go back to school after her daughter gets a bit older.

 

SashaHalasz

Sasha Halasz 

Sasha graduated in May from Moravian College with honors in Neuroscience. She was very involved as an undergraduate in many clubs and organizations including serving as president of her campus neuroscience club and volunteering for local community partners. She has been very engaged in research throughout her undergraduate career and recently completed a yearlong study of a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease for her senior thesis. She is a strong advocate for science research and outreach and has traveled to the past two Society for Neuroscience national conferences as well as Capitol Hill Day in D.C to promote a scientific perspective. She has a particular interest in health and medicine and will be attending medical school this August.

KyleSanders

Kyle Sanders

Kyle is a C-130 Air Force pilot currently stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas, graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2008, and has since been engaged in local groups at each of his duty locations. With a passion for science communication, he is also an artist creating a new a comic strip, “Carbon Dating”, for web and print about science and relationships, written specifically for the skeptic audience.

 


BrandieHesseBrandie Hesse

Brandie is a fourth year history student and the University of Calgary and upcoming president of the University of Calgary Freethinkers Club, which produces a club podcast and organizes local events. She intends to complete a double major in philosophy, obtain a PhD, and become a research professor and author of books on the history of religion. Her passion for activism focuses on humanism and the elimination of discrimination, and is interested in future involvement in politics to promote these goals.

 

TrentBrusky

Trent Brusky

Trent is a musician and the creator of Dropfox, a project dedicated to providing music to secular, freethought, science, and skeptic podcasts, having produced tracks for Oddments, Dogma Debate, Meet the Skeptics, The Skeptic Zone, and Skepticality. He is also an engineer technology student and State College of Florida and hopes to work in alternative energies in the future.

Mar 2

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Albert Einstein, born March 14, 1879

After a very successful Darwin Day, and by popular demand, I present Einstein Day Drawings! You get a hand drawn manga ink of Albert Einstein when you make a donation of any amount. March celebrates Einstein’s birthday on the 14th. Support indie art and celebrate science at the same time!




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Feb 11

February 12th is Darwin Day, celebrating famous scientist, Charles Darwin!

I’m making cute manga ink drawing of Darwin for those who make a donation to my site. You’ll get a handmade manga illustration in ink on 90lb paper stock.

Manga Darwin




Please donate any amount you wish. Each donor will receive a signed hand-drawn ink of Darwin as a cute manga chibi. As an indie artist, I make a living from my commissions, manga series sales, and donations to my free online webseries. I’m currently dealing with a US medical bill and your added support will help me weather the unexpected expense to my unpredictable freelancer income.

Thank you so much! Support indie art and get a cute science drawing—I call that a DarWin/Win! heh heh…

Happy Darwin Day!

 Darwin Art

 

Jan 5
BMI ≠ Body Image
icon1 Sara E.M. | icon2 Science, Skepticism | icon4 01 5th, 2013| icon34 Comments »

A recent article on Skepchick makes a critique of Ben Radford’s article on BMI, claiming it’s false that BMI is simply a diagnostic tool: “BMI is often used as a weapon by which to shame, judge, and oversimplify people’s health and wellness.” The author also offers an anecdote about feeling shamed by her doctor for making comparisons between BMIs, and therefore making judgements about body image standards.

The problem is that BMI is not a indicator of how fat you are or the specific measurements of your body. A high BMI is claiming that you are too heavy for your height and age, regardless of whether it’s fat or muscle making you overweight. Consequently, a new study showed that BMI was best, compared to other measuring methods, at predicting health risks related to weight.

Though excess fat is likely the most common cause of having a high BMI, this doesn’t mean the method is making a judgment about body image. Since BMI was a better predictor than body fat percentage or waist ratios, you could take away from the study that it’s being too heavy, rather than simply excess fat, that might place you at a higher health risk. You could have an aesthetically pleasing hip to waist ratio and low body fat percentage, but if you’re carrying too much mass (like muscle) for your frame (height and age), it may cause increased health risks. For example, obesity is now a bigger burden on healthcare systems than smoking.

BMI is a medical tool, and to claim that it is used to shame body image is a weak argument. We tend to judge people’s body image by looking at their waist to hip ratio and how much excess fat they seem to have, rather than their mass. Body fat percentage is likely to place more people in the obese category than BMI, since you could carry a certain amount of excess fat before being considered too heavy for your height.

20130105-162334.jpgI would argue that obesity is the only body image factor that has any scientific validity. Take into consideration the many other beauty standards women are judged by; long legs, waist-to-hip ratio, plump lips, cheekbones, perky breasts, perfect skin, hair, and noses—even plus sized women must meet these standards in order to be considered attractive. However, having thin lips, a big nose, blotchy skin, greasy hair, small or sagging breasts, or a number of other aesthetic critiques of a woman’s image, don’t carry with them the negative health consequences that being overweight does.

Your doctor telling you your BMI is too high is not a critique of your image or attractiveness, but a calculation that you are too heavy for your height and age. This is a valid health critique. Society and media judge women on their visual appearances, not on this calculation of mass, age, and height.

Oct 20

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