Skeptics Conference 1998

SKEPTICS conferences are always a bag of allsorts. Having piped up at last year’s AGM and suggested the next conference should be in Wellington, I was landed with organising it. Thankfully, I had the Wellington Cabal to help: Cynthia Shakespeare, Tony Vignaux, Richard Sadleir, Mike Clear, Bob Brockie and Wayne Hennessey.

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Accounts for Year Ended 31 December 1997

Income and Expenditure

Members’ Subscriptions 8,558.38
Interest Received 1,837.64
Surplus from Conference 2,144.77
Net Sundry Sales 187.00
Miscellaneous 231.73
Total Income 12,959.52
NZ Skeptic production & distribution 6,968.55
Computing, membership list 618.75
Miscellaneous printing 213.08
Clerical, secretarial 304.67
Donation, Ian Plimer Defence Fund 1,000.00
Fees 50.00
Total Expenditure 9,155.05
Excess Income over Expenditure 3,804.47

Balance Sheet as at 31 December 1997

Members Funds 1/1/97 23,642.53 Bank Account 1,447.00
Income over expenditure 3,804.47 Term Deposits 26,000.00
27,447.00 27,447.00

Auditor’s Report

I have audited the financial statements of the Committee for the year ended 31 December 1997 in accordance with accepted auditing standards, and have carried out such procedures as I have considered necessary.

In common with other organisations of a similar nature, control over income prior to it being recorded is limited, and there are no practical audit procedures to determine the effect of this limited control.

Subject to the above, in my opinion the financial statements give a true and fair view of the Committee’s financial position as at December 31 1997 and the results of its activities for the year ended at that date.

F.G. Shaw, ACA (Retd)
27 February 1998

Anti-Science Backlash

Some of you may recall Mike plugging the following two books at the conference. Both are concerned with the anti-science backlash, promulgated mostly by the academic left in the USA: post-modernism, relativism, radical feminist critiques of science, ethnocentric science, and so on. It’s a movement that’s beginning to assert itself here, and we should be informed.

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The Omen

EVERYTHING was roses and buttercups until that fateful day. An omen, it was, for sure. In July, on Friday, only 17 days before the 13th, we had born on our humble dairy farm a calfie. She had four legs, nice black and white patches, a cute butt and two heads, four eyes, four ears and two tongues.

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The Noble Pharmacist

NEW AGE theory holds that practically all cultures had a tradition of using medicines (mostly herbal) and that there is a danger that “Western medicine” will replace these, so losing irreplaceable knowledge.

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A Skeptic’s Dilemma

AS A CONFIRMED, but lightweight, sceptic, I have had to endure many jibes from friends and colleagues as I questioned information reported in the newspapers and on the news. Equally, I have had to explain what being a sceptic is really all about — not straight dismissal of, but the opportunity to question information that is presented as fact.

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Genesis Revisited: A Scientific Creation Story

IN THE beginning (specifically on October 23, 4004 B.C., at noon) out of quantum foam fluctuation God created the Big Bang out of inflationary cosmology. He saw that the Big Bang was very big, too big for creatures that could worship him, so He created the earth. And darkness was upon the face of the deep, so He commanded hydrogen atoms (which He created out of Quarks and other subatomic goodies) to fuse and become helium atoms and in the process release energy in the form of light. And the light-maker he called the sun, and the process He called fusion. And He saw the light was good because now He could see what he was doing. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

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