Friday, August 15, 2008

SA Science and Scepticism Carnival

So Michael Meadon over at Ionian Enchantment was, according to my mate Dave, all long-faced today over the fact that a day or two had passed after his rallying call about pro-science and woo-smiting bloggers in (or from, or in other unspecified ways connected to) South Africa, and I still hadn't waxed joyful over it here at Effortless Incitement.

(At the time Dave neglected to point out that this was a very good illustration of Effortless Incitement - in this case vexing by inactivity. Failure to do anything at all is, of course, not the only way of achieving effortlessness, as Jeff Lint fans are well aware.)

Anyway, the initiative is a welcome one. The ANC figured to leave evolution out of school biology for more than the first ten years of democracy. (Thereby simply keeping the biology part of the travesty of a school science curriculum left by the ideological whack-job architects of Apartheid.) Leaving that aside, levels of basic comprehension of science are low, and levels of credulity for spooky, magical, and other 'super'-natural things depressingly high. (See the second half of this post for a preview of a recent study on the topic.)

Michael wants to get up a carnival of SA sceptics and woo-smiters, and (a) is looking to find participants and hosts and stuff, and (b) desperately needs help improving on the rather clunky name proposal that's on the table now ("South African Science & Scepticism Circle").

I hereby suggest (since my first proposal went down like a streaker at Easter Mass at the Vatican) the following:

Southern Exposure. (Regrettably also the name of a group in NZ dedicated to exploring "Polyamory, Intimate Communications, BDSM, Alternative Lifestyles and more...")
[The] Sceptics of the South.
[The] Southern Fried Sceptics.

And, finally for now:

The Azanian Rational and Scientific Expeditionary force (Or the A.R.S.E. Carnival for short) .

Also, I'll be hosting the thing, whatever it's called, in late November.


Michael Meadon said...

Southern Skeptics?...

Doctor Spurt said...

"of the South" is a nod at Dali Tambo's long defuct talk-show, and so also a nod at a period of greater optimism in SA, which is why I prefer it, for the "Sceptics of ...".

Michael Meadon said...

My main concern is that the title needs to be descriptive. Hence either "science" or "skeptic" AND "South Africa" somehow needs to go into the title. Skeptics of the South sounds pretty good, but it's not clear that it's a SA carnival.

Southern African Skeptics?
African Skeptics? (maybe widen the scope to be an African skeptics carnival?)
Skeptics of Africa?
Skeptical South Africa?
Skeptics of the South (Africa)?

Man I suck at the creative stuff...

Doctor Spurt said...

Dude, it's enough for a name to be suggestive, and it helps if it is idiomatic and/or memorable. Are we really going to tell some skeptic blogger from, say, Lesotho, or Zimbabwe to bugger off? Are we really worried about readers whose primary criterion is the exact parameters of the name taken as a description? Aren't people going to find out about this via blogs that they already pay attention to, and at least read a couple of sentences besides the name?