The ceiling of the great hall was studded with stars, the milky way splashed across the centre of it, mimicking the night sky outside Hogwarts. The long house tables were groaning under the weight of hundreds of bowls, plates and platters. Ron Weasley was in the middle of his second large helping of chocolate ice cream when, with a bright flash, all the food vanished. The buzz of conversation died down as Professor McGonagall stood and surveyed the room.
“Students of Hogwarts, I cannot describe how happy I am that you were all able to attend this special summer school session. These are dark times we live in and so it was decided that some extra tuition was required. Today we will not be discussing spells or magical creatures. We will not be examining charms or magical herbology. Today we will be teaching you something which is common to the Wizard world and the muggle world. Sadly it has not been taught enough here, just as it has not been taught enough in muggle schools.”
“I am talking about critical thinking. In a world filled with magic, strange creatures, weird plants and dark lords it is easy for us to fall into the common trap of believing everything we see. It is a dangerous trap because even in the wizarding world we can be fooled by our senses and tricked by our beliefs. We must evaluate everything we see and hear, weigh the evidence and make a judgement on whether we want to accept what we have seen or heard.”
I'm surprised no one thought of this creative way to present a blog carnival before, given the recent buzz around the release of the 6th Harry Potter book (which, by the way, I finally finished the other night--more next week perhaps). I'm grateful to Mark for starting my tenure as proprietor of the Skeptics' Circle off with such a fine effort.
The next meeting of the Skeptics' Circle will be held on August 18 at Atheism Guide. Start getting your best skeptical blogging going to send to Austin by August 17! The remaining schedule (and the archives, which you should really check out if you're new to the Circle) are here.
Also, although I'm quite happy that we have hosts lined up through October, I'm always on the lookout for more hosts and won't rest until I have hosts lined up into 2006. If you're interested in hosting the Skeptics' Circle, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.