Darwin Day 2020

16 January, 2020

ANNUAL BARBECUE (Melbourne area)

Help us celebrate Charles Darwin’s 211th birthday at the annual Barbecue, from 5 pm at the Studley Park Boathouses picnic area. BYO everything.


Celebrate February 12 (Charles Darwin’s Birthday) in your classroom!

charles_darwin_statue_natural_history_museum_londonCharles Darwin Crossword Years 9 to 12

Darwin bio Read and answer

Charles Darwin Wordsearch Years 5 to 8

Charles Darwin Cryptogram Years 7 to 10


charles_darwin_by_grichmond [Colouring in}

Surfcoast Skepticamp VIII

7 January, 2020

Come and enjoy the glorious location at Aireys Inlet and a variety of speakers at this grassroots event on February 29, 2020. It’s free but please register via the Eventbrite link:  https://tinyurl.com/SkepticampVIII

The Intelligence Trap: Book Review

7 January, 2020

The Intelligence Trap: Why smart people do stupid things and how to make wiser decisions

By David Robson

Reviewed by John Barrett

This book presents a challenge to any person of proven high intelligence. As the author says in his introduction, “Smart people may be even more vulnerable to certain kinds of foolish thinking.” High intelligence inappropriately applied can be like a high performance car with faulty brakes. The author provides examples of foolish thinking by some famously smart people such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein. He also provides examples of smart people who avoided thinking foolishly: Socrates and Benjamin Franklin. Interestingly, the great strength of both was their preparedness to recognise the limits of their own knowledge.

The author introduces some useful concepts, including:

· Dysrationalia: a mismatch between intelligence and rationality;

· Earned Dogmatism: a perceived “right” to be closed-minded;

· Motivated reasoning: a tendency to apply our brainpower to affirming a predetermined goal.

The book deals tangentially with issues of interest to Skeptics such as astrology, extra-terrestrial visitations, séances, complementary medicines, vaccination, climate change, and evolution. Its emphasis is on clear thinking and how some highly intelligent people can come to believe some ridiculous things.

I recommend this book to all Skeptics. A useful summary is available here: https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/intelligence-trap

I also recommend this review: https://irishtechnews.ie/the-intelligence-trap-review/

Puzzles for January 2020

31 December, 2019

The box at left contains eight bonus puzzles: each decodes to a word or a phrase. The answers are HERE

Otherwise, for the month of January 2019 we’ve put the usual Picture Puzzles, Mixed Bag questions, a Crossword about Greek Mythology and a set of Logic Problems with solutions at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE . Enjoy!






Archived puzzles:


Bonus Puzzles

17 December, 2019

To  help you tide over the holiday season, here are two offerings:

Dec 2019 bonus puzzles

This is an 11 page compendium of twenty puzzles of various kinds, with answers supplied.

113 January 2020 xword Skepticon

This is the crossword puzzle designed for the Skepticon 2019 booklet, with one important difference – this one has the correct clues!

It’s based on the names of the presenters and announcers at Skepticon.


Puzzles for December

30 November, 2019

For the month of December 2019 at the top of the PUZZLES PAGE we’ve placed seven new Picture Puzzles, a set of Mixed Bag questions, a crossword themed to General Skeptical Issues and a set of Logic Problems with solutions. In other words, business as usual. Enjoy!

Archived puzzles:


Vic Skeptics Trivia Night

28 November, 2019

It’s the Unconventional Trivia Night.

Why unconventional? We’re glad you asked. It’s on Thursday 5th December. Skepticon doesn’t start until Friday 6th; and you don’t have to be going to Skepticon to come. It WILL cost you fifteen of your hard-earned dollars, however. You don’t have to be a nerd either, although that would certainly be no disadvantage.

It’s our Fifteenth Annual Vic Skeptics Trivia Night, and this year we’re hoping to get it right.

At this stage we’d usually say something about lots of fun, great prizes, bring a team or come by yourself etc, etc, but we’ve said all that fourteen times already, and some things just never change.

Thursday 5th December, 7:15 pm (or join us earlier for a meal), at The Clyde Hotel cnr Elgin & Cardigan Streets Carlton. (For those attending Skepticon, that’s near Carrillo Gantner Theatre, one stop away on the same tram line.)

(click to enlarge)