It's almost here.
No, not Christmas, although that's almost here too. what I'm talking about is the fast-approaching 76th Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle, which is due to land at Aardvarchaelogy on Thursday, December 20, right in time for the holidays. (And what better time to indulge in a serious dose of skepticism than in the midst of all this pre-Christmas cheer?) Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud. Well, the pre-visitation Scrooge, anyway. The post-visitation Scrooge clearly believed in ghosts and other paranormal happenings, like visitations promised to happen in over three nights happening in only one and the ability of ghosts to show him the future and the past. In any case, Scrooge is probably a bad example. For one thing, he was absolutely a bummer at parties, and most skeptics like a good party as much as the next person. If you can envision Fezziwig as a skeptic, that's the kind of skeptic to be.
Be that as it may, as always, the guidelines for submissions to the Circle are here. In addition, if you're interested in hosting a Circle yourself, check out the schedule and the guidelines for hosting, and then send me an e-mail. I'll get you a spot on the schedule, assuming, of course, that your blog can pass the easy (for a skeptical, science-based blog, at least) test at Le Canard Noir's infamous quackometer and you don't come around telling me stories of three ghosts visiting you on the night before Christmas.
The great Alistair Sim, what a joy as a comic actor.
Via Pharyngula, be skeptical about this article:
A future. The Ghost of Christmas Future showed Ebenezer a future, the one most likely to come about for Scrooge should he continue on the way he was.
Scrooge: Are these visions of things that will be, or visions of things that might be?
As for the ghosts' visits, have you considered the possibility that was Dickens' comment on the discrepancy between the account where the ladies go to wash and prepare Jesus' body the next day, and official Christian doctrine where he lay there dead for three?
The great Alistair Sim - what a great actor. Period. Full stop (because while he is best known for comedy - my absolute favourite is "Belles of St. Trinians", he did a large number of dramatic roles). His lean appearance - combined with the way that Brian Desmond Hurst shot it (the scenes before the spirits are dark and Scrooge appears hunched over - after the spirits the scenes are full of light and Scrooge stands straight and vigourous) are far better for the story than someone like George C. Scott.
"A Christmas Carol" is in the great British tradition of ghost stories at Christmas, mixed with a redemptionist sentiment - Scrooge is redeemed at the end of the story. There have been various attempts by lesser lights to write a follow-up - one that I'm aware of has Scrooge dying a pauper because he has given away his wealth to the poor. My own interpretation is that the redeemed and newly charitable Scrooge would would find his businesses being even more prosperous.