SGU Episode 121

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SGU Episode 121
November 14th 2007
SGU 120 SGU 122
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition.'
Carl Sagan
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

News Items ()[edit]

Judgment Day ()[edit]


Former Pilots Call For UFO Investigation ()[edit]


Universe Loses Weight ()[edit]


FDA Petition ()[edit]


Gas Station Ghost ()[edit]


Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

BMI ()[edit]

Hey guys,
I'm a big fan of the podcast, and I just wanted to make a point about the study that seemed to show that being over weight was healthier than being 'normal' weight. So, here goes:
I believe BMI was the standard used. Its important to note that BMI does not take into account Body Fat vs. Skeletal muscle. This is relevant as Dr. Novella said something along the lines that the study may show that having a layer of fat might be healthy. This is not necessarily true as a person that has higher than normal muscle mass may have a BMI that is considered overweight. In fact, athletes commonly stray into the overweight BMI range.

Long Island, NY

Name That Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

  • Logical Fallacies

I forwarded today's Neurologica blog (regarding ID, NOVA and transitional fossils) to a fundamentalist religious friend of mine and this was his reply. Amazing. As though science has an agenda regarding evolution.

Subject: Re: Tiktaalik

That is a very good example of a species that could indeed be a transitional form. Do they have the entire creature in fossil form, I see part of the head? I know that Piltdown Man, which we studied in high school (complete with drawings of a primitive man and his main squeeze) was all fabricated from a pigs molar. I could never figure out how they knew what this guys wife looked like if all they had was one tooth. Very zealous in my opinion.

ID people look at this little guy and go, 'So what?' This could just as easily be explained as a creature that God created with these features and the creature has no ancestors and never changed since it first appeared.

If all creatures evolved from a very simple life form, then we would expect to see mostly transitional forms in the fossil record and very little variety. To me, there are many more gaps than transitions, and way too much variety. I'm sure there are some very good explainations by creationists out there who are paleontologists, but I would have to do some research to find their specific arguements.

BTW, this writers attitude supports my contention that there are very few 'unbiased scientists.' These types obviously WANT evolution to be true just as much as a creationist pastor wants ID to be true. Objective observers would probably say this fossil provides good support for evolutionists but is easily explained by creationists.

Interview with Paul Kurtz ()[edit]


Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: New research shows that your initials subconsciously influence your academic and athletic performance. Question #2: New study explains how males evolve more quickly than females. Question #3: New study links exposure to sunlight with an increased risk of cervical cancer.

Skeptical Puzzle ()[edit]

This Week's Puzzle:

According to legend, at 37 it consumes, at 40 it refrains. Identify the myth.

Last Week's puzzle:

This alleged sexual abuser of boys was also famous for misusing adults by convincing them of his clairvoyance. His claims included the abilities of astral travel, to access the akashic records, and that he could see people on Mars. He is still revered by a great many gullible and forgiving people to be one of the greatest seers of all time.

Who is he?

Answer: Charles Webster Ledbeater
Winner: Ole Eivand

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition.'-Carl Sagan

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation and For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at For questions, suggestions and other feedback, please use the 'contact us' form on the website, or send an email to 'info @'. If you enjoyed this episode, then please help us to spread the word by voting for us on Digg, or leaving us a review on iTunes. You can find links to these sites and others through our homepage. 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto, and is used with permission.


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