SGU Episode 143

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SGU Episode 143
April 16th 2008
SGU 142 SGU 144
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility.'
Jacob Bronowski
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Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()[edit]

Scientology Defection ()[edit]

Can Vitamins Harm You? ()[edit]

New Replicator Replicates Itself ()[edit]

ET Not Likely, Says New Study ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Age of the Earth ()[edit]

Hey Skeptics,

I have a brother who is a born again christian, while I am an atheist. Naturally this leads to some interesting debates between the 2 of us. One thing that keeps popping up is the age of the earth and how scientists KNOW how old the earth is. As an avid listener of your podcast [and have been since day 1] I know that you rightfully ridicule whenever some religious fundamentalist gets the age of the earth wrong; however, I can't remember a time where you explained in simple, easy to understand terms how scientists know what they know with regards to the earth's age. Admittedly I could have just missed it or since forgotten it if you have explained this. If that is the case could you let me know, if you remember, the episode # of the podcast? If not, could you please enlighten myself and anyone else having a hard time relaying this info to the under-informed?
Either way, thanks for all your efforts.

Big Fan,

Magnetic Water ()[edit]

Hey Guys

Found you guys on digg a couple of months ago and I just cant get enough of your earlier episodes - ive found myself worrying about what happens once i reach the start.. Anyways was eating in front of the telly last night and caught a story on TodayTonight about magnetic water. It doesn't appear to be on youtube at the time of writing but heres an article from the TodayTonight site -

Is there nothing magnets cant do? I get the impression that the company behind this (Water For Life) has taken the opportunity to cash in on Australia's recent drought and water shortage which has been prominent in the media for a couple of years now. Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter and the 'scientific evidence' behind it.

Ben Morris

Interview with Eric Avery ()[edit]

  • Eric Avery is the original base guitarist for Jain's Addiction. He discusses with the SGU his new solo album and being a skeptics in the world of Rock & Roll.

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Question #1: Researchers have developed a new manufacturing process that doubles the efficiency of cheap solar cells. Question #2: Scientists have discovered the world's oldest tree - a Swedish spruce almost 10,000 years old. Question #3: Using computer modeling, scientists have discovered that Neanderthals were capable of a greater range of vocal sounds than humans.

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility.'- Jacob Bronowski

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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