SGU Episode 168

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SGU Episode 168
October 8th 2008
SGU 167 SGU 169
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein

Quote of the Week
'The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.'
Henri Poincaré
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


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

News Items ()[edit]

Nobel Prizes 2008 ()[edit]

Turing Test ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Question #1 – Corrections and Extensions ()[edit]

Rebecca's attribution of the quote last week ('the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.') to Darwin is incorrect, but is a common misattribution on the net. Richard Dawkins writes this sentence on page 133 of his 1995 book River Out of Eden. The searchable data base at the Darwin online site ( has no match for Darwin writing this sentence anywhere. It does seem a little too harsh and nihilistic for Darwin, but not for his modern bulldog, Dawkins. Otherwise a great podcast!
Joe Walsh
Farmington, CT

Question #2 – Cosmology ()[edit]

Hey guys,
I LOVE this Podcast. I've gone back in time to catch up on the original's and I've just listened to the one where Rebecca joined - a truly great addition to a working formula!
Anyway, I'm not a scientist or mathematician, however, I am absolutely fascinated by everything you guys do. I have four questions that I hope you can either answer, or at least discuss.
1. Why does light have a maximum speed?
2. Does the theory of dark matter have something to do with it?
3. Can the Universe expand faster than the speed of light since it's expanding into 'nothing'?
4. When are you visiting us Down Under?
Thanks in advance,
Greg Quan
Sydney, Australia

Interview with PZ Meyers ()[edit]

Name that Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

  • Fallacy Link
You should enjoy this one: - Gordon Hlavenka USA

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item # 1: Scientists develop a special thermometer, quick and durable enough to measure the temperature during an explosion. Item #2: New research shows that people who score highest on measures of sociopathic behavior are more likely to assume leadership positions. Item #3: Scientists discover a new protein that is 8 times as effective as morphine at relieving pain.

Skeptical Quote ()[edit]

'The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.' - Henri Poincaré

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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