SGU Episode 172

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SGU Episode 172
November 5th 2008
Greydon.jpg
SGU 171 SGU 173
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
'A certain portion of the human race has certainly a taste for being diddled.'
Thomas Hood
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction[edit]

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

News Items ()[edit]

Michael Crichton in Memoriam ()[edit]

Portable Space Shield ()[edit]

Oil from Fungus ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Question #1 Expelled Again ()[edit]

I'm a fan of the show and listen every week (and have for some time). However, after listening to episode 168 (Interview with PZ Myers) I came away quite disappointed and felt strongly compelled to write. Sorry for the length of the criticism. Let me state first, that this is in no way an endorsement or defense of Ben Stein or his seemingly idiotic movie 'Expelled'. I haven't seen it (and don't plan to) but it looks ridiculous to me. This leads me to my criticism of the interview. At about 46:58 of the episode PZ Myers states in reference to the DVD release of the movie 'I don't think I'll get one. But I might rent one from the local video store, because I haven't seen it yet.' Then Bob or Jay (I can never tell those guys apart) chimes in proudly with 'I haven't either.' The discussion then turns to how ironic (I guess) it is to actively campaign against the movie, that he's even in, and yet he hasn't seen it. Isn't this exactly the sort of thing you collectively rail against when some true believer criticizes an article, movie, podcast, etc., and they haven't taken the time to read it or see it? I don't know if any of you have seen the movie (and that may have been edited out) but it certainly seems like a relevant point to the argument, considering several of you mention not seeing it. The standards you apply to the kooks and complainers should apply to people you agree with as well. This smells an awful lot like sycophantic bullshit to me. In my opinion it takes away all the power of the argument against the film and gives ammunition to people I wholly disagree with (in this case, those who have paid to make or see the film). I had a hard time listening to the rest of the interview and take any of it seriously. I know I can't negatively judge all of PZ Myers's views because of this one issue, but it certainly made it more difficult. It also sows the seeds of doubt regarding other opinions and topics that are discussed on your show. How many of you have actually read 'The Secret', for example? It's a pretty regular topic of scorn and now I'm wondering if this is another example of this type of logical fallacy. I think that book looks idiotic as well, but I haven't read it, don't plan to, but I don't feel qualified to criticize it, other than in general terms. At first I thought this is an 'Argument From Ignorance' but it doesn't really fit that description. I've settled on 'Bandwagon Fallacy' but I'd be curious to hear your collective critical take on this one. It also seems to have a little confirmation bias thrown in. Critical thinking and analysis shouldn't be reserved only for the people you disagree with. I think on this occasion you collectively missed an opportunity to show that you can apply the same standards across the board. Sincerely, Jon Steeves Canada

Interview with Greydon Square ()[edit]

Randi Speaks ()[edit]

  • Wrong!

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: New evidence suggests that the extinct saber-toothed tiger was actually more closely related to bears than to modern felines. Item #2: Researchers find that fast-forwarding through TV commercials using a DVR may still affect brand choice, even when viewed for less than one second. Item #3: New study finds that grandparents provide child care that is twice as safe as professional daycare.

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'A certain portion of the human race has certainly a taste for being diddled.' - Thomas Hood

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society in association with the James Randi Educational Foundation and skepchick.org. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at www.theskepticsguide.org. For questions, suggestions and other feedback, please use the 'contact us' form on the website, or send an email to 'info @ theSkepticsGuide.org'. 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.

References[edit]


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