SGU Episode 195

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SGU Episode 195
April 15th 2009
Cosmic hand.jpg
SGU 194 SGU 196
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
'When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities'
David Hume
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes


Introduction[edit]

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

News Items ()[edit]

John Maddox Dies ()[edit]

The Hand of God ()[edit]

Flying Microbots ()[edit]

Darwin Awards ()[edit]

More Homeopathy Nonsense ()[edit]

Belief in Ghosts ()[edit]

Questions and E-mails ()[edit]

Question # 1 - Corrections ()[edit]

Macrobe Followup Hello Rogues I love the show, having listened to every episode from the beginning. It is not only fun, but I always learn something I can use in either my teaching or research. I can now return the favor in a very minor way. I am a paleontologist who specializes in invertebrate fossils and evolution. I teach geology at The College of Wooster. In your discussion of the large deep sea protist Gromia sphaerica, you wondered why its shell is called a 'test'. This is true for the shells found in other protist groups (such as foraminiferans), and for the primary skeleton of echinoids (including sea urchins and sand dollars). The term comes from the Latin 'testa' which means (simply enough) a shell and was sometimes also used for a skull or even a pot. In biology the term is often used to designate a shell which has soft organic material on the outside as well, something like the skin over a skull during life. Protists and echinoids usually have some sort of layer covering the outside of their tests. You covered the evolutionary implications of Gromia and its tracks very well. I study trace fossils and can tell you that this discover made quite a stir in the scientific community. Again, excellent show! If you ever have paleontological questions, I'd love to give them a try. Best Wishes, Mark A. Wilson Professor of Geology The College of Wooster http://www.wooster.edu/geology/MWilson.html Kosher Corn Syrup http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_c/bl_pesachcornsyrup.htm Creationist Survey It was stated on the last podcast 193 based on a New Scientist survey that 48 percent of Science school teachers, 'said that they taught about creationism or ID as a legitimate alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origins of species.' That's a lot. I used this in an argument with my wife. She said I would have to back it up. The following is from the New Scientist survey: However, a quarter of the teachers also reported spending at least some time teaching about creationism or intelligent design. Of these, 48% - about 12.5% of the total survey - said they taught it as a 'valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species'. So 48% of a quarter of the survey equals about 12.5%. 12.5% not 48% of science teachers'said that they taught about creationism or ID as a legitimate alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origins of species.' Am I reading this wrong? Thanks AndréHébert

Question # 2 - Induction in Science ()[edit]

I’ve been debating with a friend about the nature of science, and he brought up the following argument: “1. All inferences from experience to conclusions about the future presuppose the principle that the future will resemble the past. (Principle of the Uniformity of Nature) a. If we suspect that the course of nature may change and that the past is no guide to the future, then all experience becomes useless and does not support any conclusion about the future. 2. Therefore, no argument from experience can support the principle that the future will resemble the past. 3. No deductive argument can establish the principle that the future will resemble the past. 4. Therefore, the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature cannot be rationally justified. 5. If the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature cannot be rationally justified, then inductive reasoning in science cannot be rationally justified. 6. Therefore, inductive reasoning in science cannot be rationally justified. ” Your thoughts? Marty Tsai

Randi Speaks ()[edit]

  • Neurology and Magic

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item # 1: Scientists have discovered the first known ant species that form their colonies and live their lives entirely within the body of large mammals. Item # 2: Scientists discover that so-called silent mutations, those that do not affect the amino acid sequence a gene codes for, are not necessarily silent and can have dramatic effects. Item # 3: Researchers have found a new type of nerve fiber in the skin that fire only when the skin is stroked at a certain speed.

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to Last Week - A Glacier Melting

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

'When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities' - David Hume

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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