SGU Episode 272

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SGU Episode 272
September 30th 2010
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SGU 271 SGU 273
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
I'm a Youth Worker with the Boys and Girls Club. Specifically I work with kids at an after school program. It was towards the end of the day and I was sitting with a small group of kids playing Apples to Apples. I forget what led up to it but a little boy says, 'I believe in aliens.' The little girl sitting next to me says, 'Aliens haven't been proven yet. That's scientific!'
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Introduction[edit]

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

News Items ()[edit]

New Moonlanding Footage ()[edit]

UN Alien Ambassador ()[edit]

Poor Science Education ()[edit]

New Force of Nature ()[edit]

Goldilocks Planet ()[edit]

Who's That Noisy ()[edit]

  • Answer to Last Week: Brass Eye

Name That Logical Fallacy ()[edit]

  • Single Cause Fallacy
There's a type of logical fallacy often used by magicians, creationists, televangelists, and others in the business of deception, that doesn't seem to fit cleanly in any of the named categories. I was hoping to suggest a name for what I consider a category unto itself. The logical error I'm talking about is what I call the 'Single Cause' fallacy. We've all found ourselves arguing with a creationist and, after thoroughly trouncing one of their claims, we're told that our explanation can't be right, because it doesn't explain something else. Their intent is to make us look like we're waffling when we're forced to say 'No, that was caused by a different mechanism.' After several rounds of this, it's easy to make it look like we're the ones pulling explanations out of our collective asses, rather than having one coherent theory (or dogma) that explains everything. Magicians love this tendency. As soon as they've shown that there are no wires attached to their levitating assistant, they know they're free to use all the wires they want for the rest of the act. The audience will assume that there is only one trick being used at a time, and ignore evidence to the contrary. I know that this contains elements of the false dichotomy and the non-sequitur, and maybe bits and pieces of others. Still, I think this fallacy is common enough, and so attractive to purveyors of nonsense, that it deserves a name of its own. So what do you say: do we launch a new meme in the skeptical community? Jim Guibault (pronounced Gee-bo, hard 'G') Algonquin, IL

Interview with Bug Girl ()[edit]

Science or Fiction ()[edit]

Item #1: For the first time scientists demonstrate that some monkeys can recognize themselves in the mirror. Item #2: Scientists discover the first fish that not only gives birth to live young, but that also suckles its young. Item #3: Paleontologists have discovered a 36 million year old fossil penguin that stood almost 10 feet tall, making it a contender for the largest bird to ever live.

Quote of the Week ()[edit]

I'm a Youth Worker with the Boys and Girls Club. Specifically I work with kids at an after school program. It was towards the end of the day and I was sitting with a small group of kids playing Apples to Apples. I forget what led up to it but a little boy says, 'I believe in aliens.' The little girl sitting next to me says, 'Aliens haven't been proven yet. That's scientific!'

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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