SGU Episode 420

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SGU Episode 420
3rd August 2012
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SGU 419 SGU 421
Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella
R: Rebecca Watson
B: Bob Novella
J: Jay Novella
E: Evan Bernstein


Quote of the Week
Why should anyone bother to study at least a little logic? To sharpen the mind in a world saturated by streams of propaganda and advertising. To know when a pitchman is conning you, when some 'expert' or pundit is propounding a dubious doctrine, when someone is making an apocryphal claim about miracles or divinity or the afterlife. To chasten one's own thinking, to develop an appreciation for tenable arguments and a respect for good reasoning. To become more adept at solving problems, whether they're encountered in business, science, politics, or the law.
Philosophical Society
Links
Download Podcast
Show Notes
Forum Topic


Introduction[edit]

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

This Day in Skepticism (2:52)[edit]

News Items[edit]

Hunt for Alien Spaceships (8:31)[edit]

3-D Printing (13:25)[edit]

Lunar Calendar (27:03)[edit]

Full Moon and Sleep (32:38)[edit]

Who's That Noisy? (39:10)[edit]

  • Puzzle for last week: You are a detective, with a specialty in deciphering coded messages. During an investigation, you stumble upon a piece of paper which reads: 0.7734, 57718 37818 51 3718. 173 Being the world-class detective you are, you have immediately decoded the message. So ... what is the message?

Questions and Emails (49:32)[edit]

Man-Chimp-Pig[edit]

Hi, I wonder if any of you saw the article on Phys.org on the hybrid origin humans: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-chimp-pig-hybrid-humans.html And then, another one following up: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-human-hybrids-closer-theory-evidence.html I co-host a fledgling podcast and we snagged Dr. McCarthy to talk about his… hypothesis(?) a couple of weeks ago, and I still don’t know what to make of it. I started out thinking it’s anomaly hunting, that it’s not science, that he must be a crank, and that it wasn’t really appropriate for an article on Phys.org. In talking to him, and reading further, I’m still not convinced (I do know one major issue is that he needs to create a test that would falsify his claim); but I’m afraid it’s a little out of my expertise as a filmmaker when he brings up in silico chromosome painting as a possible (but loose) test of the hypothesis. I offered that convergent evolution of the pig and humans, separated from the environment of chimps long ago, could explain the differences he is claiming point to hybridization; and he responded with the dog example. If pigs, why not dogs? He also quotes the platypus having avian sex chromosomes as possible evidence it’s a hybrid of bird and mammalian ancestors. I would have to think the general consensus is rather, that mammals sex chromosomes changed after they separated from the monotremes. I think he knows this is the accepted explanation, as he does for the rest of his claims, though he seems to think that he’s collected enough circumstantial evidence to have built a case that sidesteps the accepted view. I’m clearly not sure he has, though I feel lost in a sea of murky logical fallacies and I can’t quite see because he is splashing around so much. I feel like with enough characteristics in any animal, you could pick any three and do the same. Take a dog and a seal and a fish; find anomalies that are in the seal and the fish but not in the dog, and so conclude the dog must have mated with a fish long ago, on a hot, hot day. This is definitely simplifying it, since he’s worked for years on this; and worked with hybrids for 30 years, and knows how they can and do work. I’m not sure he’s doing anything fundamentally different though. Curious what your thoughts were; we will be having Dr. McCarthy back on the show once I wrap my head around this whole thing. This is our interview if you want to take a listen: http://interruptingcow.libsyn.com/dr-eugene-mc-carthy-and-the-chimp-pig-hybrid Incidentally, we have a segment that pays homage to your Science or Fiction?, called ”Pseudoscience or Pseudo-pseudoscience?”. Where I make up one, and everyone else makes up the other two; and my co-host has to guess which is which. Skeptic’s Guide has been a huge influence on my skepticism, and in so has had a trickle down affect on my… less skeptical co-host (I still have some work to do on her). Thanks for the show all these years, Dave Martyn – Interrupting Cow Podcast

Science or Fiction (59:20)[edit]

Item #1: A new report details the case of a patient who developed synesthesia following a stroke. Item #2: A recent study finds that psychotherapy over the internet is as effective as face-to-face therapy, and possibly even more effective. Item #3: A new analysis finds that the average person is host to almost 1000 different parasite species.

Skeptical Quote of the Week (1:15:28)[edit]

Why should anyone bother to study at least a little logic? To sharpen the mind in a world saturated by streams of propaganda and advertising. To know when a pitchman is conning you, when some 'expert' or pundit is propounding a dubious doctrine, when someone is making an apocryphal claim about miracles or divinity or the afterlife. To chasten one's own thinking, to develop an appreciation for tenable arguments and a respect for good reasoning. To become more adept at solving problems, whether they're encountered in business, science, politics, or the law.

Philosophical Society. Sent in by Nick Tiller.

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, dedicated to promoting science and critical thinking. For more information on this and other episodes, please visit our website at theskepticsguide.org, where you will find the show notes as well as links to our blogs, videos, online forum, and other content. You can send us feedback or questions to info@theskepticsguide.org. Also, please consider supporting the SGU by visiting the store page on our website, where you will find merchandise, premium content, and subscription information. Our listeners are what make SGU possible.


References[edit]


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