SGU Episode 51

From SGUTranscripts
Jump to navigation Jump to search
  Emblem-pen-orange.png This episode needs: proofreading, time stamps, formatting, links, 'Today I Learned' list, categories, segment redirects.
Please help out by contributing!
How to Contribute

SGU Episode 51
July 12th 2006
(brief caption for the episode icon)

SGU 50                      SGU 52

Skeptical Rogues
S: Steven Novella

B: Bob Novella

J: Jay Novella

E: Evan Bernstein

Download Podcast
Show Notes
SGU Forum


Voice-over: You're listening to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, your escape to reality.

S: Hello and welcome to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Today is Wednesday, July 12th, 2006, and this is your host, Steven Novella, president of the New England Skeptical Society. With me this week are Bob Novella...

B: Hello!

S: Evan Bernstein...

E: Hello everyone.

S: Perry DeAngelis...

P: Righto.

S: ...and Jay Novella.

J: Hey gang, what's up guys?

S: Welcome everyone. We had hoped to have Rebecca on the show this week, but she is still gallivanting about Europe and it was too busy to join us. But I hope she's having a good time. She will be back with us next week.

J: She's drunk in an alleyway right now.

S: Perhaps.

E: Which country?

J: It doesn't matter.

S: We'll get the full report next week.

News Items[edit]

Space Shuttle Mission (1:01)[edit]

S: So as we speak, STS-121, the space shuttle is carrying out its mission. Just thought I'd give that a mention. So he's nice to, by the time you have the space shuttle flying.

B: About time.

J: Yeah, right. How long was it Bob?

S: Over a year, right?

B: Two launches in a year. Something like that is crazy.

P: You know, space programs now what it used to be people.

E: That's for sure.

P: It's unfortunate. Sad.

S: So basically we're at the tail end of the space shuttle legacy and we haven't yet put up a replacement. So it's going to be a lean five or 10 years until we get the next generation online.

P: We've got to put this whole clunker to bed and build a new one.

S: We do. One more major disaster and that will end the space shuttle program, of course. And it may end even before that if they continue to have technical problems.

P: Does anyone know, just as a side note, does anyone know why the heat shield on the space shuttle is a bunch of tiles and not one sheet?

S: At the time. Yeah, I mean, at the time, with the material science that we had, that was the best they could do. The tiles need to be able to expand and contract and by having them all separate tiles that could move past each other. That was the solution, although-

J: Plus Perry, it makes it very not easy, but it makes it possible to replace pieces of the heat shield. They have a guy whose job is specifically to recreate those tiles. Their dimensions are, uses a machine or whatever to recreate those tiles and he handcarves them and all this stuff. It's very complicated, but they've replaced a ton of those tiles-

S: Every mission.

J: -every time. Yeah.

P: Wouldn't it just be easier to have one piece click it on and off? Have a new one ready? Click it on.

S: The next generation will probably have a one solid surface not a tile.

P: It should.

S: It's, it wasn't a 30-year-old technology.

E: It's a 25-year-old technology, 30-year-old, like you said.

P: 30, 30 at least. Put it the bed.

S: NASA has some really cool videos of the, they have to be attached cameras to different parts of the shuttle and you could look at forward and after camera views by going, we'll have the link on our notes page.

E: It's great.

J: Yeah, that is really great.

S: We're going to have fun to look at the-

J: If anybody out there hasn't seen it yet, I highly recommend taking a look at one. I love the one where they, they show it go all the way from the launch pad to orbit. You literally see it, you see Florida drop out into the, no way, you know what I mean?

B: My favorite, my favorite video was the one that showed that little Gremlin of wing. That was awesome.

S: I think that's an example of fusing a memory from something else. That was the Twilight Zone movie, right?

B: Twilight Zone movie, William Shatner?

J: Bob, there's something on the wing.

B: Nice Jay.

Asteroid Near Miss (3:42)[edit]

S: So a couple of weeks ago, a very large asteroid zipped past the earth-

B: And grazed our travel.

J: If it hit us, what would have happened? Direct hit, no, no glancing blow.

B: It would have done some very, very serious low and local damage. I mean, it wouldn't cause any extinctions, but it would wipe out a vast track of land. The initial estimates I heard said that it would devastate a continent, but I think they revised that downward. It's the damage would have been pretty dramatic though, but not that devastating.

P: I'm unimpressed by anything less than an extinction level event. I've seen too many movies. I'm jaded.

B: It's kind of, it's unusual. Whenever we have these close calls, it's a little bit of concern there because it really brings home the fact that we could get hit, but it makes me, it makes me really hope that this is the one that's that everyone's going to start taking it seriously and really start mapping this out and dissearching full time and put a lot of people on it. And how many times have we seen one not approaching us, but leaving-

S: On the way out.

B: -the way from us?

J: That's the wrong side to see it. What we need is a full blown plan on dealing with these things. I mean, we should be deflecting them before they get near us.

P: Well, what are we going to do? Let's say you see a five mile asteroid coming towards yours. What are you going to do about it?

B: Perry, we need time. If it's a few months away or a year away, we are toast. There's nothing we could do about it. Now there's, there's lots of options. One very interesting new option I read about was that if we, if we could find this early enough, all we would really have to do is park a big ship and just use the gravitational pull of the ship to slowly change its orbit enough so that it misses us. And that's all it would take.

J: Wow, I never heard of that one. That's cool, Bob.

B: And there's other plans some people think, oh, let's just blow it, let's just blow it out of the sky, so to speak. And that, generally, that wouldn't be a good idea because then it would cause more widespread damage because you'd have lots of little pieces hitting us instead of one big one.

J: I like the one where you attach a rocket engine to it and just put nudge it.

B: That's that's possible too. I think those plans are being seriously considered. But the key is we've got to know as soon as possible when it's 15 years out, 20 years out. So we've got the time.

S: Which means we have to survey all of the near earth asteroids. There are some astronomers who are arguing now like this guy, David Asher from our mod observatory Northern Ireland that our previous estimates of the average time between impacts is actually a lot, is too high that they're going to be that they probably will occur at a higher frequency than our previous estimates because there are more of these unknown near earth asteroids than than we knew before. So the more we survey, the more we realize it's out there that the estimates only get only go up.

J: Well, anyway, they missed us again. So we're good. The aliens didn't win this time.

Psychedelic mushrooms (6:36)[edit]

S: Another news item caught my eye this week. Scientists explore the effects of psychedelic mushrooms.

J: Cool, man.

S: Right. So this is, obviously, known about these for 40 years, but they haven't really been researched very much. Scientists have been investigating a specific chemical called psilocybin, which is a known hallucinogen. And what's interesting, what I think is interesting about this is that what they found is the participants in the study, even after a single dose of this, had a profound spiritual experience and it affected them for weeks in some cases.

E: Wow.

J: So the Steve, the conclusion you would draw from that is that we're hardwired to have those.

S: That's right. Well, we have to be. And there have to be receptors in our brain that produce those experiences.

B: But we've known about that region of the brain for quite some time now. We didn't need to hallucinate it.

S: That's right, this is just one more line of evidence that supports this. But it is actually probably a fruitful line of investigation that just hasn't really occurred.

J: So Steve, what they do, they pull in, they pull in a number of people, probably college students, and you know, just say eat this? And they what?

S: No, the volunteers had an average age of 46. They said had never used hallucinogens and had participated to some degree in religious or spiritual activities like prayer, meditation or discussion groups. They tried psilocybin during one visit to the lab. They also had control subjects who got stimulants like Ritalin.

J: So these weren't hippies they tested it on, right?

P: I'm surprised they didn't give it to any hardcore atheists. I don't know what they would have thought.

S: Yeah, it's interesting. Two thirds, by the way, two thirds called their reaction to asylum asylum in one of the five top most meaningful experiences of their lives.

E: Wow. Well it is all natural. So it must be good for you.

J: Steve, from a medical standpoint, how dangerous is it to do this?

S: Well, some of them did have dysphoric reactions or they became very agitated and you can cause harm to yourself in this state. So of course, the physicians in the news interviews said, do not try this at home. It's not safe.

J: How about neurological damage or psychologic damage?

S: Not clear. I mean, the interesting thing is that some of the effects were so long lasting. Obviously, with any of these drugs, the neurological damage potential is with addiction and permanent changes that occur from that. But the study was looking at just the short-term effects.

P: I can't think of another elicit drug that gives you a trip for weeks.

S: But the implication is interesting that our brains are hardwired for the sensation of this sort of religious connection to the universe and this profound sense of spirituality. You can trigger it with a chemical. That's very interesting.

J: Hell, with me, you could trigger it with a meatball.

Kevin Barrett and 9/11 conspiracies (9:27)[edit]

S: Last news item, this is a little 9-11 follow-up in the news in the last couple of weeks. There's been a talk of this professor. University was const professor Kevin Barrett-

J: Oh that jackass.

S: -who was teaching a course and the course contains a week of discussing conspiracy theories surrounding 9-11. Basically, he believes that the United States attacked itself on 9-11 and that there were hiding a big conspiracy. The kind of stuff that we've talked about on this podcast, over the last few episodes or so. Now, this has caused quite a stir. The debate is what should be the response of the University of Wisconsin? Representatives from that state and others are criticizing the University saying that they should fire him, censor him for promoting these ideas. The Provost of the University says, we respect his academic freedom. We don't want political pressure to silence academics and he assures us that basically students in his course will be free to espouse different views.

B: Also I saw this guy interview on Hannity Combs and I had to say I was extremely disappointed in the way Hannity approached this. It was really almost, I don't know, I would say, reprehensible. It was terrible. This guy, Barrett, actually came across as being somewhat ostensibly reasonable and common collected. Hannity just seemed to throw ad hominem's at him. I got some quotes here. He said, the evidence is overwhelming to you because you're a conspiracy nut. Oh, good one. Good one. You got him there where most people think you're a nut. You know what? Meanwhile, this guy is saying, you know what's like, wow, is that the best you can do? This guy threw out a couple facts to support his case. In 10 minutes, I got some good information on the internet from apparently some reliable sources. I mean, it didn't seem like Hannity did not prepare at all. And what really got me was that this guy Barrett threw out some skeptical buzzwords that he's interested in training people how to use critical making skills to look at the evidence in any area and come to their own conclusions. You know, he was surprising. I was just thinking, wow, this guy thinks he's on the side of science and critical thinking.

P: Well, Hannity is not a skeptic by any measure. The guy's a political analysis and he's an advocate.

S: But that's just that's just bad journalism. Forget about whether the guy is a skeptic. And you actually, he basically he brought this guy on the show just to be a freak show just so he could call him a nut job. Didn't really feel like he had to prepare. So he basically for the sensationalistic aspect of it and does a total disservice by essentially creating a venue in which the 9-11 conspiracy theorist is the reasonable one of the two that in the exchange. That's just horrible journalism.

B: That's a worse part of it.

J: Well, the thing is guys, let's face it, the guy is a college professor. He probably didn't come off with an attitude and he didn't come on with his guns blazing. The fact is we disagree with what he is teaching his students and what he was saying on the show. But it doesn't mean that he the guy needed to be smack down hard because he was being arrogant or anything along those lines.

B: Jay, he was being a little arrogant. I mean, he said multiple times he studied the fact studied the record for two and a half years and he said, I don't think I know that our government was involved. He said, I know it.

P: Yeah. I asked a mutual friend of ours who's an English professor, whether or not he agrees with this decision and what he wrote back to me as follows it's short. I said, you agree with this decision to let this guy teach at the university and he said, no, there's a difference between critical inquiry and quackery. This guy's a loon and his students won't have the gusto to effectively put his theories to the test. He should have had to pass through a gauntlet of his peers and would unquestionably not have been able to emerge with his craziness intact on the other side of that. I agree with that with that analysis.

B: Perry you know a professor?

P: You bet.

S: I basically agree with that as well. I mean, I think that we have to be very careful in terms of respecting academic freedom and we shouldn't let the politics of the day decide on intellectual discourse in universities which are supposed to be a little bit protected in intellectual environments. However, there is a line beyond which quality control comes into place. This guy is not just advocating this in his private time or as an aside, he's teaching this to students and the university does have a right, I think, to step in and just say, for the quality control of what their students are being taught, this is not appropriate, this is quackery. For the same exact issue came up with John Mc the Harvard psychiatrist who was, who believed that some of his clients, his patients, had been abducted by aliens.

J: Well Steve, I think in this circumstance, circumstances like this, the form for the teachers to do this would be much more in an optional lecture that they want to give on their own time after hours.

P: The vast majority of undergraduate students are not equipped to filter what this guy is going to tell them.

E: But what about the basic fact that this person is 100% wrong in his facts and his evidence of which he has probably none? And just it outright has no place in any level of academia as far as I'm concerned. He should be censored.

S: I agree with it only if it's demonstrable nonsense, which I think in this case it actually is. It is demonstrable nonsense.

E: Yes. Agreed.

S: It can't just be controversial or maybe a little odd. It has to be so far beyond the pale that you could take that kind of action. Otherwise we have the thought police in our universities and I just disagree with that principle.

B: We have to be careful.

J: I would actually, I would prefer to protect the fact that no thought police would enter into universities and teaching. I would rather have a few idiots like this guy slip through than for them to add in a system that comes down hard on the problem.

S: Exactly. But again, he's stepping over the line by teaching this in class, in my opinion.

E: I agree.

B: Let me end this with one good quote that he had. He said, you think it was 19 guys with box cutters led by a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan. That's the craziest conspiracy theory of all of them.

S: The argument from personal incredulity.

P: Yeah.

E: Yeah. Boy, talk about melting it down.

S: Let's go on to a couple of emails.

Questions and E-mails[edit]

More on Supplement Regulation (16:02)[edit]

What nonsense. I do not disagree with the conclusion that most people do not understand the science (or lack there of) behind herbal supplements, I do not find the argument compelling. And while I am relatively new to your show and generally believe it is thoughtful, logical and exposes an approach to problems we should all support, as soon as an issue involves the shows leaderships profession and their ability to impose control over others, logic flies out the window and protection of personal privilege leaps to the fore. The argument presented, cut to its essentials is, only us guys 'the experts' can really understand what is going on here and we should be allowed to control what you do, what you can have when you can have it etc. This argument, which experts in all fields make all the time, while it contains clear elements of truth, is enormously self serving and elitist and disappointingly often wrong.Much as you could supply for most other fields examples of how regulation is protectionist and leads to outcomes not in the best interest of its consumers, I can provide on request many examples, of how regulation in medicine, assures protection the economic position of the status quo, rather than good outcomes for patients. As a former Chief Scientist (PhD) of a major corporation and as a General Manager responsible for turning around failing businesses, in each case the key was to force one's self to see the data and hear the arguments clearly. Almost always the failing businesses I took over were in part a result of previous executives overly focused on their own expertise and looking inward at the 'in place experts'. Rather than being to hear from outside 'the world is not as it appears'. While it is one of the most difficult things to do, I strongly suggest that one apply the same degree of skepticism to your own expertise and that of your profession and colleagues you do to the rest of the world.

Thank you
–John Woods

S: All right. So I got two different emails in response to my discussion on supplement regulation, which I think was the episode that I did by myself. And I don't want to go over this whole issue again, but there's just a couple of points that I want to bring out. Let me read some points from these two emails. This first one comes from John Woods. And John writes, referring to basically I took the position that free market forces would not control quality control supplements and drugs that we do need testing and we do need standards. And he said the argument presented cut to its essentials is only us guys, the experts can really understand what is going on here. And we should be allowed to control what you do, what you can have when you and when you can have it. This argument, which experts in all fields make all the time while it contains clear elements of truth is enormously self serving and elitist and disappointingly often wrong. Much as you could supply for most other fields, examples of how regulation is protectionist and leads to outcomes not in the best interest of its consumers, I can provide many examples of how regulation in medicine assures protection, the economic position of the status quo rather than good outcomes for patients. He finishes while it is one of the most difficult things to do, I strongly suggest that one apply the same degree of skepticism to your own expertise and that of your profession and colleagues that you do to the rest of the world. Another email comes in, this one's from Scott Wood and he writes after saying some nice things about our podcast and admitting that he is a libertarian in temperament. He also says, and yes, I don't believe that the FDA should be allowed to ban anything that's the Food and Drug Administration just to clarify his position. He says, the arguments that consumers can't drive the market for supplements because that market at the moment seems to ignore evidence that you and I consider important is a non sequitur. Supplement consumers may either be ignorant or indifferent to that evidence. So basically what they are both saying is that the government doesn't have the right to tell people what they should do and that we don't have the right to set up regulations that are based upon standards even if we think that they are reasonable. I don't want to get into basically a political discussion of regulation and because this is not a political show. That's the only reason. Obviously I have views about this. The reason why I thought I would bring this issue back up is because I do want to make one point. Both of these emails go wrong. They go wrong in a way that has actually been observed in the past about libertarians in general is that they confuse their political views with logical and skeptical views or they are at least portraying a political choice as if it was the only choice that is consistent with skepticism and logic. That's where I depart from them. I don't care about what the political choice is. It's the characterization of it as scientific or logical. Basically what I was discussing was the very specific question which is brought up by a previous email of whether or not market forces can result in the outcomes that we want in drugs and supplements, namely quality control. My point was that the market forces are such and the history I think has shown this multiple times and the free market forces have done nothing to quality control this industry either before or after. In fact all they have led to is more fantastical claims and more glitzy marketing. That was my point. They are both making the point that the government doesn't have the right to regulate what people do. That's not a scientific or a skeptical argument. That is a political argument. It's a value judgment.

E: Apparently they just haven't read the constitution lately about the limits that the government has and does place on us every single day.

S: That's again a political argument. That's an argument about what rights the government should have relative to the rights that they people have.

J: They can hear the answer to that question on our other podcast, the political guide to the universe.

S: If we had a political show then we could get into the other issue.

Peak Oil (20:23)[edit]

Dear Guys (and Rebecca) Great show! The perfect mix of hard facts, debunking and humor. Long may you podcast. I realize that the following topic may be outside the scope of The Skeptics Guide but I'm seriously worried and you guys may be able to give me a straight answer that I can trust. Should I believe this statement? Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday cult, apocalypse bible prophecy sect, or conspiracy theory society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, and investment bankers in the world. These are rational, professional, conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global'Peak Oil.' This comes from a web site called also just finished reading The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler. You can read a synopsis of his book here Whatdoyathink? Should I move to New Zealand? Are you coming too?

All the best
–Mark Kelly, UK

S: One more email before we go on to our interview. This one comes from Mark Kelly from the UK and he writes: "Dear Guys and Rebecca, great show the perfect mix of heart facts, debunking and humor. Long May you podcast. I realize that the following topic may be outside the scope of the skeptics guide but I'm seriously worried that you guys may be able to give me a straight answer that I can trust. Should I believe this statement? Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky proclamation of a doomsday called Apocalypse Bible Prophecy Sector or Conspiracy Theory Society. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the best, most widely respected geologist physicist and investment bankers in the world. These are rational professional conservative individuals who are absolutely terrified by a phenomenon known as global 'Peak oil'" and he gives a couple of references. "What do you think? Should I move to New Zealand? Are you coming to?" Well Mark, I don't think you should move to New Zealand. I actually think you should move to Addis Ababa. That's by far a superior location.

E: I'm checking my map now.

S: I just like saying Addis Ababa. This is very, I think we talked about this briefly on one podcast before the whole concept of peak oil. In a nutshell, the idea is that at some point we're going to get past our peak oil production at the amount of oil that we're dragging out of the ground is going to decrease and yet worldwide need for oil is continually increasing and that this is going to result in a significant change in our civilization, which runs on oil. The short answer is that yes, that's going to happen, but civilization, as we know, is always coming to an end because it's always significantly changing. It changed with the internet and there will be a time when we are not running our economy on oil because we simply don't have the oil to do so. But I wouldn't panic because what the doomsday predictions always fail to take into consideration and this has been going on for a century where you start with some current trend, you extrapolate it into the future. They always assume that it's a zero sum game that our resources are finite. But the false premise I think in there is that there's one resource which is not finite which is not a zero sum game and that is human ingenuity.

P: Of course. The change that's coming does not have to be a change to oblivion.

S: Right. Our economy will change over to an ethanol, hydrogen economy, an alternative fuel economy, whatever.

J: Yeah, but I also think to give what he's saying, just a little credit, there's definitely, there's always signs that come and go that say, okay, this is a bad situation, we're not dealing with it. The fuel thing is the biggest one in my book, we talked about the meteorite problem earlier, are we dealing with it? No, are we really dealing with the fuel problem? No, as of today we're not and I really don't feel comfortable thinking that somebody in the future is going to figure out this one at the last minute. I think that an ounce of prevention is worth the effort.

S: Sure, there's always the degree to which we will be ahead of the curve versus behind the curve. The thing is, as this becomes an issue, alternative fuels will become more cost effective, the return on investment of research will become more lucrative and then the problem will be solved over time.

P: I have a zero fear of oil riots in the streets, zero.

S: I agree.

P: Okay? This will be solved.

S: I don't think anyone knows exactly where pathway it's going to take, but I don't, we're not headed for a disaster because human ingenuity always, so far at least has always found a way to work a way out of these resource problems.

Interview with Neal Adams (24:09)[edit]

  • Neal Adams is a famous comic book artist who is known for his illustrations Batman and the X-men; who believes he has revolutionized modern science, if only he can get those stubborn scientists to listen to him. We explore Neal's ideas of a growing earth.

S: We have an interview this week with Neil Adams. Some of you may recognize that in Neil Adams is a comic book artist, but we're going to be talking to him about his scientific ideas. Now a few times on this show, we've interviewed people who can loosely be called true believers, not scientists or skeptics, but people who are advocating the belief in bigfoot or ESP or some belief like that. This is definitely one of those interviews. The purpose of these kind of interviews is to hear people with a different point of view, defend themselves in their own words and to sort of analyze their approach and their thinking about such things. I think it's going to be a very interesting interview and we'll talk a little bit afterwards. So let's go to the interview now.

Joining us now is Neil Adams. Neil, welcome to the Skeptics Guide.

NA: Thank you, I'm glad to be here.

S: By way of introduction, Neil is a rather famous, actually comic book artist known for his illustrations of Batman and the X-Men, who later in life has decided to switch gears a little bit in his career and has been working on what he considers to be revolutionary ideas.

NA: Actually, actually, I've actually been doing this for about 40 years.

S: Is that right?

NA: Yeah.

S: And you're also still doing involved in illustration.

NA: I do illustrations. I do advertising. I do commercials. Those nason XB commercials that you see on the air with the nason XB flying around.

P: Did you do the voice, Neil?

NA: That was, I can't say who that voice was, but it's obviously the person who you think it is.

P: Right.

NA: Who did Zoro recently, but I'm not paying that.

P: I got it.

NA: Lots of people do Zoro in their home.

B: Neil, that B is a computer generator, though. Did you design the image?

NA: I designed it and my studio animated it.

B: Oh, cool.

S: Well, let's get to your scientific ideas. So can you encapsulate for us in a nutshell what it is that you're claiming?

NA: I think probably not, but I will attempt it. Forty years ago, the scientific community and the geological community more or less came to the conclusion that all the continents were once together in one big giant continent on one side of the earth. And presumably being somebody who deduces at least in a minor way, I assumed that the rest of the earth, three quarters of it, was ocean, four or five miles deep or two point eight miles deep according to how you calculated. It seemed to me that if I were jinking along in my comic book spaceship and I looked at this planet, I would say that this was a very, very strange planet. One big giant island on one side and the rest of the ocean all the way around. Seemed very odd to me, although I agreed, at least with anybody that I ever knew, agreed that it sure looked like Afric and South America fit together. So they took that thought and they said, well it's not only African South America but North America and Europe and you can see how they go together. So why don't we check this out? So they did, they checked the Atlantic Ocean out and they realized that, tectonically, these continents fit together. My goodness. And then they went back in history and they looked at dinosaurs and different animals and they discovered that there were certain animals that lived on all seven continents like an [inaudible]. So they said, well, based on this, we have come to the conclusion that all the continents were all together on one big giant island. It seems a little strange to me. It seemed to me that nobody had really done a lot of checking in the Pacific Ocean, just the Atlantic Ocean, but of course we're Americans in Europeans and we know exactly how everything is. So I'm interested in that. Then this Australian professor of geology, the guy's name was Samuel Carey. He came and announced that he felt that no, in fact, the Earth was smaller and that all the continents were, in fact, linked together and that the continents formed one big giant island on the whole of the Earth. And I thought, well, gee, I was like science since I was about 13 years old and I like the common sense of science when it makes sense to me. This one made a lot more sense than this idea of a giant island on one side of the Earth. I could visualize it, but I could more easily visualize this outer skin covering the whole of the Earth and then the Earth growing and the outer skin cracking apart and basically staying in the same place it is not swimming around like bumper cars all over the surface of the Earth, but essentially moving outward as the Earth grew. And it sort of fit into everything else that I knew at that time. Dinosaurs were about many dinosaurs where four times as big as the dinosaurs that, excuse me, than the animals that exist on the Earth today. There were many other things that struck me very oddly. One of them was nobody seemed to take any tectonic sampling in the Pacific, just in the Atlantic to prove the point, but nobody seemed to care much about the Pacific. Why were they doing this? Well, what happened was that Sam Carey presented his case and there was a battle. I mean, it was a very serious battle. It's not just me showing up here 40 years later saying, well, I think that the Earth grew. It was a big battle in the scientific community over this and Sam Carey lost. Why did he lose? Well, the first reason he lost was that they found subduction. Subduction was they said that certain continents, at a certain point in the ocean, dove under other continents and subducted under those other continents and then went back into the magma at that time that they assumed that magma was the second layer underneath the Earth and that there was this big vast amount of magma down there, of course, that's proved to be untrue.

S: Although just to be precise, just for our listening audience, subduction is the ocean plates actually subduct underneath continental plates. Contents don't go underneath other continents.

NA: That's what you're saying now. I agree with you that geology has moved forward in the past 40 years and now they say it's the oceanic plates that subduct under one another. Actually, they say that the oceanic plates more or less subduct under continental areas.

S: Right.

NA: Okay. Then they didn't say that. Now, one of the reasons they didn't say it then was because they had to account for the fact that presumably at some early time on the Earth, the whole Earth was covered with granitic rock and then base all underneath that and three quarters of that first some reason seems to be missing.

S: What do you mean missing?

NA: Well, if you assume that the Earth, at some point, science tells us, remember when you're in school, they said, well, all this stuff was floating around in space and then gravity came along and gathered all together into these planets and the sun and these moons and it was molten, they tell us. Remember that?

S: Yeah.

NA: It was molten and accreted, it means that the heavier stuff went to the center and the lighter stuff went to the top. Now it accreted and presumably it accreted granitic rock on the top, which is the lightest and then base all underneath that and then even heavier base all and then other stuff below that. So you're going to have to go down to iron in the core. Now if that's the case, then you have an outer coating cooling of granitic rock. Now we have a planet on which there's only one quarter of the surface is covered by granitic rock, what happened to the rest of it, where did it go?

S: I don't believe that that theory necessarily holds that it was a uniform distribution and there certainly were, and especially in the formation of the early Earth, just to give the standard model, there were certainly catastrophic events.

NA: I just so that we can clear it so I don't want to feel like I'm in an argument here, but essentially if you have an Earth that's molten, it's going to differentiate generally around the Earth. It's not going to segment, you know what I'm saying? One can say, well it didn't mean this or this or that, but according to the way I was taught in school, you have granitic rock. I have to remember that that granitic rock surface, which is between 4.5 and say 1 billion years old, is quite different than the undersea oceanic rock, which is no older than say 165 million years old. I mean if you go looking for ancient fish fossils, you don't go to the deep ocean, you go to Utah. You go to China, you go to Italy, but you do not go into the deep ocean because they're not there. There was no devotion 200 million years ago that we know of. In other words, you can't find a square yard of it. Underneath the deep ocean, you can't find it, it doesn't exist.

S: And you're saying that's because it wasn't there?

NA: Well, or subduction is so efficient that it got every square yard, which I don't believe. I have difficulty believing this. I cannot believe that the ocean floor completely disappeared. I would say it is more reasonable to say that it was never there. Now that seems hard because, of course, Sam Carey had a lot of trouble with that because the physicist and other scientists said, Mr. Carey, if you want to prove this, you have to show how matter can be created because that's what you're saying, essentially. And Sam Carey unfortunately was a geologist. He did not have the ability to defend his point of view because he was a geologist. He understood the geology and the geology said the earth grew. You could take the point of view that no, subduction works and this works and all this. If you take all of these excuses, you could say no, it's not that way. But if you just go by the geology, that's what he said. If you start putting these things together, you may not come to the same conclusion I come to. There are lots of other facts but these are very, very difficult facts for me at least to deal with. Shallow sees covered a massive part of the United States and massive part of Asia and they're gone. They cannot be gone. You cannot say it. It's just not sayable. Now, if that's the case and somebody comes along and says, well this is what I think happened. I think the earth grew. The cracks formed, the continents were spread apart, which of course they are. The water fell into the cracks very slowly over a period of time. You have a new depth, water increased, but still water didn't increase to the extent that it did not drain off the shallow sees and now all the shallow sees are now in the deep ocean. There's a thundering logic to that that I cannot deny.

S: Now, let's talk about the physics part of this because obviously that's the big stumbling of the black right now.

NA: Sure, I mean, Carey lost that portion of his argument to such an extent that he tried to make it up later and he could not really do it because you have to come up with a concept that said that matter can be made. That's very hard to do. When I heard that and I realized that, I thought there must be a theory out there that explains that and that's how I'll start my little adventure. I will try to explain how it's possible for Earth to grow by taking out books that everybody else has and reading them and trying to find theories that may explain this. You know little things that get left by science in the corner and perhaps not examine quite as hard as they ought to be examined.

S: What have you come up with?

NA: There's a guy named Carl David Anderson. You guys probably know about Carl David Anderson in 1932 he was trying to see cosmic rays. So what he did was he made this barrel-shaped thing and it was a pumped the air out of it, made a vacuum and he allowed certain noble gases to go into it. What would happen is as cosmic rays would come out of space, they would make these little gas trails. What he discovered was that spontaneously in these cosmic rays or as these cosmic rays were going through, it seemed as though something would strike something and break off this what looked like a particle and that particle would zap away and it would find an electron or immediately find an electron and annihilate it. And the more he examined it, the more he discovered that in fact was a positron, what's called a positron. Positron is equal to an electron in size and in charge except that a positron is positive and electron is negative. Scientists observed this and talked about it, had all these conversations about everybody went to their meetings and everybody decided that this was antimatter. An antimatter was the opposite of matter, antimatter would annihilate matter. Of course it wasn't exactly annihilating matter, it was annihilating electrons, its opposite charge. It wasn't annihilating protons or neutrons, it was annihilating electrons. It's interesting there, so we see something created out of essentially nothing and we call it antimatter because it seems to annihilate an electron. Oddly enough, it doesn't really annihilate an electron. What it does, and this is something we found out recently, is that it goes toward an electron, it kind of slows down, very quickly orbits the electron, becomes a thing called, I believe it's called positronium, which is like a comic book title, and then they both disappear and they fire off whatever energy they have on them.

B: Gamma rays, I believe.

NA: Gamma radiation.

B: But is anyone ever seen this positronium or actually do experiments?

NA: I don't think you can see something that small but they have the way scientists do it.

B: Indirectly, but.

NA: Yeah, and you can look it up, it'll be on the internet, the positronium, this is how it's made in the [inaudible]. Now what's interesting is that the sequence of events that gave us antimatter did not necessarily at that time include another observation that was made several years later, and that was that as that positron was created, an electron was created at the very same time out of nothing. I may be very kind of naive, to me that looks like they book apart something that was zero into a plus one into a minus one. Keep it very simple. Now again, that may be naive on my part, but you know the thing is that you can't know, we haven't known how proton is made and we don't know how quarks are made and we don't know how anything else is made, but incredibly enough we know how electrons and positrons are made by this impacting of stuff that happens all the time everywhere. To me, I know I'm not sure how long it's put that to clue. I'd say, you know maybe I want to pause from it before I call that thing antimatter. Because what you've just done, it seems to me as you've created a plus particle and a minus particle, and the fact that that plus particle seems to seek out and seems to annihilate a negative particle isn't necessarily true. What if that positive particle joins again with that negative particle and they become what they were before they were split apart? What if they become call it a prime matter particle?

B: What about the release of gamma rays though?

NA: The thing about gamma radiation is you pick up the gamma radiation from the photon that strikes it. But what you don't lose is you can't lose and have a loss that negative and that positive electromagnetic field of both of those particles you lose the gamma radiation that was added to it by the impact, but you don't lose the negative and positive for whatever reason. You could say, well they can't release that throughout, but you know, I don't really think the universe works like that.

S: How come? Because that's pretty much the key right there.

NA: That's that's like saying that matter can be created and be destroyed. I would agree that that's not true. I don't think you can destroy a negative and a positive particle simply because they disappear. I don't know what they look like anyway.

S: Although at present that's the current observations that have been made.

NA: It was there to be struck. Okay. Something hit it. It's split into two particles. I believe you can get it.

S: So what do you conclude from this? What's the bottom line?

NA: Okay. I conclude from this that these two are our two basic particles and they make the universe. They make all the particles of the universe and you just have to figure out how they do it.

J: That seems to explain why I'm gaining more weight as I get older.

NA: I guess so. You can see that's the way the electron.

B: But what about other experiments that show other particles being produced in the debris? I mean, that's why aren't they primary particles as well?

NA: You sort of have to take it step by step. I'm not a real scientist. I'm an artist and I don't look at it the way. I look at it, I study all the sciences. I study every aspect of science but I don't study it technically. I don't do the math and all the rest of it. So I just kind of skin the surface and I pick up the stuff that seems to be out there that everybody knows. But it seems to me that if you have a simple universe, really simple universe, okay. Nothing is going to be all that complicated. So the question you have to ask is, do we have the kind of universe in which five or six or eight or twelve different things are made by nature or by some initiating event or are you going to get one thing that happens and like evolution, things fall from that. For example, one of the things people scientists are want to say nowadays is, if you have hydrogen, you can pretty much make anything. That's a big jump. Well the question then is, can I make hydrogen out of protons, positrons and electrons? Because if I can do that, then that builds a universe. Now, of course I'm just a comic booker, what do I know. But what if I could do that? Not me. What if the universe does that?

S: So Neil, the major question, so you say you've been doing this for forty years. Obviously you've put a lot of time and energy and thought into it. Have you ever attempted to publish any of these ideas in the scientific literature or present them to scientists?

NA: I can't imagine a piece of scientific literature that would accept me as a contributor. I can't.

S: Why is that?

NA: Because usually you have to have degrees and you have to write scientific papers and you have to, it's not something that I'm a comic book artist. I'm doing a book and I'm doing a videotape. You have seen some of the videotape on my internet. And some of it's pretty striking. I'm probably going to end up having to do a show on Nova or Discovery to get these ideas across them. Not really in scientific literature. There are people who are behind and are part of this, what they call, EE or Expanding Earth theory. And they seem to be starting to amass in a group. And I think my videos are sort of spurring them on, making them a little bit more optimistic that they'll get a hearing. Why would anybody want to hear scientific community want to hear what a comic book artist says? It just doesn't make any sense to me. I don't think that's the path. On the other hand, I don't know what the path is. I mean, if I'm right, then it's not just a theory about the Earth growing. It's a theory about how everything works. And that's way too big for anybody in the scientific community to even accept or even listen to. I mean, just beyond comprehension. I don't think that they're ready for it. So there's no path. In other words, whoever in the past has done something new to change science really haven't left a guidebook lying around for me to know how to do it. So I'm sort of making my way blindly through it.

S: Yeah, Einstein had no scientific reputation. And he pretty much changed all the physics in a pretty radical way.

NA: And I have no reputation. I'm going to change physics. I'm pretty much determined to do it. I mean, I'm not coming to you saying sometimes I'll act hopeless and hopeless in all the rest of it. But I don't really feel that way. I feel pretty strongly that I've done an awful lot of science in here. And to be perfectly honest, I've been trying to destroy this theory myself at last 10 years, and I can't find a hole in it.

S: Well, since you bring that up, that was one of my questions for you. So what do you think would be a major test of your theory? How could you, what kind of observation or experiment can't be done that would distinguish a growing Earth theory from the standard plate tectonic theory, for example?

NA: Well, in all honesty, I don't know. If I say things that are obvious that prove the theory, all I have are things that prove the theory. I don't have hardly anything that disproves the theory. Somebody could go down to the middle of the Earth and prove that it was molten iron. That would prove that I'm wrong. If these French guys that are going to drop a spaceship on the moon to discover something that they kind of are very vague about discovering, but I suspect that they're trying to discover whether or not the moon is hollow, if they find that it's not hollow, then I will probably be wrong and I would accept that as a defeat. But I don't think that's going to happen, I think you're going to find that it's hollow. They actually have dropped something on the moon about 30 years or 20 years ago. They discovered that the thing echoed for like three hours. So there's, I mean if they discovered that dinosaurs were the size of elephants, or a sauropods were the size of elephants, I would do it, but they're not. They're four to five times bigger. And what I've done is I've studied an awful lot of science in awful lot of different areas. For example, if you were to build a building over 10 stories high and you made it out of brick and wood, it would collapse because it can't support itself unless it has steel. That means you have to make it out of something else that's denser. Well, there's a paleontologist at Alberta, the Alberta Museum, who were in contact with to ask a very simple question to that, was there any indication that dinosaur bones were any more dense than the bones of animals today? The answer was categorically no. There were no more dense than the bones of say an elephant or large animal. Well, if that's the case, you cannot have a sauropod that's four to five times the size of an elephant. It can't be, physically impossible.

S: Well, but you're saying it's impossible, but have you done the calculations as someone?

NA: There's no calculation for that.

S: Sure there is. Absolutely.

NA: Well, I'm not. Yes, it would have to be four to five times the dense.

S: No, no. You're assuming that the structure of bones is that an elephant is as big as a creature can get with the current with their structure of bones.

NA: Yeah.

S: But it's perhaps that the standard structure of bone bones are pretty damn strong actually and their structure is very efficient, that it couldn't support the size of a sauropod.

NA: And actually, actually.

S: There's no evidence for that, though.

NA: I agree with you. And I think that's a really good argument. I think that it's important for people to disagree with me to have these arguments and they should do that, and that's all great. But if you go on discovery, I don't know if it's discovery or no, but you get these there's these two scientists that come on two paleontologists. And one of them says that a Tyrannosaurus rex was a scavenger. He might have seen the show. The other one says, the other one says, no, no, he was a predator. And the guy who says, no, no, he was a scavenger says, look, he cannot be a scavenger. He runs. He can't run. Because if he were to run at 40 or 50 miles an hour, his head would snap off. And I'm an artist, and I study anatomy. I'm actually a pretty good artist. So I studied this stuff. Clearly a Tyrannosaurus rex was a predator. Probably ran 60 miles an hour, up to 60 miles an hour. An elephant, it weighs what a Tyrannosaurus rex weighs, but a Tyrannosaurus rex runs like a lion. And I understand the arguments of people who say, well, an elephant could be 10% bigger than it is in still survive. It could be maybe 20% bigger. Can't be five times bigger makes no sense.

S: Well-

NA: I'm just just common sense. You know?

B: That seems like such a glaring and obvious thing. I just can't imagine that that would have been missed by all the scientists. How could they possibly how could, if you can't have a dinosaur that big, how was that missed?

NA: The truth is that they didn't miss it. And in fact, when this old debate came up when Sam Carey was around, they had that debate. In fact, I remember when I was a kid, I went to the Museum of Natural History, and they even talked about people kind of forget they talked about how could a dinosaur be so big and the bone density be the same, blah, blah, blah, but it was. So it's sort of like when you go to school somebody says, light doesn't travel through space, it travels through nothing, and you go, how can it travel through nothing? It doesn't make any sense. You start arguing and they say, yeah, well, you may believe that, but on Friday, it's going to be on the test and if you get it wrong, you're going to fail this course. Well it's Friday and Neil has failed the course. I got to tell you. I have totally failed the course because none of these things make any sense to me. I can't travel through an earth. I can't put, you've seen some of my videos. You look at the various moons and you see this stuff coming together. I haven't doctored those things. I haven't done anything with them. I've just moved them together. You can take pictures off the internet and slide pictures of your Europa together and they fit together.

B: Yeah, talking about moons and gravity. So let me just try to see some ramifications here. If the earth had less mass in the past, therefore it was less massive and had less gravitational pull, correct? If that's the case, if the earth's mass is increasing, why is the moon moving away from us instead of coming closer to us as the gravitational pull inevitably increases?

NA: Because the moon is getting bigger too. They're all growing.

B: That would make it even worse.

S: That would make it worse. That's right.

NA: Not really, no, because it sort of works like this. You have to understand the whole theory. There's a whole massive theory to this.

B: Gravity is gravity.

NA: Well, gravity is not necessarily gravity. Is it gravity could be electromagnetic in nature, couldn't it?

B: No, I don't know if anyone could agree with that.

NA: I don't think anybody agrees with that.

B: Okay. All right. Good.

NA: I agree with you. I agree with you. No, the funny thing is that all the planets seem to be lined up, could give a distance away from the sun, a mathematical distance. And the distance was measured by a guy named Bodhi. I didn't actually know Bodhi. I actually did it myself and I came up with a slightly different formula. And you know the funny thing about the formula that Bodhi created and I created is that we both discovered that Uranus is out of order, slightly in closer to Earth than it ought to be. Because they're all mathematically given distance further out from the sun according to the law that Bodhi created and the one that I created, which is very, very similar. Now I'm assuming, probably illogically so, that those planets are writing on electromagnetic lines of the sun. Well, somebody would say, that doesn't make any sense. Then I would say, well, is the sun not the biggest electromagnetic magnet in our solar system? Yes, it is. Do electromagnets have lines, electromagnetic lines? Yes. Well, if all magnets have electromagnetic lines, wouldn't the lines of the sun be the biggest damn electromagnetic lines of them all? Yes. Isn't there iron in the planets? Yes. Well, wouldn't they, if they're going to be attracted anywhere, going to be attracted to those lines?

B: Yes, but it's too weak. It's too weak. When you get out to Uranus and Jupiter, gravity just swamps it. My understanding is that the magnetic effect would be negligible.

NA: I understand what you're saying, but you know that's not how magnets work. If you're attracted to a magnet, you're attracted to a magnet directly to the magnet, but if you work under certain conditions, you can find the lines. So the question is, let's just say you're in orbit. Okay? Let's just say whatever's drawn you toward the sun is going to allow you to be in orbit. Is there a favorable orbit to be in? And would that orbit be an electromagnetic line? If that's the case. And the universe isn't exploding, which I guess is the opposite of gravity, because that's the way it seems to be, and why isn't there a big crunch and everything being pulled together well, because it's all blowing away. I don't think so. I think what's happened is, the electromagnetic energy has created a balance in our universe and as our universe grows, the electromagnetic fields grow outward.

B: And the magnetic fields grow?

S: So you say that, but the first one is to be clear. It's going to be clear on this. You're saying there's no such thing as gravity.

NA: Well, all right, let me put it this way. Here's two things. Okay? Neither of which you'll agree with, but you can play with them. If I believe that physics that presented to me says, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, I believe that. I think that as a good standard to go by. I don't know what the opposite action to gravity is, but I know what the opposite action to electromagnetic energy is. Negative and positive. I don't know what the opposite of gravity is. I don't think it exists. Now, what does that mean? Big bang theory. We got explosion. That's the opposite. Okay. You have gravity and you have explosion. I don't believe that. I don't think that's a good explanation.

B: But what about the new discovery of, is it called, what's it called, a [inaudible] the increasingly?

S: The accelerating force?

B: The accelerating expansion of the universe that was recently discovered? I mean, I would say that's a good candidate for the opposite of gravity.

NA: I would say that that is a good candidate for putting aside the big bang theory.

S: It's not a compatible with the big bang now.

NA: It's not compatible with the big bang theory because it wouldn't be accelerating. If anything, it would be going to same speed or slowing down.

S: Well, clearly, we can't really talk about that definitively because this is still highly speculative. Nobody knows what the answer is. We don't know really why the universe seems to be accelerating and it's expanding.

NA: Well, I think I can tell you.

S: So, are you going to make a specific prediction?

NA: Prediction. Yes, I think I can tell you. The universe is growing. It's really not illogical because it seems to me. Well, let me put it this way. You sort of believe one of two things. You believe that the universe, all the matter in the universe, always existed, always will exist, we're without end. Same amount, no more or no less. Or you believe that at some point there was no matter. And then some was created. And then some more. And then some more. And then some more until we have the universe that we have today. Now, if you believe the first, good luck. If you believe the second, then who turned off the off switch?

J: Neil, would you also say that the sun or that stars are growing in mass as well?

NA: Well, we are told by scientists, surprised me along the way. That our sun grew one in size and two in brightness.

B: Since when?

NA: Now, that's the only one that I've had admitted since I was a kid. But I say that not only did the sun grow, but Jupiter grew. And that's why it's so massive that all those meteorites that used to hit the moon, Earth, and Mars are now hitting Jupiter because it seems to be a meteor magnet. Some scientists even agree with that. Now, if it is now a meteor magnet, why wasn't it a billion years ago?

B: Well, who says it wasn't?

NA: Well, we say it wasn't because we have way bigger craters and way bigger impact on Mars and the moon.

B: Well, of course, the solar system was filled with debris during the formation. It's inevitable that the-

NA: Hold on a second. See, I learned that in school, too. Let me see. That theory started 150 years ago where people got together and they said, well, this is how you got a solar system. You have this area of space and it's filled up with all these meteorites. Okay, well, that's not the big bang because that's mostly hydrogen, so they can't, where'd they come from? They came from exploding planets.

B: Well, I don't think anyone realistically-

NA: Well, wait a second. Wait a second.

S: To be fair-

NA: In New York says that. Well, just want you to know. Museum of National History in New York says that meteorites come from exploding planets. Where do you get all that stuff?

S: It was made inside stars. It was made inside of stars. That's not a mystery.

NA: Why is the inside of stars throwing out meteorites?

S: Because they, the standard explanation is that stars go through their life cycle and by the way, they can't grow and change in brightness. That has to do with, the rate at which they're burning their hydrogen and versus their own [inaudible].

NA: [inaudible]

S: But once-

NA: Wait a second. We're talking about stars. In a universe that's 15 billion years old and Earth is 4.5 billion years old. We're back in a place where we're closer to the big bang if anybody wants to believe that. It's a more primitive universe, closer to hydrogen. We've definitely got hydrogen in stars. There are a lot of hydrogen. In fact, what is it? 80% of our star, presumably, is hydrogen. 20% or a little bit less is helium. And then a very small amount is hard stuff. That's part of what got assembled. Where did all this stuff come from?

S: From older stars, from second generation stars.

NA: But older stars, when were they made? You're breaking the universe into thirds here.

S: Well, but not all stars-

NA: The first and third, the second. I don't understand.

S: Some stars last for a few hundred million years.

NA: When a star explodes, let's say it's a supernova. I kind of assume it's going to turn into hydrogen.

S: That's not true.

NA: [inaudible] chunks.

B: No, all the heavy elements are created in supernova explosions.

NA: But aren't those pieces, my friends, aren't those pieces blown out at near light speeds straight out of the universe? Why are they-

B: Well, not the universe. Not the universe. They would expand and cause a planetary [inaudible]. It would slow down. They could impact other hydrogen clouds and create other solar systems.

NA: Hold on. Hold on. They slowed down. The universe isn't slowing down. It's going out faster.

S: Yeah, but that's the universe. If you-

NA: Oh, right. It's the local-

B: Local phenomenon.

NA: How did this local phenomenon attract all this stuff in the beginning?

S: How is the universe not uniform to begin with? That is a legitimate question of cosmology. Where did the original non-uniformities of the universe come from?

NA: There's not only not a center point. There's no way to explain the collection of this stuff. It's ridiculous. You've got an area of space that gravity is sitting in the background, waiting. Where there to be enough stuff to be collected in an area for gravity to step forward and say, now I'm going to build a solar system and then instantly, practically, build a solar system out of this stuff. That idea was created 150 years ago by people who knew nothing about science who tried to explain the universe. We've been trying to put patches in it for 150 years. It's ridiculous. If you're looking for meteorites, remember we talked about this idea. There's giant meteorites and they all collected into planets. There are some meteorites in our solar system that are 4.5 billion years old. No iron meteorites, no silicate meteorites, no normal kind of meteorites that you think of. They're called what are called colonnrites. They're made out of conjules, which are little particles that the size of a pencil tip. They gather by accretion, they collect by creating a little gravity. All these little colonnrites gather into this meteorite and material that makes colonnrites like dust, collects into this meteorite, and makes a colonnite meteorite. This colonnite meteorite cannot be made in a planet or in a sun. It has to be assembled in space. A colonnite meteorite is the only meteorite that we can collect and we can see and we have fallen to the earth. It is as old as 4.5 billion years old. All other meteorites are younger than that. When I say this, I'm saying this because I couldn't have this theory without studying everything and one of the problems with science. You guys may know something about this. It's specialization. People find so much about a particular thing, but they don't know about all the rest of it. One of the things that made Sam Carey fail when he presented his theory. He failed because he wasn't a physicist. The bad thing about that is once you discover how the earth grew, you understand it all, you understand how the universe works and it doesn't work anything like the way we think it does. It doesn't mean that the rules that we know aren't there, they are there, but it adds an overview of the whole thing that puts it into a matrix that makes it make sense and it makes it make sense from every possible point of view. It has to explain everything.

S: Neil, we were actually running out of time. It was a very fascinating interview.

NA: I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves.

S: We're obviously going to have to agree to disagree at the end. I obviously don't have the same view of science that you do.

NA: Sure you do.

S: It sounds like just to conclude that you're basically saying that the process of science, the community of science is broken because they're hyper specialized and they don't talk with each other and they can't get a view of the big picture. I disagree. I think there's a lot of concilience in science. If somebody comes up with a theory in one field that has major implications for another field, then they talk with scientists in that other field.

NA: But you would think that way, wouldn't you?

S: Well, I'm actually a practicing scientist, so I have a little bit of an idea of how it works.

NA: But what I'm saying is that you would think that way and you would make that statement, right?

S: Yeah.

NA: It makes sense.

S: I do think this way. Not assuming that that's my conclusion after being not only being a very interested lay person, but also-

NA: But if your conclusion, if your conclusion, not having considered the alternate is what I'm saying.

NA: All right, well, Neil, we appreciate it.

B: Thank you, Neil.

S: Again, Neil.

NA: Thank you, guys.

S: Thanks for joining us.

NA: I hope this was interesting.

J: It definitely was interesting. Very much.

P: Very much so. Good night. Good night, Neil.

NA: Good night guys.

S: So that was Neil Adams, a very, very interesting interview. The problem I think with Neil is that he didn't really let us get a word and edge wise. I mean, it had a hard time giving the counter arguments to what he was saying. So I do feel obligated to go back and talk about some of the things that he brought up. First of all the idea that electrons and positrons or or anti-electrons can lead to the creation of matter is simply false. They, and he actually said it himself. It's like you start with zero and you create plus one and minus one. That's right. And the, when you add one, the minus one, you get zero again. You actually are making nothing. So he makes this leap from making nothing, basically a net zero matter and said, but what if they come together and they form something? That's a big what if? And that's kind of the basis of everything that flows from there.

P: Neil's interview was a little bit like the Gish gallop, wasn't it?

S: It was. And referring to Dwayne Gish, who you talked about, he's a creationist, who we just throw so many things at you that you couldn't, you like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah you couldn't deal with them all. But I do think, again, it was interesting to see how, this guy's been 40 years, he's obviously an intelligent guy working on this problem. And listening to, I think most of our listeners will notice that there's so many things seem wrong about what he's saying, even if you're not sure exactly what it is. I think it's fascinating from my point of view of how someone's thinking can go so wrong. So the logic is more important to me than anything else. And I think so a few of the mistakes that he's making. First of all, he, I think it's a big problem if you are so ready to dismiss the entire scientific community. I mean, I think there's a little bit of hubris involved in that. If he really take what he's saying, he's basically saying that the entire physics community is wrong about elementary particles and the nature of elementary particles and matter and anti-matter and also gravity. They're also completely, and electromagnetism. They're basically wrong about everything.

P: Gravity, schmavity.

S: Geologists are wrong about plate tectonics and cosmologists are wrong about the nature and origin and evolution of the universe and stars and planetary systems. And biologists are wrong about dinosaurs and their physiology and the ability of their structures to function.

B: True. And not only that, that stuff is true, but it's also very specific things. I tried to get into a little more information about the whole magnetism and gravity thing. I mean, one thing about the magnetism was that basically it's pretty much accepted and verifiable and justified and literally tens of thousands of experiments of how the strength of a magnetic field drops off. You get twice as far away, it's eight times as weak. I mean, that's just the way it is. There's really no question about that. And he's saying that it's affecting the outer planets-

S: Which is just impossible.

B: It's really not true. I mean, there's not much more to say.

S: It kind of reminds of a conspiracy theorist in that he makes this one huge assumption, huge leap about the earth growing and that leads to, that creates three or four really significant scientific problems.

B: Domino effect.

S: Yeah, it's a domino effect. He says, okay, well, all right, so the biologists are completely wrong about everything too. I'll throw that in as well. And that creates further problems. And then before you know it, all of science is completely wrong. Basically, everything that you know is wrong, which we've heard before too, right? And I'd usually a legitimate scientist, if they came up with a theory and it was constituted by an entire discipline of science, they would say, okay, well, there's got to be something wrong with my theory.

P: Or I had better have a stack of experiments.

S: Right.

P: Positively proving what I'm trying to say or to the best of what I heard, Neil-

S: No, and I did manage to ask him directly, yeah, how would you test it and he couldn't come up with any way that he could test it.

J: I think what we witnessed tonight was someone who's a fan of science and he's very intrigued about these conclusions that he's drawing. But I also got the impression that he does know deep down that his conclusions aren't things to be 100% believed.

P: Oh, first of all, I have to disagree. A fan of science, I believe he was, I believe he was disdainful of science.

J: Well, wait, let me clarify then.

P: Okay.

J: I agree with where you're going with that, Perry, but he did say that he's always been interested since he was very young in science and in technology. I mean, he mentioned that and I happen to know that from reading about him that he is a fan of just science. You know, I think he's grown-

S: Not the institutions of science, but of science itself.

J: Yeah, the product of science might be more accurate. But I definitely think that he needs to just take a really, really hard look at what he's saying and talk to, why doesn't he just go talk to some high end physicists? Why does he go talk to-

E: Like he wants to?

P: Jay you don't think the guy believes in his theories?

J: I think I think I sense the germ of disbelief in what some of the way he came off saying some of his theories and the way that.

S: He was very evasive though. He mean, he would basically go off on some non-sequitor whenever we tried to.

P: It was simply a tactic. It was a tactic to try and be, yes, to try and be somewhat self-deprecating. It's that simply something you learn as you, as you get older, as you get more mature that self-deprecation is, but it's just a tactic. I believe.

J: Perry, how come you don't use it?

P: Listen closer. He believes everything he spouses.

S: Yeah, I mean, it's basically the armchair musings of somebody who's interested in science, but doesn't really understand the current state of scientific findings or methodology. But again, it's just striking how he's willing to accept how profoundly wrong thousands of brilliant people can be. And he just said, hey, what if it's this way? Oh, that may be right. Just these casual musings.

J: So one thing I really, I wanted to hear him say, you know what, I am formally putting together a submission to the appropriate journals. I'm in contact with the scientists that are helping me put these documents together correctly. And he really was just dismissive of the idea that they wouldn't be accepting of the submission.

S: Well, listen, listen, I've written in the past as other people have the sort of red flags or the characteristics that are typical of pseudoscientists. And he really displayed every single one during the interview. And that's one J where they basically make an end run around the standard institutions of peer review and of science, the ways in which we test our ideas and have some kind of sense that they have value. He wants to just write a book go right to the public and-

P: He wants to go on TV, Steve.

S: Yeah.

P: He said specifically discovery because frankly, because they're not peer reviewed. It's a-

S: Right. We end run around this institutions of science. Well, we're pretty low on time, so let's go on to science and fiction.

Science or Fiction (1:13:28)[edit]

Theme: Technological advances

Item #1: Recently published study indicates that educational toys are more effective than preschool in promoting later academic achievement in young children[4]
Item #2: Scientists have discovered that some wooly mammoths were actually blonde.[5]
Item #3: Paleontologists down under have recently discovered fossil evidence of a carnivorous long-fanged kangaroo.[6]

Answer Item
Fiction Educational toys
Science Blonde mammoths
Carnivorous kangaroos
Host Result
Steve win
Rogue Guess
Carnivorous kangaroos
Educational toys
Educational toys
Educational toys

Voice-over: It's time for Science or Fiction.

S: So every week I come up with three science news items or facts. Two are genuine, one is fictitious. And I challenge my esteemed panel of skeptics to sniff out which one is fake.

B: And they couldn't make it, so we're here instead.

P: Very good, Bob. Very good.

S: So no theme for this week.

E: Good. Hodgepodge.

S: Item number one. Recently published study indicates that educational toys are more effective than preschool in promoting later academic achievement in young children. Number two, scientists have discovered that some woolly mammoths were actually blonde. Number three, paleontologists down under have recently discovered fossil evidence of a carnivorous long-fanged kangaroo. So we got educational toys are actually helpful, who are helpful in preschool. Blonde mammoths were long-fanged carnivorous kangaroos. All right.

Perry's Response[edit]

P: I'll go first. So the blonde mammoths are these California mammoths or wandering about. All right. A mammoth that has different colored hair. Okay, I can take that. The educational toys are actually better than preschool was it?

S: Right.

P: For long-term development. Not much goes on in preschool from what I can say. That seems pretty reasonable. The carnivorous kangaroos are too cool though. I mean, I don't want to say that's fake. Because carnivorous kangaroos, that's so cool. It's like hop around and jump on your head and bite you. I'll say unfortunately the long tooth Joey is fake.

S: Okay, Jay.

Jay's Response[edit]

J: I tend to agree with Perry. The thing is, there's a social element though when they're in school. It's not just what they learn. It's okay, they're teaching them colors or whatever they would do. But it's also the children interacting with each other. So I would say no on that one, definitely. And like Perry said, to blonde woolly mammoths sure, who the hell, why not. I'll go with the kangaroo. I don't think that kangaroos have an evil bone in their body.

B: Wait, Jay, I thought you said number one was, didn't sound right.

S: Yeah.

J: Yeah, I want to disagree with number one. That's what, yeah.

E: You say number one's fiction.

J: Yes, but I don't like the idea of kangaroos being that evil either so.

S: But you're saying number one is fiction. Okay, Evan.

Evan's Response[edit]

E: My gut tells me number two is fiction, but I have a feeling that's a distraction, a curve ball, if you will. I'm going to say number one is fiction that educational toys more effective than preschool.

S: Okay, Bob.

Bob's Response[edit]

B: I'm going to say congratulations to Evan and Jay. You are correct. Number one is fiction.

Steve Explains Item #2[edit]

S: Okay, so everyone agrees that the blonde woolly mammoths is science. Now let me ask you a question. Were any of you bothered by how the scientists could have known that the mammoths were blonde?

J: No, don't they find them all the time?

P: Haven't they found frozen chunks of hair and stuff?

B: Yeah.

S: How do we know that they were blonde once?

P: How do I know? What do I? Keep up with the mammoth literature?

E: Yeah, it didn't get your mammoth monthly Perry?

B: They didn't find blonde hair until recently. That's the whole point I thought.

S: Actually, it was not from a discovery of a blonde hair.

B: How they determined it?

S: They determined it because by looking at the genes, they actually have been able to start to sequence the genes of the woolly mammoth.

E: Very interesting.

B: Wow. That's great.

S: They've been able to tell that, but mammals share genes for coloring and the genes that would make a mammal's hair blonde are the ones that some woolly mammoths have. Actually some of them were described as ginger in color.

J: Oh no.

S: This was a genetic study. There probably were two populations, one dark brown, which is the typical picture that we're used to in. One like a blonde ginger kind of variety of mammoth woolly mammoth. They have a picture on the article. It looks pretty cool.

Steve Explains Item #3[edit]

S: Now Perry, you were the only one who did not believe in the carnivorous long-claimed kangaroo.

P: I know.

S: And that one is science also. That one is true.

P: That's cool.

S: It is cool.

P: I'm glad I was wrong.

S: In fact, in this region, the paleontologists have been pulling tons of fossils out of the ground. They found some demon duck and lots of varieties of kangaroos, including a quadrupedal kangaroo that ran, did not hop. And one of these species was clearly carnivorous. These long carnivorous fangs, very neat.

P: Cool.

B: Excellent.

P: I like that.

Steve Explains Item #1[edit]

S: So that means that number one, that educational toys are more effective than preschool, academic achievement, is fiction.

B: I think Jay nailed that one. The social aspect is key.

S: Well, actually, this is based upon a study that showed something completely different. Okay. So this is a study that was published recently by Eric Nudson of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California. And he looked at evidence for the effects of different things. Toys, school, diet, whatever. And he found that the single most important factor in determining academic achievement in children is what? What do you guys think? Parents playing with them. Quality time with the rents. That's it.

J: Holy shit.

S: So they basically say that the children desperately need attention from their parents. When parents play with their children, the belief is that they actually stimulates them to form new neurons and their brain grows and that gives them raw resources that go on later to be vital in developing themselves intellectually. So all of the yuppie parents who are spending money on all of these fancy toys and-

P: Doesn't that contradict? I mean, if you're buying fancy toys for your kid, doesn't that mean you're playing with them? If you stick them in preschool, it means you're absent.

S: No, because a lot of those toys are like the Mozart video where the kid's stuck in front of a TV watching a video about Mozart or they're not necessarily, and if you do play with your kids, it doesn't matter what the toy is or if you have a toy. It's just you playing with your child is the most important thing.

Skeptical Puzzle (1:20:19)[edit]

Last Week's puzzle:
Name the medical pseudoscience that, although now thoroughly disproved and rejected by mainstream science, at its inception was on the correct side of a major scientific debate of the time.
Answer: Phrenology
Alternate answer: Homeopathy

New Puzzle:
When is a boomerang a type of dinnerware?

S: Final segment this week is just the answer to last week's skeptical puzzle. And I do have a new quick puzzle for next week. First going back two weeks, the answer to the Monty Hall problem has actually generated more email than any other topic we've ever discussed.

P: Enough already. No more emails with [inaudible]

S: We got quite a few.

J: I'm not surprised though.

E: I love this problem.

S: It generates a lot of interest, which is why we used it. Most of the people, most of the emails and most of the messages on the forums actually got it right. A lot of people wrote in just to give their explanation for the correct answer. But you know, a lot of emails came in, disagreeing with us and making incorrect arguments of why the statistics are different, why they're 50, 50, etc. And again, it's interesting that how counterintuitive this problem is, which is the whole point of it. Well, let's give you the answer to the last week's puzzle. Briefly this was, the puzzle was to name a medical pseudocyan that although now thoroughly disproved and rejected by mainstream science, at its inception was on the correct side of a major scientific debate of the time. About a half a dozen or so people wrote in to give their guess at the answer and all of them gave the same answer phrenology, which is correct. That does fulfill all the criteria of the puzzle. Two people pointed out the fact that I had given the same puzzle in a different, in a science or fiction on episode number 12 about a year ago, which is, which is true. I did recycle this bit of information. But part of it was, so first of all, it was given it the other way around. So it was asking it from the other direction, but also I wanted to see if anyone would come up with any other answers that also fit the criteria. Only one person gave an alternate guess and that was eugenics, which I don't agree with. Eugenics was just really a distortion of natural selection. It really wasn't on the correct side of any specific debate.

P: I think Eugenics was political.

S: Yeah, it was.

P: It was fascism. It was political.

S: Now, I do have another answer. The other reason why I do it, I do have another answer in mind. It's not as clean as the phrenology answer, but tell me if you buy this. When homeopathy first came out, Hahnemann, who was promoting homeopathy, what, now none of the principles of homeopathy turned out to be true. But his point was that the medicines of the time were more toxic than they were helpful. And at the time, mainstream medicine was experimenting with mineral-based pharmaceuticals, basically using minerals as drugs. And they were all horribly toxic. So in a way, Hahnemann was correct in that the mineral approach to pharmacotherapy was probably a blind alley and most of those things were toxic and did not have any useful pharmacological effect, and that his alternative, which was basically water, was actually safer and better than what was the standard treatment of the time. None of his other claims again turned out to be correct. So I think you could fit that answer into the puzzle as well. I do have a new puzzle for next week. This one is a sort of play on words. So bear with me. This is a very simple question. When is a boomerang, a type of dinnerware. It could be the hint is that it's kind of a play on words. And of course, all these have a somewhat skeptical angle to them.

Signoff (1:23:55)[edit]

S: That's it for this week. Guys, thanks for joining me.

J: Oh, you're welcome, Steve.

E: Thank you, doctor.

S: Always a pleasure. So until next week, this is your Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.

S: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is produced by the New England Skeptical Society. For information on this and other podcasts, please visit our website at Please send us your questions, suggestions, and other feedback; you can use the "Contact Us" page on our website, or you can send us an email to 'Theorem' is produced by Kineto and is used with permission.


Navi-previous.png Back to top of page Navi-next.png