The editor of Skeptic Magazine, Michael Shermer, delivers a lecture on his book Why People Believe Weird Things.
Tagged with “skeptical” (5)
With guest Ben Radford, author of “Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries.” He shares stories about his favourite investigations, and the techniques he uses to bring real science to bear on paranormal claims.
He looks great in a fedora - we’ll give him that. But surviving a tumble over three 100-foot waterfalls or toughing out an atomic blast by climbing into a refrigerator? We love Indy, but his exploits seem to be over the top when it comes to elementary physics. From hovercrafts to the quartz crania of aliens; find out what scientific concepts in the latest bullwhip adventure are more than a little nutty.
Plus, the real crystal skulls, and the man who discovered that two of the most famous are fakes. Also, an incentive to tackle that to-do list: the 2012 Mayan apocalypse.
And, If I were Indy, our Hollywood Skeptic puts himself in the hero’s boots. It’s Skeptical Sunday, but don’t take our word for it. Guests:
* Ian Freestone - Archaeologist at the University of Wales at Cardiff * Matt Springer - Graduate Student at Texas A and M University and keeper of the website, www.builtonfacts.com * Tom Rogers - Physics teacher at Southside High School in Greenville South Carolina, author of Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics and the founder of the web site of the same name * Phil Plait - Astronomer,and keeper of the Bad Astronomy web site * Jim Underdown - Executive Director, Center for Inquiry West in Los Angeles
Kendrick Frazier has been the editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine for over 30 years. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Geophysical Union. In 2005, Frazier was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for "distinguished contributions to the public understanding of science through writing for and editing popular science magazines that emphasize science news and scientific reasoning and methods." He is the author of a number of books, including The Hundredth Monkey: And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal, Encounters With the Paranormal: Science, Knowledge, and Belief, and Paranormal Borderlands of Science.
In this conversation with D.J. Grothe, Kendrick Frazier discusses his long association with CSI (formerly CSICOP) and with Skeptical Inquirer magazine and explores the meanings of skeptical inquiry, both as ordinary common sense and as being continuous with science. He contrasts the paranormal with science, and explains why the paranormal was the initial focus of CSICOP. He explores debates within the skeptical community, such as whether or not belief in the paranormal is diminishing, and to what extent the movement has been successful. He talks about the breadth of claims currently dealt with at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, including both popular paranormal claims and more controversial scientific and scholarly subjects. He talks about three recent issues of Skeptical Inquirer focused on "deniers" and explains how deniers are different than skeptics. He explains paranormal or pseudoscientific claims that he has changed his mind about over the years, such as extraordinary human perception, and the mind-body connection as it relates to healing. He talks about how the magazine has dealt with religion over the years. And he talks about the future of skepticism and the need for new ways of outreach, especially to younger skeptics.
Recorded January 16, 2009: Christopher Burns is one of the country’s leading minds on modern information management. He has been a news executive and consultant to government and the private sector for thirty years, advising clients on emerging information management technologies and the evolution of the information economy. His previous positions include vice president of the Washington Post Company, senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, and executive editor of United Press International.
In this interview with D.J. Grothe, Christopher Burns talks about the biology of the brain, the behavior of groups, and the structure of organizations and how each can lead to people making bad decisions. He discusses the paradox that in the age of information, it may be more difficult to make good decisions. He describes "false knowledge" and how to choose the right information to pay attention to. He emphasizes the value of skepticism in making good decisions, and of trusting ambiguity and uncertainty. He uses the example of the sinking of the Titanic to explain the concept of "information errors." He discusses how groups naturally discourage dissent, and how this harms the information system, citing examples from operating room and airline cockpit. He details ways of organizing that lead to better decision-making. And he talks about the political domain, and how to address challenges to good collective decision-making in a democracy, contrasting the Bush and Obama administrations.