Author Topic: Episode #613  (Read 1655 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Steven Novella

  • SGU Panel Member
  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1715
    • http://www.theskepticsguide.org
Episode #613
« on: April 08, 2017, 12:07:15 PM »
What’s the Word: Teleology; News Items: TM and Violence, Citizen Science and Planet 9, Tentacle Robot, Boeing Deep Space Plans, Death by Turmeric; Who’s That Noisy; Your Questions and E-mails: Doctors Prescribing Homeopathy; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline Elapid

  • Brand New
  • Posts: 9
  • Insatiably Curious
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 12:31:28 PM »
The ad-free version isn't showing up on the website for me. Anyone else having this issue?
My favorite questions are the ones I don't know the answers to!

Offline Nuorder

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 12:58:22 PM »
I'd like to give Bob an idea for a "Forgotten Superhero of Science." How do I go about doing that?

Offline Elapid

  • Brand New
  • Posts: 9
  • Insatiably Curious
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2017, 01:13:56 PM »
ALSO! For a really huge, really fun, global citizen science project that has created over a million and a half data points, check out iNaturalist. It is truly awesome, and thee National Parks Service uses it to coordinate BioBlitz events.

https://www.inaturalist.org/home
My favorite questions are the ones I don't know the answers to!

Online Sawyer

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2017, 03:33:53 PM »
Regarding the TM study - the "square root of 1%", assuming the study authors truly think there is something special about base 10, is actually 10%, which would mean we need 30 million people to engage in TM.  Instead the authors appeared to take the square root of the raw number of people that is 1% of the population of the United States right now.  This means as the population grows or shrinks, the proportion needed to engage in TM will change.  Because we all know that mystical forces in the universe refuse to scale linearly.

Offline 2397

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 821
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2017, 06:28:01 PM »
I'd like to give Bob an idea for a "Forgotten Superhero of Science." How do I go about doing that?

They don't seem to read the forums, so I'd try emailing.

http://www.theskepticsguide.org/contact

Offline fuzzyMarmot

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 203
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
Good luck-- I've written e-mails in the past, and never heard anything back. I get that they are too busy to respond-- I just would have loved a "got your e-mail, thanks for listening"-type response.

Offline 2397

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 821
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2017, 07:46:01 PM »
If you were receiving a generic message like that, it'd probably be from a script.

Though I wonder what they're spending their SGU time on now, compared to some years ago. Sometimes they made comments about the forums multiple episodes in a row, and I think Steve said he went to the forums to look for topics/news.

I also wonder how much the data loss affected the forums, and the nature of them. That's the last thing I remember them commenting on (about the forums on the podcast), how much they screwed up by not properly backing up.

Offline PabloHoney

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2017, 08:10:20 PM »
In the conversation about TM meditation, Steve  :steve: talked about claims of physiological benefits like reduced blood pressure, etc. being available through any type of relaxation.
There are additional claims made for other types of meditation that I've never heard the group talk about, like:
  • Shedding the illusion of the soul (which any decent skeptic would agree is in fact an illusion) and therefore experiencing oneself to be more connected with other people and like an "aspect" of the environment.
  • Being or at least feeling more compassionate by just "exercising" compassionate of thoughts
  • Cultivating awareness of ones "automatic" emotional reactions to stimuli and (eventually) being able to better respond to them in a less reactive and more deliberate way (i.e. executive function)


I assume those things are less straight-forward to measure directly and I'm no neuroscientist -  :cara: AHEM!, but my understanding is that none of it seems far-fetched given the malleability of the brain - i.e. "neurons that fire together wire together."
It's been given a fair bit of scientific study by Ritchie Davidson, which I'd love to hear the group's take on.  Sam Harris is also a proponent - see his book Waking Up and a number of his podcasts episodes.  News reporter Dan Harris (no relation to Sam) has a book "10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics"


« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:35:13 AM by PabloHoney »

Offline mddawson

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2017, 08:11:57 PM »
Re doctors offering pseudoscience. I stopped seeing a doctor not because he offered pseudoscience but due to the creationist literature he had in the waiting room. While he never provided bad service or advice when I saw him, the fact that he was a creationist caused me to lose my confidence in the services he provided.
"I only take scientific comments when they are peer-reviewed rather than being published in a small local newspaper or scratched on a toilet wall somewhere."
Professor Peter Brown (2005).

Offline fuzzyMarmot

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 203
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2017, 08:17:33 PM »
If you were receiving a generic message like that, it'd probably be from a script.

Though I wonder what they're spending their SGU time on now, compared to some years ago. Sometimes they made comments about the forums multiple episodes in a row, and I think Steve said he went to the forums to look for topics/news.

I also wonder how much the data loss affected the forums, and the nature of them. That's the last thing I remember them commenting on (about the forums on the podcast), how much they screwed up by not properly backing up.

One of my favorite parts of podcasts is how they build and interact with fan communities. I haven't really felt that from the SGU recently. It seems like funny to have this huge community of enthusiastic fans on this forum, and not to engage with them at all. I contribute financially to several podcasts, including the SGU. I appreciate the work that the SGU does, but I'm definitely considering reallocating my listening time and financial contributions to podcasts that put a higher emphasis on interaction with listeners.

Offline bachfiend

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 108
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2017, 09:06:05 PM »
Regarding the TM study - the "square root of 1%", assuming the study authors truly think there is something special about base 10, is actually 10%, which would mean we need 30 million people to engage in TM.  Instead the authors appeared to take the square root of the raw number of people that is 1% of the population of the United States right now.  This means as the population grows or shrinks, the proportion needed to engage in TM will change.  Because we all know that mystical forces in the universe refuse to scale linearly.

You've nailed it.  I actually wondered whether it's possible to derive a square root of 3 million people.  What's the square root of a person?  The square root of 9 square metres (area) is 3 metres (length).  So the square root of 3 million people would have to be around 1,700 square root of person, and I've never seen (can't even imagine) a square root of a person.

Offline Tassie Dave

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1117
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2017, 03:24:24 AM »
The wording of this week's Science or Fiction threw me. I still got it right though  ;)

Quote
A new DNA analysis finds that indigenous people living in the Pacific Northwest display genetic continuity with local populations for at least 10,000 years.

From my point of view, indigenous people of the Pacific North-West would be indigenous people of Asia  ??? Which I guessed as Science, because 10,000 is such a short period of time for that region.

The actual article worded it better for a non-North American point of view.

Quote
Ancient individuals from the North American Northwest Coast reveal 10,000 years of regional genetic continuity

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/04/03/1620410114.abstract

Offline fuzzyMarmot

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 203
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2017, 04:04:49 AM »
Regarding the TM study - the "square root of 1%", assuming the study authors truly think there is something special about base 10, is actually 10%, which would mean we need 30 million people to engage in TM.  Instead the authors appeared to take the square root of the raw number of people that is 1% of the population of the United States right now.  This means as the population grows or shrinks, the proportion needed to engage in TM will change.  Because we all know that mystical forces in the universe refuse to scale linearly.

You've nailed it.  I actually wondered whether it's possible to derive a square root of 3 million people.  What's the square root of a person?  The square root of 9 square metres (area) is 3 metres (length).  So the square root of 3 million people would have to be around 1,700 square root of person, and I've never seen (can't even imagine) a square root of a person.

I don't think there is anything non-sensical about saying that the threshold is (n/100)^(1/2) where n is the population size. The population in your example is 3 million, which is a dimensionless quantity. Square roots and exponentials of populations are used all the time. For one example, the Penrose square root law https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrose_square_root_law in voting theory gives a result involving n^(1/2) that derives from a very natural probability argument.

Offline rossc719

  • Brand New
  • Posts: 4
Re: Episode #613
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2017, 09:34:18 AM »
The ad-free version isn't showing up on the website for me. Anyone else having this issue?

Me too.  Ad free version isn't showing up in my podcast player.
:'(

 

personate-rain
personate-rain