Author Topic: Episode #614  (Read 1197 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #614
« on: April 15, 2017, 09:58:52 AM »
Forgotten Superheroes of Science: Patricia Bath; News Items: Deep Life, Short and Long Term Memory, Flat Earth, Cassini’s Grand Finale; Who’s That Noisy; What’s the Word: Convergent; Name That Logical Fallacy; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2017, 07:17:37 PM »
I suspect that flat-Earthers come in (at least) two varieties: The true wackaloons who are clinically nuts and living in a fantasy world, and who are a tiny minority; and the great majority who are just having fun with a mind game, don't really believe any of it, but get a kick out of making the rest of us pull our hair out in frustration as they invent answers to every objection. In high school I had a science teacher who challenged us to prove that we are not living on the inside of a hollow sphere that is shrinking at an accelerating rate to keep us clinging to the inner surface, and which is subjected to a peculiar geometry which makes it unthinkably far straight up overhead to the opposite inner surface, and very short straight down and out and curving around to the opposite surface. Nobody in the class could come up with a proof. At the age of 15 I could not do it, and I'm not sure I could today. The flat earth is something I could see that teacher proposing, to test the ability of his students to find the flaws in it.

FWIW, I'm reading Sourcery by Terry Prachett just at present. Prachett manages a very convincing explanation for Discworld. Something about God having more imagination than practical ability (?). I forget how he actually puts it.

With respect to memory: I can forget things in a matter of minutes, and then remember them the next day. And when learning a language, I know that constant repetition of vocabulary is essential, at least for me. I need to encounter a word in reading many times before it really sinks in.

And of course Mary Ann was far prettier than Ginger. I totally had the hots for Mary Ann. I'd have been 17 or 18 at the time.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline Ron Obvious

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2017, 10:54:38 PM »
Quote
And of course Mary Ann was far prettier than Ginger. I totally had the hots for Mary Ann.


Agreed.  See also Bailey over Jennifer.  No contest.

Offline Eternally Learning

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2017, 11:01:29 PM »
...and the great majority who are just having fun with a mind game, don't really believe any of it, but get a kick out of making the rest of us pull our hair out in frustration as they invent answers to every objection.

I don't pretend to know what the ratio of true believers to trolls is, but I have seen enough trolls of this type on reddit and 4chan over the years to not discount their dedication to a completely superfluous cause.

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2017, 04:51:41 AM »
One of the important things about flat earthers was barely glossed over in this enumeration of their crazy beliefs.

They don't all agree. They all agree that the earth is not round, but that's about the only thing that they can agree on. Most of the beliefs listed herein are held by only a portion of all those who believe in the flat earth. Almost every detail is disputed within the community.

Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2017, 03:28:10 AM »
On the logical fallacy, I'd say there's a hasty generalization that groups all cancers together. It's one thing to survive "incuarable" prostate cancer, but good luck surviving pancratic cancer. The same hasty generalization applies to the alternative solutions which are ALL seemingly 100% effective.

Though the options were discussed, none of the rogues named the "false dilemma". We are forced to choose between letting people die and curing people with wonderful perfect alternative remedies. What about medical treatments that work? Or ineffective snake oil treatments that drain your bank account while holding out false hope? Surely these exist to some degree, but are left out of the equation.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 09:44:10 AM »
Two other issues were left out of the discussion about "incurable" cancer: The letter-writer might simply be lying and might have never had anything like the experiences related. Or he might have been diagnosed by a quack who "cured" him of a disease he never had.

We know there are quack naturopaths who "diagnose" people with allergies they don't really have, based on pseudoscientific "tests." Why not quacks who tell you you have cancer, give you some snake oil, and then tell you that you've been cured. And look, you didn't have to undergo nasty radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline lucek

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 12:23:34 PM »
First argentenasaurus is estimated at about 93 tonns not 50.

Next the blue whale is not the largest exsant organism. Its the largest animal.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 01:17:32 PM »
Herman Melville disputed the existence of the blue whale. It was said by some to exist, but he didn't believe it. Apparently either their habits or their speed made it impossible to hunt them in the days of sail. And FWIW, he also insisted that the whale is an air-breathing fish.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline seamas

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2017, 02:58:26 PM »
Quote
And of course Mary Ann was far prettier than Ginger. I totally had the hots for Mary Ann.


Agreed.  See also Bailey over Jennifer.  No contest.

Bailey definitely over Jennifer.


I'm a big fan of both Ginger and Mary Ann.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 03:00:47 PM by seamas »

Offline vino

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Re: Episode #614, Long term memory
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 09:13:40 AM »
I was surprised that none of the panel was familiar with Eric Kandel, who won the "2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Kandel. He and his colleagues showed (in Aplasia, a slug which learns) that LTP (long term potentiation) is associated with changes in second messengers, that leads to new proteins being synthesized. The proteins tend to be cell surface adhesion proteins, which presumably mediate increased (long term) neural connections.  It's not really my field, but I reckon he got the prize because the findings have held up in mammals.

Offline vino

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 09:18:18 AM »
Quote
And of course Mary Ann was far prettier than Ginger. I totally had the hots for Mary Ann.


Agreed.  See also Bailey over Jennifer.  No contest.

Bailey definitely over Jennifer.


I'm a big fan of both Ginger and Mary Ann.


I'm sure this will start a s**t-storm, but these types of comments are sexist and inappropriate for the skeptic discussion. I also felt it was inappropriate in the podcast itself.


Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 10:44:10 AM »
Quote
And of course Mary Ann was far prettier than Ginger. I totally had the hots for Mary Ann.


Agreed.  See also Bailey over Jennifer.  No contest.

Bailey definitely over Jennifer.


I'm a big fan of both Ginger and Mary Ann.


I'm sure this will start a s**t-storm, but these types of comments are sexist and inappropriate for the skeptic discussion. I also felt it was inappropriate in the podcast itself.

Our whole society is sexist and sex-obsessed (probably due to the irrational prudery that the dominant religions bring to the subject of sex). In the TV show, Ginger was explicitly the "glamorous" one and in the theme song she was not even mentioned by name, but was "a movie star." Yet most of the adolescent boys, who were the target audience of the show, thought that Mary Ann, portrayed as the "girl next door" type, was more attractive.

Preferences in sexual attraction are not sexist. Treating people badly or discriminating against them because of their gender, or because you find them unattractive, is sexist. In addition, IIRC, the character of Ginger was a bit of an airhead, while Mary Ann was more intelligent. The portrayal of these characters was perhaps sexist (the "dumb blonde" vs. the level-headed brunette), but discussing the fact that glamor is often unrelated to actual appearance, is not (IMO) sexist.

Sexual attraction is part of life, and discussing that fact is not sexist. I try very hard not to treat people differently because of their appearance, but I have no qualms discussing the attractiveness of people who are being explicitly presented as beautiful in the media. In the case of Gilligan, Ginger was explicitly presented as the beautiful one, but the reality was than "plain" Mary Ann was far more attractive.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 11:13:02 AM »
It's not irrational for religions to be "prude", from a certain perspective. They want to be your solution to life's problems, and creating problems that they can solve (or perpetually treat) help with that.

No sex before the clergy say it's okay. No preventing pregnancies and STIs, because there needs to be some serious consequences from sex to make the case that it is someone else's business to be involved in. And then you can raise the children that you got permission from the clergy to have (or begged for forgiveness for having) in the religion. Maybe mutilate their genitals and permanently brand them with the religion, too. Or just mentally torment them and teach them to think that they deserve eternal punishment if they question their beliefs.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 11:17:30 AM by 2397 »

Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Episode #614
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 11:54:14 AM »
I'm sure this will start a s**t-storm, but these types of comments are sexist and inappropriate for the skeptic discussion. I also felt it was inappropriate in the podcast itself.

Maybe so, but the show itself had a sexy theme, so what we're really talking about is dramatic character development.
Amend and resubmit.

 

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