Author Topic: Podcast #51  (Read 41125 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Podcast #51
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2006, 02:53:30 PM »
Re black holes - correct. This happens. But the mass is subtracted from the mass of the black hole. Therefore, black holes evaporate and will eventually disappear. And therefore, you still have not gotten something from nothing. Apart from the big bang, this does not appear to happen in nature.

Regarding Bob's comment about all those biologists - I think I would file this under the argument from authority, but in the context of our prior discussion of this style of argument. Essentially, if Neal is going to take the position that the entire professional biology community missed something really obvious to a lay person, he should have a very good reason. He seems to only have his overwhelming arrogance.

Thanks for all the great feedback.
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Offline gost

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Podcast #51
« Reply #31 on: July 17, 2006, 03:47:27 PM »
I have mixed feelings about having interviews of this type on SGTTU. On the one hand, it IS nice to hear the pseudoscience right from the horse's mouth, but then, I already occassionally listen to a few non-skeptical podcasts for just that purpose. Beyond Science is one I enjoy, with a young Canadian named Andy Doan, just to give an example, although I haven't heard it for a while. The only reason I would want to hear SGTTU interview folks like Neal Adams is so that I can listen and learn from some true skeptics as they debate and interact with the guest.

What I found objectionable was to allow the guest to go unchallanged while he was on the air, then to hear the panel slam him once he was gone. At least when the Bigfoot guy was on (I forget his name), he was confronted on the air and allowed to respond, which I thought he did in a very reasonable manner.
-----------------------------

I've spent a lot of time since I listened to this podcast thinking about how I would like to scientifically challenge a single false statement that Mr. Adams made and write it down, with references, for Steve. I decided to choose Adam's statement that tectonic subduction doesn't exist. Adams goes on to say on his web site that geologists had to invent the idea of subduction in order to justify their theory of plate tectonics, but they can't prove it exists because all the supposed subduction sites are underwater.

Now this is something I know a little about since I was a student and photographic tech for the UW Dept. of Oceanography during the early to mid-eighties when incredible discoveries were being made about the Juan de Fuca subduction zone directly off the Pacific NW coast by the very scientists I was working for and studying under.

This was at the time when the hydrothermal vents, with their chemosynthetic based community of organisms, were first being discovered. ALVIN allowed direct access by scientists to the entire Juan de Fuca plate, and the subduction trench was clearly visible to the naked eye. The continental shelf was extensively mapped via side scan sonar (something I was directly involved in as a marine tech) and subductive deformation of the shelf was confirmed. Seismic imaging was also developed and used on the Juan de Fuca Plate under Vancouver Island to record for the first time, in essence, a sonigram of the lithosphere of an oceanic plate sliding directly under a continental plate. Currently, U of Washington and U of Vancouver are working together to actually hardwire the Juan de Fuca Plate with a fiberoptic system that will let them measure the plate's movement in real time from onshore locations. The project is called Neptune, and it includes multiple sensors being placed directly into the subduction trench.

The evidence is so overwhelming that subduction is real, that I thought it would be a simple matter to write a short statement, then back it up with some refs from the literature.

Then I realized the problem: In order to prove my point, I was going to have to review 30 years of scientific literature in order to convice some pious pinhead as to the legitamacy of a body of science that is SO WELL understood that ANYBODY, including Neal Adams, could just google it and learn everything there is to know about it. Why should I waste hours of my time trying to scientifically educate a comic-book artist who is SO intellectually lazy and arrogant that he doesn't even bother to learn the basics.

In frustration, I walked out of my office and turned on the TV, which happened to be on the Discovery Channel. There on the screen was an oceanographic expedition using an ROV to document the slippage of the subduction zone that caused the tsunami in the Indian Ocean a couple of years ago. They found the exact spot where the slip occured and showed us direct images taken from right within the subduction trench. They also gave incredibly detailed explanations of plate techtonics and the subduction processes, along with all kinds of animations and graphics to show us how it all works. What was Neal Adams watching on HIS TV last night?

The evidence of subduction was right THERE on commercial television for anyone to see.

You guys can be as polite as you want. Here's how I feel about Neal Adams and what I would like to say directly to his face:

"You claim to be interested in science, yet you aren't even aware that we have submersibles and ROVs that can go to the bottom of the ocean to allow direct observation of subduction zones? Where have you been for the past forty years? Oh, I forgot, you were busy reinventing science. You are a fraud and a charlatan of the worst kind. I would contend that you are either too lazy to crack a basic science book, or you are knowingly attempting to discredit science, like so many others these days, in order to make a buck by writing a book. Do us all a big favor and stick to the comics where ideas like yours really belong."

Did I use too many logical fallacies in my argument?

Offline cyborganics

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Podcast #51
« Reply #32 on: July 17, 2006, 04:32:12 PM »
Quote
Beyond Science is one I enjoy, with a young Canadian named Andy Doan, just to give an example


Those pesky Canadians are always making a mess of things. Why can't they just mind thier own business tending to sled dogs and igloos?
cientist: A man who knows nothing until there is nothing left to understand.

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Offline Erik

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Podcast #51
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2006, 04:55:49 PM »
I think it's good to have on guests with unconventional views. I wouldn't like it every week, but now and then it's interesting.

I can't really think of how to respond to Mr. Adam's ideas. He throws out a bunch of science (say all of physics) with good emperical evidence and doesn't provide anything but some unproven ideas to replace it. If he had some emperical evidence behind his claims then there is something to work with, but the genesis of all his claims seem to be based completely on personal incredulity.

Offline gost

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Podcast #51
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2006, 04:56:52 PM »
Quote from: "cyborganics"
Those pesky Canadians are always making a mess of things. Why can't they just mind thier own business tending to sled dogs and igloos?


Damn straight, eh? :wink:

Offline gost

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Podcast #51
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2006, 05:45:58 PM »
An interesting aside, just because I'm bored at work.

When we were working with the USGS, sidescan sonar mapping the continetal shelf off the coast of California in the mid-eighties, we came across a series of rectangular objects scattered over a large area in front of San Francisco Bay. No one could figure out what kind of natural geological process could create such regular shapes out in the middle of the continetal shelf. One geologist suggested that these were some type of glacial eratics (rocks dropped by glaciers), carried down from Canada during the last ice age, thereby indicating that the ice sheet must have been far more extensive than anyone realized. He thought he was really on to something and even named the type of rock these would eventually prove to be.

Then we saw a long, dark, and fuzzy narrow line sticking out of the end of one of the rectangles and suddenly everyone knew what they were seeing. It turned out these objects were tanks, jeeps, trucks, and other types of military vehicles dropped overboard as the ships returned home at the end of WW2. Apparently the word had gone out to dump this equipment before passing through the Golden Gate so the paperwork wouldn't have to be done to convert this stuff to salvage, thereby keeping the crews from going home as soon as possible. I don't know if that part is true or not, but that's what we were eventually told.

Offline swpalmer

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Podcast #51
« Reply #36 on: July 17, 2006, 05:55:42 PM »
Quote from: "gost"
Quote from: "cyborganics"
Those pesky Canadians are always making a mess of things. Why can't they just mind thier own business tending to sled dogs and igloos?


Damn straight, eh? :wink:


Tsk, silly Americans...

Don't you know in the summer months the igloos melt and the sled dogs run off to join the migrating caribou?


Here I am sitting in the 40+ degree Celsius (104+ F) heat wave.. with no bloody igloo to hide in!   And no sled dog to take me somewhere cooler!


Ok.. just to keep somewhat on topic.. I agree that it would be better to challenge nut cases during the interview than to wait till after.  It would be more balanced in general and in particular more fair to the nut case to allow them to address your criticism.  I realize that isn't easy when you get one that simply refuses to let you speak and rushes on to another topic so you don't get a chance to point out his or her boneheadedness... but some effort should be made.  In that sense, I agree that email exchanges work better... but they make for boring podcasting :)

Offline gost

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Podcast #51
« Reply #37 on: July 17, 2006, 06:09:58 PM »
OMG!! 104F in Canada. That's GOTTA be proof of global warming.  8)

I thought you guys had electric igloos that stayed frozen no matter HOW hot it gets? That's what cybo told me.

Offline Three

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Podcast #51
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2006, 08:40:04 PM »
good points all round

but i still say let the guy talk without slamming him then analyze it afterward
 didn't do it.

Offline Clintsc9

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Podcast #51
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2006, 09:35:34 PM »
Quote
but i still say let the guy talk without slamming him then analyze it afterward

But to be fair he should be there to hear the criticisms.  Although in Neal's case some gaffa tape would be needed so our panelists could get a word in edgewise.
Clint Lovell
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Why does confirmation bias always happen to me?

Offline Gilnei

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Podcast #51
« Reply #40 on: July 17, 2006, 09:56:02 PM »
I, too, enjoy seeing the "other point of view" represented on the podcast once in a while.

I think it is equally important to keep a non-offensive stance during the interview, and not to let the claims go unchallenged; even if it is indeed hard to counteract dozens of logical fallacies thrown about in such a short time, it is essential to at least give the opportunity for the counter-arguments to be answered on air. Even better if the discussion continues in a written form after the podcast, as is being exemplarly done right now with Neal Adams.

(As a side note, that follow-up discussion could be put in a more visible spot on the site - I, for instance, always get the new podcast from the RSS feed, so I wouldn't even be aware of its existance if it wasn't for the forum thread linking to it.)
Scientists are the leading cause of cancer in lab rats.

Offline Three

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Podcast #51
« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2006, 10:31:13 PM »
Quote from: "Gilnei"
it is essential to at least give the opportunity for the counter-arguments to be answered on air.


maybe adopt a format that allows one counter-argument/question from each of our hosts, with the guest responding to each

This way several important question are addressed, but the guest isn't slammed in an argument.
 didn't do it.

Offline Kerry Maxwell

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Podcast #51
« Reply #42 on: July 18, 2006, 02:17:49 AM »
Quote from: "Steven Novella"
The primary purpose of the interview was to showcase a real pseudoscientist at work.


Was the panel's only previous exposure to Mr. Adams in his *woo woo* guise? I was assuming there was some comic book geek appeal? Maybe I was just projecting…

Kerry M

Offline JD

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Podcast #51
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2006, 06:00:43 PM »
I think (and this is probably something the panel will develop naturally with more experience) that there's more moderation when dealing with the various woos.  Particularly, these people are want to go off on tangents and ramble without rhyme or reason, it's important to keep them on certain claims or statements until it's properly dealt with.  Otherwise they'll dodge and weave, it's like trying to hold mercury.

I also agree with Gilnei - I didn't know the description pages were anything more than "Segment 1, segment 2, etc".  In fact, I think it'd be great for Jay or whoever is responsible to start the Podcast episode threads themselves, with the summary and perhaps any questions/comments that they would like to throw out to forum members.  It'd be an excellent way to get feedback.
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Offline JHGRedekop

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« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2006, 07:01:54 PM »
Just finished listening. Wow.

I'd like to say that never before has forty years' study produced such a concentrated and profound wealth of ignorance about science... But a quick trip to http://www.crank.net/ demonstrates that there are plenty of more profound examples.

Some good repeating phrases:

"I can't believe that..."
"That's what they taught you in school, but..."
"It just makes sense..."
"Scientists had a discussion and made it up..."

Mr. Adams isn't a fan of science, he's a fan of comic-book science. At least when Stan Lee says "gamma rays turned Bruce Banner into The Hulk", or "cosmic rays turned Reed Richards into Mr. Fantastic", or "mutations can give you superpowers", he knows it's all bunk.

That kind of interview is painful to listen to because I just want to yell "it doesn't work that way!" at him after just about every claim.

"I believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction" -- well, nice of you to trust Sir Isaac that far, but why not grant him some credit for his theory of gravity as well, eh? After all, he derived the third law of motion as part of his demonstration of the nature of gravity.

"What's the opposite reaction to gravity?" is, to put it bluntly, just stupid. To ask it means that you don't understand what is meant by "action" -- which is basically the result of the application of a force. The opposite reaction to A pulling on B gravitationally is B pulling on A by the same amount in the opposite direction.

Adams's basic claim, in the end, is that because he can't imagine that he might not understand how something works, then all of the rest of the scientists in the world -- with the exception of that one who inspired him -- is either a fool or a fraud.

 

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