What is your opinion on how often we should have interviews with true believers?

Never - I don't want to listen to true believers
3 (1.2%)
Rare - Only in special circumstances
25 (9.8%)
Occasional - a few times a year with interesting people
147 (57.9%)
More frequently - Bring them on, it's good to hear and debate the other side
79 (31.1%)

Total Members Voted: 242

Voting closed: March 01, 2007, 08:19:59 AM

Author Topic: SGU Poll 2  (Read 22149 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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« on: March 01, 2007, 08:19:59 AM »
The first poll seems to have wound down, so here is the second.

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Offline Mike

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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2007, 11:26:47 AM »
I really enjoy the interviews with the true believers.  It's great to hear the "other side" of things and hear you guys ask pertinent, scientific questions regarding the subject.

I really enjoyed the interviews with Jan Helen McGee and Eric Altman.  The Neil Adams one was okay, but it was a big change and the Alan Wallace one was brutal.

I'd like to hear more true believer interviews.  But not as many as the skeptic/scientist interviews.
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Offline Dave The Drummer

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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2007, 12:39:24 PM »
Best not have too many of them. We don't want to clutter the place up with all manner of frothing lunatics.

Although if we can get them all in one place at the same time then that would certainly have possibilities.
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Offline stickman

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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2007, 05:30:37 PM »
Quote from: "Dave The Drummer"
Best not have too many of them.

I disagree.
We don't want to clutter the place up with all manner of frothing lunatics.

I completely agree.

To me it seems the trick is to get true believers who AREN'T frothing lunatics; ones who are able to have a calm and rational exchange of views.  I think the goal should and must be to identify exactly where disagreement lies, thus more firmly explaining the believer/skeptic divide, than on trying to convince the believers that they are wrong (which you will never do).

Perhaps a podcast double episode, the SGU and some believer podcast teaming up; a believer as guest on SGU, then a rogue on the believer podcast, with both podcasts bundling the shows together?

Find a bunch of sincere believers with the right attitude (do they exist?) and such a show could be quite productive!
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Offline 2112

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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2007, 07:29:24 PM »
The true believer episodes are my favorite ones! I actually liked the one with Alan Wallace. It is good to be exposed to other points of views.
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Offline Gilnei

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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2007, 11:31:51 PM »
More interviews with the opposing crowd are always welcome. If we get accostumed to only hearing the "preaching to the choir", we soon become used to the same standards of intellectual honesty and clean debate, and unprepared for the claims on the other side.

Besides, it is also good to keep informed on what those main claims are.
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Offline ATGreat

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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2007, 12:16:24 AM »
I would say about three or four a year would be a good number. The number would be subject to the quality of the interviewees of course. :)

Offline jason

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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2007, 02:45:06 AM »
I'd certainly prefer TBs like the Big Foot guy, who can rationally discuss their point of view. Those to be avoided are the utterly ignorant/deluded (NAdams) and those who listen with their mouth (Wallace).
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Offline PCTHUG

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2007, 08:36:15 AM »
Id like to see a few more as long as there are still plenty of true intellectuals and rational scientists. Its a real privilege to hear many of the guests being interviewed
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Offline IRON MAN

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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2007, 09:20:40 PM »
I clicked, "Bring 'em on", but I'll qualify that by saying that the reason these guys are good is that you have a substrate on which to use your powers of skepticism, rather than spinning your wheels with, (only), news stories and generalisations.  So I think the answer regarding frequency, is that you should get someone in whenever you feel things are getting a little too stale and non-specific, or when everyone is pretty much agreeing with you pretty much all the time.

I mean look at this chiropractor guy on the boards, he has brought out the best and worst in people I've been talking to for months.  cosmicvagabond noticed it, the same way I did - when a3maniac started going to town on the guy, I'm like, "WTF?! Where have you been hiding all this time?  Marry me."  I found out Joe Shmoe and skidoo and I can agree just as easily and amicably as we can disagree.  There are some totally bitchin' points being made on that thread, and it's worth a read if the unprecedented length alone doesn't convince you.

Coincidently, it's notable that the "worst" on this board is hardly as bad as it sounds.  It's not the raining fire and brimstone you would get on another board, but the exposure of honest misconceptions that some skeptics have, or accidental logical fallacies which we then often debate with each other as if the chiropractor guy wasn't even there.

The same thing happens with the panel and it's absolutely awesome when it does.  You'll all be sitting there discussing just what the friggin' hell is wrong with Neal Adams, and debate how many marbles he's got rolling around up there, and it exposes a greater number of possibilities, and individual experiences.  Kind of like how you can get people telling jokes when you start triggering their memories by telling jokes yourself.

If there were only one person on the podcast, and they concluded that Neal Adams was just a worthless nut, had a mental disorder, or was a shameless troll out for attention, that would be the end of it.  All the listeners would nod their heads and say, "Well if Steve says so, he must be right."  And write down in their little work books:  "Neal Adams - Worthless nut".  But with the little controversies you have amongst yourselves we not only get a spectrum of opinion, we also get to see in living colour, how you respectfully deliberate amongst yourselves, hear the other person out, pick up logical fallacies, change your position when shown to be wrong, or respectfully agree to disagree.  In short, we see how you handle things.

I can't think of a better example of this than when Bob was waxing eloquent about the wonders of future technology that time, and the rest of you just about had to hold him down, that was freakin' brilliant on so many levels - entertainment-wise and education-wise.  I've actually been wishing Bob would come out with something like that ever since, while realising he probably wont because he now understands he was straying a little too far into whackville, (sorry Bob).

As I mentioned before it's not enough to have some woo-woo-clown come on there an talk non-stop for half an hour, where you guys don't get a word in edgewise, (and you know you wont with these people).  You need to engage in further discussion about it.  If I want to hear someone like that talk crap, I can just snap on Oprah for ten minutes.  The difference with the podcast is that we get to hear what skeptics think about these guys.  

How is that different from you reading current affairs directly from the newspaper and discussing them?  I think you should let these guys know up front that you are going to do a postmortem on their stupid arses and if they can't handle that they'd best decline the invitation.  I was under the impression that Adam's put you on a guilt trip about that and I personally don't believe you should capitulate to that kind of thing.  Just like blasphemy, this kind of restriction is a one-way shield that lets the crackpots mouth off at the top of their lungs, and cry foul as soon as anything comes their way.

Besides, the show is ultimately not really about them, as much as it is about critical thinking generally, and how it can be applied in specific situations.  They are nothing but skeptical fodder.  To hell with them and their pithy little egos.
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Offline Ivan Lysenko

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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2007, 11:02:16 PM »
I contest that we must not shelter our selves for several reasons. One is for intellectual integrity. The next is because seeing there arguments being placed and refuted in conversation can be a valuable learning tool for all skeptics. Lastly it can be very fun to listen to.
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Offline RJack

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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2007, 10:27:31 AM »
I'm still catching up on the episodes, but my impressions so far have been positive toward keeping a fair number of True Believers on the podcast.  In my opinion, it's a good way to keep the skeptical toolkit honed and polished.  Even so, I'm not motivated to recommend more than about 20% of the interview shows go in that direction.  One out of five guests seems plenty, to me, for keeping perspective.  Of course, if the guest is timely and topical, that's a different kettle of fish.

My opinion may change as I get closer to catching all the previous shows I missed, but the mix I've heard of TB guests, skeptical guests, and round table discussions amongst the gallery has been very entertaining and informative.

In any case, keep up the excellent work!
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Offline mindme

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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2007, 07:20:09 PM »
True believer episodes are also important to avoid what I came to term during my student newspaper days as "incestuous thinking". When you join a student newspaper, or some other organization where people of like mind tend to congregate, you rapidly discover you all basically believe in the same thing. In the student newspaper world, you all believe, for want of a better terms, in Political Correctness and Socialism. You look around and since everyone in the group is intelligent and reasonable, you come to believe that only intelligent and reasonable people hold these opinions and those that don't must not be intelligent and reasonable.

Further complicating things, when you all believe in one more extreme position, the human need for leaders and followers to emerge, a hierarchy, creates a situation where to distinguish oneself as the alpha person, you have to believe in everything to a more extreme level.

Anyway, the challenge in finding the true believer interviews is to find reasonable, intelligent people who believe in some paranormal idea. It's easy to lure the wing nuts to be pilloried.  The bigfoot guy from way back seems a good example. He seemed reasonable and intelligent. Neal Adams was another good example. He was someone clearly intelligent and accomplished in his field. Many of the SGU listeners are fans of his work.
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Offline jason

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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2007, 07:41:18 PM »
Quote from: "mindme"
Neal Adams was another good example. He was someone clearly intelligent and accomplished in his field. Many of the SGU listeners are fans of his work.

I'd question the "clearly intelligent" part, though he is most definitely successful in his business activities. The latter does not, for better or for worse, require the former. For me, it was a clear demonstration that being goal-focussed is great, but if misdirected can generate a vast amount of wasted time and effort.
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Offline moneyman1490

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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2007, 08:24:24 PM »
I agree w/ mindme and IRON MAN; it's best to keep the believers coming to allow for a "live dissection" of their arguments.

And its fun as hell to laugh at woo-woo, until you realize that people believe it.
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