Author Topic: Episode #631  (Read 370 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #631
« on: August 12, 2017, 01:46:18 PM »
Interview with Jeffrey Hall; What’s the Word: Gestalt; News Items: Wiring Taste, Portable Neutrino Detector, Are Atheists Moral, Anthrax Killing Chimps; Who’s That Noisy; Your Questions and E-mails: Almonds; Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 10:41:22 PM »


The best it got at Cape Crozier (2003).  Good enough to leave the adelies alone for a special morning tea, though.
"Our minds are not quite designed to understand how the world works, but, rather, to get out of trouble rapidly an have progeny."  Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 05:03:49 PM »
Cara kinda snuck in the fact that she is about to start a Ph.D. program. Wow, that is awesome! I hope she tells us more about it. When Steve gets a computer or does roofing work, we get a blow-by-blow, but when Cara embarks on a doctorate, we barely get a peep  :laugh:

Props to her for taking on this challenge. I'm guessing UCLA or USC? TA or RA?

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 05:32:44 PM »
I went to view the total solar eclipse on August 1, 2008 in Novosibirsk, Siberia and had magnificent viewing conditions (as a bonus, I visited the genetic research centre there and held one of the tame silver foxes).

A total solar eclipse is one of the great experiences in one's life.  I can understand why there are dedicated solar eclipse chasers.  It's also one of the greatest disappointments to go to a place, as I've done too, and been completely clouded in.

I'm looking forward to the total solar eclipse on July 22, 2028 the path of which will be tracking across central Australia.  I imagine the weather conditions should be good there then.  It also has the advantage that it's going to be a long solar eclipse at over 5 minutes in northern Australia, a little bit shorter in central Australia.

Of the many almost unique experiences of a total solar eclipse, the one that struck me most in Novosibirsk was that immediately leading to totality, there was a very strong breeze, which disappeared completely (along with the marked drop in temperature) at totality.  And then the strong breeze didn't return afterwards - it remained still.

I knew the word this week: (die) Gestalt - which just means 'figure' in German.  Its definition in the Duden dictionary occupies almost a page, but many of the nuances of meaning are just context based.  I prefer the simpler word 'gist' to cover many of the meanings ascribed to 'Gestalt'.

Offline Sawyer

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 12:47:55 AM »
The link to the atheist study on the show notes no longer works.

How on earth do you get away with doing a study where you combine a test for the representitiveness heuristic with a completely separate question about religion and morality?  Wouldn't you ask questions that did not purposely exploit logical fallacies in order to prove your point? 

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 06:04:59 AM »
Error downloading premium feed? Again?

I had to go get the non-premium episode.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Episode #631
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 10:22:11 AM »
The brief discussion of whether religious people are more generous to charity has to be seen with a lot of caveats. I have seen a lot of church financial statements in my day and there are some key qualifiers here.

1. For US religious conservatives, the huge part of their charitable giving is to their local and/or institutional church.

2. This is often as the result of pressure/guilt, often bordering on coercion. Mormons are particularly good at extracting the tithe, but I have heard these stories from other denominations and local churches as well.

3. In the large majority of churches, over 90% of the contributions go to: (a) salaries of the pastors and assistants, (b) utilities for church buildings, (c) debt service on buildings, and (d) assessments paid to denominational bodies, where this recursive budgeting is repeated.

"Missions" are the smallest part of almost all church budgets, and these funds are spent recursively as well on salaries and facilities, mostly. In short, your church contribution is technically "charity," and deductible under US tax laws, but it pays primarily for the guy who marries and buries you, and it pays for a warm/cool seat on Sunday. That is basically it.

That said, I still give money to a local church in my small town, even if I don't buy the theology, because it is one of the only inclusive, affirming social organizations in this rural region that constructively ties the community together.

Mister Beagle
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