Author Topic: Does the SGU have a blind spot on climate change? (and too obsessed with space)  (Read 3842 times)

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Online daniel1948

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I actually dislike the harder science stuff. I dont think they should get rid of it at all, I just find alot of it to be quite uninteresting to me. Especially astronomy.
Hearing people engage in skeptical analysis is the only reason I listen, so listener emails and questions are probably my favourite part of the show.

The hard science is my favorite aspect of the show. I've always been a fan of hard science, as far back as I can remember. As a very little kid I wanted to be a physicist. I love hearing about the latest science, especially as it debunks the sensationalist headlines in the popular press. And in this category, I love hearing about the latest in astronomy and cosmology. My second-favorite part is the debunking of pseudoscience.
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

Online John Albert

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I do like the science news items, even the hard science like the astronomy and physics. They have a unique and conversational way of presenting that material that I seldom hear from other shows. The debunking of shoddy science reporting is also an important aspect of science skepticism.

Offline The Latinist

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What we are seeing here is that, as is to be expected in a show targeted at a broad audience, different people enjoy different parts of the show.  I'm not sure why those people then think that the show should change to specialize in the segments they are most interested in, but there you have it.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Online John Albert

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I like the show overall. I'd probably continue to be satisfied if they never change a thing.

Offline Billzbub

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I like sharing what I learned about science on the podcast with the family over dinner.
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Offline Igor SMC

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What we are seeing here is that, as is to be expected in a show targeted at a broad audience, different people enjoy different parts of the show.  I'm not sure why those people then think that the show should change to specialize in the segments they are most interested in, but there you have it.

I agree. And I think it goes beyond that. In order to achieve a truly effective science communication strategy, they must find the sweet-spot and avoid the hardcore stuff... For obvious reasons, they cant talk about things on a level that only experts would understand. I think the SGU is very efficient on this regard.
"Knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable"

Online daniel1948

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I expect the basic format of the show to remain unchanged, maybe with a new segment added and an old one taken off. They really do have a very good and a very successful format. There are things I think they could improve, but it remains my favorite podcast. I don't expect that to change.
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."
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Online Ah.hell

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Same here, I actually hate who's that noisy but its not like I'm going to stop listening on account or expect them to stop doing the segment, I will occasionally complain though.

Offline Igor SMC

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But this thing about Trump and Climate Change really got me... I will try to illustrate my frustration with an analogy:

Imagine that the SGU is a RPG Party. They are an awesome group with very diversified skills, and they are very good in what they do. Let's say, in the Kingdom, they are well known to be the best woo hunters in the world. They have years of experience fighting monsters of logical fallacy, exposing people who commit fraud, witch doctors who dont cure people and steal their gold, etc... Of all the groups that you are aware of, they are by far, the best.

And then, one day, this world is shaken by the fact that a troll became king.... and this troll is the distillation of everything they always fought against. One day, this troll did something that sparkled the rage of the entire world, where people from all the regions protested against his lies and actions... So, one day the SGU party encounter this troll face to face. A big orange troll, squeezing a blue bird on his hand, wreaking havoc and disturbing peace. Given the history of this group, it would be reasonable to assume that they would fight. At this moment, you imagine an epic confrontation. Cara could be the Spellcaster, Jay the Archer, Bob the Berserker, Evan the Rogue.... and Steve the Paladin. You imagine how they would fiercely attack this troll, displaying all the skills you saw them using in all the other encounters... and after everyone had beaten the shit out of the creature, you imagine the muscular shirtless Steve jumps high into the air in slow motion, brandishing the all mighty fucking sword of Occam and descending in the direction of the trolls throat, killing it, to the satisfaction of the whole crowd watching.

Now, contrast that version with the following: The SGU party encounters the troll. Steve looks at it and say to the group: "We must be skeptical of that troll." And then, this ultra high level group leaves the area and decide to engage on an low level side-quest. Wouldn't that be disappointing?
"Knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable"

Offline Tassie Dave

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Except in your analogy we, (who acknowledge the SGU party's awesomeness), are also part of the fringes of the Kingdom who most people ignore.

Half the Kingdom think the Troll King is fantastic and will stop those pesky elves from invading our lands, and being all elvish and weird. They can overlook his pissing and shitting in the Great Palace.

The SGU, knowing they alone can't defeat the Troll and his minions (who have high defensive scores and can take a lot of hits without giving ground), decide to concentrate on "all the problems" assailing the Kingdom from within and without and to deal with the Troll as his idiocy presents itself.




Offline godbomb

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Flat Earthers are emblematic of many of the same issues at the heart of climate change denial.  Science by social media, mistrust of expertise, decaying level of scientific literacy, dunning-kreuger effect, conspiracy theories, conservative Christianity.  The major difference as far as I can see is that being a flat earther is not strongly correlated to being politically right wing.

The problem I have with the coverage is that they don't really get into the nitty-gritty and dismantle the Flat Earth theories (others have done this enough perhaps).  Talking at length repeatedly about how silly it is then offering up "Look at a satellite photo" as the rebuttal, is not productive.
There's this misapprehension that the flat earthers are just really, really dumb, and could be proven wrong in seconds, some of them can perhaps, (like tila tequila) but others are actually smart, deluded people, and much like the young earthers they've built up such a wealth of misinformation it is actually a slow and tedious process to debate with them.  They have answers to your answers.  And when they don't have the answers, they just move on to more and more questions.  The body of misinformation these kinds of people have built up is the fuel that convinces the uneducated that there is something to this, the scientifically illiterate are too ignorant to understand the truth or the fiction, but the fiction attracts them for all the usual reasons conspiracy theories attract people. 

I've always thought the best way to falsify flat earth theory is to take one of those flat earth maps, that are all flattened out and distorted.  And plot a course to somewhere using that map by plane (preferably that will run out of fuel over an ocean if you follow a real map).  if the flat earthers really believe their **** they will charter a plane.  Use some celebrity flat earth cash, get a flat earther pilot (there's got to be one) and fly out using their stupid map. 
« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 01:45:44 AM by godbomb »

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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I expect the basic format of the show to remain unchanged, maybe with a new segment added and an old one taken off. They really do have a very good and a very successful format. There are things I think they could improve, but it remains my favorite podcast. I don't expect that to change.

I think you are correct. The skeptical puzzle is a defunct segment, what's the word is a relatively new segment, as is forgotten superheroes of science, and so on. So I'd except some new segments to come, other to go. But the basic format is going to be the same.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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What we are seeing here is that, as is to be expected in a show targeted at a broad audience, different people enjoy different parts of the show.  I'm not sure why those people then think that the show should change to specialize in the segments they are most interested in, but there you have it.

I agree. And I think it goes beyond that. In order to achieve a truly effective science communication strategy, they must find the sweet-spot and avoid the hardcore stuff... For obvious reasons, they cant talk about things on a level that only experts would understand. I think the SGU is very efficient on this regard.

I agree with you.

However, consider this session description from a NECSS from 2015, which I presume is authored by Steve:

Quote
Thursday 9th April, 2015 2:15pm to 3:30pm (EST)

You’ve read Demon Haunted World, you listen to the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, you may even have been involved with skeptical investigations…but there’s always more to learn! In this workshop noted skeptical activist Dr. Steve Novella will discuss advanced concepts in critical thinking — how we fool ourselves, how we fool others, and what the latest research tells us about the nature of the critical thinking process.

Imagine if they did an extra show on this sort of deeper stuff. Or an extra mini-show with it, like the now defunct SGU 5x5. How cool wouldn't that be? Though I completely understand that they don't have the time and resources for that.

Online daniel1948

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... I actually hate who's that noisy but its not like I'm going to stop listening on account or expect them to stop doing the segment, I will occasionally complain though.

I don't much care for Who's That Noisy, because I never have any idea what it could be, or even a silly guess to send in. I hated the long series of space-opera "blaster" noises. But fortunately, the segment is short. So I don't mind it too much. And I keep hoping that some week I will be able to think of a silly answer to send in.
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 godbomb

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I just don't like the noisies where its some wave-form that's being played as a sound, even though it isn't a sound.  E.g. the sound of the sun's magnetic field or something like that.  Besides that it's short and harmless segment that is sometimes interesting.