Author Topic: Episode #675  (Read 9845 times)

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Offline Steven Novella

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Episode #675
« on: June 16, 2018, 11:30:41 AM »
Forgotten Superheroes of Science: Rachel Carson
News Items: Lying About Golden Rice, Solar Roads Again, Polio Comeback, Fastest Supercomputer
Who's That Noisy
Name That Logical Fallacy
Science or Fiction
Steven Novella
Host, The Skeptics Guide
snovella@theness.com

Offline wormguy

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2018, 02:24:19 AM »
Hiya SGU,

Enjoyed the show as always, but I'm reminded why I miss Rebecca's voice. I think she was particularly good at raising self-examination amidst brothers and lifelong friends.  During your analysis about the Chinese Solar Roads I kept thinking..."they are forgetting a nuance that I found crucial in my own skeptical development and the development of new masters students, PhD students, etc. - always assume first that people are intelligent and do something because it makes sense. What do I not know that they know that makes this odd thing seem to make sense?"  I think that was a compassionate pathway that Sagan used as well.  Every science communicator must, I feel, recognise the messy nature of learning and progress. Proposing that roofs are better than roads indicates some potential cultural differences - and is similar to the faulty reasoning of young Darth Vader! 'There are better ways to do this, this is a stupid way.'  If - because of the popular hype, or the buy-in by a road commission instead of a building code the essence is that implementation of solar technology with some thought toward sustainability is being attempted.  I felt compelled to post when you pointed out exactly just such idiosyncratic details and brought up the nuance of 'is opportunity lost?' in the Irish inquiry, without having applied the same tool yourselves earlier.  Just a thought...I think that humility nuggets bring great value to us all as we try to examine the intersection of science as a social endeavour and science as an endeavour by people.

Cheers,


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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2018, 10:03:43 AM »
A followup:  It now seems that the child in Venezuela does not have polio. This was announced by the World Health Organization on Friday.

Offline mosagra

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 07:27:25 AM »
Regarding solar roads, I agree with the general skepticism. Let's keep in mind that this chinese project is a pilot study.  It's ostensibly designed to answer the obvious questions that arise about durability and practicality. 

When I drive on American roads I often wonder how practical it would be to line the ROADSIDES with solar installations.

Offline gebobs

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 02:28:46 PM »
Gawd the anti-GMO crowd is mad. With their twisted logic, golden rice does not solve the problem. First off, this is the Nirvana fallacy...if something does not solve a problem entirely, it is worthless. Second, you can't stop progress. If it needs to be improved, I don't see why it could not be.

Offline avillarrealpouw

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 08:52:26 PM »
Hey guys! Now that we have established that the Chinese government is incorruptible and that they never, ever buy snake oil, I have wonderful investment opportunities for you guys, all of them involving some beautiful bridges I want to sell!

Seriously, the only thing that makes this fraud different from the last one is that the Chinese government has invested in this iteration. Where is the beautiful and rugged transparent plastic that does not get scratched or broken when a truck drives on it, and that costs just a few dollars per square meter? Why is Home Depot so cavalier that they are not selling this marvel by the square mile? Why are we still buying expensive and fragile glass for our windows?

Most of you probably have not seen how the elasticity of the ground beneath the asphalt is measured. You take a truck, park it on the road, and measure the deformation with a simple long stick. Can you imagine the damage that any plastic will endure when it is deformed by a single passing truck, let alone the hundreds of trucks per week that any road supports? And have you ever seen the marks that the truck tires leave on the pavement when they turn around a corner?

The costs that were mentioned in this segment are ridiculously manipulated. In reality, a square meter of asphalt costs about $20 dollars in volume because it is little more than 95% rocks and 5% tar. The real costs are in the layers of rock and sand and other materials that go beneath the asphalt, which cost something like four to ten times the cost of the asphalt. And if you are going to put plastic filled with electronics instead of asphalt, you better make the best of the best of sub-soils so your plastic does not bend and break. My guess is that those figures of $140 and $400 or so for the traditional and solar road are totally manipulated so the initial estimates don't scare away every single financial backer.

Please, guys, don't sleep while at work on the podcast. You have to be skeptical even when a government supposedly was skeptical enough.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 01:50:47 AM »
Dr Steve continues to confuse provitamin A Beta carotene with retinol (vitamin A).  Genetic engineering aside, beta carotene conversion in humans isn't really efficient.  Half of all humans have gene variants that make the conversion difficult and maybe a quarter cannot make the conversion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/

https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/beta-carotene-conversion-to-vitamin-a/

Animal sources of retinol are really far and away the best sources.  Adding beta carotene (good luck for any person in a deprived population to get rice that the beta carotene hasn't degraded to nearly zero) is a total waste of resources.  Vitamin A as a supplement would be the most effective way to deliver retinol to people.

This lunatic raving about anti GE with regards to food is truly a waste of time.  Humans are rapidly becoming unable to sustain our population with decent food because of poor farming practice and OVERPOPULATION.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Online Swagomatic

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 11:44:55 AM »
Dr Steve continues to confuse provitamin A Beta carotene with retinol (vitamin A).  Genetic engineering aside, beta carotene conversion in humans isn't really efficient.  Half of all humans have gene variants that make the conversion difficult and maybe a quarter cannot make the conversion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/

https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/beta-carotene-conversion-to-vitamin-a/

Animal sources of retinol are really far and away the best sources.  Adding beta carotene (good luck for any person in a deprived population to get rice that the beta carotene hasn't degraded to nearly zero) is a total waste of resources.  Vitamin A as a supplement would be the most effective way to deliver retinol to people.

This lunatic raving about anti GE with regards to food is truly a waste of time.  Humans are rapidly becoming unable to sustain our population with decent food because of poor farming practice and OVERPOPULATION.

So you must have missed the segment of the podcast where Dr Novella mentioned that exact point, I guess?  Also the other part where they mention the Nirvana Fallacy?
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
---George Bernard Shaw

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 02:17:54 PM »
Dr Steve continues to confuse provitamin A Beta carotene with retinol (vitamin A).  Genetic engineering aside, beta carotene conversion in humans isn't really efficient.  Half of all humans have gene variants that make the conversion difficult and maybe a quarter cannot make the conversion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/

https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/beta-carotene-conversion-to-vitamin-a/

Animal sources of retinol are really far and away the best sources.  Adding beta carotene (good luck for any person in a deprived population to get rice that the beta carotene hasn't degraded to nearly zero) is a total waste of resources.  Vitamin A as a supplement would be the most effective way to deliver retinol to people.

This lunatic raving about anti GE with regards to food is truly a waste of time.  Humans are rapidly becoming unable to sustain our population with decent food because of poor farming practice and OVERPOPULATION.

So you must have missed the segment of the podcast where Dr Novella mentioned that exact point, I guess?  Also the other part where they mention the Nirvana Fallacy?

Hs continued to confuse beta carotene and vitamin a to the end and never addressed the fact of conversion to retinol.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Online Swagomatic

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 02:32:55 PM »
Dr Steve continues to confuse provitamin A Beta carotene with retinol (vitamin A).  Genetic engineering aside, beta carotene conversion in humans isn't really efficient.  Half of all humans have gene variants that make the conversion difficult and maybe a quarter cannot make the conversion.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854912/

https://www.geneticlifehacks.com/beta-carotene-conversion-to-vitamin-a/

Animal sources of retinol are really far and away the best sources.  Adding beta carotene (good luck for any person in a deprived population to get rice that the beta carotene hasn't degraded to nearly zero) is a total waste of resources.  Vitamin A as a supplement would be the most effective way to deliver retinol to people.

This lunatic raving about anti GE with regards to food is truly a waste of time.  Humans are rapidly becoming unable to sustain our population with decent food because of poor farming practice and OVERPOPULATION.

So you must have missed the segment of the podcast where Dr Novella mentioned that exact point, I guess?  Also the other part where they mention the Nirvana Fallacy?

Hs continued to confuse beta carotene and vitamin a to the end and never addressed the fact of conversion to retinol.

You are just being obtuse.  He very clearly calls it a precursor to Vitamin A.
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
---George Bernard Shaw

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2018, 08:39:51 PM »
The rogues lamented that Leonard Nimoy hosted a TV show in which pseudoscience was presented as science. I cannot imagine how any thinking person could have been surprised by this. Mr. Nimoy was an actor who played a hyper-logical science officer on a space ship on a sci-fi/fantasy show. The show had a magic box that could diagnose any illness in an instant without even touching the patient. It had a magic box that could instantly transport people and objects over great distances. It had a magic box that allowed people light-years apart to communicate in "real time" even though there is no such thing as "the same time" in two widely separated places. It had a magic box that used crystals, for crying out loud, to travel faster than light, a concept which doesn't even have any real meaning. And all these magic boxes were presented as "science."

I believe the definition is pseudoscience is when unscientific ideas are presented as science. The show on which Mr. Nimoy acted was from start to finish, from top to bottom, from front to back and all the way around, pseudoscience, because it presented fantasy as science.

So how could anyone be surprised that Leonard Nimoy hosted a show supposedly about science but actually a mish-mash of pseudoscience? Whether you think he was a great actor or a lousy actor or anything in between, his acting career was a promotion of pseudoscience.
Daniel
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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2018, 09:07:51 PM »
The rogues lamented that Leonard Nimoy hosted a TV show in which pseudoscience was presented as science.

I remember the shows being not that bad, honestly.  Maybe I'd think differently now, and I haven't seen any since the originals, but watching them at the time was just kind of silly fun.  I'm really sure they didn't have any long-term effect on my reasoning skills.  Nimoy created an amazing, enduring character in Spock; that's because he was an ACTOR! 
Amend and resubmit.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2018, 10:07:12 PM »
I believe the definition is pseudoscience is when unscientific ideas are presented as science. The show on which Mr. Nimoy acted was from start to finish, from top to bottom, from front to back and all the way around, pseudoscience, because it presented fantasy as science.

No, it was fiction. There's a big difference.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2018, 08:02:25 AM »
I believe the definition is pseudoscience is when unscientific ideas are presented as science. The show on which Mr. Nimoy acted was from start to finish, from top to bottom, from front to back and all the way around, pseudoscience, because it presented fantasy as science.

No, it was fiction. There's a big difference.

Fantasy is a sub-set of fiction. FTL travel, transporter beams, and English-speaking humanoids on planets never before visited by humans, are all fantasy. Yes, that's a category within fiction.
Daniel
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #675
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2018, 09:05:42 PM »
I believe the definition is pseudoscience is when unscientific ideas are presented as science. The show on which Mr. Nimoy acted was from start to finish, from top to bottom, from front to back and all the way around, pseudoscience, because it presented fantasy as science.

No, it was fiction. There's a big difference.

Fantasy is a sub-set of fiction. FTL travel, transporter beams, and English-speaking humanoids on planets never before visited by humans, are all fantasy. Yes, that's a category within fiction.

Yes, and neither are claiming to actually be true. Fiction by its very nature creates an alternative version of reality. The basis of science fiction is that in the created fictional universe, certain technologies are real. It says nothing about the real world, it doesn't claim to and no consumer actually wants it to. To pretend otherwise is to completely misunderstand the purpose of fiction.
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