Episode 100 – 2nd September 2011


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Analogue Missions (1:45) by Liz Lutgendorff (ft Prof Gordon Osinski)
FOIA (12:54) by James Firth
Deconversion (21:07) by Drew Rae
Guides Inclusivity (28:32) by Salim Fadhley (ft Tessa Kendall)
Too Many Ministers (35:39) by Cory Hazelhurst
Spine Wizards (42:30) by Trish Hann
Celebrity Skeptics (47:54) by Keir Liddle
Secular Europe Campaign (53:42) by James O’Malley (ft Andrew Copson)
QED 2010 (61:10) by James O’Malley (ft Michael Marshall)
The sketches were by David Lovesy, Brian Two and Steve Clark

Follow-Up Links:

10 thoughts on “Episode 100 – 2nd September 2011

  1. “Keir,

    I have put everything in quotation marks because it’s just your piece thrown back at you…

    Thanks for your report but I was wondering what happened to “evidence and sources” that you seem to think are so important. This seems to be a weird trend claiming that skeptics aren’t skeptical enough and then failing completely to be skeptical about it. A self fulfilling prophesy? Although my disagreeing with you also proves you wrong too. You’re like a little photon – all particles and waves.

    I’ve heard too much “the plural of anecdotes is not data” and then all you give me is a couple of anecdotes! I do not understand, even if you have “a slightly expanded version” why have you nothing more that an anecdote in this one! You’ve just contradicted everything you said?

    Lip service paid, nothing achieved. The weight of your argument was feld by itself.

    Another abuse of position by a celebrity skeptic? It’s not the biggest issue because it’s still not an issue unless you can give us proof – please take the time to research instead of a couple of minutes of polemic. This is not the way to go about skepticism.”

    As I said all your words and you seemed to miss all of them, like some one standing in a quiet library shouting “everyone be quiet”.

  2. The report is intentionally lacking in specifics as I wanted to make a general point or general comment not risk this becoming a me versus x,y or z (or indeed x,y and z).

    I remain reluctant (and I understand this is frustrating for those who might want to more fully engage with the line of argument being advanced) to list examples and name names because then it inevitably becomes personal and I only wanted to advance a general idea.

    Not start mud slinging.

  3. “Although my disagreeing with you also proves you wrong too. ”

    It doesn’t.

    “I’ve heard too much “the plural of anecdotes is not data” and then all you give me is a couple of anecdotes! I do not understand, even if you have “a slightly expanded version” why have you nothing more that an anecdote in this one! You’ve just contradicted everything you said?”

    You are either complaining about the lack of anecdotes in my report or that my report is entirely founded on them. Please select which so I may respond.

    “Another abuse of position by a celebrity skeptic?”

    If a horde of my “fans” appear to shout you down and I do bugger all than yes that would constitute an abuse of position. Advancing an argument you disagree with and replying civilly does not to my mind fall into this category.

    You do much to show up the flaws in my argument and highlight some of the irony inherent in making it. However I disagree with the substantive points above.

    I could have added evidence and anecdotes to the piece – but those would have been subjective and drawn from first hand, second hand and third hand experience.

    I think the value of the point can be debated without examples. Either people agree this sometimes occurs or they don’t.

  4. In “Guides Inclusivity”, I believe that the speaker was incorrect about the promise requirements for the US member organization in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts — Girl Scouts of the USA.
    I believe the statement made by the speaker indicated that the requirements in the USA required a greater degree of religions support/affirmation or the like from the participants. My daughter is in the GSUSA (Daisy level) and we looked into this prior to her joining.
    The GSUSA (since October 23, 1993) permits individuals to substitute another word or phrase for “God” in their promise appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs (unlike the Boy Scouts of America). Also in the GSUSA there are no membership policies on sexual preference (unlike the in the BSA).
    You may be interested to know that in reaction to (in part) the GSUSA accepting lesbians as troop leaders, and allowing girls to substitute “another word more applicable to their belief for “God” in the promise”, in 1995 American Heritage Girls was created. The AHG website quickly and clearly informs you of their values (specifically see AHG Statement of Faith).

    Thank you for you great podcast.

  5. I still don’t agree that a complaint about too many anecdotes and not enough evidence can be written with ONLY anecdotes and NO evidence. Wasn’t that your complaint?

    To much fawning not enough finking (comedy “f”) is a serious accusation but not if you can’t prove it. I just can’t take it, or any of the other similar points raised in the last couple of weeks seriously until I have the faintest evidence of even one infraction. Isn’t that exactly what you are calling for? (and failing so badly to provide yourself) Surely you would agree?

    To imagine that Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or any other celebrity skeptic could not take being told they are wrong again seems to miss the point about being a skeptic. I certainly can’t say they couldn’t take it AND I’m skeptical that you can! Correction – I’m not skeptical you don’t know the minds of celebrity skeptics, I’m 100% sure you don’t know.

    I prefer the take on it the the SGU had this week – Skeptics like being corrected. We revel in having our understanding (not beliefs, we don’t have any) being challenged. Like when we found out the universe was expanding, postulated after thorough research, checked and falsified, agreed upon and accepted into mainstrean understanding.

    I’m not sure how else we get there? Peer review isn’t a pleasant process, so they are used to it, go ahead get an argument out for the love of science!

    It has occurred to me that this is an orchestrated plot to slip some poe into the skeptic community (some like “movement”) but it’s too subtle to be the creation of a creationist.

    I was of course only joking about you being a celebrity but maybe one day if you have a cogent thought, with evidence and back-up, not just tall tales? So it is true that my disagreeing is not proving the point but only because your not famous, I’m still disagreeing about everything else. Just saying “it doesn’t” again seems like a poor way for someone criticising lack of criticism to criticise.

    What I meant when I said “I’ve heard too much” was that all you gave me was anecdotes while complaining about lack of evidence and too many anecdotes! Correct me if I’m wrong, please. Read slowly, without any grumpiness this is pretty clear in my mind anyway, clearer than your next paragraph even.

    So when you finish with “I could have added evidence and anecdotes to the piece – but those would have been subjective and drawn from first hand, second hand and third hand experience” looks like you have no evidence and you should have done exactly what you said in your piece – do the hard work.

    Rest assured no one who I have responded to with this weak and fallacious argument has had anything more to add when challenged. Please as I have said, if this is true it’s serious, so put your cards on the table or stop using special pleading!

  6. Also “slinging mud” is fun BUT it’s not what you would be doing is it, so there should be no problem.

    This time I would like to wildly speculate! I think that the people who’s feelings you are trying to protect would probably prefer to be told how and when they are wrong, so they can update their understanding. I know I would.

  7. One minor thing about Norman Baker. Cory says that he can’t imagine what a Minister for Walking would actually do. I can. He can act as a counterweight to the enormously powerful car lobby in this country, and stand up for pedestrians.

    Whether this is worthy of a ministerial position is debatable, but I would say that someone needs to do it.

    I’m a car driver myself, but I walk when I can. When I visit places like the USA, where you have to take a car to get to the corner store 200m away because there is literally zero pedestrian access, I see what can happen if you take things too far. We need to have someone on the side of the pedestrians.

  8. I’m glad Sean made the point above – the Minister for Transport (Phillip Hammond) is widely rumoured to be a petrolhead through and through, and in an ideal world, Mr. Baker would provide a useful counterweight to his view of things.

    Indeed, a commons select committee predating the appointments of Hammond & Baker (in 2001) concluded that pedestrians were treated with contempt by planners (reported here http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/28150_pedestrians_risking_their_lives_ )

    Public transport and cycling fare little better, so far as I can see – a more vigorous occupant of Mr. Baker’s post may well make a difference here, and transform our streets and cities for the better as a result.

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