Episode 156 – 5th October 2012

Historical precedents for Apple Maps, why Northern Ireland is so… challenging… lots of swearing and why a pineapple is the new frontier for the battle between freedom of speech and religion.



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Pineapplegate (1:02) by James O’Malley
Maps in History (4:49) by Richard Firth-Godbehere
Jeremy Hunt & Homeopathy (11:44) by Sean Ellis
Northern Ireland (17:02) by Mary
Too Much Swearing? (29:32) by Alex Fitch
Improbable Research (41:48) by Sarah Castor-Perry
Atheist Prayer Experiment (46:37) by Justin Brierly

Follow-Up Links:

6 thoughts on “Episode 156 – 5th October 2012

  1. I don’t feel like signing up to that experiment, as I wouldn’t be able to “pray” in any meaningful sense. That also means I don’t get to read the paper.

    Could someone who has read it tell me if the up front assumptions are as egregious as is suggested by the experiment site? Does the paper at all address the fact that an atheist who is well read in religion likely doesn’t think that praying would be a good investigation of the existence of a god? The fundamental paradox that asking for divine revelation is an act of introspection and therefore doesn’t reveal anything interesting about the external world?

    The site seems to suggest that if there is any “answer” to a “prayer” means that gotcha! god(s) exist. Is the logic in the paper really that spotty?

    To quote from the experiment site:
    “Tim Mawson has some suggestions in his paper: the prayer should be kept as open as possible, e.g., rather than ‘God of Christianity; if you’re out there, turn this water into wine for me’, ‘God, if you’re out there, reveal yourself to me’ would be better.”

    This suggests that we’re dealing with the usual logic of the faithful. A god can’t be tested and so forth, and any voice in your head is evidence for its exstence.

    Here’s the thing though, I have seemingly external voices responding to introspection all the time – but since these voices seem to know only what I know, want what I want, and fear what I fear – I cannot reasonably interpret that as a god without hurting myself badly on Occam’s razor.

    Anyone who’s read the paper care to comment on how this is tackled if at all?

  2. During the too much swearing portion of the cast you incorrectly referred to the Democratic party as the Democrat party. It’s the Democratic party – not the Democrat party. Aside from one being correct and the other not, this is actually a somewhat important point. Apparently Frank Lutz has focus-group tested the use of Democrat party in place of Democratic party and determined it makes people think less of the Democratic party when Democrat party is used. It supposedly brings up thoughts of rats in people’s minds.

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