Podcast #70 - November 21st, 2006
News Items: Orgasm Day, Science of Deception, MoD warns of Aliens; Your E-mails and Questions: Wonders of the World, top 10 Scientific Discoveries; Randi Speaks; Science or Fiction; Skeptical Puzzle
- Global Orgasm Day www.sweetness-light.com/archive/global-orgasam-day-aging-hippies-call-for-love-in
- The Science of Deception www.newscientist.com/article/dn10615-your-eyes-can-deceive-you-dont-trust-them.html
- 'Aliens could attack at any time' warns former MoD chief www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=415514&in_page_id=1770
Questions and E-mails
- Wonders of the World First, I want to compliment the panel on the consistent high quality of your podcast. I've been listening to back episodes so quickly that I'll soon run out, and short of re-listening to your show was wondering what podcast your panelists listen to regularly.
Second, I would like your input on what I think in an interesting question. ABC News Good Morning America has been running a series called the 'New Wonders of the World.' Their list is interesting, but seems a bit tired (the internet and the great migration in Africa were bold choices, but Jerusalem?). Aside from giving Robin Roberts the opportunity to make really asinine statements such as 'The Mayans invented the calendar we use today' they didn't really explore much that is really wondrous and mind-expanding.
I'd like to put to your panel, what do you consider the greatest wonders of the world (and 'world' can be interpreted in its larger context, not just Earth)?
As this is a skeptical show, the wonders should be limited to the physical universe, and those things that - if speculative - have at least a decent chance of being explained by science someday.
To get the ball rolling, to me the greatest wonder of the world is the mystery of consciousness itself. How does the gravitationally-aggregated ash of star explosions organize itself to the point where it can understand what it is made of? It's a controversial question, even among scientists, but one that I do think can be addressed.
How about it, guys? What gives you goosebumps?
- James Randi The Uncompromising Observations of a Veteran Skeptic
Each week James Randi gives a skeptical commentary in his own unique style.
This week's topic: Courage
Science or Fiction [ Show Answers ]
- Question #1 Science Astrobiologist Paul Davies - We may find life on earth that is the product of a separate origin and evolution.
- Question #2 Fiction Neurobiologist Steven Pinker - We will use a combination of genetic engineering and breeding to 'evolve' dolphins, chimps, and other intelligent animals to a human level of intelligence.
- Question #3 Science Biologist Daniel Pauly - We will learn how to read animals minds, and then everyone will become a vegetarian.
- Question #4 Science Simon Conway Morris - The brain alone is not the seat of consciousness. Rather, it is an 'antenna' embedded in a hyperdimensional matrix.
- Puzzle This Week's puzzle
John Locke (philosopher)
Herbert Hoover (31st US president)
Robert Boyle (father of modern chemistry)
Gen. George S. Patton
Each of these famous people have had a hand in this pseudoscience.
Name the pseudoscience.
Last Week's puzzle
He began in Lebanon, and ended in Belfast.
He tinkered in clocks, and invented saws.
His consumption almost got the best of him, until he used the healing
power of his own mind.
He would often have new thoughts pertaining to the health of mind,
body, and spirit.
His main friends would go to the park to seek his advice.
He had a great distrust of doctors and the disease theory.
He believed disease was only a disturbance of the mind.
He believed everything in the natural world had an origin in the
He called himself a doctor, though he had no formal education or
He peddled the wares, to show the world his methods were sound.
He is still revered today, and his theories continue to influence New
Who was he?
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Quote of the Week
- Quote 'A Hubble Space Telescope photograph of the universe evokes far more awe for creation than light streaming through a stained glass window in a cathedral.'