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Posted: 15 November 2006 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello,

I’m a first-time poster to this forum after listening to the podcast for quite a while.  Found it by way of Skepticality.

A little story:  when I was about nine I saw some psychic on a talk show.  She seemed to combine Christian end-of-the-world ideas with UFO stuff.  Anyway she confidently predicted that it would all be over in about three years, that the newly elected President Nixon would be the last president of the United States, and that those who were saved would be taken away in a flying saucer.

Ahem.

As a kid watching this on TV, I took it pretty seriously.  After all, the talk-show host (an adult!) didn’t question her logic, or bring up the point that tons of people have predicted the end of the world without it happening.  I didn’t believe it enough to try to [i:b45e547f07]do[/i:b45e547f07] something about it, but I couldn’t get it completely out of my mind, either.

The three-year mark came and went, and of course the world was still here.  But then I thought, "Maybe she just had the time wrong, but was still right about Nixon!"  So I waited until 1972, but of course Nixon was re-elected.  Wow, I thought, I still have to worry about the end of the world.  When Gerald Ford took over as president I wondered whether we were completely safe, since maybe it was technically still Nixon’s administration.  (Other people probably had similar concerns, but I may be the only person in the world who had millennial UFO worries because of president Ford.)

Finally Jimmy Carter became president and I figured we were completely out of the woods.  And I gradually found some books like Martin Gardner’s [i:b45e547f07]Fads and Fallacies[/i:b45e547f07], and I saw UFO debunkers on the Tomorrow Show and began to realize that you don’t have to believe all the things that people say, even if a lot of people say them.  A Nova episode that looked critically at the Bermuda Triangle idea was a huge help too.

Unfortunately, at least before college, I had little help from teachers in figuring this stuff out.  I had a physics teacher in high school who loved to get sidetracked onto topics like UFOs and Bigfoot, and apparently wasn’t armed with the idea of critical thinking.

I’m not sure why, but the many podcasts available on these issues have really caught my attention and motivated me to make contact with other skeptic/freethinker types a little bit more, so you may be seeing some more of me around here.

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Posted: 15 November 2006 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Great, glad to have you here Yonts. I imagine most all of us have recollections of when we were young seeing things on TV or in the movies that we took way too seriously. Anyone still remember In Search Of? With Spock’s voiceover no less! Mr. Logic-and-Rationality himself!

LOL

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Posted: 16 November 2006 01:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Great, glad to have you here Yonts. I imagine most all of us have recollections of when we were young seeing things on TV or in the movies that we took way too seriously. Anyone still remember In Search Of? With Spock’s voiceover no less! Mr. Logic-and-Rationality himself!

LOL

I loved that show!  It looked like it had a budget of about $100 per episode.  Now that I think of it, In Search Of was probably the catalyst for many of those sidetracked science class discussions.  Of course there was an explosion of woo-woo stuff in the seventies, wasn’t there?  The social changes of the times freed a lot of people to explore different ideas, but there wasn’t much of a mechanism for separating the good new ideas from the lousy ones.

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Posted: 15 December 2006 04:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Woo-woo…

It was partly that explosion of woo-woo stuff in the 1970s that drove Paul Kurtz to found CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) in 1976, to combat the growth of irrationality and pseudoscience.  Even though CSICOP has been around for thirty years, there’s still so much work to do…there’s new “woo-woo stuff” cropping up all the time, and Bigfoot seems to continually resurrect!

Debbie

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Posted: 15 December 2006 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Re: Woo-woo…

[quote author=“DebGod”]It was partly that explosion of woo-woo stuff in the 1970s that drove Paul Kurtz to found CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) in 1976, to combat the growth of irrationality and pseudoscience.  Even though CSICOP has been around for thirty years, there’s still so much work to do…there’s new “woo-woo stuff” cropping up all the time, and Bigfoot seems to continually resurrect!

Debbie

I remember CSICOP being discussed on the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder.  Would it have been Paul I saw on there?

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Posted: 15 December 2006 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well, I don’t know the answer to that one…I didn’t know what the Tomorrow Show was until I Wikipedia’d it just now!  Perhaps someone else knows?

Debbie

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Posted: 15 December 2006 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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No idea. I think I do remember seeing an episode or two of his Late Late Show after Letterman, FWIW.

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