Don’t be Bamboozled by Voodoo Science (Podcast)
Posted: 16 November 2006 01:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This is a talk given several months ago by U. Maryland physics professor Robert Park. He was chairman of the physics department there, and author of the great book [i:d5db235633]Voodoo Science[/i:d5db235633], which I highly recommend.

Seven Signs of Science Fraud.

It has a good webpage rundown of the talk. The podcast itself lasts a little over an hour and is well worth it. He gets in to a lot of interesting science, including intelligent design, homeopathy, power-lines causing cancer, cars running on water, and so on.

Many of these issues are treated in more detail in his book as well. He is a very smart and articulate scientist. We are lucky to have him.

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Doug

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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Posted: 05 April 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I love number 7!

7. The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.

A new law of nature, invoked to explain some extraordinary result, must not conflict with what is already known. If we must change existing laws of nature or propose new laws to account for an observation, it is almost certainly wrong.

I always believed, Laws of nature (science) are not written in stone like dogma in a holy book.
They are written in pencil with anyone with proof can rewrite.


The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny ...’  Isaac Asimov

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WoodGuard from Canada
I am 95% skeptic, 4% Believer and 1% unknown.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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A very excellent treatment of the subject of fishy thinking—YouTubers are sure to hate you 4-ever for this post of yours, Doug!  But it seems that so long as people are people, there will truly be a sucker born every minute—and apparently most every one of them claims to be an “arm-chair physicist”.  I currently work with a sergeant who could never pass a math test in his life, but yet he watched a posting on youTube and now he really thinks that he has the whole perpetual motion thing figured out—even though he doesn’t even have the vaguest comprehension of how a wave moves through water or “lift” is generated in a fluid—or even that air qualifies as a fluid!  But yet he’s gonna be building that perpetual motion engine in no time!

  And that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of unreason.  Other officers that I work with have become “paranormal experts” ala the T.A.P.S. variety—as a result there are god-only-knows how many sites making a small fotune off of correctional officers buying infra-red cameras and EMF meters.  The real joke here is that many of them have had previous military experience with such equipment—but seemed put off when I begged the point that there must be no such things as ghosts in the Middle East, or surely they would’ve seen a few when they were wearing their night-vision equipment during Desert Storm.  So much for reason and common sense, huh?

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Posted: 17 September 2007 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yeah, I think that one of the less publicized benefits of a decent scientific education is making one aware of just how much one doesn’t know, and to be willing to accept that.  The difficulty with the people you are describing, ApeN2, is that they pick up a bit of either knowledge or pseudo-knowledge and don’t realize just how little they know and how much they need to learn before they can understand what they are discussing.  And they have no basis for examining the story given to determine its likelihood of truth or fiction.

Occam

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Posted: 17 September 2007 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Right on Occam!  In summary, it sufficeth to say that “a little knowledge (perhaps should read “Too little knowledge…”) can be a dangerous thing”  I agree with your statement about the benefits that a good education in science provides—even at a cursory level.  Perhaps rather than “General Science”, children in the public school system should first be exposed to a course on critical thinking, then the following year they could begin with their science education with a much clearer head on the subjects that they will be exposed to!

[ Edited: 17 September 2007 03:04 PM by apeN2man ]
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Posted: 17 September 2007 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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the critical thinking course would definitely help to dispell notions of post-modernism. i get real tired of those fellas claiming science-based thinkers are not open-minded and need to broaden their horizons. ya know, if you dont fall for supernatural claims or the paranormal then your closed-minded, etc.

without a course in critical thinking its hard to explain to people that opposition to pseudo-scince is a testament of open-minded and broadening our horizons becomes an empty slogan when it includes mush-minded nonsense.

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“Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.” ~ Robert Jensen

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