the most annoying host of a paranormal podcast is ....
Posted: 01 February 2013 10:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Alex Tsakiris!

He’s the host of Skeptico.  http://www.skeptiko.com/

Now, I’m a big fan of this show. I’ve been listening to it for a long time now, and I think I’ve listened to pretty much every episode. Alex has done a good job of showing just how dogmatic and ignorant many people in the atheist/scientific materialist/skeptic movement are. Just listen to his interviews on near death experiences with Susan Blackmore and others to see this.

However, I have to say that Alex is one of the most annoying hosts I’ve ever heard. For one thing, he seems to think that there’s some kind of strong connection between scientific materialism and materialism/consumerism! The mere fact that the word ‘materialism’ has two meanings leads him to think that scientific materialists want to accumulate loads of stuff and make loads of money. Does he not understand the obvious fact that many socialists are materialists in the scientific sense but certainly do not think that life is all about selfish accumulation of money and property? He just keeps on making these ridiculous comments about scientific materialism and selfish consumerism going together, and he’s never challenged on any of this. 

Secondly, he loves to dismiss the idea that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. However, skeptics are absolutely right to hold this as a key commitment. If some guy in the pub looks into the bottom of his beer glass and makes all sorts of predictions about what will happen tomorrow and many of them come true in a way that’s statistically very unlikely, we are right to still be extremely skeptical about the whole thing. Why? Because our prior probability that someone can look into the bottom of a beer glass and predict the future is extremely low, and so this evidence may move it up a little bit, but it would take a hell of a lot of evidence to move it up so much that we think there are actually some special powers here.     

Finally, he’s now getting into the whole UFO thing, and whereas he gives skeptics an incredibly hard time in interviews, he goes easy on likeable rebels like Stanton Friedman, who are after all pushing against the status quo. The idea is that we should support people with crazy theories because they’re taking risks and putting their reputations on the line, whereas people in the skeptic community are just establishment figures. The grain of truth in this is that the skeptic community is conservative, for the reasons I suggested in the previous paragraph, but this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.

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