Credentials
Posted: 19 January 2007 10:07 PM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-01-19

I have long been uncomfortable with the way some guests on the show are presented. Some of the cerdentials seem to be along the lines of "is famous for being intterested in the subject". The introduction of Eugene Burger raised the level of discomfort even further. We were supposed to be impressed that he was profiled on CNN. Twice!

Sorry, DJ. I’m not impressed. I should remind you that Sylvia Brown has been on CNN more than any skeptic could dream of ever being. Does that make her any less of a kook and a charlatan?

Media appearances are meaningless, and should not be cited when introducing a guest. I would only include professional or highly relevant other credentials. I would mention books, but not whether they were bestsellers. Basically, I would stick to the stuff that really matters.

Eran
Sydney, Australia

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 February 2007 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2006-08-05

Relevant cartoon

91pundits.gif

 Signature 

-t. kushi
"it does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. in [the event you can’t communicate] you are not even a failure. you’re just not there."
- saul d. alinsky

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 February 2007 11:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  63
Joined  2006-01-21

We’d love to have Sylvia Browne on the show, but she has for some reason refused all of our repeated requests.

Regarding Eugene Burger, he is a significant figure in his field for demonstrable reasons having nothing to do with his PR blurb about media appearances. We apologize if that wasnt clear, or if you were confused, by his introduction. He is one of the most highly regarded philosophers of magic on the planet.

Some shows will be more interesting to some listeners than other shows. The Eugene Burger show was one of my personal favorites.

The guests we line up on the show each week are generally voices who are infrequently heard on important topics infrequently discussed in the mainstream media. It is partly for this reason that POI has attracted such a large weekly audience.

P.S. I appreciate your two posts on CFI’s online discussion forums, each providing this kind of constructive critcism about Point of Inquiry.

 Signature 

Thomas Donnelly
Center for Inquiry?
716-636-7571 ext 420
tdonnelly (at) centerforinquiry.net
http://www.centerforinquiry.net

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2007 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-01-19

Thanks for your reply, Thomas, but I think you have misunderstood me. I was not commenting on the wisdom of inviting Eugene Burger or the desirability of inviting Sylvia Brown. My misgivings were to do with the way guests in general are presented. I gave EB’s introduction as an example, and compared the dubious credential of having appeared on CNN twice with how SB would have been presented had she appeared on the show.

Basically, I don’t see media appearances or writings in the general media as being any type of credential. Saying something like “widely acclaimed” or “copiously published” is probably ok, but to count appearances on CNN or articles in NY Times is placing an importance on those that is simply unwarranted, as the Sylvia Browne case shows.

Thanks,
Eran

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 February 2007 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  6
Joined  2007-01-19

timkushi - the comic stip you sent has captured my thoughts very precisely. Thanks.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 March 2007 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-03-13

Entertainers

I am not sure where to write this as I am new to the forums and to CFI, but here goes.  At the end of the CFI segments I am hearing on my computer (podcasts?) I hear the anouncer state that these programs are designed to promote the thoughts of scientists, researchers, skeptics, etc, but the last class of guests for your shows is “entertainers”.  How does being an “entertainer” provide that a person is a logical reasoner in the world of skepticism.  I work in the world of entertainers and more often than not, entertainers were at the right place at the right time.  I do not believe it follows that entertainers know more than the general populace and it bothers me that adding them to your categories of guests lends them some kind of validity that is unjustified.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 March 2007 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  63
Joined  2006-01-21

I dont think it is a matter of qualifications, but just of interest to some listeners: people like James Randi, Julia Sweeney, Penn Jilette, and also Bill Maher and Lily Tomlin and Marilyn Manson (who have all three been at CFI West) would be ideal on the show, and are all entertainers.

In fact, we’re working on lining up these kinds of guests for the show because of the large audiences they speak to and the interesting things they have to say about our issues. Same goes for people like Johnny Carson who was a great supporter of ours, and Angelina Jolie who is on record as being an nontheist and who works hard for certain humanist causes around the world etc. There are many others as well.

The show, as I have heard D.J. describe it, is a talk show featuring interesting people (or people he thinks are interesting) on the types of topics important to CFI.

Hope that addresses the question. Cheers!

 Signature 

Thomas Donnelly
Center for Inquiry?
716-636-7571 ext 420
tdonnelly (at) centerforinquiry.net
http://www.centerforinquiry.net

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 March 2007 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15370
Joined  2006-02-14

Re: Entertainers

Hello sallysingsairs, and welcome. I have to admit that I’ve had a similar sort of concern. Being an “entertainer”, even a “renowned entertainer” doesn’t make one a good spokesperson for reason. Indeed, one might say that often entertainers tend to be (in one way or another) cheats or frauds themselves. Or, as Plato might have said, they are often rhetorical wizards and sophists.

But that need not be the case.

You say:

[quote author=“sallysingsairs”]I work in the world of entertainers and more often than not, entertainers were at the right place at the right time.

We can all think of famous people who simply were in the right place at the right time (or with a pretty face and a good voice) ... but it is a real skill to be able to entertain people. I think of a “renowned” entertainer as such a person—the sort who can take complex ideas and make them fun and interesting.

[quote author=“sallysingsairs”]I do not believe it follows that entertainers know more than the general populace and it bothers me that adding them to your categories of guests lends them some kind of validity that is unjustified.

The danger of the rhetorical wizard, of course, is that they don’t necessarily know more than the general population. They have one particular skill, the gift of gab, the ability to speak persuasively and interestingly, and that doesn’t necessarily go along with actual knowledge or wisdom of any sort.

In the case of PoI, however, I have some confidence in DJ, Thomas and the folks of CFI. I believe that they won’t gratuitously go picking entertainers for sheer entertainment value, but rather will be careful in choosing “renowned” entertainers who actually accompany their powerful rhetorical gifts with some knowledge of the subjects of which they speak. Carl Sagan was such a person in his day, so we know it is possible to do.

Do feel free to criticize the shows and speakers if they don’t rise to your high standards!

Meanwhile, keep being skeptical of entertainment.

8)

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile