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How to think about science - an anti-science series on an normally objective podcast
Posted: 12 March 2008 03:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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philosopherdog - 11 March 2008 08:41 PM

This is the stuff that philosophers of science are talking about.

Well, I don’t believe that all of the people on this show are crackpots, but which precise philosophers of science are you referring to who are talking about pseudoscience?

philosopherdog - 11 March 2008 08:41 PM

Welcome to the 20th Century guys. I think philosophers of science spent the first few decades of the discipline buying the social line about how amazing, certain, objective, etc. science is. This sort of blind science worship is incredibly dangerous and needs to be challenged. I find the word “pseudo-science” interesting when used to label something you disagree with.

“Blind science worship”? What does that mean? Who is engaged in it?

“Dangerous”? Why?

The label “pseudoscience” isn’t for something we disagree with. It’s for something that is stated as purportedly scientific but which in fact lacks good evidentiary support and is therefore not accepted within the scientific community. And philosophers of science are quite aware of the distinction between justified and unjustified claims, and theories that are predictive and those that are not.

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Posted: 12 March 2008 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Just the title “How to think about science” is enough to tell me the instigators behind the program might have some insecurity issues. If they are so sure of themselves, why can’t they just present to the public what they have and let the public decide for itself what is? “How to think”???!!?? that sounds very dogmatic to me.  Just judging from the title, I would not even want to hear what they have to say. They can go program somebody else. I find the title very childish and laughable.

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Posted: 12 March 2008 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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IMHO “just judging from the title” is pretty childish and laughable in itself.  Just for fun I Googled “How to think about” and got nearly 900,000 hits, including about a thousand book titles.  It’s a fairly common phrase.

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Posted: 12 March 2008 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Ron, I realize you may be happy with beginning a title “How to think about”.  However, I can understand Daisy’s point.  You may also like books with titles like “_______ For Complete Idiots.”  They are quite popular, but they don’t turn me on.  The authors may think they’re bing funny, but I see it as a way of putting down the reader, just as Daisy saw with the admonition of “How to think about science.” 

I’m sure we have different senses of humor.  For example, I detest the phrase, “What can I do you for?”, but you may find it clever.

Occam

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Posted: 13 March 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Ron Webb - 12 March 2008 08:06 PM

IMHO “just judging from the title” is pretty childish and laughable in itself.  Just for fun I Googled “How to think about” and got nearly 900,000 hits, including about a thousand book titles.  It’s a fairly common phrase.


...you forgot a very important add-on , and that is the word science to your googled sentence. As if “How to think about science” is the only program out there that is worth checking out, if it is worth checking out to begin with, from just what I read here on this very grown up site (and by “very grown up” I only mean I feel like a little girl walking among very tall big big guys LOL , I swear, I only mean very very very well red face ), I don’t think it’s the case. If, for example Dawkins comes up with such, and he would’t even put it that way to begin with, I’d more than absorb what he has to say as he is very trustworthy guy. The question still remains. “How to think” considered in this context is simply corrupt block that entices one to simply dismiss the series before they even look at it, and this does what to the inceptors, it puts a bullet right into their own toe. If the title is flawed, I say so is the series.

[ Edited: 13 March 2008 04:56 PM by Daisy ]
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Posted: 13 March 2008 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Occam - 12 March 2008 08:31 PM

Ron, I realize you may be happy with beginning a title “How to think about”.  However, I can understand Daisy’s point.  You may also like books with titles like “_______ For Complete Idiots.”  They are quite popular, but they don’t turn me on.  The authors may think they’re bing funny, but I see it as a way of putting down the reader, just as Daisy saw with the admonition of “How to think about science.” 

I’m sure we have different senses of humor.  For example, I detest the phrase, “What can I do you for?”, but you may find it clever.

Occam


Right On Major, SALUTE! I am not picking on Ron here, I am sure we agree in other areas, just not this segment.

...also, to “How to think about..” one might as well add “your boyfriend, girlfriend, mother-in-law, skiing trip…”.  Which would be really a ridiculous thing to instruct, because I think this is what they are doing here,  they are instructing people on how to think of Science, and that is absurd and dishonest. I’d rather them be low key with their title to allow me to even want to venture in. Then once I am in, let me be nicely surprised. Chances are that one is not going to be nicely surprised, so they go and put on such sign at their gate hoping in doing so to tilt the scale to their favor. If they knew tomatoe about what they are talking about, why did they have to have such rigid bold title? LOL  Oh god, I hope no one hates me after they read this.

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Posted: 13 March 2008 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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dougsmith - 12 March 2008 03:52 AM
philosopherdog - 11 March 2008 08:41 PM

This is the stuff that philosophers of science are talking about.

“Well, I don’t believe that all of the people on this show are crackpots, but which precise philosophers of science are you referring to who are talking about pseudoscience?”

I wasn’t talking about anyone on the show talking about pseudoscience actually. Sorry if my post was unclear. What I meant was that people on this list were using the expression to describe the show. Actually, many of the individual shows in question aren’t science at all but philosophy of science. So, I doubt calling their views pseudoscience will do, since it’s a category error. Anyhow, using expressions like “pseudoscience” in this context is to try to win an argument by using emotionally charged language. So, that’s why I object to it. If there’s nonscience being put forward as legitimate science let’s hear the actually arguments. I thought this was a forum for thinkers not followers.

philosopherdog - 11 March 2008 08:41 PM

Welcome to the 20th Century guys. I think philosophers of science spent the first few decades of the discipline buying the social line about how amazing, certain, objective, etc. science is. This sort of blind science worship is incredibly dangerous and needs to be challenged. I find the word “pseudo-science” interesting when used to label something you disagree with.

“Blind science worship”? What does that mean? Who is engaged in it?

I definitely got the sense in this thread that there was a lot of worry about the show being “anti-science”. If I’m wrong please correct me. This wasn’t true of every post. That’s not my claim. Many folks have clearly not even listened to the series! Someone was ready to write a letter in protest, and so on. I think it’s safe to conclude that this is “blind science worship”. Blind because it doesn’t even bother looking, in this case at the shows, and worship for obvious reasons I’m sure you could settle by consulting a dictionary. Maybe reading Mill On Liberty might help break up some of this dogma. Some of the shows might be poorly argued. That’s fair enough, but what I saw in this thread was closed minded dogma, not quite the scientific spirit is it?

“Dangerous”? Why?

Why is the unexamined and naïve view of science socially dangerous? Are you seriously wondering what the answer to this is? Because scientists command a lot of power to change the world, society, everything. If we don’t have a realistic idea what they’re up to and how justified their claims actually are, then we have a very big problem. Actually, I think this is in fact the case. Look at the collapse of the oceans fisheries, supposedly managed using science. Such examples can be multiplied a thousand fold. An inaccurate zealous attitude toward something like science is dangerous. It’s interesting that in an age when religious certainty is on the wane people want certainty and they expect it of science, and many believe in it with the same blind zeal. This is *partly* what the CBC show is about—I stress partly. This is mostly coming from sociologists of science. It’s partly about how this naïve view of science has been challenged in the 21st century from within science, but mostly by those studying what scientists actually do (socialigists), not what they claim they’re doing, and philosophers of science.

The label “pseudoscience” isn’t for something we disagree with. It’s for something that is stated as purportedly scientific but which in fact lacks good evidentiary support and is therefore not accepted within the scientific community. And philosophers of science are quite aware of the distinction between justified and unjustified claims, and theories that are predictive and those that are not.

Fair enough. I think my point above on this issue clarifies what I’m saying here.

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Posted: 13 March 2008 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Daisy - 13 March 2008 02:15 PM
Occam - 12 March 2008 08:31 PM

Ron, I realize you may be happy with beginning a title “How to think about”.  However, I can understand Daisy’s point.  You may also like books with titles like “_______ For Complete Idiots.”  They are quite popular, but they don’t turn me on.  The authors may think they’re bing funny, but I see it as a way of putting down the reader, just as Daisy saw with the admonition of “How to think about science.” 

I’m sure we have different senses of humor.  For example, I detest the phrase, “What can I do you for?”, but you may find it clever.

Occam


Right On Major, SALUTE! I am not picking on Ron here, I am sure we agree in other areas, just not this segment.

...also, to “How to think about..” one might as well add “your boyfriend, girlfriend, mother-in-law, skiing trip…”.  Which would be really a ridiculous thing to instruct, because I think this is what they are doing here,  they are instructing people on how to think of Science, and that is absurd and dishonest. I’d rather them be low key with their title to allow me to even want to venture in. Then once I am in, let me be nicely surprised. Chances are that one is not going to be nicely surprised, so they go and put on such sign at their gate hoping in doing so to tilt the scale to their favor. If they knew tomatoe about what they are talking about, why did they have to have such rigid bold title? LOL  Oh god, I hope no one hates me after they read this.

With all due respect! It is far better to adopt an open mind. You have no reason not to inform yourself about science. Get another perspective and then trust yourself to make up your mind, or find out more if you still are unsettled. Contrary to what posters who have not listened to the series have said, this series is by the leaders in philosophy of science and other disciplines who as the show says “have recast the image of science in our time”. The highschool view of science doesn’t actually stand up to scrutiny, that is, using its very own methods! This is only a part of what the series is about. Perhaps you need someone to help you think about science in a new way after all. Judging by your reluctance to drop your dogma on the basis of the title of the thing, I’d say you could benefit in a wholesome way! All your talk about the title is mere diversion. What are you really afraid of? The truth will set you free and all of that. smile Peace!

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Posted: 13 March 2008 07:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Okay, you guys are right.  It makes perfect sense to criticise the series solely on its title.  rolleyes

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Posted: 14 March 2008 12:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Ron Webb - 13 March 2008 07:11 PM

Okay, you guys are right.  It makes perfect sense to criticise the series solely on its title.  rolleyes

Ron, I didn’t say it should be criticised based solely on the title, I just think the title in itself red-flags the series. Of course one can’t judge a book by its cover, any more than one must wait til they finish a sandwich to be able to say wether it’s good or bad, since all they have to do is take the first bit and have a good idea what kind they are dealing with and wether it’s worth eating or not. Peace.

philosopherdog - 13 March 2008 05:08 PM


With all due respect! It is far better to adopt an open mind.

I agree, but I dealt with creationists long enough to now be kind of allergic to anything that resembles them or in fact might be them in disguise. This very much sounds like it. An honest scientist/philosopher will never title a program in such rigid dogmatic manner. How to think about science, ...is there a square definite way of doing that? I don’t think so. Honest scientists find out the facts and pass them on the masses as, they don’t give endoctrinating directives on how to think about anything, they are not concerned about that, but solely about informing and raising the general awareness. 

You have no reason not to inform yourself about science.

Again, I agree, just not from under a creationist tent.

Get another perspective and then trust yourself to make up your mind, or find out more if you still are unsettled. Contrary to what posters who have not listened to the series have said, this series is by the leaders in philosophy of science and other disciplines who as the show says “have recast the image of science in our time”. The highschool view of science doesn’t actually stand up to scrutiny, that is, using its very own methods! This is only a part of what the series is about. Perhaps you need someone to help you think about science in a new way after all. Judging by your reluctance to drop your dogma on the basis of the title of the thing, I’d say you could benefit in a wholesome way! All your talk about the title is mere diversion. What are you really afraid of? The truth will set you free and all of that. smile Peace!

about 10 days ago, I’ve burned my entire right leg in an accident, as in 2nd & 3rd degree burn. Today I am walking with hardly any limp if not none!!! about 65% of the frontal skin came off that day. I called the medics, they took me in and after the remaining dead skin have been scrabed, wound cleaned and all that, they put those high tech burn treatment dresses on and the rest is history. That is enough science for me right there friend. Science gave me my leg back. I am usually extremely resilient person. But this one was simply out of my range. I am not afraid and I am free thanks to science mainly. Honest thank you for your concern.

 

Please Carry On Giants, I didn’t mean to bring the discussion back to the door or the mold of the topic, my initial post was a comment I’ve made about the title since that’s what caught my attention for the time being, I am sure, like those who checked the program, if I’ve gone further I’d have further comments to make. I apologize if due to my statement any thought the talk has to revolve around the title. of course it doesn’t have to. Sincerely sorry.

[ Edited: 14 March 2008 05:01 PM by Daisy ]
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Posted: 15 March 2008 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Hi,
Just a couple of quick thoughts. Firstly, I hope your leg is ok. I think you’re right that if we’re sick and need immediate intervention then a scientifically trained person is who we would want. But I think having a realistic view of science doesn’t mean not having trust in it, but the key is that that trust must be appropriate and warranted, not based on some bias or other. Secondly, I would say that you are right that we don’t need to listen to just anyone that comes along, especially if they really aren’t interested in reasoning about something. A far out instance of this might be someone trying to persuade us that we should join a Nazi organization. So, I understand your point about the creationists. I personally don’t have a lot of patience for that sort of thing. However, this podcast has nothing whatever to do with this; there isn’t even a connection in principle. There is no dogma. Actually, they’re trying to disspell very dangerous misperceptions of science that are very much alive and well. The show is by leaders in the field of philosophy and history of science, such as Ian Hacking, Bruno Latour, Evelyn Fox Keller, etc. Many of the talks are brilliant. I especially liked the talk on the collapse of the fishery in the East coast of Canada, but there are many others. So, I think you’ve been misled by the title. Nobody is telling you how to think about science. They are certainly telling you how experts in the studies of science are thinking about it. Make up your own mind. Nobody can do that for you. Now there may be some shows you don’t like that much, such as those by sociologists of science. I guess that depends on how much you believe social factors are at play in science. I personally don’t agree with everything, but I like to know what’s going on in those areas.

Anyhow, I do find it telling and curious that this thread even happened on this list. It certainly says a lot about the mentality of people on here, or at least a subset of those on the list. My sense is that people are looking for certainty, needing it, craving it. Science is a poor substitute for the certainty promised by Christianity. It’s just a guess but I get the sense that there’s some projecting going on, and “anti-science” appears to take on the call of something approaching a religious war. That is pretty telling, and something perhaps worth reflecting on. Science is a great thing provided we understand what it’s doing correctly. False views of science are exceedingly dangerous. We don’t have to look far to see some of the problems unleashed by practices under the guise of science. Actually, I was reflecting on something I said in a post above. I was asked what was so dangerous about science. I now realize that what I said above on this head was very facile, and only skims the very surface of the problem. Perhaps a more complete answer to this can be found by listening to David Abram’s talk in that “how to think about science” series. In the talk he argues that the Platonic world view of seeing the phenomenal world as ultimately illusory, and that fundamental reality is something static and knowable mathematically behind the flux of experience, is itself an incredibly dangerous idea. It’s a delusion very much tied up with the way that science is done and helps us understand why we are so tolerant of nature’s destruction, since what we normally believe nature to consist of is its sights and sounds. Anyhow, this is a very large topic. If you’re interested start by listening to the Abram talk. It was quite brilliant and eye opening. Cheers!

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Posted: 15 March 2008 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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philosopherdog - 15 March 2008 06:17 AM

Hi,
Just a couple of quick thoughts. Firstly, I hope your leg is ok.

Yep, science Plus my more than fine regenerative abilities make us the ultimate A Team LOL !!!I am doing unbelievably well. About 10 % or less of the skin is still open, the rest has grown back.  5 days after that happened, I was in a complete dark as to how soon I’d recover.

I think you’re right that if we’re sick and need immediate intervention then a scientifically trained person is who we would want. But I think having a realistic view of science doesn’t mean not having trust in it, but the key is that that trust must be appropriate and warranted, not based on some bias or other.

In the above instance, Science took care of me no questions asked, but if I were to go to church with such injury, I’d probably be told I must’ve sinned and and the all mighty god has punished me for “what I’ve done”  LOL . Now based on this, tell me, who really is righteous (and by that I mean an effective problem solver) here, Christianity or Science?!... In all honesty I say Science.

Secondly, I would say that you are right that we don’t need to listen to just anyone that comes along, especially if they really aren’t interested in reasoning about something. A far out instance of this might be someone trying to persuade us that we should join a Nazi organization. So, I understand your point about the creationists. I personally don’t have a lot of patience for that sort of thing. However, this podcast has nothing whatever to do with this; there isn’t even a connection in principle. There is no dogma. Actually, they’re trying to disspell very dangerous misperceptions of science that are very much alive and well. The show is by leaders in the field of philosophy and history of science, such as Ian Hacking, Bruno Latour, Evelyn Fox Keller, etc. Many of the talks are brilliant. I especially liked the talk on the collapse of the fishery in the East coast of Canada, but there are many others. So, I think you’ve been misled by the title. Nobody is telling you how to think about science. They are certainly telling you how experts in the studies of science are thinking about it. Make up your own mind. Nobody can do that for you. Now there may be some shows you don’t like that much, such as those by sociologists of science. I guess that depends on how much you believe social factors are at play in science. I personally don’t agree with everything, but I like to know what’s going on in those areas.


Skeptics opened my eyes to numerous vital facts about religion, science and human existence in general. I owe them BIG. I still continue to learn from them, I would like to keep my stand at this for the moment. Of course science is prone to making errors, but they are minimal compared to those made by its opponents. At least it has the guts to self correct when it needs to (something religion will never be capable of doing since in its own tiny brain, it is infaillible), and that is what elevates it above all else. Science is genuiness and authenticity, anybody who works to discredit it in any way is the hoax. 

Anyhow, I do find it telling and curious that this thread even happened on this list. It certainly says a lot about the mentality of people on here, or at least a subset of those on the list. My sense is that people are looking for certainty, needing it, craving it. Science is a poor substitute for the certainty promised by Christianity.

You are completely wrong here, when you say “certainty promised by Christianity” you mean that “god has plan”??? what kind of certainty is that? I don’t know much about science but just from my daily layperson experiences, I can say that it is methodical, systematic, disciplined, precise, rigorous with itself etc, etc, etc. and that if anything, makes it certain and leading to certainty. What the clergy ignoringly ‘packages’ as god or god’s ‘bs’, scientists actually roll up their sleeves, go out, demonstrate and prove the good old fashion way, as in getting off one’s rear end and get to work, not blow smoke at the masses faces. If it wasn’t for science and scientists, we’d still be living in the woods, probably waiting for another messaiah that the clergy would have invented since this is all they are good at.

 

It’s just a guess but I get the sense that there’s some projecting going on, and “anti-science” appears to take on the call of something approaching a religious war. That is pretty telling, and something perhaps worth reflecting on. Science is a great thing provided we understand what it’s doing correctly. False views of science are exceedingly dangerous. We don’t have to look far to see some of the problems unleashed by practices under the guise of science. Actually, I was reflecting on something I said in a post above. I was asked what was so dangerous about science. I now realize that what I said above on this head was very facile, and only skims the very surface of the problem.

You wanna speak about dangerous, why don’t you think about how different religions are devotedly working to exterminate eachother’s populations. How they are constantly working to breed hatred, and venim among men. Those 2 give birth to an inevitable destruction. The most dangerous thread to mankind is religion not science.

Perhaps a more complete answer to this can be found by listening to David Abram’s talk in that “how to think about science” series. In the talk he argues that the Platonic world view of seeing the phenomenal world as ultimately illusory, and that fundamental reality is something static and knowable mathematically behind the flux of experience, is itself an incredibly dangerous idea. It’s a delusion very much tied up with the way that science is done and helps us understand why we are so tolerant of nature’s destruction, since what we normally believe nature to consist of is its sights and sounds. Anyhow, this is a very large topic. If you’re interested start by listening to the Abram talk. It was quite brilliant and eye opening. Cheers!


Thanks for the headup.

[ Edited: 19 March 2008 10:28 AM by Daisy ]
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Posted: 19 March 2008 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Occam - 12 March 2008 08:31 PM

I’m sure we have different senses of humor.  For example, I detest the phrase, “What can I do you for?”, but you may find it clever.

Occam

Partly off-topic: Occam, are you including times when a salesman or desk clerk says that to you? (I do retail part time, so I ask out of professional interest.) Maybe the phrase is too old-fashioned for today’s shopper. As someone officially no longer hip it’s good to keep track. (Example: One of my roommates used ‘stewardess’ in conversation and I accepted it without a nod, since that’s the word I grew up with; but nowadays it’s a little down-putting. But then we were discussing the actress from Airplane, who’s also the wife in What About Bob?, and Airplane’s a very 80’s movie.)

Kirk

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Posted: 19 March 2008 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Inthegobi, my objection has nothing to do with whether it’s in fashion or not. 

I’ve often heard it said by salesmen.  Obviously they think it’s funny or clever, but a joke repeated quickly loses any value.  However, more germane, consider the actual meaning of the phrase.  To “do one” is to take advantage of.  Whether or not the saleman appears to mean it as only a joke, I see it as an unconscious or subtly concious attitude of that salesman asking, “How can I screw you?”  Customers understand this instinctively and it makes it harder for the salesman to establish trust with the customer.

I went out on a call with a young salesman for my company about twenty years ago, and he used that line as introduction with a customer.  Afterwards I pointed out that it was not appropriate.  He indicated that he was joking and that I may not have had a good enough sense of humor to understand it.  Since I was already irritated, I commented that I was sorry that he equated stupidity, lack of empathy or awareness of his customers with humor.  He wasn’t pleased, but he never used that phrase in my company again.

Occam

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Posted: 19 March 2008 04:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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inthegobi - 19 March 2008 12:09 PM

Partly off-topic: Occam, are you including times when a salesman or desk clerk says that to you? (I do retail part time, so I ask out of professional interest.)

I think the phrase that grinds Mr. Occam’s gears is “what can I do you for?”, not “what can I do for you?”  smile

I’d really rather be talking about the content of the programs, though.  May I renew my request from a couple of weeks ago?—

Ron Webb - 06 March 2008 04:46 PM

Nelol (or anyone if s/he’s not around anymore), can you please give me a specific example of what upsets you so much about this series?  I just finished listening to the Rupert Sheldrake program (episode 9), and once again I found it interesting and worthwhile.  I thought Sheldrake presented some very thought-provoking evidence to back up point of view.  Call it speculation, call it pseudoscience if you want, but (as he suggests) this theories are no more bizarre than concepts such as multiple universes and quantum entanglement.

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