Episode Archive for February 2010

Michael Mann - Unprecedented Attacks on Climate Research

February 26, 2010

For the scientists who study global warming, now is the winter of their despair.

In the news, it has been climate scandal after alleged climate scandal.  First came “ClimateGate,” then “GlacierGate,” “Amazon Gate,” and so on.  In public opinion polls, meanwhile, Americans’ acceptance of the science of global warming appears to be declining.  Even a freak snowstorm now seems to sow added doubt about this rigorous body of research.

In response to growing public skepticism—and a wave of dramatic attacks on individual researchers—the scientific community is now bucking up to more strongly defend its knowledge. …

Victor Stenger - The New Atheists

February 24, 2010

Victor Stenger is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaii and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado.  He is also founder of Colorado Citizens for Science.  He's held visiting faculty positions at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and at Oxford in the United Kingdom, and has been a visiting researcher at Rutherford Laboratory in England, the National Nuclear Physics Laboratory in Frascati, Italy, and the University of Florence in Italy.  Stenger’s research career has spanned the period of great progress in elementary particle physics that ultimately led to the current standard model.  He…

Ian Rowland – The Cold Hard Facts of Cold Reading

February 19, 2010

Ian Rowland is a Mentalist and Mind Reader living near London, UK.  The world’s foremost authority on cold reading, he is the author of the Full Facts Book of Cold Reading.  In this book, Rowland has defined and categorized the different types of psychic readings, and created a taxonomy of cold reading techniques.  Rowland was the first person to lecture on cold reading to the Magic Circle and his book has been described as “the definitive work” on the subject by Derren Brown, James Randi, Martin Gardner, Teller, and Banachek.

Rowland is a prolific writer and a…

Paul Offit - The Costs of Vaccine Denialism

February 12, 2010

Recently, there was another nail in the coffin for vaccine skeptics. The British medical journal The Lancet took the dramatic step of retracting a 1998 paper that lies at the root of modern vaccine denialism.  Authored by a doctor named Andrew Wakefield and his colleagues, it was heavily touted as having uncovered a new cause of autism—the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine, or, the MMR vaccine.

Not so fast. Twelve years later, there are more problems with the paper than you can count—and yet somehow, it managed to spawn a movement.

In this conversation with host…