Episode Archive for November 2010

James Randi and D.J. Grothe - Amaz!ng Skepticism

November 26, 2010

This week is a special episode featuring interviews with two guests, James Randi and D.J. Grothe.

James Randi is a world-renowned magician and the modern-day Houdini of skepticism. He is the author of numerous books, including Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and Other Delusions and the forthcoming A Magician in the Laboratory. He is the founder and Chairman of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). This interview was recorded live at The Amaz!ng Meeting 8 in Las Vegas, 2010.

In this interview with Karen Stollznow, Randi reflects on his life’s work. He speaks about his organization and his role as a central figure…

John Abraham and Scott Mandia - Climate Science Strikes Back

November 19, 2010

For the community of scientists who study the Earth’s climate, these are bewildering times.

They’ve seen wave upon wave of political attacks. They’re getting accustomed to a public that grows more skeptical of their conclusions even as scientists grow more confident in them.

No wonder there’s much frustration out there in the climate science world—and now, a group of researchers have organized to do something about it. Their initiative is called the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, and it pledges to organize dozens of researchers to help set the record straight.

But…

Ronald A. Lindsay - Observations on Ethics, Law, and CFI

November 12, 2010

How did his studies at Catholic Georgetown University set CFI President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay on the primrose path to atheism? Does he now count himself a lawyer or a philosopher, neither, or both?

Point of Inquiry asks Ron about the basis for ethics for atheists and secularists. Are atheists nihilists, as is often said? Would that necessarily be bad? Host Robert Price and Lindsay carry on a brisk, illuminating discussion of Aquinas, Kant, and Hume, applying their insights to ethics and public policy.

One often hears secularists complaining that religious believers are…

Massimo Pigliucci - Nonsense on Stilts

November 05, 2010

It’s a longstanding debate in the philosophy of science: Is “demarcation” possible? Can we really draw firm lines between science and pseudoscience?

Massimo Pigliucci thinks so. In his new book Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk, Pigliucci attempts to rescue the notion that there are claims we can rule out, and claims we can rule in—a real means of determining what’s science and what isn’t.

Along the way, Pigliucci touches on howlers like creationism and astrology, and borderland areas of research like SETI—and weighs whether science can ever hope to test claims about the supernatural.

Massimo Pigliucci…