Skeptics with a K: Episode #052

Skeptics with a K celebrates two years on the air, with a special episode which was streamed live on the evening of Monday August 8th 2011. Featuring Mr Sulu, Eight Legged Freaks, Internet Explorer 6 and touching guitars. Not numbers, but free men… it’s Skeptics with a K!

  1. #1 by Tom Williamson on August 11, 2011 - 16:39

    Great stuff as always! Is the unedited live show available anywhere? I’m guessing I missed out on a fair bit of banter with folks on Twitter!

  2. #2 by G.Shelley on August 11, 2011 - 18:32

    Good stuff, nice to hear the half I missed live. The gay marriage/inter-racial marriage is interesting in that virtually all the arguments used against gay marriage were used by racists back then, Certainly all the ones the blogger mentioned could just have easily been used in that case. I think the only argument I have heard that didn’t apply then is “Government has an interest in promoting marriage for children but gay marriages won’t have natural children so there is not government interest in allowing it”
    Which is a pretty obvious attempt to rationalise an conclusion, rather than a reason for arriving at one.

  3. #3 by Mike on August 11, 2011 - 20:44

    It’s also an argument against allowing infertile people to marry.

  4. #4 by Johan™ Strandberg on August 12, 2011 - 04:01

    As “The Giant Book of Facts” — may its facts be checked — has been depleted(*), may I suggest a different book to explore?

    “Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds”
    — by Charles Mackay

    I know you are aware of it since it has been mentioned on the show [darn if I remember when though] as essential reading.

    So you might ask, what can be done with this material?

    Well, even though it shines light on many delusions, I always hesitate to quote it directly since it is, after all, only a single source; and over 159 years out of date at that.

    What I’m suggesting is that its claims be scrutinized with the same obsessive diligence as was applied to TGBoF, and the claims be submitted to a competitive True/False analysis, just like you did for TGBoF.

    MoEPDaTMoC makes many grand claims, but as skeptics, we must always question our sources. Thus I nominate MoEPDaTMoC for the new TGBoF. (Even though it has one hell of an unwieldy acronym.)

    —– additional info —–

    Link to the 1852 edition in Project Gutenberg here:

    A sample of the contents:
    The Mississippi scheme — The south-sea bubble — The tulipomania — The alchymists — Modern prophecies — Fortune-telling — The magnetisers — Influence of politics and religion on the hair and beard — The crusades — The witch mania — The slow poisoners — Haunted houses — Popular follies of great cities — Popular admiration of great thieves — Duels and ordeals — Relics.

    As you see, this is a virtually a list of the fallacies you have covered so far, with a few omissions [SEO] and a few additions [tulipomania, etc.]. (It is worth noting that you have already covered some of the essence of tulipomania as it is one of the grand templates of pyramid scams.)

    (*) Does a depleted TGBoF take on some of the properties of Uranium 238 where it can be used as ammunition against hardened defenses?

  5. #5 by CMalburn on August 13, 2011 - 18:43

    Great episode, but you missed a really obvious point during that discussion: A crocodile/duck hybrid is a croco-duck, so if you mated a crocodile and a small dog, you’d get a crock o’ shit, which, coincidentally, is what Kevin Childs’ argument also ended up as. Thank you.

  6. #6 by burpy on August 16, 2011 - 13:36

    I just wanted to say that some of my favourite bits of the show have been Marsh´s insights into dodgy newspaper marketing. I also enjoyed Mike´s bit about SEO or whatever it was called. Although I don´t have a website and will never need this service, I like it people bring their professional inside knowledge to bear in skepticism. Also Colin´s bits are great too! Please keep including these kinds of segments in the show. Thanks.

  7. #7 by Anthony on August 22, 2011 - 16:51

    Mr Geordie,

    The documentary you flippantly dismissed as being as random as Family Guy was made by Adam Curtis (also check out century of the self) and he was proposing that the Congo Civil War was perpetuated by the increased value of it’s natural resources, which are pretty much exclusive to that region, as they are required for the production of microchips and as the developed worlds appetite for consumer electronics increased then so did the violent opportunism to control the resources in Congo… resulting in the African World War!

    You are as random as Family Guy!

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