Skeptics with a K: Episode #095


Kurt Cobain, $5000, the Mersey Book of Monsters and the A41.  Plus wardrobes, whisky, parapsychologists and Zener Cards.  Not quite what it seems to be, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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  1. #1 by Bob Murray on April 4, 2013 - 15:13

    P aranormal I nvestigative S ociety S cotland
    Really!!!!

  2. #2 by Rebecca on April 4, 2013 - 20:34

    Looking at the Yellowduckmarine I can’t tell but in Dublin we have the Viking Splash Tour (http://www.vikingsplash.com/). The Dublin ones are actual WWII duck vehicles used in the Normandy landings (the instruction plans of theses ones arein French as they were given to the French army) – hence the “duckmarine” I would imagine?

  3. #3 by Hayley on April 4, 2013 - 21:18

    This episode has made me feel very conflicted. Very. Conflicted.

  4. #4 by Mark Anderson on April 5, 2013 - 01:54

    Either I missed your reference or somebody got punked. The New York story sounded identical to the plot of Ghostbusters!

  5. #5 by Helen on April 5, 2013 - 02:00

    Hi guys,

    Just listening to this episode. Sorry, but you are wrong about the definition of negative reinforcement. In behavioral psychology, negative reinforcement is essentially the same as punishment – it means delivering an aversive (unpleasant, unwanted) response to an undesired behavior in order to reduce or eliminate that behavior; positive reinforcement is delivering a pleasant response to desired behavior in order to increase its frequency. So aside from the other criticisms of the study on parapsychological phenomena that you cite, it does correctly use the term “negative reinforcement” (assuming, of course, that the test subjects don’t like electric shocks).

  6. #6 by Mark Anderson on April 5, 2013 - 02:18

    Never mind. I’m a bit slow on dates

  7. #7 by Mike on April 5, 2013 - 10:22

    Hi Helen,

    I’m pretty sure you’ve got that wrong. In operant conditioning, Negative Reinforcement is about the removal of an aversive stimulus in response to desired behaviour. This is different to Punishment, which is the application of an averse stimulus in response to undesired behaviour. What was happening in the zener card test was clearly the latter.

    Mike

  8. #8 by Greg on April 5, 2013 - 11:47

    Demons in the fridge? Generally, you don’t see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.

  9. #9 by Gordon on April 5, 2013 - 14:46

    I caught the NY story with the reference to the study. But if I recall the study, therr was a slight difference between the two subjects, the woman in the study showed some slight, but not statistically significantly, difference in psychic ability and that the authors were looking for funding for a follow up study. I’m surprised that the follow up was never done considering the small dollar amount needed and the fact that the group was charging for their investigations.

  10. #10 by Arthwollipot on April 6, 2013 - 12:59

    Nice 1st of April episode, guys. Yeah, that first segment was totally Ghostbusters. Way to make me feel old.

  11. #11 by Pat on April 6, 2013 - 17:57

    I got the first segment. Curiously, in that study the male participant seemed to show a higher degree of success in the test. Of course, it was a very small sample size.

    I couldn’t place the other stories though. Hints?

  12. #12 by Virus on April 7, 2013 - 22:05

    Ahaha, nice one, guys. Listening to the bit about ghost hunters charging fees and causing property damage, I thought “Damage caused by a proton pack? C’mon lads, there’s an obvious Ghostbusters parallel in there, aren’t any of you fans enough to make a joke?” It was when Mike started talking about administering shocks to ESP test subjects that I paused to write this. I may have to rewind and pay closer attention now.

  13. #13 by David on April 8, 2013 - 15:54

    Did anyone else notice the reference to ghostbusters 2? 17th century painting? It was Vigo! Apparently he’d been a bad little monkey!!

  14. #14 by tellah on April 9, 2013 - 06:47

    Came for the Ghostbusters. Well done. I went back and forth for a bit, but that psy study was identical to Peter Venkman’s. I’d love a quick run-down of the other references that were made.

    Ghostbusters is a great example of pop culture that you could do a segment on. Typically, believers are heros while the skeptics are villains who just refuse to believe. See also: Straw Vulcan.

  15. #15 by Hayley on April 10, 2013 - 22:43

    tellah :
    Ghostbusters is a great example of pop culture that you could do a segment on. Typically, believers are heros while the skeptics are villains who just refuse to believe. See also: Straw Vulcan.

    No way are the Ghost Busters heroes. They’re work is ethically questionable and they’re mavericks.

  16. #16 by Doubtful News on April 11, 2013 - 11:31

    I knew I would have heard about these stories and had a moment of confusion while driving. “I totally missed this story?! Wait… something funny, what paper did they say?”

    I try to reach back to original sources (especially if it’s the Daily Mail) to cite the story and we love to have corrections made. Wish more people would participate in digging at these stories, we get a lot of search traffic. It’s worthwhile to have a skeptical take on they hyped and mystery mongering stories.

    Funny show, as usual.

    Sharon
    Doubtfulnews.com

  17. #17 by Julia on April 24, 2013 - 14:19

    Rebecca :
    Looking at the Yellowduckmarine I can’t tell but in Dublin we have the Viking Splash Tour (http://www.vikingsplash.com/). The Dublin ones are actual WWII duck vehicles used in the Normandy landings (the instruction plans of theses ones arein French as they were given to the French army) – hence the “duckmarine” I would imagine?

    We have something similar in Austin: http://austinducks.com/
    And I always thought that it was something special and unique to our city.

  18. #18 by Nigel Bennett on April 26, 2013 - 22:06

    Hayley :

    tellah :
    Ghostbusters is a great example of pop culture that you could do a segment on. Typically, believers are heros while the skeptics are villains who just refuse to believe. See also: Straw Vulcan.

    No way are the Ghost Busters heroes. They’re work is ethically questionable and they’re mavericks.

    FFS, it’s a movie and the poster was being facetious.

    You’ll be complaining that ‘Mars Attacks’ and ‘Independence Day’ gave aliens a bad name next.

    What a joyless world you must live in, fellah.

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