Skeptics with a K: Episode #244

Micro-needling, collagen, gaming YouTube, and the Flat Earth. Plus Eddie Brock, boiling steaks, machine learning, and canine ASMR. Shortening our telomeres, it’s Skeptics with a K.

  1. #1 by Black Knight No. 3 on February 23, 2019 - 15:31

    Some quality control needed here.

    Marsh’s piece about Google’s YT algorithm was a confusing mish-mash of stuff that ended up coming over as a whiny “Google’s algorithm doesn’t support my point of view” message. To be honest, I’m not sure what Marsh’s message actually was; if it was that Google chooses stuff for you to watch which can reinforce already held believes well, yes, it’s been like that for a long, long time. It’s not exactly news.

    If it wasn’t that, I don’t know what it was.

    The problem with the piece was that Marsh already referred to an excellent example of the flat-earthers but instead of using that to exemplify the problem, for some reason, went to the gender pay gap.

    The debate about the gender pay gap is nuanced and, in the end, comes down to opinion. Yes, opinion, not facts.So why use this? It’s almost like Marsh is trying to smuggle his own political opinions in through the back door dressed up as a rant about bubbles or echo chambers rather than tackle the subject head-on (which wouldn’t be suitable for a skeptics’ podcast anyway).

    If Marsh had stuck to the flat-earth debate then that would have made an excellent example without much room for opinion, perfect for a skeptics’ podcast.

    As I said. Quality control needed.

  2. #2 by Simon Whitten on February 25, 2019 - 10:15

    Don’t let the above comment get you down. We need more skeptics who are prepared to stray from the field of safe, approved skeptical topics and take on socially relevant issues like the wage gap, which affects far more people than flat Earth belief is ever likely to.

    This is especially important now that a significant proportion of such reactionary misinformation is being disseminated by self-proclaimed skeptics (themselves masters of deploying cherry-picked and misrepresented scientific facts and mixing them in with a whole lot of bad science).

    Your willingness to take on such topics is part of the reason I enjoy this podcast as much as I do (that and Mike’s all-out war on the mainstreaming of placebo woo).

  3. #3 by David Westmoreland on February 27, 2019 - 21:26

    I liked the show, especially the coverage of flat earthers. There is a general problem here, though, in that skeptics almost always describe conspiracy theorists from the outside. I attended the Denver Flat Earth conference, and followed up by joining the Colorado Springs flat earth meet ups – I am, in fact, listed as one of their 100 members although I’ve made it clear that I’m a globe head, and they are congenial and respectful toward me. An internal understanding of them is fascinating in many ways. One of the more encouraging aspects is that they are arguing, and open to, empirical evidence as long as it is not based in photography. (Can always be faked.). Thus I’m working toward a repeat of the Bedford Canal observation by AR Wallace this summer.

(will not be published)