Month: December 2007

35. Dr. Steven Novella and Dr. Richard Wiseman on “Dogs That Know” Research

Skeptiko Host, Alex Tsakiris, offers a point-by-point response to the comments of noted Skeptics, Dr. Steven Novella, and Dr. Richard Wiseman. During the 30-minute show Tsakiris examines Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's, "Dogs That Know" experiment and the criticisms leveled against it. Tsakiris also discusses the critismes of Dr. Richard Wiseman and reveals how his claims are contradicted by published reports on the experiment. Response to Skeptics, Dr.Steven Novella and Dr. Richard Wiseman Subscribe: Read It: Alex Tsakiris Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and critics. I'm your host Alex Tsakiris, and those of you who've been following the last few episodes of Skeptiko know that we've been having an ongoing debate with the folks over at the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. It all started a few weeks ago when, out of my frustration with the skeptical community, I reached a breaking point and said "Look, this is impossible! Skeptics aren't interested in research. They don't support it, they don't read it, they don't do it." Well that episode generated quite a response from Dr. Steve Novella. Steve called me out a little bit, challenged some of the examples I was using to make my case, and this in turn led me to join the folks at The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe for Episode Number 125 of their show, which was very well done, was very fair, we had a good exchange. And they published almost the entire interview even though it was very long. So if you haven't heard that please go and check it out. Now, a good part of that discussion was Steve, centred around one particular experiment done by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge, to see whether some dogs have an unexplained ability to know when their owners are coming home, basically whether some dogs might be psychic. Now after the interview I went back and researched some of the points Steve had made, and I found that there were some pretty serious factual errors, but I wasn't really sure how I wanted to put those out. And then came Episode Number 126 of The Skeptics' Guide, where Steve interviewed Richard Wiseman, the principal skeptical researcher who's really faced off with Rupert Sheldrake on this experiment. And I've got to tell you after listening to that interview I was pretty mad. And that's when I decided I want to put together this show, and respond to the inaccuracies in those two interviews. And then I got into doing it and I realised that there's another point that needed to be made. And that's that even though there's a lot of disagreement between us, we're also finding some common ground. Some common ground in our desire to dig through this stuff and really find the truth. So I want to start this show with a clip from Jay Novella that captures some of what I'm talking about.


34. Response to Skeptics’ Guide Host, Dr. Steven Novella

Skeptiko host, Alex Tsakiris, responds to Skeptics Guide to the Universe’s, Dr. Steven Novella. In a point-by-point response, Tsakiris claims Novella’s recent broadcast provides further evidence that prominent Skeptics are often severely misinformed about parapsychology and psi research. Tsakiris also details why allegations of research improprieties against Dr. Dean Radin are untrue, and calls upon Dr. Novella to help correct the situation: "…Steve got on me for calling Skeptics hypocritical, but I want you to imagine for a minute how Dr. Novella would feel if he spent five years of his life doing meticulous, careful research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, only to have some hack come along and make baseless, reckless claims that call into question his integrity. He wouldn’t stand for it, and he shouldn’t stand for it in this case either." Play It: Download MP3 Read It: Alex:  Welcome to skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics.  I'm your host, Alex Tsakaris. If you recall, on the last episode of skeptiko, I took a break from the interview format that we generally follow, and took the time to look back on the more than 30 skeptiko interviews that I've done.  I've learned the takeaway for me - if you recall - was not very favorable with regard to the skeptical community.