Month: June 2010

107. Massimo Pigliucci on How to Tell Science From Bunk

City University of New York Professor skeptical of near-death experience, likens NDE researchers to astrologers. There's pseudoscience, bunk, scientific nonsense, and then there's real science… at least according to Dr. Massimo Pigliucci author of, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Professor Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. During the hour-long interview Dr. Pigliucci rejects claims of near-death experience science.  When asked to explain why so many NDE researchers have concluded otherwise Dr. Pigliucci stated, " that's like saying the vast majority of astrologers are in agreement with the fact that astrology works." Pigliucci also offers his opinion on how non-scientists should choose sides on controversial science issues like climate change, "I am about to go to the Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas, which is organized by the James Randi Foundation, and I fully expect to upset several people there because my presentation will be about how skeptics are not scientists and therefore, they shouldn't really pass judgment on issues for which the scientific community has reached a consensus. For instance, let me give you an example. Several skeptics, including James Randi, are skeptical of the notion of climate change and global warming. Well, I'm sorry, but that's not their place. They're not climate scientists; they know nothing about climate science. And frankly, they don't have the expertise to pass judgment." Download MP3 Play It: Read It: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome someone who—let me get this straight—has three PhDs, is that right? Dr. Massimo Pigliucci: That's correct. Alex Tsakiris: So Dr. Massimo Pigliucci is a Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. He's a well-known thinker and writer in the skeptical community, and he's also the author of  several books, including his latest that we're going to talk about today entitled, Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science From Bunk. Dr. Pigliucci, welcome to Skeptiko. Dr. Massimo Pigliucci: It's a pleasure to be here.


106. Psychic Medium Experiment Not Enough to Convince Skeptics

Righteous Indignation Skeptics not persuaded by psychic medium experiment, find fault with controls and results. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for discussion with Michael Marshall, Trystan Swale Gavin Schofield of the Righteous Indignation Podcast. During the hour-long discussion the group discusses a variety of topics including psychic medium communication experiments like the ones carried out by Dr. Julie Bieschel of the Windbridge Institute, and human consciousness experiments like those from the Global Consciousness Project headed by Dr. Roger Nelson. Although the panel remains divided on the conclusions that can be drawn from this research, they found common ground on the need for dialog among skeptics and believers. "Everyone hates the phrase 'skeptics versus believers', but that’s where the lines of debate are usually drawn… the key to generating any understanding between these groups is to keep the dialog going and resist the urge to shut down and stop listening", Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris stated. Listen to Alex's appearance on the Rightous Indignation Podcast Play it: Download MP3 (80:32 min.)