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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Episode 14: Are Debates Useful?

We talk about whether we think (formal) debates are useful. Gabe says no, because they do a poor job of informing the audience and skilled debaters rely on psychological tricks rather than advancing good arguments and evidence. Erik says yes, because they are entertaining and stir up the public’s interest in the area.

Regrettably, Erik did not prepare for the debate, and lost.

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Dig a bit deeper:

Do you think formal debates do more harm than good? Are they more educational or entertaining? What is your favorite formal debate? Each side will get five minutes of opening remarks in the comment section below!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in New Episode, Rants

 

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Episode 13: Confirmation Bias

We start talking about cognitive biases by introducing confirmation bias. As usual, we blab on about a bunch of only loosely-related things, including pareidolia, american food, abortion, quack medicine, horoscopes, your own self-image, germ theory in the bible, Lee Strobel, apologetics, and the like.

Cognitive biases are both neat and unfortunate. Unlike logical fallacies, they are one of the things that you probably can’t do an especially good job of eliminating just by learning more and changing how you think; they aren’t something you eliminate, they are something you become more aware of.

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Some spooookey show notes:

Have you ever seen a horoscope with a negative description of you or your future? What are some cases where you have fallen victim to confirmation bias? What are some ways you have tried to avoid the influence of confirmation bias? Get that data out of your head and into the comment section below!

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Cognitive Bias, New Episode

 

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Episode 12: Discussion with Zachary Bos – How do we grow a secular community?

Gabe had the opportunity to sit down with Zachary Bos, state director for Massachusetts of American Atheists, and talk about his role in the growth of the secular community. The Boston Atheists broke the 1000 member mark in 2012, and looks to continue growing in number and visibility. T’was a delightful conversation and Zachary has done a fantastic job helping the secular community in the greater Boston area grow as it has. Shout out to Boston Atheists!

Cool stuff to check up on:

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Should we look to the successes of the religious community as we grow the secular community? What other organizations might we use as a model? Who is the better cohost, Zachary or Erik? Are you an atheist/secularist in the greater Boston area? Get those thoughts into the comment section!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Guest, New Episode

 

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Episode 11: Dethroning the Authorities!

You should believe everything we say in this episode, because all scientific authorities agree with us when we discuss the following:

  • The first sparks of scientific investigation with the pre-Socratic philosophers
  • Aristotle’s many contributions and errings to natural philosophy
  • The genius and folly of Isaac Newton
  • The brilliance and stubbornness of Albert Einstein
  • The acceptance and subsequent rejection of Piltdown Man

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Big ol’ buncha show notes and fun things to follow up on:

Are you a classical atomist? What other scientific authorities do you hear cited stupidly? Do you hear religious people (popes, preaches, imams…) cited as authorities? Be the first of your friends to comment below!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in New Episode, Science

 

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Episode 10: Argument from Authority

We discuss a great many things, including:

  • How cool we are for having recorded 10 episodes
  • Listener feedback
  • Does God believe things on faith?
  • The argument from authority
  • Similarities between the peer review process and evolution

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Does God believe things on faith? What are some funny ways you have seen people attempt to establish authority? Do we have a piss-poor understanding of the fallacy we discussed? Plop your thoughts in the comment section below!

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Fallacies, New Episode, Rants

 

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