Monday, June 7, 2010

Food for thought...

I kind of assume that anyone reading this is familiar with the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe.  It's pretty much the flagship podcast of skepticism, and it was an important turning point in my own formal realization of my intellectual standpoint.

I'm behind by a few weeks at this point - I am working on a contract,(an awesome contract which is giving me lots of great ideas, but I'll have to wait before I get too much into it) and it's severely cutting into my listening time.

This morning I decided to treat myself and listen to an episode of SGU before getting to the grindstone.

Episode 254 has discussion of a string of articles that I think all have interesting implications for asshole skepticism.  Specifically about getting scientific messages across... I.E. how we communicate to people who aren't already strong critical thinkers and/or ammenable to science.

I ultimately recommend listening to the entire episode, but if you must cut to the chase skip ahead to the 20:00 mark for a good run up to the discussion - or, if you really don't care about any kind of additional context or the natural conversational flow of the show you can start at 23:30.  The conversation covers several articles and continues to just after the 35:00 point.

I particularly find Steve's comments about how people absorb the message through social pressure, not rational argument interesting and important - especially as I generally classify Steve Novella as one of the primary skeptic's who is most adept at wielding the data-tool and explaining the detail - and in so doing severely hampers his ability to appeal to values and emotions.