PC473 Feedback on Skeptics Guide 2009
Why SGU is Important
- Good Life decisions are connected to good info (truth) and good reasoning, which in turn are connected to the scientific method, which in turn is connected to skepticism.
- The problem is humans are often irrational and the information we receive is often distorted : Capitalism skews info to make us buy, the media give us the info is such away to feed it own aims hence Information Porn. Critical thinking enables us deal with this.

- The Skeptics movement is Great because it - The thing about skeptical progs exposing scams is it becomes repetitive and therefore boring. that they expose scam after scam, but in time the same scam in a slightly different variation appear again.
- That's why skeptical progs get interested in promoting science education cos if the public have a higher level of science and reasoning they can spot scams themselves before they grow.

SGU - Opinions
- Don't mock - it's only preaching to the converted - On SGU recent episode the panel did scoff at someone believing in dowsing explaining :
you are never more than 1m away from something which can be said to be a correct find e.g. Water at some depth or other, cable etc, They did not explain they all knew that in the many properly controlled trials done dowsing always completely failed.

- Suggestion 1. - Have a Magic Segment - since magic is sucha good way of teaching critical thinking why not have a segment at the beginning of the show : Invite the panel and listeners to guess how a well known magic or clairvoyant trick is done, then give them the whole programme to think about it. Then at the end ask them for their thoughts before you reveal the answer.

1. Waffling - I have to listen at 150% speed to SGU, whereas British and Australian shows cut down the banter, repetition and "err" to get more programme in.

2. Same old same old guests- OK there have been some good guests recently, but most come from a circuit of people who I hear on the other skeptic also and sometimes it gets a bit incestuous when the show hosts interview each other. Maybe try harder to broaden reach to guests who maybe wouldn't even call themselves skeptics : People in charge of science education : ask them about the importance of scientific and critical thinking, get some of those media people on who give equal time or more to woo woo and challenge them on what damage they are doing if they are too afraid to come on get someone from the media unions or people who are supposed to supervise like FCC.Some investigative reporter needs to confront pharmacy and book shop owners to ask them if they realize their store displays are hurting society. They restrict the display of porn or fascist materials, but not some stuff which perpetuates damaging health lies.

3. Panel are getting weak on the the Science or Pseudo game : Instead of educating the public by clearly applying their critical thinking skills they are going too emotional like saying "that doesn't feel right to me"
3a. I know it would take more time, but you could include the guest in the game sometime. Actually you'd save "ah em" time", by announcing the questions before the guests piece giving the panel 20 minutes to figure.
3b Secondly you could make it a 2 person team game, and pause the recording for 5 minutes of coffee and come back when the are ready with their answers.
3c. It would be good if you sent an intern down the street and into the college or mall or science fair to get some youths to answer the questions.
3d Real Pseudo - Scan thee Wuwu press and include their idea as one of the 3. That works much better than an actual true story where Steve has just changed the numbers.

4. The Rationalists Universe TRU - Change the name first to the Skeptic and Rationalists Guide.Then drop the "Skeptic". The problem is "Skeptic" has such negative connotations in North America. In books and Hollywood films the "Skeptic" is the negative guy who gets proved wrong.... the "Rationalist" is the Spock who saves the Earth from disaster.

It's about skeptics setting the agenda rather than reacting to scammers
- and getting more people science/critical thinking literate then Scams don't grow.

Whats the difference between SGU and a normal science podcast ? it has a job to encourage good reasoning and critical thinking, and the scientific method is part of this. It's all about truth, but we live in a world of distortion due to Information Porn in the media (hyping news headlines and appealing to the emotions tricks), due to commercialism, marketing tricks and advertising, due to formulaic Hollywood films and due to humans genetically inbuilt irrationality.

- We need to make good decisions in life and understand the decisions that governments etc. make on our behalf, but we need the true picture.
- Skepticism and critical thinking helps us sort out what is truth.

- As regards "Jennys show being good fodder". If we skeptics aren't careful then we end up on the back foot being reactive, allowing scammers to set the agenda, and giving then undue free publicity. Sticking more to real science allows us to promote what is true instead of trying to counter what is untrue which is a much bigger job cos there are always a multitude more untrue positions than true positions. ie I could spend time debunking 10 theories of how a thing works or I could just explain the 1 true best idea of how it does work.

- Debunking and Exposing a scam is a good example of critical thinking in action. But scams keep appearing usually they are just new versions of scams exposed before, so it becomes a bit boring for the skeptic movement to do this
... Far better that the wider public learn to recognize a scam so preventing it growing legs and spreading to a wider audience. That's why SGU talks about science, it's about getting the public scientifically literate.

- The Skeptics movement is Great because :
- 1. Truly fun and enlightening as it explains amazing things which seem to be like magic
- 2. promotes the public understanding of Science and Critical thinking
- 3. Performs a consumer protection role in exposing scams and pseudoscience.

- "Who's that noisy" might be an interesting game, but I don't think it's that great at stimulating critical thinking... neither are some of the other games as effective as they might be due to the way they are played.
- Quote of day is stimulating and inspiring Good job !

handling Sensitive Issues : warm up the audience first
- I note the other month Rhod got rather worried when Dr Karl started talking bout women's prostrates etc. Of course it's not really a problem to discuss things like that on the public radio, providing that the audience is prepared for it, you catch catch them by surprise you have to warm them up by warning them what's coming first.

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