Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Her Majesty's Podcast Righteous Indignation

Last night I gave a listen to HMP Righteous Indignation, which is affiliated with the Bad Psychics network.  I knew about the Righteous Indignation podcast from the forums on the SGU website, but never found the time to listen.  Since Harley Stevens, one of the co-hosts of the show, was on HMCP Conspiracy Skeptic, I decided to give the show a listen.  After some further prodding in the form of a kind comment from co-host Trystan Swale, I downloaded the latest episode to my iPod, slapped the leash on my dog, and off we went.  The show also has a third co-host Michael Marsh.

This week's episode had a guest co-host as well in the form of James O'Malley of the HMP Pod Delusion podcast.  My impression of the show is that it is a younger, hipper, British version of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.  Ok, to be fair I do not know if it is hipper, but anytime someone is packing an English accent, it is almost by default more hip than listening to the SGU Rouges with their educated New England accents.  Australian accents as demonstrated by HMAP The Skeptic Zone are more hip than any American accent, but still not as interesting as a British accent.  The stories that were covered on this week's episode would have fit nicely on HMAP Mysterious Universe, especially the story of the bison UFO abduction.  The difference is that on RI all the gullibility is gone and replaced with a healthy dose of rationalism.

The podcast covered the latest flap over vaccines causing dystonia, and covered why this is almost definitely not the case.  The show allegedly also did an alleged story on how Scientology allegedly deals with alleged defectors from the faith.  As in the SGU, the topics were handled in a thoughtful yet light handed way which is both enjoyable and informative.

The main part of the show was an interview of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, who is a biologist and works in the field of telepathy among other areas.  Trystan took the laboring oar during the interview.  Dr. Sheldrake covered his work on telepathy and in particular his study on the ability of mothers to know when their babies are in need of assistance at great distances, and of dog's sensing when their master is coming home.  Sheldrake makes the claim that at least some dogs know when their master, who may be miles away, knows when the owner  has decided to head home.  Sheldrake's work has not been well received by the scientific community.  He was a rather erudite speaker, and he seemed quite reasonable.  He was not claiming paranormal insight, but just insight on non-verbal long distance communication.  However, the one thing I found interesting was that he was rather insistent that his work was not being received by the scientific community out of prejudice.  Trystan did a civil and non-confrontational interview, but did manage to raise some questions about sample size and protocol.  I thought it was well handled.

All in all, I found the show rather enjoyable, and I believe I will add it to my roster of podcasts.  I really will have to make some hard choices on dropping something from my list.  I just do not know which one will get the pink slip.

--don't worry I'll drop "HM" (Her Majesty) stuff on all future Commonwealth based podcasts, unless I find a podcast in New Zealand or Belize, then I'll have to do it again.

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