Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Righteous Indignation

The random wheel of hosts on Righteous Indignation landed on Gavin, Hayley, and Marsh.  Dr. T. and Trystan were away.

The Indignates, as always, hit a few news stories and discussed some oddball stuff.  Including how to program crystals by either inhaling through your nose and breathing onto it with your thoughts for ten or twenty minutes.  By program, I doubt they mean as a competitor to the new iPad.  No, I think it was to teach the crystal how to heal.  Heal not only you, or a loved one, or the cat, but also the crystal itself.  I think.  It was some nonsense close to this -it was gibberish.

They discussed how the Sun has run a fairly widely picked up story how Facebook causes (or at least promotes the spread of) syphilis.  Marsh points out this story was authored by the Sun, which is News Corp paper, which owns Facebook competitor My Space.  As most people with a computer and the internet know, Facebook is crushing My Space in hits, etc.  Perhaps a conflict exists or people need to practice safe sex while Facebooking?  Marsh made a great comment about the newest internet rage chat roulette, which is a video skype type application that randomly connects you to another person with which to gab.  (Sadly, a novel idea is just another way for internet geeks (not me) to have random web sex.)

They discuss a sad tale of a psychic who claims to have been able to contact the late Croc hunter Steve Irwin from across the great beyond.  The psychic, Deb Weber, has convinced Irwin's father that she has the connection with the late Irwin.  The Indignates effectively break down why this sounds more like a run of the mill cold reading of a grieving father than a true connection to the dead.  It is bad enough for the Irwin name and family that Bindi Irwin has been trotted out at such a young age.  Now dad has been rooked by a sooth sayer and likely con-artist.

Hayley shared her apple experiment.  What?  Has Hayley has decided use a Macbook for a week to learn if her life will be all easier and happier in the strict yet warm straitjacket er-r-r I mean blanket of Apple.  No.  Instead, this is the experiment to see whether if you treat an apple slice to kinds words on a daily basis versus berating an apple slice with mean words if it will change how quickly the slice will rot.  Hayley has not gone mad, nor has Rebecca Watson of Skepchick who is also doing this experiment.  Although Nikki Owen, an NLP practitioner who believes you have think yourself pretty, states she has experimented on apples.  She has spoken kindly to one apple and mean to another apple, and results show the kind apple was not as worse for the wear.  So, Hayley has been doing her own apple experiment with four apples: a kind apple, a mean apple, a neutrally spoken to apple, and an apple not spoken to at all just hanging in the cupboard.  The exciting results will be revealed next week.

The interview this week by Trystan was of Ken Humphrey, author of the book "Jesus Never Existed."  As you might guess from the title Humphrey's book, it states that a historical Jesus never existed.  I have read a similar book about eight or so years ago "The Jesus Mysteries: was the original Jesus a pagan god?"  These type of interviews on this topic I find fascinating and frustrating at the same time.  The actual evidence for a guy/demi-god/deity/carpenter with twelve disciples who was born of a virgin, saying things in a cagey manner, and then being executed and then resurrected is thin.   (There are millions in the world, and especially a couple thousand at the Hershey Free Church, who believe I am dead wrong on this score.)  Yet, theories that there is no historical person at all to base the well known Jesus of blue eyes, and shampooed dirty blonde hair that was lovingly pictured in my late grandmother's house seems to be a reach too.  (Not as much as a reach as deity Jesus than no Jesus at, but still a reach.)  The historical Jesus that triggered the whole magilla could have been some wise freedom talking Jew with a few followers that through historical happenstance ended up seeding the biggest single overarching religion in the world today.  I have not read Humphrey's book, and I should to give it a fair treatment.  Yet, there is no way to disprove a negative.  Yes, I know the gnostic christians taught that he never actually existed and Jesus was a character in a larger metaphysical play.  I would love for more definitive evidence to come to light.  I fear the best that be likely determined is someone might of, sorta existed to trigger the whole Christian thingy.

Humphrey's contends that Christianity is a business, and it has caused some of the greatest evil in the world as a whole.  He notes Christianity basically took the place of the Roman Empire as the great power in the world, and religion as a whole leads people down a path of nonsense which can lead people into other realms of nonsense.  I agree with all of the above to an extent.  Yet, in some ways I think it oversimplifies world history too.  Islam was and is not a picnic.  One can argue that almost all human pursuits to one extent or the other are a business.  As terrible as organized religion can be with witch hunts, the Inquisition, and 30 Years Wars, at times organized religion can be a boon for charity and education when organized correctly.

What does all of the above mean?  I enjoyed the interview a great deal, and once again caused me to think and ponder what was being discussed.  What more could a podcast listener desire?

Next week we learn the result of Hayley's great apple experiment.  We will also see who shall win the great wheel of hosts next week?  Can skype even handle five Indignates at once?  Perhaps we shall see.


  1. Dr*T is an emergency indignate so he tends to just pop up when our schedules fit around his, and if one of us if off touring deep space. In all truth it's actually just Marsh putting on an Irish accent.

    Damn. I let the cat out the bag.

  2. Whew. A Marsh ep. Whew. An episode without Marsh is like having to go a whole week without coffee.

    I'm not saying I don't miss Trystan. No one can interview a woo guest with the calm and polite resolve like Trystan and still manage to score points.

    But I'm just saying Marsh. M A R S H. He's like the god of war with an extra H because he's so bad assed he can have an extra H and no one is totally going to get on his case because, man, Marsh will just take that H and round house kick you in the face with it.

    (You should once in a while call upon Trystan's Whale when a dispute comes up. "Let's see what Trystan's Whale has to say about that." Then play some whale song sounds and then go "well, that settles it. Moving on.")

  3. Let's see Puffin has a well documented crush on Hayley, and now a documented man-crush on Marsh (god o' skepticism) and Swale gets a whale song and Gavin zilch. Just does not seem fair. I do like the whale song tie breaker idea.

  4. Oh, Hayley. You hear her voice and you just know everything is right with the world!

  5. You should try to cover more podcast, your list is kinda short. I would really add "Reasonable Doubts Podcast" (that one is currently the best skeptical podcast about religion I know off) and also "Rationaly speaking" by Massimo Pigliucci - a skeptical podcast with more a philosophical approach to things...

  6. Holy Moly, Reasonable Doubts is covered by me. I cannot believe I do not have it listed.

    I would love to cover more podcasts. Sadly, I have only one brain and a day job. As it is I do not cover each podcast, each and every week that I do have listed.

    Karl Mamer is kind enough to add some reviews on occasion which is a huge boon. However, to covered a wider range I would need at least two other Karls. Applications can be found at the front desk.

    Thanks for reading.

  7. I shall just point out RE the whale comments above that you should listen to the latest episode towards the end...


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