I was not going to post on this week's episode. Space out the posts, and try not to bore the loyal reader. However, I had to post a few comments after listening.
I apologize for the rough language, but . . .
This week's guest Dr. Brian Kaplan was a quite a forward and vociferous speaker.
This argument for a treatment being continued to be supported by Her Majesty's taxpayer simply because it has been in the past is inane. It is basically arguing to freeze medical treatment in a moment in time just because it was considered correct or at least useful over sixty years ago. It is a good thing the NHS was not started under George III, or blood letting would have to be allowed since the balance of the four humors was all the rage in 1800. Can't take that choice away. Finally, Dr. Kaplan argued that he is a libertarian. As a libertarian, Dr. Kaplan argued it is only right and fitting that the government support the choice of homeopathy. Yes, the hands off libertarian is arguing for the furtherance of government largess in a particular and peculiar form of medical treatment. (Jonah Goldberg, conservative commentator, once noted that many people are a little bit libertarian just on things they do not wish the government to interfere in. This turns that argument on its head.)
Also covered on the show was a discussion of how far anti-abortion activists should go in expressing their opinion and in attempting to stop those availing themselves of the medical procedure. This is a pretty darn weighty political and ethical topic. It is not something one typically expects a skeptical podcast to cover. Although the show never seems to go out of its way to avoid topics of controversy either. It seems one of the few exports flowing from the United States to Great Britain is religious based anti-abortion activism.
The high point of the episode was Marsh describing a burn treating phone service based out of the United States (another export! The Great Recession must end soon, right?). When one is burned, you call this service and they help heal the burn over the phone. That's it. You need to get them a picture of the victim and some other information such as birth name for some reason. The best part about Marsh's presentation was his reading of testimonials from the service's website. The testimonials were from various states in the Union and Marsh read them in a hilarious American accent, which spans from Nascar Ozark hick to pseudo surfer dude. Not a bland Chris Wallace accent was in sight. It was quite a high mark for Marsh to announce his leaving the show.
Yes. You read correctly. Michael "Marsh" Marshall is leaving for other pastures on a new Podcast, Strang Quarks, that is going to be carried on "The Guardian." I wish Marsh the best of luck in the new endeavor. Marsh characterized this as a sabbatical. Perhaps it will be. Either way I hope it is a smashing success. It could be worse. It could be Hayley Stevens departing, and then my co-hort Karl would be inconsolable. I would have to drive all the way up to Toronto, and take him for drinks and a movie. Maybe drag him to Philadelphia to meet up some of Lady's friends to "forget" if for only a brief time the loss. She's staying so all is not so bad, right? We here at SkepReview worldwide HQ wish Marsh the best, and he will be quite missed.
It was a bitter-sweet episode. A highly interesting interview, an interesting talk on abortion, a hilarious bit on crap burn cure pseudo-scam science, and Marsh leaving. How could I not comment?
*Edit*Upon reflection such language is beneath what I am attempting to accomplish with this blog. While Dr. Kaplan can clearly be noted as bombastic and quite strident, the use of such low language takes away rather than adds to the discussion. My apologies to any and all readers. The better angels lost out on this one.