Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Pod Delusion, Righteous Indignation, and Irreligiosophy

Musing on my latest podcast listening.

You can't please Leo Leporte to save your life when it comes to the iPad 2 . . . wait, I guess I ought to restrict myself to my skeptical podcasts.

The Pod Delusion, as is the norm, had a number of interesting vignettes including a nice one on how truly dangerous is the act of space travel and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future, and why a British town is banning bloggers and tweets from its town council meeting.  The segment by Matt Flaherty on the loss of liberty in the United States revealed by the rather stringent and invasive airport security which has lately been increased yet again.

Now I basically agree with Flaherty in the thought that the increased airport security with its unpublished rules, draconian enforcement, along with scanners or groping that take away one's dignity is giving away a nice chunk of liberty in one's travels.  Aside from the manner of the presentation with Flaherty giving an example of some inane security measure followed by Flaherty saying "home of the brave" with a verbal eye roll, which I thought took away from the underlying presentation, I do not think this new wave of security theater has gone unnoticed by the public.  There is evidence that this is one of the few topics that the left and right can actually agree is wrong.  More amazing than cats and dogs getting along is that both Fox News (American mouthpiece of right wing loons and "tea baggers") and MSNBC (American mouthpiece of left wing loons and "nut roots") both had talking heads galore deploring the new security rules.  Granted, there has not been a Boston Tea Party at large airports nationwide, but it has not gone unnoticed.  What I do find more disturbing is that this is not a Republican or Democratic issue as Presidents Bush and Obama from the opposing parties have allowed such things to proceed.

Flaherty's segment did make me think, and I basically agree with him.  However, I do not think things are so unnoticed as he appeared to believe.

It was a classic lineup of Indignates on this week's Righteous Indignation of Trystan, Hayley, and Marsh.  It is not that Dr*T or the Irishmen are not appreciated and enjoyed, but with Marsh it is comfortable like your favorite cap.

The segment on Chris Atkins' latest hoax was an entertaining look at the Chastity Garter, which was an alleged garter belt to be worn by one's wife that sent a text to the husband when the spouse is sexually aroused.  This, along with the discussion of Atkins' other hoaxes which the press bought hook, line and sinker, was amusing in a slightly pathetically sad way.

lake monster?
The Indignates also discussed that a local lake monster "Bownessie" was back in the news with a new photo of it.  Yes, one new photo in this age of the digital camera on every phone apparently a new grainy picture has generated renewed interest in the lake monster.  Perhaps it is a tire, some aquatic life, a hoax and yes perhaps even a unproven lake serpent that eludes scientists and naturalists for generations.  This pic I doubt will solve anything.

The show also features two interviews.  The first was of Chris Worfolk, organizer of Enquiry Conference, who discussed his charity work not in the name of a god, deity, or celestial lord, but in the name of being compassionate as humanists often profess but just don't get around to do as much as, say the Catholic Church or those Lutherans down the street.  I think Worfolk's efforts are quite commendable, and it just might go someway to dispelling the feeling among many that those without faith just don't give a rip.

The second interview was led by Hayley of Alan Henness of the Nightingale project which reports deceptive advertising to the ASA, which apparently is a non-governmental truth in advertising counsel that exists in Britain.  I am not aware of anything similar in the States other than the Better Business Bureau?  He especially reported questionable advertising by a large number (in the hundreds) of Chiropractors.  I just enjoy hearing about smaller scale individual inspired skepticism that moves the needle a bit in society.

Founder of St. Augustine, Florida (est.1565) holding a paracorder?
On a side note, Hayley has posted an email interview with Al Martinez regarding his company in St. Augustine, Florida that sells electronic paranormal investigative devices, which is quite interesting and revealing.  It is worth the read.

Finally, over at Irreligiosophy Chuck and Leighton have posted a special two part show featuring two hours of nearly uncut and uncensured debate with the fellows over at Evidence 4 Faith, which is sequel to the debate Chuck and Leighton had on the Evidence 4 Faith radio program a couple months ago.  However, this time, instead of a lot of background chit-chat with the ex-Mormons on their best behavior, it was right down to business.  The first half of the debate was split between Kalam Cosmological argument that a god exists and then shifted into arguments that if god exists that god is the Christian god.

Chuck and Leighton were pretty tough.  I was wondering if I was in an argument that General George Thomas was indeed the most underrated Civil War general and was engaged in intellectual history combat with Chuck and Leighton who argued the contrary position, I am not sure how well I would hold up under similar pressure. (I'm a big Civil War nerd.)  Then again, I do not host a radio show dedicated to the Civil War, and I do think I would be a bit better prepared and knowledgable than Keith or Mike.  I am not saying Chuck and Leighton were perfect, and it was clear that the frustration wall was hit a number of times.  While I doubt anyone would be convinced to abandon their long-held faith-based upon this debate, I could see a loyal listener to E4F being rather disappointed in Mike and Keith's performance.

The sound quality of the show was at times questionable with Chuck's microphone cyloning a number of times on the episode making him indecipherable.  He must be using some type of USB headset.  It happens all the time on Leo Leporte's tech podcasts (see I just brought the whole post back around.  Yeah me.)

That was a few random thoughts on some of the podcast listens.


  1. Fantastic - I had no idea Chuck & Leighton were going to have another bash at the E4F guys, I know what I'm listening to tomorrow now!

  2. The E4F guys set themselves up and Chuck knocks em down.


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