Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Commute to work listens: Point of Inquiry, Righteous Indignation


Richard Wiseman has a problem.  He’s a rationalist and a skeptic in regard to the paranormal and apparently in the States that just does not sell.  His latest effort is a new book “Paranormality: Why we see what isn’t there”.  It will only be sold in ebook format in the U.S.  I am an advocate of going paper-free, but for sales it must be a damper. 

Wiseman discussed this during his interview with Karen Stolznow on Point of Inquiry as well as his thoughts on the role of the skeptic in preaching to the choir and attempting to reach the vast undecided middle on matters paranormal.  Wiseman sees little fertile soil in attempting to bring around most of those who are in the woo camp.  Wiseman also discussed how paranormal beliefs at any moment in time change to the technological/educational pressure that debunk the beliefs.  An example is how low light cameras forced spiritualists to stop exhibiting paranormal powers to move things in the dark of a séance. 
All in all, Stolznow does a fine job interviewing, but Wiseman, other than justifiably lamenting the lack of publisher support for his type of work in the U.S., does not really break any new ground during the interview.  It does not make it a bad interview, but it does not make it a must-listen episode.  
Righteous Indignation this week featured Hayley, Marsh, and the now not so Mysterious Dr*T trading and discussing various new stories of the day.  There was no interview. The highlight of the episode was Marsh’s brilliant tirade against a peddler of some herbal concoction that is designed to keep the woman (the wife) in line.  My god, I was in stitches listening to him just plain go.  The episode also had a surprisingly interesting discussion on seeing dead cats, or at least cats where there are none.  I must admit I have thought I have spied Pip when it was a pile of clothes.  I have even once thought I briefly saw a ghost at the top of Pennsylvania Hall Cupola at Gettysburg College.  I nearly freaked.  Then it was a shadow, and I went on my studious way.

The panel also discussed the Seriously Strange Conference at the University of Bath September 10-11, so if you just happen to be in the Bath area in Mid-September for £15 (less than $24) you get two whole days of conferencing.  It looks to be a good deal, much better than spending £250 on some Gordon Ramsey dinner or visiting Abbey Road studios. (Ok.  I might do that instead.)  
Anyway, between stories on keeping wives in line, the pressures to produce that modern journalist find themselves, seeing dead things, and questionable pain treatment with magic tape, it is a good use of 45 minutes to listen. 

2 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I don't agree with you that Karen Stollznow did a good job interviewing Richard Wiseman. I had the feeling that she was just throwing soft balls at him, very easy questions, "preaching to the choir" style. "Let's not have any deep conversation about parapsychology, we'll talk only about why people believe those silly things...". For exemple, she didn't ask anything about the controversy between Richard Wiseman and Ruper Sheldrake concerning Jatee the psychic dog. I wish she had read this article:

    http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/Mediaskeptics/Carter_Wiseman.pdf

    and gave Wiseman an opportunity to reply to some of those criticisms.

    Skeptically yours,

    ReplyDelete
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