Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

Light on substance, heavy in charm

I have not commented upon a Skeptics' Guide to the Universe episode in quite sometime.  However, this week's episode was unique.   The better part of the episode was a critique of the latest film by Ridley Scott "Prometheus."  Rebecca did not take part as she had not at the time of recording watched the motion picture.  What ensued was what I imagine the brothers' Novella (and Evan) discuss at backyard cookouts and light beer-soaked poker games with a heavy dose of the Incomparable podcast tossed around.  The Rogues warned if you did not want any spoilers to skip this section of the podcast.

Mr. Scott making an apparently
much better movie.
It would have been nice if Dr. Novella edited into the podcast at this point when the discussion ceased to know where to cue to on the episode, but this is a small quibble.  If you have not listened to the episode yet, and you cue to the end of the Prometheus discussion you are skipping a little over half the episode.  I have not watched the movie, but as I have stumbled into so many spoiler on the net already, and I have a podcast listening job to do I continued with my listen.

Here's a spoiler: The Rouges (sans Rebecca) more or less thought the movie was cinematic fish wrapping.  They disliked the characters, the myriad of plot holes, the mixed-up gobbledegook science-y sounding dialogue, and the missed opportunity to use some actual, proper science in the film.  Not having watched the film myself I cannot opine whether these issues would detract from my enjoyment of the film.  There are lots of movies with big plot holes that I enjoy, and I am a fan of Mr. Scott's work.

The Rogues did squeeze in some other items including the possible announcement on the discovery of evidence for the Higgs Boson as well as the Tunguska Event, which occurred on June 30, 1908.  Bob discussed a theory that posits instead of dark energy being the cause of the apparent accelerating expansion of the universe that instead time is slowing which makes it appear as if the universe is expanding.  I did not following the reasoning completely, and it is not anywhere near a consensus opinion, but it is fascinating to ponder.

The Rogues also touched upon the Accelerated Christian Education, which I posted on in the context of a recent Token Skeptic episode.  ACE was brought up in the context that the curriculum uses the Loch Ness monster as evidence that evolution is not true.  The multiple levels of ridiculousness of this was not lost between the Rogues.  

All in all, the episode was light on information, but thick with entertaining banter and geeky movie talk. While it is probably a good thing not every episode is this light, it was a nice change of pace.  As the Rogues discussed with TAM coming very soon and the need to produce episodes ahead of time, the skepticism has to be spread a bit thin.

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