I applaud the SGU for admitting when a segment was not up to snuff. On the other hand, it does show how much a listener (or at least I) take on face value when listening to a podcast. Yes, I know. I know. Don't take a podcast show's presenter's facts and opinions on a topic on face value, and do your own research. It is what skeptics are supposed to do, but in all likelihood don't really do. Who has time to research the four or five topics presented on a Virtual Skeptics, the SGU, and similar topical discussion podcasts. I lack the education and training to intelligently question many of the topics discussed by Dr. Stuart Robbins on his Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast. Dr. Robbins is the expert on Astronomy and I tend to take what he says on face value.
In the same vein Skeptics with a K released an entire episode where all the stories on the episode were made up. I listened to the episode on a train ride home from Philadelphia, and as I recall it was a goofy episode, especially the last segment on the Mersey river monster. If I was a good and diligent skeptic, I should have started researching the topics to discover they were bogus on my own. Yet, as a crummy skeptic, I was more meh that's some weird stuff and moved on with planning dinner and walking the dog.
What is a skeptic to do other than accept our trusted podcasters as nobody has the luxury of time or the expertise to be skeptical at all times and double check what one is discussed. My main thought is to be more on guard, and not trust what you hear just because it's Michael Marshall or Jay Novella discussing a topic.* And be aware that there are times those that you take a face value could be incorrect, and be willing to admit your initial thoughts on a topic based upon the podcast discussion are wrong and move on. I suppose this is the way of a good realistic skeptic.
|Mars. A place to visit, but not stay|
like Las Vegas or Orlando
Of note, on the latest Just Skeptics podcast Trystan Swale is the guest panelist. It was an overall entertaining episode, but Trystan's soapbox (spoiler alert) on the Boston bombings struck a chord with me. I tend to agree with Trystan's take on the interaction of the media, social media, and the jump to conspiracies that took place immediately after the event. Swale's take on an American accent have me concerned if I really do sound like that.
Dr. Stuart Robbins on his Exposing PseudoAstronomy blog has his list of favored podcasts. What struck me was how his post on this topic was organized, which was different from mine. Mine, as is my style, is meandering and wondering. His set up was orderly and in alphabetical order. It is a good list. The post reveals how his analytical mind differs from my not so analytical mind.
*Yes. I understand that Marsh and the rest on SWaK were trying to prove a point that was well taken.