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The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
Skepticast #480 September 17th, 2014
Segment #1. This Day in Skepticism
September 20, 1952, the Hershey-Chase study is published, showing that hereditary information is in DNA, not proteins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hershey%E2%80%93Chase_experiment
Segment #2. News Items
News Item #1 – NASA Picks Crew Capsules
News Item #2 – Universe Ending Bubble
News Item #3 – Genetics of Schizophrenia
News Item #4 – National Academy of Sciences Anti-Biotech Testimony
News Item #5 – Artificial Sweeteners and Gut Microbiota
Segment #3. Who\'s That Noisy
Answer to last week: Verner von Braun
Segment #4. Your Questions and E-mails
Question #1: Arguing for Science
First of all thank you for a great show. It has really been a life-changer for me as I finally have found voices to listen to that actually seem to observe life from the same perspective as I do. However I have serious issues when it comes to adapting the skeptical attitude.
I find myself writing posts on social media in response to pseudobullshit quite often. These posts can be anything from a paragraph long to multiple pages where I explain why the person I am responding to is wrong. However, despite having the facts on my side, I usually end up deleting these posts because I get a really bad feeling when I publish them.
As a recent example, actually just a few hours old, I challenged one of my local politicans to bring ume some evidence for the claims that our kindergardens feed our children what she called \"food with poision\". I politely asked her to show me some sort of reference and even gave her a link to EFSA\'s and FDA\'s websites for references.
Now, this triggered my usual bad feeling but the fact that I had a confirmation that she read the actual text made me feel even worse. I feel like a total jerk. I am right now trying really hard to not delete the posts I made.
I tried discussing with people through anonymous channels as well but whenever I try to put facts on display I end up deleting the posts. The fact that I can be anonymous makes me feel even more discomfort than I usually do.
I believe this might have something to do with my youth where I stopped correcting people in exchange for acceptance, which later also made me skip college-level studies. However, I have finally started to work on my degree at an age of 25.
I need help here. If I can\'t promote science or anything I believe in without feeling bad about myself. I don\'t know what to do. Any kind of advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
PS In fact, I had a response from the politican this very moment linking me a source of foodbabe-quality along with silly arguments based on opinion rather than science. I can tell from the text that I have made her feel discomfort since the whole attitude has changed and it can also be spotted in the language she uses. This should make me feel great, but it makes me feel bad. I now have the perfect opportunity to slaughter her reputation but I do not have the guts to do so.
Segment #5. Science or Fiction
Each week our host will come up with three science news items or facts, two genuine, one fictitious. He will challenge our panel of skeptics to sniff out the fake – and you can play along.
1. A long term study of tree growth in Europe finds that trees have been growing between 32 and 77% faster than they were in 1960.
2. A scientist has demonstrated that the current Ebola outbreak has outstripped current mathematical models that have been used to predict the ultimate extent of previous outbreaks, making the current outbreak unpredictable.
3. The latest tornado statistics for the US indicate that the number of annual tornadoes has increased by about 20% between 1964 and 2012.
Segment #6. Skeptical Quote of the Week
\"False opinions are like false money, struck first of all by guilty men and thereafter circulated by honest people who perpetuate the crime without knowing what they are doing.\"
Joseph de Maistre
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