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Guy Harrison
 Interviews: Guy Harrison, Wendy Hughes, and Jarrett Kaufman
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This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Guy Harrison about his latest book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, a guide to help steer people away from bogus pseudoscience by offering alternative explanations to commonly held unfounded beliefs. Derek also sits down with the founders of the website The Odds Must Be Crazy, a site which highlights extraordinary stories submitted by people who claim to have experienced the supernatural (yet these experiences have perfectly natural explanations).
Show Notes

– Date – April 10, 2012
– Send your cool ‘SCIENCE!’ shout-outs to
– Theme song by Steve Seamans of the Daisy Dillman Band. Get the song HERE.

Skepticism, Past and Future

– The Surgeon’s Photograph of the Loch Ness monster was published on April 19, 1934.
– Evangeline Adams began a thrice weekly astrology radio show on April 23, 1930.
– DPT: Vaccine Roulette created a vaccine safety scare after it aired April 19, 1982.
The 9/11 conspiracy film Loose Change was first released April 13, 2005.
– The anti-evolution film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was released April 18, 2008.
– Wikipedia is the most famous crowd-sourcing effort, and is important to skeptics because of its visibility. Susan Gerbic leads a skeptic Wikipedia editing effort at her blog.
– Lanyrd, Hypothesis and RBUTR were all discussed in the previous episode of Skepticality.
– Fishbarrel is a way for skeptics to crowd-source consumer complaints about quacks.
– Skeptics StackExchange is a way for skeptics to crowd-source answers to skeptical questions.
– Tim will be speaking on crowd-sourced skepticism at the Madison Skeptics in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 21st.
– Tim’s workshop The Future of Skepticism Online: Crowd-sourced Activism will be presented July 15th at The Amazing Meeting in Las Vegas.
– Skeptic history facts are posted daily on social media find out where on this page at the Skeptools blog.

Unnatural Virtue Notes

The Placebo Effect.
– Skeptics constantly harp on ‘alternative medicine‘.
– Some people think that ‘Complimentary Medicine‘ does actually work.
– Placebos have been given by doctors for a long time to please patients.
– Eventually there were some actual controlled studies on placebos.
– In some studies patients tended to get better when on placebos.
Dr. Henery K. Beechern Placebo trials showed the efficacy of the ‘sham’ treatments.
– Research has shown that peoples bodies can actually produce chemicals to create healing effects.
– Bob Carroll is the Author of The Skeptics Dictionary and Unnatural Acts

Ask Bug Girl

The Spring is happy bug time.
– It’s actually ‘Mantis Religiousa‘, named by Lanonus one of the first taxonomists.
– American Mantis are quite small compared to their native cousins.
– Some people have pet roaches, but they have gas.
Ladybugs don’t fart they release a chemical to repel predators.
– Some insects the odor is actually ‘reflexive bleeding‘ from their joints.
– Is there really insects in Starbucks Frappuccinos?
The answer is ‘YES’.
– Soy Strawberry Frappuccino’s red color is dye which is derived from the cochaniel bug.
– The Spaniards actually defended the ‘secret’ of the source of the red/pink dye.
Starbucks decided to use is a dye because it is sustainable, and much better than the petrol based normal dye.
No matter what you eat bugs and animal products no matter how hard you try.
There are almost certainly insects in your Easter chocolate.
– %50-%60 of the world easts insects on purpose, it is a sustainable product and tastes good.
– Substituting roasted crickets for pine nuts is a good example of a good use of insects as food.
Shellac is all made from insects and used in shiny candy coating, hairspray, mascara, and pills.
– Using bug products is great because it puts money into impoverished areas which need the income.
– It is sometimes hard to figure out the ethical cost of our foods.
Why are we so afraid of spiders? Maybe ask Lynne Kelly?
Some bugs are quite adorable if you actually look at them close up.
– Please use your Twitter account for good and use the hash tag ‘#askbug_girl’ and send them to her at @bug_girl.   

Guy Harrison Interview Notes

– We welcome back Guy P. Harrison.
Last time we had Guy on the show was almost 2 years ago exactly.
– Guy just moved from the Cayman Islands to San Diego recently.
– His newest book is, ‘The 50 Popular Beliefs That People Believe Are True‘.
– Last book was ‘The 50 Reasons People Give For People Believing In A God‘.
– Just because someone has a PhD doesn’t mean they are actually right.
People die because of lack of skeptical thinking every day, Guy hopes to reach out to all of those people.
– Most hard core skeptics have believed crazy stuff on their way to embracing critical thought and reason.
Scientific ignorance of high level political candidates can make us all sad and worried for the future.
– The History of IQ shows that most people tend to use it improperly.
– Back in the 50’s people would give African Americans badly designed test to measure their IQ.
– Jay Leno ‘Jaywalking‘ segments would make a bad example for the general population.
– Asian Americans tend to have more family support and have a culture of promoting good work in academics.
Michael Jordan practiced every day and was considered the hardest working player in he NBA.
We attribute too much to genetics, and tend to ignore the reality of the need for hard work.
– It is frustrating to encounter people who don’t care that they are wrong even when evidence shows them to be wrong.
– Plant seeds of doubt, or good information so it eventually grows into a tree of reason.
People think our memory works like a video camera, which is the furthest from the truth.
– Guy worked with Elizabeth Loftus to get the best research information about memory science.
– Our memory is more like an old, grumpy man living in your head who edits and embellishes.
– Even our ‘flash bulb’ memories are mostly incorrect.
– Our mind scrambles up events and is highly prone to suggestion.
– Guy even had a bad memory event when he ‘remembered’ Pete Rose’s hitting record.
– The New Jersey Supreme Court recently made a ruling that eye-witness testimony is highly flawed.
– Do people actually ‘remember’ hearing things when they are in a coma?
– Guy talked and worked with many big name scientists and skeptics like Phil Plait.
– The ‘Chariots of the Gods‘ documentary had a part in his turning into a skeptic.
– The list of crazy stuff is too long to teach someone about every nutty claim.
– Guy’s website is


The Skeptics of OZ conference in Kansas.
– Thank you to everyone who has been
purchasing books or Skepticality stuff from our stores.

Odds Must Be Crazy Interview Notes

The Odds Must Be Crazy
– Derek even has contributed his own story to the website that involved Phil Plait.
– George Hrab has discussed it on his show, “The Geologic Podcast“, a few times.
– Jarrett Kauffman and Wendy Hughes met as part of the IIG West as steering members.
Anyone can submit their own stories of fun/interesting coincidences.
– One story involved someone having a squirrel falling on their head.
The Monte Hall problem is a classic example of how bad we are at determining odds.
– Barbara has finally written up a very simple explanation of the problem.
– Phil Plait had to deal with these issues when he wrote his latest book, ‘Death From The Skies‘.
– Humans are really bad with numbers, there is a whole city in the desert just because of that fact.
– Ross Blocher from the “Oh No Ross and Carrie” podcast created the logo for ‘The Odds Must Be Crazy’.
– The Odds Must Be Crazy will be making a debut on Skepticality next episode featuring music by Mr. Deity himself.
– On Twitter if you use the tag #tombc it will show up on the blog website.
– Everyone should start to use the phrase ‘The Odds Must Be Crazy’ all the time!
– Next episode there will be the premiere of the new Odds Must Be Crazy segment on Skepticality!

– Ending music is this weeks ‘science’ shout out, music by Peter Kanold, ‘Just Think‘, sung by his daughter, Rebekah.

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