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Episode 50 — Gravity


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#1 Earwolf Admin

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:02 PM

We had some technical difficulties that have delayed the still-forthcoming "Best of Professor Blastoff" episode, so we decided to strap in and settle in for a look at gravity. Actress and physicist Christina Ochoa explains gravitational pull and the always popular discussion of atheism vs. agnosticism. Please keep sending your favorite moments to professorblastoff@earwolf.com so that we can get this clip show done before we fall into a black hole.

#2 Jookerson

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:35 AM

Wow Christina was really impressive, and she's only 26. She had all the answers and explained them really clearly, so much so that she clarified a few concepts that I had read about but never really understood.

Also David and Christina make a good couple *wink*
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#3 Jookerson

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:58 AM

Also as for David's point about atheists not being scientists, over 72% of the National Academy of Sciences express disbelief in a god, and another 20% express agnosticism (link). I and I think most atheists take the view put forth by richard dawkins of disbelief at a level of 6 on a scale of 1-7. The evidence for a god is poor, and theories like the big bang and evolution show the tendency for things to develop from simplicity to complexity, not the other way around.

But if convincing opposing evidence were discovered I would be enthralled just like anyone else and I know that there is an infinite amount of things that we don't know. But simplifying that vast realm of the unknown into a simplistic patriarchal 'god' figure-a concept that was conceived of during more primitive times-just doesn't make sense to me.

#4 Steven Yates

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:35 AM

I really enjoyed this episode, although I miss Tig and hope she is feeling better! Christina did a GREAT job! She got out a lot of good scientific info. And she was funny and charming too!

I was so happy to get a "shout out" from the guys at the end of the episode.

As I have mentioned before, I an a devout Greek Orthodox Christian who is a scientist and engineer. IMHO religion is about belief based on faith. I don't find scientific knowledge and faith incompatible.

Good luck to Dustin in his new endeavors.

#5 SisapisSisApis

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:06 AM

havent even listened to the episode yet and from the only commenter the religion thing is brought up again... Really is there any subject where you guys aren't going to make David do cartwheels? There are millions of trained theologians and philosophers out there.

@Jookerson Being an Atheist doesn't make you a scientist, clearly from your assertion from a single piece of evidence you are not a scientist. The rest of your article has links showing it isn't a clear causation it is at best a social correlation. Dawkins is a pop writer he isn't a good scientist and hes an even worse philosopher.
Interesting that you would reference the big bang theory (developed by a priest) and evolution (Gregor Mendel was a monk and responsible for half of the modern synthesis). You are falling into the modern false dichotomy of science vs. religion. Science is the best system that can help us develop an understanding of the natural material world. It is not a life style or philosophy, capital "A" atheists always conflate a philosophy with the totality of science.

"But simplifying that vast realm of the unknown into a simplistic patriarchal 'god' figure-a concept that was conceived of during more primitive times-just doesn't make sense to me. "
Guessing that the whole point David was making (having not listened yet taking a stab at it) was that stating explicitly that there is definitively no God or gods is intrinsically unscientific because science requires the door for further evidence to always be left open. You personally just assumed that the only religious explanation is "Simplistic patriarchal", did you ever even bother looking for evidence that that isn't the basis of religions? Say Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Ba'hai, oh and Judaism and most of Christianity. The big man in the sky thing is a demonstration of a weak understanding of the Abrahamic religions it gets trotted out any time someone wants to slyly use an ad hominem argument to dismiss an entire field of thought.

#6 AlamoBasement

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:34 AM

Aaron shhhhhhhhh

#7 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:37 AM

No Swamp Rock? No Shame Shack? Disappointing. However one of the best experts you've yet had on. But I am starting to agree that maybe we need to back off the theology stuff or have a new episode devoted to that. It was a bit jarring this time to move from 'gravity' to 'So, do you believe in God?'. Like really jarring actually now that I listen to it again. One of the reasons I like this show so much is because it allows multiple points of view and lets people who are not normally talking about these topics get together in a lay sort of way. That's fun.

But then getting on the message boards and aruging about...whatever we're aruging about above...not fun.

But it is nuts.

#8 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:37 AM

Oh! And never have an episode this short again. Ever.

#9 Jookerson

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:15 AM

Sorry for hijacking this thread but wow Sisapis made so many errors in a statement directed specifically at me, so I'll keep it as short as possible:

Since you didn't listen to the episode much of your comment doesn't even make sense. David said that atheists tend to 'have a limited knowledge of science', that why I linked to statistical evidence that at the very least, a solid majority of the people who have the most in depth knowledge of science are atheists.

I never said being an atheist makes you a scientist. The Dawkins 'scientific approach' to atheism-which you are obviously unfamiliar with-just means that you are not a '7', or 'dogmatic' atheist- just as science never fully proves something, it only builds evidence that can always be contradicted by new evidence. Nothing to do with 'being a scientist,' it's about the willingness to change your mind.

Dawkins is an eminent biologist from Oxford, take five minutes to read through his wiki since you don't know his work. But you're referencing the person rather than their argument, which is just poor argumentation.

I know that the BBT and Evolution were developed by deeply religious people (and Newton wrote more about religion than science.) This is not evidence for anything. If you think it is, again that's just poor argumentation since good science depends on the methods and the evidence not, bizarrely, the religious affiliation of the scientist...

As for the rest of your comment, you didn't actually listen to the episode so you didn't hear them specifically talk about believing in 'God' and a 'creator.' that's why I reference a patriarchal figure. Next time listen to the episode before you comment.

#10 Diggums

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:32 AM

View PostLukas Holmes, on 01 May 2012 - 08:37 AM, said:

Oh! And never have an episode this short again. Ever.


Ha! Tig, you need to come back. Look at all this arguing. You're the glue that holds this thing together. Please get better and return soon.

#11 Jookerson

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

To sort of settle some of David's questions about atheism since he seems to think about it a lot, you should have David Silverman on either in person or over the phone. He's the president of the American Atheists and he's very smart and has a sense of humor so I think it would be one of your best episodes.

#12 GaryfromSac

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:59 PM

I just wanted to clarify that atheism has 2 camps.
I am what some people call a "lower-case-a-atheist", where I simply have an absence of belief in a god or feel there isn't enough evidence.
Then there is what some people cal a "capital-A-Atheist" who believe that there is no god.
Agnosticism, in the strictest terms refers to religion, not god. So you can be an agnostic who believes in god (usually called diest or thiest) and you can have a religion without a god, such as zen budhism, or people who follow religious ceremonies, but don't believe in god.
It's really up to the individual what they call themselves. I wouldn't try to make parameters for christians to determine their christianity.
I am an organizer for an atheist group here in Sacrament, and I consider myself an agnostic and an (lower-case) atheist.
What the former guest said about atheism is accurate, in my opinion.

#13 Chalkdust

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:50 PM

//Who is this F. Mary-Kill person they keep talking about? What's their field of study?//
Tell Me About It
- - - - - - - - - - - -
@gregjhansen

#14 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:24 PM

I am confused. Are we arguing over there being a God, or arguing over who believes there isn't one, less? More? Gravity?

#15 Finnias_J

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:52 PM

View PostChalkdust, on 01 May 2012 - 01:50 PM, said:

//Who is this F. Mary-Kill person they keep talking about? What's their field of study?//


Good one.

#16 KajusX

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:13 PM

Damn! Christina Ochoa's science is too tight!

I enjoyed this episode a lot because it's always great to have someone there with some serious explaining to do. It always gives you guys a lot with which to work, and Christina brought it. I can't imagine how in-depth you guys would've got, had there not been time constraints.

And like everyone else, I send well wishes to Tig. We miss you! Beepboop boop boop
Likes: Tomatoes, umbrellas (all kinds), some dogs, most cats

#17 Alec

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:07 AM

Every time Tig's "BeepBoop boop booop" tells me I have a text message, I get a little more anxious for her to come back. You guys have been doing great, though.

It was especially nice of you fellas to be SO friendly to Christina, who (judging from her voice) is some sort of weird looking nerd lady that really struggles in social situations.

#18 tbain

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:28 AM

Love the podcast... but this episode was painful! Christina was a great guest from a comedic perspective, but she got a lot of things just straight up wrong! It was like nails on a chalkboard hearing David and Kyle get excited about understanding something, when the explanation wasn't even close to correct.

#19 daveB from Oakland

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:47 AM

View Posttbain, on 02 May 2012 - 08:28 AM, said:

... when the explanation wasn't even close to correct.


So what did she get wrong (according to you)?
Chop off the "En", Chop off the "In"

Stop in!!

Glish Muff!!

#20 Diggums

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:10 AM

ugh....