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SCIENCE SALON # 11: APRIL 23

Dr. Andrew Shtulman — Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong

Dr. Andrew Shtulman (photo by Max S. Gerber)

Photo by Max S. Gerber

Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. So, how do we get the world right? Find out in this Science Salon!

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN “SKEPTIC” COLUMN FOR APRIL 2017

What is Truth, Anyway? How to think about claims, even the Resurrection

According to the Oxford English Dictionary’ s first definition, a “skeptic” is “one who holds that there are no adequate grounds for certainty as to the truth of any proposition whatever.” This is too nihilistic. There are many propositions for which we have adequate grounds for certainty as to their truth:

There are 84 pages in this issue of Scientific American. True by observation.

Scientific American (cover)

Dinosaurs went extinct around 65 million years ago. True by verification and replication of radiometric dating techniques for volcanic eruptions above and below dinosaur fossils.

The universe began with a big bang. True by a convergence of evidence from a wide range of phenomena, such as the cosmic microwave background, the abundance of light elements (such as hydrogen and helium), the distribution of galaxies, the large-scale structure of the cosmos, the redshift of most galaxies and the expansion of space.

These propositions are “true” in the sense that the evidence is so substantial that it would be unreasonable to withhold one’s provisional assent. It is not impossible that the dinosaurs died a few thousand years ago (with the universe itself having been created 10,000 years ago), as Young Earth creationists believe, but it is so unlikely we need not waste our time considering it.

Read the complete column

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Man’s Best Fiend
MONSTERTALK EPISODE 125

In this episode of MonsterTalk, we are joined by folklorist and author Mark Norman to discuss legends of black hounds. Mark is the author of Black Dog Folklore as well as the host of The Folklore Podcast. This is a special cross-over episode with The Folklore Podcast and contains a slightly different edit of the interview audio. Discussion ranges from the legends of dark hounds in European folklore, to the nature of the academic study of folklore.

Mark Norman

Mark Norman

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App and enjoy the science show about monsters on your handheld devices! Available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Subscribe to MonsterTalk for free on iTunes. Follow the RSS feed.

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