Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Potpourri – 1/20/2015

Adam, Norm, and Will discuss high-dynamic range photography high over New York, ghosts, and online controversy. Enjoy!

Comments (77)

77 thoughts on “Potpourri – 1/20/2015

  1. I saw Penn and Teller here in the UK a few years ago, it was easily the greatest performance I’ve ever seen, they give you the eyes and mind of a child seeing something for the first time.

  2. as someone who is deeply religious, it is refreshing to see Adam view on others beliefs who differ from his own (or lack there of, not sure how to best word that). I wish more people could have this mentality.

  3. The fight between science and belief is very much grounded in the human proclivity towards fear and insecurity. We are, by nature, insecure… paranoia and fear are survival instincts. In a modern world where our conflict is defined by things like football and traffic, we have few outputs for our fear, paranoia, or base need to survive and exceed. Ignorance (I mean that in the literal sense, not as an insult) breeds the belief in what you can’t see or don’t know, and more importantly, in the thing you CAN’T know. Having a belief in something that some one cannot disprove is a powerful thing. You’re able to hold onto it because no one can tell you, irrefutably, that what you believe is false… sure, you can’t prove that you’re right, but that’s not enough to make you drop your security blanket.

    The issue is when people use a blanket belief in something to advocate that actual facts are not true, regardless of scientific proof. Neil Tyson had a great speech on the topic where he goes through historical scientists that are recognized as being the most forward thinking of their peers and that pushed science and discovery further in their time than anyone else. Every one of them was quoted at their limit of knowledge with attributing “the rest” to God. God is where the limits of our knowledge stops and our limits are constantly pushed further and further back which encroaches on God’s territory. This offends people because they feel it diminishes their belief and the dogma associated with it. As such, they defend it rather than recognizing that we’re furthering our understanding and, in some way, getting closer to God, not pushing God further away. Is it possible that one day science will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, prove that there is no afterlife, no great spiritual entity, or that one day it may prove the opposite, that there is a God and afterlife? How could we know? Based on our current understanding of the universe, no, neither of those ends can ever be proven or disproven, but there’s no telling what we’ll learn next.

    The great flaw in human nature is the inability to be comfortable in YOUR version of truth, regardless of what some one else says. To boil it down too far, I like Brussel’s Sprouts. My friend, does not. To me, the sprouts are delicious, to him, they are disgusting… I don’t feel an innate need to disprove his postulation on the reprehensible nature of one of my favored foods, nor does he feel the need to convince me that my taste is obviously flawed for enjoying such a foul vegetable. The reason we don’t have that is because we can still be secure in our existence and world, knowing that each others personal taste in green leafy orbs has no impact on us in any real way. When you start to get into more foundational beliefs like religion, the afterlife, etc, people are unable to allow a conflicting belief or thought because if you accept that an Athiest doesn’t believe in God, then you are, by extension, saying they’re right and it calls your own personal belief into question. My personal stance on that is that I’m fine if you want to be wrong. Hell, if it’s an unproven thing and I have no proof that you’re actually wrong, I’ll even acknowledge that you might be right, it just doesn’t jive with me personally. All I ever ask is that other people give me that same level of respect and thoughtfulness.

    Be ok with YOUR version of right, seek knowledge, grow, and don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know or afraid of what you learn. If I believe something new today that I didn’t believe yesterday, I consider it a victorious day. If I disbelieve something today that I held to be a foundational fact of my life yesterday…. I still consider that to be a victorious day, because today, I have a greater understanding of my world and my existence.

  4. I would challenge Adam and the entire crew to take the James chapter 1 verse 5 challenge. And personally and sincerely ask god if he is real and he exists, and ask for undeniable personal revelation. If he’s real he will answer you and if not then you will have yours.

  5. I would challenge Adam and the entire crew to take the James chapter 1 verse 5 challenge. And personally and sincerely ask god if he is real and he exists, and ask for undeniable personal revelation. If he’s real he will answer you and if not then you will have yours.

    I would say the challenge includes James 1: 5-7 Sincerity in seeking an answer is key you just have to ask and make ready for the consequences.

  6. Ah damn you, had to create an account just to tell you, that America as a country has to grow up – I don’t know how it is in other European countries, but if you would to tell someone you believe in ghosts here, where I live, you would be looked upon as if you told you believe in Santa Klaus and fairies, and other characters of children stories. I’m mostly sure this is true in most other developed countries which have mandatory basic education (and free higher education, that helps too). So maybe if you, as a country spent just a part of the money you spend spying on the whole world, and blowing the other parts of it on educating your citizens, people would not get shitstorms on twitter for making sense. But, maybe that’s just me.

  7. Personally I think that the human race is too immature and naive to say with any glimmer of certainty that there is or isn’t a god. With our existence confined to the 3 dimensional corporeal realm we are currently in, it is the height of scientific illiteracy to say one way or the other. The best answer you can give is ” I don’t know “. Or what you hope there is or isn’t. Any other answer only flaunts ignorance and promotes delusion of truth.

  8. All this talk about ghosts and Adam doesn’t comment on he and Jamie’s Epic Rap Battle of History against the Ghostbusters? Aw man! I want to hear more about how he felt watching it (beyond the simple tweet he made publicizing it.)

  9. Personally I think that the human race is too immature and naive to say with any glimmer of certainty that there is or isn’t a god. With our existence confined to the 3 dimensional corporeal realm we are currently in, it is the height of scientific illiteracy to say one way or the other. The best answer you can give is ” I don’t know “. Or what you hope there is or isn’t. Any other answer only flaunts ignorance and promotes delusion of truth.

    ^ Couldn’t agree more ^ Best comment about god ever!

  10. I would challenge Adam and the entire crew to take the James chapter 1 verse 5 challenge. And personally and sincerely ask god if he is real and he exists, and ask for undeniable personal revelation. If he’s real he will answer you and if not then you will have yours.

    I would say the challenge includes James 1: 5-7 Sincerity in seeking an answer is key you just have to ask and make ready for the consequences.

    Yes, sorry it’s 5 -7. Adam I double dog dare you to do it privately and sincerely, off camera no witnesses, just you and god 1 on 1.

  11. I really appreciated what Adam said about the assumptions that underlie the use of so-called “scientific equipment” to search for ghosts.

    If ghosts really existed, then I would expect that, by now, there would be a “theory of ghost phenomena” in the same way that there is a theory of relativity or a theory of evolution. Without a theory to guide you, it doesn’t matter how precise your measurements are, if you have no context within which to interpret them.

    Having said that, the “shotgun” approach of gathering as much data as possible is valid if you don’t have a theory to follow. However, ghost investigators would do well to start focusing their efforts. They need to start advancing hypotheses and taking their “scientific measurements” with the goal of confirming or invalidating them.

    In a shooting range where the real scientists have achieved such an understanding of their field that they’re able to hit moving targets with blowguns while blindfolded, most ghost investigators are still having only middling success hitting the broad side of a barn with their shotguns.

  12. Penn and Teller seem like some seriously chill guys, the kind of guys you could meet at a bar, and then go bar crawl for the next 6 hours. I’ve never seen them live, but the shows and snippets I’ve seen on TV have been pretty amazing to say the least. I like more of the slight-of-hand magic myself, more than making an Abrams tank or an elephant disappear anyway.

    I agree with the outlook that Adam has on afterlife and the like as it impacts other people, each person can believe what they want, the issue is when they push that belief onto others. My only issue I have with some of the things you guys talked about with the whole Ghost Adventures firestorm is that there have been multiple times Adam has said that the only thing between science and screwing around is writing it down. They’re collecting and recording what they have as data, which is in the field of writing it down. I mean I don’t want to really go nuts on it, but I can see both sides of this. I see where Adam is coming from, there are no actual scientifically based research, large science community funded, or fields of schooling in science about ghosts and the afterlife, and their effect on normal life as we know it. At the same time I see where they’re coming from, because they feel like they have proof of something, and just because someone disagrees with them, doesn’t make them wrong. To me it just makes them on the other side of the table. Bottom line, to me, you’re both right, and I guess just as easily, both wrong. I mean who knew the quark was a thing?

    To address the cyber-bullying comment, I could see how someone could think that. You made a comment on the internet, that boiled down to calling someone out for something in a potentially negative way. I didn’t take it that way, but out of context or just read with a certain infliction, and it can be easily skewed either direction. Almost anything anyone types on the internet can be taken to a crazy degree and shifted to fit a purpose, sometimes that purpose is to start a firestorm, sometimes it’s just to make someone seem like an asshat. You’re not an asshat Adam, but some people will twist and pull things until they get it to come out a certain way, and I’m sure you’ve encountered this before.

    Anyway, I’m sure I’ve probably made some people irritated with what I wrote, but I feel like you don’t need to damage control any of this. I guess my main point would be to stay firm in your beliefs, they’re yours, not someone else’s, but keep an open mind that just because it’s not a thing now, doesn’t mean it will never be a thing later, and I would say to call anyone out who is twisting and changing your words to fit their goals. That’s just no bueno.

    In the end, take it easy, keep doing what you’ve been doing, if people have a problem with who you are, and you’re not pushing ideas or beliefs onto others, then that’s their problem, not yours.

    I dismount my soapbox.

  13. From the dawn of human history…

    Every question ever answered

    Every mystery ever solved

    Every riddle ever unknotted

    The answer has never been “The supernatural”.

    A person can talk about what they believe until they are blue in the face, but actual, fact claims can always be checked. Snakes can’t talk… this planet was never completely covered in water… Mumbling a few Latin words over your pancakes in the morning will not turn them into the body of Elvis.

  14. Ghost Adventures is about these three guys who are ghost hunters who go out to locations and investigate possible hauntings.

    I am a fan of both Mythbusters and Ghost Adventures. If Adam, who is a man of science, agreed with the idea of ghosts it would be a bigger shock then what he said. I really don’t know what people were expecting Adam to say.

  15. Adam,

    As someone who knows a number of Federal employees in Canada, it’s worse than that. They basically can’t publish, or talk to anyone outside of government.

  16. I have never seen a ghost hunting, mind reading, bigfoot show which wasn’t shady or cruelly giving people hope to people instead of sticking to the facts.

  17. This is actually one of my favorite Still Untitled episodes. I’m totally in Adam’s camp regarding the afterlife, God, and ghosts. I don’t believe in any of it, but I have no need to argue with or criticize others regarding it. (Unless it affects government policies, and therefore, me.) I’ve never understood why an atheist would be insulted by “In God We Trust” being on money, or people saying “bless you”. How can you be offended by something that doesn’t exist? Context matters, and understanding where someone is coming from matters. Someone saying “bless you” when you sneeze isn’t meant as an affront to your beliefs. It’s just a politeness. A societal expression of well-wishes. Some of my fellow atheists need to get the stick outta their butt. 😉

  18. Ecclesiastes 9:3-10New Living Translation (NLT)

    3 It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. 4 There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

    5 The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. 6 Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. 7 So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! 8 Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!

    9 Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave,[a] there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

  19. Most ghost hunting crews on tv tend to have a skeptic or two along. Saw a parody once, can’t remember where, that made fun of how the skeptic comes to believe in ghosts while the hardcore believer doubts their belief due to the inconclusive footage.

    For the people trying to turn this into some sorta religious thing. If god really did exist he would’ve left long ago after humanity continued to prove itself unwilling to change. He had several times given humanity a chance to do good, and it always turned back round to square one. From the old testament there are probably a dozen or so examples, which include Moses, Noah, David and many more. New testament it’s easy to point at his ‘son’ Joshua. Though there might be a couple more examples in it I can’t recall right now. However, as I said, every time god gave us a chance, we didn’t change. We just marched on continuing to do what we did before, but now in his name. That includes killing and even going far enough to attempt genocide. The benjamites are a decent example for the latter, but also the crusades where convert or be killed and converted in death was the motto of the priests leading the armies. There are at least 3 or 4 religions that all worship him but follow the different prophets.

  20. Love the idea of people with differing beliefs can still be civil and have positive relationships. I personal don’t agree with everything you believe but we can still be friends. Our world be be a better place

  21. i like adam’s way of handling differing beliefs.

    at the level “science” is invoked when it is put against any other religion, it is not any different from any other belief anyway.

    actual, empirical science, as governed by philosophy of science, is not answering deep questions. it is a process to find the best predictive tools we can come up with right now, for a certain space – namely, everything that common sense says can be intersubjectively experienced (thus, empirical science) and somehow measured. the big tradeoff of always having the best currently possible prediction is that every dictum we get out of the method is subject to be thrown out for its improved successor (yay progress!). and since empiry is the only legit source of data from which to fashion these predictions, there is no way to positively proof anything, only to disprove and trying to make something better. nothing in empirical science is ever final. and if, by chance, we did stumble upon an equation that holds true til the end of time? we have no way of ever verifying it as final.

    science posited as an alternative to religion, is the belief that the space covered by science is all space there is, and that the general kind of rules science is preoccupied with is at the root of all activity in this world. in shprt: that the general subject matter of science is all there is. that’s as much an attempt at making sense of the world as is saying it has been created by one god, or by many gods, or a flying spaghetti monster, or is the physical manifestation of heavenly music, or whatever else we can come up with as a framework of meaning to make sense of existence. cartographing what happens in the world we occupy is a different question than asking why there is something in which stuff can happen to begin with. saying that there is a final purpose to it, or saying there is absolutely nothing to it, are both pot shots, largely guided by what feels right to each of us, personally.

    my grandfather once told me that throughout his life, he always felt like there was someone watching out and meaning well for him, and that this wasn’t at all easy to accept at first. while i find it poetically beautiful, i don’t share his belief at all. but how would one even begin to refute this feeling that he legitly had, and that undeniably coloured his view of the world to include an overarching benevolent force he calls god? it’s just as legit as my feeling that there isn’t one.

    imho, the real key lesson is not to be a dick to others about it all. personally, i find it far too interesting how others make sense of the world to engage in silly arguments that are impossible to go anywhere anyway.

    “what you are saying about science is wrong because it doesn’t follow what the central meaning-giving book is saying about it!” and “but what your book says is wrong because it isn’t sufficiently covered by science!” is structurally equivalent: “your framework of constructing meaning is incorrect because my framework of constructing meaning doesn’t allow this meaning to be constructed” two people, each intently focussed upon their own navel, unaware of the fact that when they turn around, their butt is still behind them.

    • Penn and Teller is greatest show in Vegas. Plus the Rio’s buffet has steamed pork buns.
    • When it comes time for the Star Wars spoilercast; can it be a huge event and have Gary, Frank, and Jeremy there? A six man round table, 2-hour discussion, would be awesome to listen to on the commute home.
  22. Being a hardcore buddhist I must admit to a certain tiredness of all prozelytising belief systems, be they god-like or no-god-like. I do like ice-cream, though.

  23. I know Adam is a busy guy but these videos are way too short. I could listen for hours.

    Agreed, He has a great voice and could easily have a career in reading audio books.

  24. I totally agree that Adam is a ‘critical thinker’. I’m deeply impressed with him as a person, and love what he does. But I feel the implication is that those who believe in the supernatural are ‘non-critical thinkers’. This is disingenuous at best and possibly insulting although I’m pretty certain Adam didn’t mean it like that. To me this term has maybe more ‘baggage’ with it than ‘atheist’, although I realize he’s basically trying to make a broader statement than ‘atheist’ would, especially in the context of ghost-stuff.

    Theology is a science – it has rules, processes, and logical conclusions. It also has assumptions just like any other science. Christian Theology in particular has had very smart, deep critical thinkers over the years – Paul, Augustine, Martin Luther, C.S.Lewis, Deitrick Bonhoeffer, R.C.Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, Pope John Paul II…a very long list. You may not agree with their assumptions, but given their assumptions, the conclusions they reach are well thought out and logical. And my take is that their assumptions are self-consistent.

    To assume that ‘what we can measure is all that there is’, is, in my judgement, short sighted and limiting. If that’s an assumption you wish to make, more power to you. But please don’t conclude that just because someone makes a different assumption that they’re not being a ‘critical thinker’.

  25. I’m so on board with this. If I hadn’t had a previously scheduled vacation I would flown out for Tested: The Show> Love this site will buy again. +++++

    I forgot to add that I’ve signed up to be notified when Behind the Myth books more dates.

  26. HDR

    My deeply held belief has now been shaken. Before today I’d never have believed that there were any HDR photos that weren’t total crap. If Vincent Laforet actually does use HDR on his photos, he has done so sparingly and masterfully.

    Theology/Science

    Theology, the study of religion, may be a science*. Religion, however is not a science. Oncology is the study of cancer. Does that make cancer a science?

    Cyber-bullying

    Really? Unless the other person is a minor who’s still developing emotionally. Hopefully all of the adults have come to terms long ago with the fact that for every single one of us there’s a person who views us and all of our beliefs with utter derision.

    Atheism/Religion

    Atheism is not not a religion. Religions have a whole slew of beliefs and customs attached to them. Atheism is ONLY not believing in god.

    Science/Religion

    Science is not a religion. Science is based entirely on proof. Religion is based entirely on belief.

    Ghosts/Supernatural

    No one puts it better than Tim Minchin:

    “If anyone can show me one example in the history of the world of a single spiritual person who’s been able to show either empirically or logically the existence of a higher power with any consciousness or interest in the human race or abilty to punish or reward humans for their moral choices or that their is any reason other than fear to believe in any version of an afterlife…

    I will give you my piano, one of my legs, and my wife.”

    *it may be a science, but the lion’s share of Theological programs lack the experimental rigor necessary to actually qualify.

  27. I think there needs to be a part II to this podcast and invite Dan Aykroyd. Dude knows his shit about ghosts, like for realz

  28. I really enjoy hearing about adams view on people with differing beliefs. Being a “critical thinker” myself —I love this term—I always feel bad when atheists put religious people down for no reason, but their belief. Very good friends of ours, my sort of surrogate parents, are very religious people and I can see how their faith helps them live a beautiful and fullfilling live and I can honestly say, I wish there where more people like them, no matter of what religion or just by being open minded, more power to them.

  29. I was going to watch the SOTU address, but then I see this was posted…much more interesting…I’ll watch the speech later…

  30. Based on a quick look on IMDB, David Rees’ show has overtones of “Beekman’s World,” a show that explored such things as gravity, inertia, levers, and snot. BW was a science show on TLC (The Learning Channel). Sort of like Sesame Street for Science. Also no longer with us (although Paul Zaloom (Beekman) still makes appearances in character).

    re ghosts: To quote the Cowardly Lion: “I do believe in witches! I do, I do, I do believe in witches!”

    Adam– what do you say to someone when they sneeze?

    re Penn Jilette- he was on NPR’s every now and then filler show where people talk about their Beliefs– and it was supposed to be a ‘positive belief.’ Penn said he positively believes there is no afterlife– so if you’re going to be good, “be good for goodness’ sake!” Do it on your own; no need to gussy it up as a means to ensure your welcome into a non-roasting afterlife!

    –Paul E Musselman

  31. I wanted to sign up to a premium membership, but can’t seem to do it using a VISA Debit from the UK. I don’t have any of the other cards listed, any other options?

    Never mind, I’m a muppet.

    For anyone else, numbers have to be split into the correct 4 digit segments by a space. *hangs head in shame*

  32. A 3 way Lego build off I hope this not a joke. I would love to see Adam, Will and Norm race to build Lego and Heck maybe the could even get Jamie to come throw some Lego together .

  33. As a Canadian post secondary student studying policy (political science hybrid with economic theory and law) I must correct Adam on the info he cites about the Canadian government funded sciences program. While yes funding does need to be approved by an organization that faces political pressure it can be given with relative freedom despite its scarcity. Scientists can publish their papers with freedom assuming they are not breaking any academic or intellectual laws. It is only when it comes to speaking to the press about their research that researchers who’s research was funded by the government, be it directly or not, are required to receive express permission to speak. This is however focused on the research itself and not on general discussion so most political scientists are able to comment with a great degree of freedom as to the actions of the government or their predictions for fallout from particular government action. The bigger problem that has been raised recently with science education in Canada is that of the Canada Revenue Agency (Canadian version of IRS) investigating a number of charities for mostly political reasons. A prime example of this is the investigation of a charity around bird watching in Ontario for being excessively political because they sent a letter to government saying they were concerned about development destroying bird habitats. This is the bigger political problem in Canada that a number of government agencies are being politicized to exert pressure against environmental and social justice views.

  34. These threads are usually worse that non-productive, but here’s why the “critical thinker” line bugs me:

    -Socrates

    -Plato

    -Aristotle

    -Augustine of Hippo

    -Thomas Aquinas

    -William of Occam (yes, a monk gave us Occam’s Razor)

    -Rene Descarte

    -Fyodor Dostoevsky

    -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    -William Shakespeare

    -Isaac Newton

    -Joseph Pieper

    -Thomas Jefferson

    -Thomas More

    -Dante

    -Blaise Pascal

    -Thomas Edison

    -Louis Pasteur

    -Evelyn Waugh

    -Walker Percy

    -Albert the Great

    -G.K. Chesterton

    -Erasmus

    -Sophocles

    …etc.etc.etc. – So these guys aren’t “Critical Thinkers”? The guideline by which we now determine “Critical Thinking” is if they agree with atheists or not?

    “There is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    The stifling thing about most modern atheists is the asinine belief that empirical science is in some way the end all and be all of knowledge. Aside from the very pertinent fact that most folks take the claims of empirical science at face value without themselves verifying those claims, it is, like all other things we deal with, a human enterprise and subject to human weaknesses. The theory of evolution did not spring from the head of Darwin intact, like Athena from Zeus – it has undergone a long, messy process to become the shambling, weak-kneed creature it is today, subject to being knocked apart and put back together again by the discovery of some new fossil that casts its time line, its assumptions all askew. And I’m not picking on evolution – this is true of all schools of empirical science (theoretical and practical).

    “Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which lead to the truth” – Prof Lidenbrock (Journey to the Center of the Earth)

    Empirical science is grand. I enjoy tech as much as the next bloke (otherwise I wouldn’t be on this site so regularly), but to pretend this is the limit of human knowledge is foolish. To pretend that immaterial things matter not because they are not of matter is immature. Philosophy, metaphysics, theology – these grand and noble sciences have long sought the answers to questions many modern atheists are too unimaginative to ask. “Why is a certain order of musical notes beautiful, and a different order of those same musical notes horrible?” “Not only do I want to know what virtue is, but what makes virtue virtue?” “What is Justice and what makes it Justice?” “Is there a purpose to life?” “What is love? What is the difference between passion and charity? Is love physical, emotional, a mental state, obligatory?” “What is happiness? A feeling? A state of being? A mental delusion?” These questions cannot be answered on scales, with digital calipers, or by the most infinite mapping of the brain matter. We still, to date, are baffled by human language despite the most valiant attempts that have been made to squash this immaterial phenomenon into a tidy empirical box.

    Why are these things important to consider? Because they are vital components of the human experience and if you choose not to consider them you put yourself on the side of the uncivilized barbarians. Understanding these questions, and, to some degree, their answers, helps us better understand who we are. Be patient with those who fling Bible verses – they do not mean harm and usually know now better. This is not about “feelings” or “emotions” or any such thing. Let’s not even make it about the Bible. Rather, why not choose to explore a vast tapestry of knowledge that has been woven centuries before you were born and consider its richness instead of just trying to wipe your feet upon it? If you think little of religion, consider what it inspired. The greatest architecture in all the world. Profound music, beautiful art, amazing literature, noble men, gracious ladies. Don’t dwell only on the flaws – don’t go to Paris and spend all your time exploring the sewers. Like it or not, we all live today in the shadow of the great Western Civilization build by Christians to conform with Christian philosophy – consider not just the merits of what you are living in, but before you try to tear it completely down take a look at what’s waiting beyond its borders. It ain’t pretty.

    Food for thought.

  35. Adam,

    I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to hear your position on beliefs and respecting others. As a “critical thinker”, aka Atheist, myself; I have often found that the mere mention that I do not believe in God causes much consternation and defensiveness in those who do believe. What I have found as a way to disarm the moment and open up an avenue for constructive conversation is to say, “I am an Atheist, not an asshole”. That always works to reassure them that just because I do not believe does not mean that I am critical in the least that they do….

    Again, very well done! I very much enjoy the podcast, and I find myself looking forward to it as much as I do to Mythbusters… In fact, your podcast has given me a WHOLE lot deeper appreciation of what, how, and why you do what you do on the show; thus making the show all that much more interesting and enjoyable.

    Thanks for all that you are doing And please keep up the great work!

    Cheers!

  36. Will from another podcast i can not remember which one you said the day you got your glasses you moved grade and got moved to the back row of the class and couldn’t read the board

    The exact same thing happened to me, my teachers could never understand why i could not read what they had written when asked, or why i never took notes from the board, i never realized how blurry my eyes were until i got my first pair of glasses and i was like WOW so this is what TV looks like! its so clear. almost like going from old rabbits ears to 4K or HD

    but when i turned 10 they started to offer a surgery offered for my condition here in Australia in the public hospitals and my parents signed me up and since they corrected the issue iv not had to wear glasses again for 20 years. the thing is because i use computers a lot from a young age i do have some short sightedness but it only comes when iv used the computer all day, some side affects from my surgery are i get eye strain pretty often from using computers [ my job ] and i need to do some eye exercise to keep its from coming on too often and some mild headaches but other than that i have 20/20 vision i get tested yearly got work and i always pass with flying colours

    but i have never ever met someone with such a similar story about their sight issues so that was really awesome

    BTW – i am the guy who emailed you about Adams print that i never was able to buy. 5 months later and still didn’t get one 🙁

  37. Guess I’m not the only one who uses a waiters corkscrew knife for opening everything. Always on my table.

    Also, Penn and Teller!

    I’m an atheist and sceptic. Believing in God in my mind is naive. And there are no ghosts. Although like Adam I hope there’s an afterlife. Would be cool.

  38. I’m a deeply religious person and I agree with Adam more than most preachers I’ve heard. I love his perspective.

    Wasting time debating over unprovable, yet hopeful, concepts like an afterlife is pointless as it is divisive. I’d rather join my non-theist friends in celebrating the good and hopeful things in our collective humanity. Who cares if the lens through which they do it is spiritual or not?

  39. I’m probably a bit late to the party with my comments. I am a Paranormal Investigator, but I also class myself as a skeptic. I’d be the first to admit that most of the stuff done in the paranormal field (particularly in amateur circles) is just theatrics. There’s no real science being done, just a lot of pseudo-scientific assumptions.

    My own interest in the paranormal is primarily trying to understand why people claim to see ghosts or experience hauntings. Is it psychological or environmental? Since I’m just a hobbyist, I lack the expertise and many of the tools which would be needed to conduct the types of investigations I would like, plus I encounter resistance to my views from others in the paranormal field (at least in my country). I don’t delude myself that I’m doing any real science, but look at it as a fun hobby which allows me to apply critical thinking skills to situations where people claim there are supernatural events occurring.

  40. As far as yelling abuses at ghosts – everyone knows that works. Or are you forgetting Dr. Venkman when he first investigated the haunted apartment?

    “They hate this. I like to torture them.”

  41. Love the show, been a listener since it started, and this is easily my new favorite single episode. I totally agree with the assessment of Penn & Teller’s show (I saw it last year around this time and got to go back stage; Their green room is truly a sight to behold), and I completely agree with Adam’s position on the terms “atheist” and “skeptic.” I’m going to start referring to myself as a critical thinker more often. It just makes more sense and requires less explanation than “skeptic.”

    By the way, when will Adam carve out some time to rap with Penn some more, either on this show or Sunday School? Or when can Tested do something with P&T?

  42. You Guys should try and get Guillermo Del Toro on this podcast. Just an idea but I think that would honestly be the greatest podcast ever!

  43. Puffin Talking Room with del Toro has to happen at some point, if it hasn’t already and is pending release (they’ve shot at least one episode that is yet to air, so…).

  44. Puffin Adam posted a photo on twitter several months ago of interviewing Traci Des Jardins. It has been over a year since the last Talking Room, so I hope they’ll start posting new ones soon 🙂

  45. I think the key to being a skeptic is to remain skeptical of yourself and constantly question your own beliefs. Otherwise, you simply build yourself a new religion with yourself in the role of God. I think Penn and Teller do this quite a bit in their Bullshit show. They do just enough research to confirm their pre-existing beliefs and often fail to even consider evidence that conflicts with their position. It ends up just being yet another rigid ideology devoid of real skepticism or critical thinking. Maintaining personal skepticism is hard, but I think it is very much worth it. Even if we are all bound to fail at it from time to time.

  46. Well, Bullshit! wasn’t trying to be unbiased, as they repeatedly made pretty clear in the show. They were never trying to find the truth of a topic, but simply attempting to shake people’s opinion of something enough that they would question it. The point of the show was to get people to stop and think/say “I don’t know”.

    Most often this didn’t involve deep research, and in fact the ones where just a tiny bit of inquiry made it all fall apart were probably better suited at achieving that end.

  47. You know, sometimes I regret enjoying your content so much when I start a video relaxing and enjoying a late evening and end it with a teenager’s existential anxiety.

    Not to say that you should restrict your topics in any way because it was still very interesting and enjoyable when I wasn’t stressing myself out.

  48. Two things.

    1) Science is viewed in America as a religion without God. Religious people assume that if you accept a Theory of Science that you “believe in it”. It is my opinion that it cannot be stressed enough that anything in science is our best guess at what is going on based on the observations we have accumulated so far. Scientific fact is a myth based on a false assumption.

    2) If someone says “God bless you” take in to account their beliefs before you criticize them. If someone wishes you well in any form it is about them caring about you, take the compliment and do not obsess about the form it takes.

  49. Penn and Teller seem like some seriously chill guys, the kind of guys you could meet at a bar, and then go bar crawl for the next 6 hours. I’ve never seen them live, but the shows and snippets I’ve seen on TV have been pretty amazing to say the least. I like more of the slight-of-hand magic myself, more than making an Abrams tank or an elephant disappear anyway.

    I know Penn doesn’t drink, I don’t think Teller does either.

  50. Adam,

    Not related to the video but, I did want to say I love the new mythbusters format. As a builder and engineer I really appreciate the more in depth explanation of the builds and tests as well as showing more of the build and trial and error process. I do miss Grant, Tory and Kari, but the extra parts you are showing makes up for the loss of them on the show.

    Thank you for Mythbusters and Thank you for letting these guys into your shop to show us all the fun and amazing projects you build and your process in making these builds.

    Teich

  51. I unfortunately don’t have quote with so beautiful words to express my thoughts that start parallel to yours but diverge significantly. I do agree that a theist can be a “critical thinker” and I think that our hosts would agree. The reason Adam chose that term is because atheist and skeptic have become such loaded terms imbued with some sort of inherit antagonism that he doesn’t want to engage with. The terms themselves and what they describe are quite passive. We could go through your list of people who have contributed to the world of reasoning and science and dissect how much of a true believer each was but then we could all just read Jonathan Israel’s books on the Enlightenment. You forgot to mention Spinoza and Bayle, “theists” who argued for critical thinking. Bayle went so far as to suggest that there could be a nation of virtuous atheists. If I remember correctly both argued for tolerance Spinoza for reasonable people and Bayle for for everyone.

  52. I’m surprised that “”Pen and Teller’s Fool Us” didn’t come up in the discussion about how revealing a trick takes the magic out of it.

    Pen and Teller got into magic for the wonder of seeing the tricks. Unfortunately they have so much experience that they know “all” the tricks and don’t get that feeling anymore. So they decided to host a show and put out to the magic community a challenge “Come try and Fool Us. If you do your prize is you get to open for us in Vegas.”

    It is an amazing series, and their reactions when they get fooled are priceless.

  53. I thought I’d just hop in to say that I support Adam’s view despite its difference from my own. It’s really a fantastic thing to encounter, and I enjoy being able to say that even though I’m a literary scholar that studies 19th- and 20th- century supernatural literature…

  54. I appreciate your post, and I understand Adam’s intent was to find a less loaded term. However, that doesn’t mean he was successful. Using a term that implies those who don’t agree with you are not
    “critical thinkers” is probably not any less confrontational than
    “atheist” or “skeptic.” I understand that the range of beliefs in the
    very incomplete list of names I provided is certainly a topic for lengthy
    discussion, but my point was that it would be foolhardy to imply those people
    were not “critical thinkers” even though they weren’t atheists.

    Even in this podcast there are two rather foolish and
    certainly inflammatory statements made. At one point Will says, “it’s just like anyone believing
    anything” equating belief in God to belief in ghosts. Likewise there is the silly comment about how
    any belief in an afterlife leads to bad behavior here on earth (an absurd
    canard championed by Christopher Hitchens).

    How manifestly wrong is this? Let’s use some science examples. If we had a discussion about alchemy being a
    completely bogus science and I then said, “well, of course it’s fake, just
    like all science” you would, rightly, think I was an ignorant stooge (“What
    the hell does one thing have to do with another?” you might yell). If we were talking about the evils of nuclear
    warfare and I said, “It just goes to show, ALL technology leads humans to
    horrible, destructive behavior,” you would, rightly, accuse me of painting
    with far too broad a brush.

    I’m actually a close follower of at least 2 different
    atheists (I listen to one’s podcasts and read both their weekly columns without
    fail). I value their opinions on history,
    politics, literature, life . . . etc. Somehow they manage to not make off-hand disparaging comments about
    religion (like the two examples I provided above). I
    would call them critical thinkers just as much as I would call Walker Percy and
    John Cardinal Newman critical thinkers. I don’t mean to suggest that Adam or Will or any of the Tested crew are
    trying to pick fights. I don’t think
    they are. However, one should not be
    surprised that such off-handed comments will irritate some and be seen as
    inflammatory by others. While I
    personally couldn’t care less (I’m here mostly for entertainment (Norm vs.
    Soylent!) and then some tech/maker news on the side), I feel compelled to point
    out that stating that one does not mean to offend/provoke is not the same thing
    as actually trying to not offend/provoke.

  55. I believe that if you endeavor to make this world more pleasant than you found it, then IF there is a wonderful beyond, you’ll go there. If not, you’ve made your part of the world better.

  56. The worst flaming I ever received was when I made the comment “If you lie down with dogs you get fleas”.

    People were so angry that I had insulted them and their dogs.

    “I sleep with my dog and we don’t have fleas” was a common comment.

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