But before the main presentation, I discussed a few other topics related to skepticism. Let me say first that, particularly in the beginning this talk, was really more of a conversation than a lecture. Here is a link to the recording, if you want to check it out.
So, while you're listening to the recording, I thought I'd clarify a couple of my statements and offer a couple of corrections.
Here is the link for "Friday night at the Meaningful Movies," in Seattle.
The film was called "How to Make Money Selling Drugs." Here is the trailer:
Here is a link for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Take 'im off the shelf, should have been "Talk 'im off the ledge."
Below is a link to part 1 a video of the "Best of Sam Harris," I admire the clarity and calm demeanor with which he delivers his arguments.
The Unpersuadables (The full title is The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science) by Will Storr can be purchased from from Amazon at this link.
Boy, I really garbled this one. What I was trying to say is that in an unbiased test that you will get false positives or false negatives, simply because of statistical probability. An example is that if you flip a coin five times in a row, there is a statistical possibility that you will get five heads in a row. Actually, the exact probability, in a fair coin, of getting "heads" is 1 in 2X2X2X2X2 trials--or only once in 32 groups of 5 coin tosses--a pretty unlikely event. The way to obviate this is to increase the sample size. For example, if you toss a fair coin 6 times in a row the probability shrinks to once in 64 tosses. So, applying this to the highly-selected homeopathic studies, the higher the sample size, the less significant the data were. My statement that "for a percentage of the time you would expect your data to not support your hypothesis" was erroneous, very sloppy, logic. What I was trying to say is that "for a percentage of the time, you would expect your data to not support the UNDERLYING REALITY--just like the coin tosses. Sorry about that. I'll try and be more accurate next time. BTW, here is a link to the definition of type I and type II statistical errors if you want to learn more.
Here is the text of the quote from Will Storr's book:
Stories work against truth. They operate with the machinery of prejudice and distortion. Their purpose is not fact but propaganda. The scientific method is the tool that humans have developed to break the dominion of the narrative. It has been designed specifically to dissolve anecdote, to strip out emotion and leave only unpolluted data. It is a new kind of language, a modern sorcery, and it has gifted our species incredible powers. We can eradicate plagues, extend our lives by decades, build rockets and fly through space. But we can hardly be surprised if some feel an instinctive hostility towards it, for it is fundamentally inhuman.
Here is the short "preview" of an epigenetics lecture that I might give in the future:
The discussion was a little hard to hear, but what it was about was a comparison between Lamarckism and epigenetic change. If you're interested, here is a link that explains the differences.
The discussion was about the limits of scientific "proof." Actually, science doesn't really "prove" anything, it just leads to increasing liklihood of identifying truth. Here is a good video from Qualia that explains this concept clearly.
Here is a link to Phil Plait's arguments against the idea that the Apollo Program was a hoax.
This is where the actual talk about elephants began. For links related to this I refer you to my previous blog post. And, as I made clear in the audio, I don't know a dang thing about elephants. I am in no way am I an expert. So, feel free to disagree with everything I say.
In fact, feel free to disagree with anything I say EVER! What do I know? Do ya think?