Penn and Teller and PseudoScience


Showtime’s show with Penn and Teller is called “Bullshit” and it’s usually really entertaining. Not exactly scientific method here, but I appreciate how they dispense with nonsense somewhat ruthlessly.

I don’t know why Penn is so compelled to say the F word so often, but the show is a very entertaining way to examine silly, bogus, or stupid claims by health, government, and others.

Bullshit is a huge global problem because people choose to believe other (usually misinformed or opportunistic) people rather than examine questionable claims with their own research, now relatively simple to do thanks to the internet. Research won’t get us all thinking the same, but it’ll help keep the irrational nonsense out of the discussion.

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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8 Responses to Penn and Teller and PseudoScience

  1. David Temple says:

    Does Teller talk on that show? I saw one where he was talking and nearly fell outta my chair.

  2. JoeDuck says:

    I’ve only seen about four of them, but no Teller talk yet. I’d like to see their Las Vegas show sometime..

  3. horatiox says:

    Penn and Teller: a voice for Phreedom, man, or at least Penn is, on occasion. Teller doesn’t speak too much (he’s probably been………abused!!). “Bullshit” appears to be fairly amusing, in that Vegass-skeptic manner (Amazing Randi, Carlin, etc.) that scares the F. out of yokels everywhere.

  4. JoeDuck says:

    Thank you, Horatiox, for abbreviating the F word. I’d actuallly put Randi in another league from Carlin or Penn and Teller – he’s a “real” scientist and has done a lot to bring reason into the debate over paranormal nonsense which is enjoying a lot of new acceptance as people turn away from traditional religious views.

    A&E has a new show about “Psychic Kids” where an absurdly ignorant PhD Lisa and a creepy middle aged psychic guy explain to the poor kids and their gullible parents how their active imaginations are really connections to the spiritual realm. Look for a lot more nightmares and disturbed kids thanks to this TV quackery.

  5. horatiox says:

    Randi has done a great deal of good debunking various bogus psychic claims. I would contend that sort of cool reason characteristic of Randi’s research tends to irritate most Americans. Consumers want magic, fantasy, mystery, etc. whether that’s the latest George Lucas flick or the Scientologists or some psychic BS a few streets off of the Vegas strip. It’s fairly common even among conservative techies: they quote their favorite star trek episode and/or invoke “singularity” and are convinced they will be travelling in time (backwards or forwards as need be) in the next few decades. Part of the L-Ron-o-polis.

  6. FoolsGold says:

    >Research won’t get us all thinking the same,
    It shouldn’t. Different Drummers are important in all areas of knowledge. But I’ve always enjoyed the debunking of foolish fads and have taken an iconoclastic view of the world.
    >but it’ll help keep the irrational nonsense out of the discussion
    Well, I will sit under my pyramid, channel with a warrior from antiquity, caress a crystal and invoke the intervention of the Gods in an effort to rid the discussion of irrational nonsense. Now do I throw the salt over my left shoulder or right shoulder?

  7. horatiox says:

    Bullshit is a huge global problem because people choose to believe other (usually misinformed or opportunistic) people rather than examine questionable claims with their own research, now relatively simple to do thanks to the internet.

    Well-stated. The “questionable claims” do not always consist of the obvious Uri-Geller sort, unfortunately.
    Penn & Teller’s rip of NASA, for example, raises interesting political issues regarding the allocation of resources, or something of the sort. Shuttle missions, for instance, should not be considered prima facie “good”; and objecting to NASA (and the commercialization of space) needn’t mean one puts on a “Sally Fields righteously-indignant-leftist” cap. (A great deal of leftist-blog-verbiage relies on vague and/or sentimental generalizations (or other fallacies), as with this clown’s unsubstantiated, pop-marxist clap-trap).

    Where does the BS-investigation stop, however? NASA may be an multi-billion-dollar exercise in futility: what about the Hollywood dream-factory, or pro-sports, corporations themselves? Penn and Teller for the Peoples…

  8. melvinudall says:

    funny how their show does exactly what they try to call others our on. bullshit is a very proper name for their show.

    check out this website which debunks their global warming episode.

    http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptics/bullsheit.html

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