The Dentith Files – Skeptics Conference Review

Well, that is, I would almost say, that about the Paranormal paper, except the conference version is likely going into the local Skeptic ‘zine, so its story is not yet (completely) told. Still, nice bit of radio; I’m especially pleased with the talk of Primes and Cephalapods; now there’s a Conspiracy Theory for me.

Next time (probably): Anti-semiticism, RadioLive and Conspiracy Theories.

The Dentith Files

Matthew’s just come from hanging out with skeptics, the New Zealand Skeptics, that is.

He presented a paper at their conference and from what he says it didn’t go down too well. In fact he was accused of “letting in the paranormal.”

Matthew runs through what happened and reports on the conference itself.

[mejsaudio mp3 src=”http://www.95bfm.co.nz//assets/sm/189028/3/dentithfiles.mp3″]

Further reading

Part of his presentation as played on the show a couple of weeks ago.

An unofficial Richard Feynman website with links to a whole bunch of stuff.

Richard Feynman playing bongos


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.

5 comments:

  1. Hah, I’d sure love to hear Vincent Gray espousing his naive empiricism in his own voice. In his Heartland conference talk, he put forth the idea that environmentalists approached scientists and asked them to fake results showing global warming, and they duly did so. (Maybe by “environmentalists” he meant something like “Al Gore”.) Not exactly the kind of theory I’ll associate with “empiricism”, but there we go…

    Also, I think I agree with the idea ‘theory determines evidence’. Reminds me of Wittgenstein’s “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”. 🙂

  2. I suppose (not having heard Vincent’s talk to the Heartlanders) that he could be construed as saying ‘Environmentalists, not having evidence for their position, asked people to fake evidence to justify their silly theory.’

    In re evidence and theories; the whole under-determination issue is one that a lot of `old school’ scientists find both puzzling and irksome. Gray, I suspect, thinks it’s all a plot by the Social Sciences to rob people like him of their stature.

  3. Not having heard the talk to the Heartlanders I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that his comments could be interpreted as saying ‘Those Environmentalists had no evidence for their made-up theory and so they had to get people to fake it for them.’ Gray did state, quite a few times at the conference, that he thought that Enviromentalism had no scientific support whatsoever.

  4. I heard part of Gray’s talk from here, if that helps…

    “a plot by the Social Sciences”

    Or as many would like to call it, the Academic Left™. 🙂

  5. According to many Conspiracy Theorists there is no such thing as the Academic Left, for this suggests that there are also groups of Academic Righties, and it’s clear that all Academics are Left-wing, even when they claim they are not. The Ivory Tower is a Socialist institution.

    Or something like that.

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