Exposing PseudoAstronomy

September 9, 2015

Podcast Episode 140: Doomsmonth— September 2015


Doomsmonth: September.
What could it bring that hasn’t
Yet been wrought on Earth?

Are we all gonna die this month? You’ll need to listen to the episode to find out. I’ve heard lots of rumors floating around about various things causing our doom, and in this episode, I go through five of them and assess their validity and background.

The logical fallacies segment presents two logical fallacies: Correlation ≠ causation, and cherry picking. Otherwise there’s a bit of feedback from both Gavin and Graham, and that’s it for this nearly 40-minute episode.

10 Comments »

  1. Don’t forget Graham Hancock’s new book!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3230040/Best-selling-author-Graham-Hancock-argues-cosmic-explosion-soon-strike-Earth.html

    Comment by Trekker — September 11, 2015 @ 4:30 am | Reply

    • I’m surprised that he would “go there.” His past stuff could’ve been reasonable under the guise of interpreting history. This is just stupid. Also that “article” was written by him. Daily Mail shows it’s stupid, yet again.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 11, 2015 @ 8:58 am | Reply

  2. (1)Those who confute CERN with LHC don’t want to be asked what a hadron is.(Recall the hadron-sweep in Star Trek/Next Gen?) (2) An owl went a-courting.To wit,to woo.

    Comment by unicorndaniel — September 11, 2015 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

    • Is “confute” a portmanteau of “conflate” and “confuse”? I think “confluste” would be better. After all, “confute” already has a meaning of its own — to prove a person or an assertion to be wrong.

      Comment by Rick K. — September 11, 2015 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

      • confute is jut a word, although i mis-used it. i had thought it meant to falsely equate, but it does not. i should have said “equate” or “confuse”

        Comment by unicorndaniel — September 12, 2015 @ 1:03 am

      • I understand. It’s sometimes hard to find just the right word to describe the thinking behind such claims. Personally, I think we should start inventing new words to help with that. Shakespeare made something of a career out of it, and a few of his suggestions even survived the test of time.

        Comment by Rick K. — September 12, 2015 @ 5:53 am

      • i was looking for a word meaning a false equation, as in falsely or mistakenly equating CERN with LHC

        Comment by unicorndaniel — September 12, 2015 @ 6:37 am

  3. As a historical comment on the ‘Asteroid Panic’ in the 1850’s France was seized by a similar panic which began with a prediction (By astronomers) that a particular bright comet would return in 1857, this transformed into the claim that a comet would strike the Earth on the 13th of June 1857, which resulted in some spectacular artwork and much mocking of astronomers when no comet appeared.

    Comment by Graham — September 13, 2015 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

    • Interesting! Which astronomers? If they were French I would expect much mocking from English astronomers.

      Comment by unicorndaniel — September 14, 2015 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

      • Sadly only the names of the two astronomers who made the comet return prediction survive, they were Richard Dunthorne (UK) & A. Pingre (France, possibly Alexandre G. Pingre), they simply predicted that two comets, one seen in the 1260s and another seen in the 1560s were the same comet and that there would be a return around 1857. This took place in the 1700s. At some point after that an astronomer in Germany who is unnamed in my source made the ‘..impact on 13 June 1857…’ prediction that caused the panic in France. There are two pieces of artwork assosicated with the panic. One depicts a comet ripping the Earth in two, the second depicts an astronomer peering through a telescope while an onlooker tries to direct his attention to a comet (or meteor) in another part of the sky.

        Comment by Graham — September 14, 2015 @ 6:50 pm


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