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CCI | Penn & Teller Tell A Lie Panel - Comments

Lucid Lucy's Avatar Comment 1 by Lucid Lucy

Ooh, ooh, it's gonna be evolution for the pilot!

Oh, I'm sorry, wrong format. "What is Evolution?"

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 02:57:11 UTC | #854922

brightthings's Avatar Comment 2 by brightthings

These clowns belong in the entertainment industry only and not in the skeptic community as far as I'm concerned. They've been guilty of denying climate change, rejecting conservation issues, downplaying the effects of second hand smoking, and using falsehoods to attack animal advocacy. In fact, their attack on animal groups was so ignorant, dishonest and farcical that I initially thought it was satire. You've got to wonder about the agenda of people who would present information from the Center for Consumer Freedom as if it were legitimate research. No, I can't trust these buffoons on any subject.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 03:19:21 UTC | #854931

DefenderOfReason!'s Avatar Comment 3 by DefenderOfReason!

Penn & Teller on the bible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RV46fsmx6E

Pretty funny...

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 03:26:24 UTC | #854932

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 4 by El Bastardo

Scrolling through the tv guide to see if I have Disco Showtime

Though piranhas won't directly kill you but they will give you a really nasty bite.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 03:29:29 UTC | #854933

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 5 by Alternative Carpark

These guys sure keep themselves busy, what with their "Fool Us" show currently running in the UK.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 04:20:13 UTC | #854953

fuzzylogic's Avatar Comment 6 by fuzzylogic

Comment 2 by brightthings :

These clowns belong in the entertainment industry only and not in the skeptic community as far as I'm concerned. They've been guilty of denying climate change, rejecting conservation issues, downplaying the effects of second hand smoking, and using falsehoods to attack animal advocacy. In fact, their attack on animal groups was so ignorant, dishonest and farcical that I initially thought it was satire. You've got to wonder about the agenda of people who would present information from the Center for Consumer Freedom as if it were legitimate research. No, I can't trust these buffoons on any subject.

Those episodes all proved quite convincing to me. They never denied climate science, by the way, they only point out how hysterical enviro-nazis can be when they themselves don't know the science either and exagerate things.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 04:40:10 UTC | #854956

danconquer's Avatar Comment 7 by danconquer

Comment 6 by fuzzylogic :

...hysterical enviro-nazis can be when they themselves don't know the science either and exagerate things.

You're calling people who care passionately about the planet Nazis... In the very same sentence you knock people for exaggerating?! Hmm! Anyway...

I've enjoyed alot of Penn & Teller stuff, but I think they're at their best when they stick with contemporary consumer affairs, exposing con-tricks, pyramid schemes (whoops, sorry, "Multi-Level Marketing"), bottled water and the like. They have a rambunctious, entertaining style which is not particularly rigorous, and their documentaries sometimes rely on misleading caricature of their opponents, using some of the oldest tricks in the sneaky editors book. These guys are regular performers in Vegas for a reason; because they are entertainers first and foremost, not scientists.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 07:31:00 UTC | #854986

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Comment 8 by ChadSmith1452

Heartily agreed, brighthings; they're dribling buffoons. To wit, in their '(Environmentalism is) Bullshit' episode, they sought to bearout the show's title -and succeeded handily, with inverse adroitness- by going to some rally and getting several unwashed, unlettered hippies to sign a petition in favor of banning hydrogen dioxide (yes, water).

This stunt of course neither proved nor even logically implied anything remotely germane to its intent, and was nothing other than the shamelessly underhanded erection of a towering strawman as conspicuous as it was high, constructed by engineers about half a standard deviation cleverer than itself.
I wonder how firm a tug upon the convictions of these libertarian harlequins could be exerted by the ropes pulled to erect an analogous straw colossus, say a TV segment in which Micheal Moore went to a tea party and duped several of the redbacked North American apes in attendance to sign a petition against "laissez faire economics"

I felt some reluctance use the phrase "shamelessly underhanded" in my second paragraph, even if the raw crudity and unsubtlety of the stunt leaves little hope of its ingenuousness, for I've seen several of Penn Jillette's podcasts and I must say, strictly as regards his character and intentions, he strikes me, really, as a thouroughly decent and kindhearted human being. But this causes me only a moment's hesitation in observing that his critical faculties are rather modest, if not without talent. \ One could almost say, without much compromise of substance or subtlety, that a libertarian is someone who is too intelligent for Jesus, but not quite intelligent enough for basic climate science (let alone the nuances of complex systems theory). Libertarians in my experiance are almost invariably moderately gifted people with IQ's in the high 120's or low 130's, smart enough to recognize some necessity to heed reason and evidence, but uneasy with the notion that minds far more agile than theirs are far better able to evaluate these things than they, and so prefer assuage their vanity with the precept that truth is ultimately determined my some decentralized, impersonal, mindless process like "The Market".

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:07:19 UTC | #854997

luka_qnice's Avatar Comment 9 by luka_qnice

Comment 8 by ChadSmith1452 ...their vanity with the precept that truth is ultimately determined my some decentralized, impersonal, mindless process like "The Market".

...their vanity with the precept that truth is ultimately determined my some decentralized, impersonal, mindless process like "The Evolution".

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:19:55 UTC | #855001

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 10 by Stevezar

Comment 9 by luka_qnice :

Comment 8 by ChadSmith1452 ...their vanity with the precept that truth is ultimately determined my some decentralized, impersonal, mindless process like "The Market".

...their vanity with the precept that truth is ultimately determined my some decentralized, impersonal, mindless process like "The Evolution".

Yes, evolution and the market have this in common: both are smarter than you are.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:31:48 UTC | #855005

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 11 by justinesaracen

how hysterical enviro-nazis can be <

You logic's pretty fuzzy too. Calling defenders of the air YOU breathe and the oceans that nourish the planet Nazis is pretty fuzzy - and ignorant.

So... are defenders of minority civil-rights hysterical Nigger-lovers? Jew-boys? Pansy-lovers?

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:49:43 UTC | #855014

Tony d's Avatar Comment 12 by Tony d

I like Penn & Teller they come across as down to Earth.Their not up their own arse's. If you know what i mean?

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:54:59 UTC | #855016

danconquer's Avatar Comment 13 by danconquer

Comment 10 by Stevezar :

Yes, evolution and the market have this in common: both are smarter than you are.

Up to a point they are. But humans are now on the threshold of being able to become masters of our own 'evolution'. We will soon be able to iron out or eliminate altogether the countless bothersome flaws that evolution has resulted in: substandard spines, appendices, unreliable eyesight, degenerating braincells.

If humans can intervene and improve upon evolution, is stands to reason we can and should do the same thing to markets.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:10:37 UTC | #855025

spab's Avatar Comment 14 by spab

It wasn't "Environmentalism is Bullshit" as Chadsmith1452 says, the episode was called "environmental hysteria!" and was about the extremes some climate groups go to to get thier message across, and how enviromentalism has become, al least somewhat, religous. That was the point of the di-hydrogen monoxide, H20 (not hydrogen dioxide, HO2) segment, that people are passionate first and don't even ask, they just sign these things. It's was to illustrate that people are more concerned about guilt removal than actually learning and understanding the issues. can anyone say "religion?".

Chadsmith, I find it quite interesting that you have experience in measuring the IQ's of libertarians. Could you provide us with the data?

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:15:19 UTC | #855027

Katana's Avatar Comment 15 by Katana

A lot of atheists don't like them for their libertarian political views, which is odd as libertarianism is more socially liberal (the American sense of the word) than any other political view out there favouring the end of prohibition on all drugs and prostitution, ending offensive wars, and protecting the smallest minority of all, the individual. Atheist libertarians (in the more general sense than the american constitutionalist sense i.e. non-aggression principle coupled with personal and economic liberty) do exist, i heard one describe it as "we don't put our faith in the two G's, god and government".

Atheism does seem to have become associated with left wing politics, mostly i think as a reaction to the right wing being associated with religious thought and excessive pandering, though this situation is different depending on where you live in the world. Though i often wonder how religious politicians would profess to be if they didn't have to pander for votes.

I have watched many of the Bullshit! episodes and found them OK, some are better than others, some more hyperbolic than others, but i found the show repetitive after a while and just stopped watching from boredom. They tended to get people from the extremes of both sides for the clips splayed throughout the episodes, the better episodes had people on who knew what they were talking about.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:33:21 UTC | #855034

spab's Avatar Comment 16 by spab

esuther wrote : You logic's pretty fuzzy too. Calling defenders of the air YOU breathe and the oceans that nourish the planet Nazis is pretty fuzzy - and ignorant. So... are defenders of minority civil-rights hysterical Nigger-lovers? Jew-boys? Pansy-lovers?

Hmmm, defenders of the air we breathe and the oceans that nourish the planet? Or perhaps idealogical facists that help keep africa starving and under developed due to their own political agenda? Or allow people to go blind rather than distribute golden rice because of an idealogical hatred of GM food? Or fire bomd labs.........(greenpeace, sea shepard, earth first movement, the ALF)

There are enviro-nazi's out there, (the word nazi is used, i think, in place of the word facist) and while they may be a minority they are vocal and dangerous. This takes away from the excellent scientific work and progess that is being made......

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:34:16 UTC | #855035

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 17 by Peter Grant

Libertarians can get a bit nutty sometimes, but I still like Penn & Teller - they're funny :D

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 09:45:42 UTC | #855037

Stevezar's Avatar Comment 18 by Stevezar

Comment 15 by Katana :

Atheism does seem to have become associated with left wing politics, mostly i think as a reaction to the right wing being associated with religious thought and excessive pandering, though this situation is different depending on where you live in the world.

This is something I have suspected for a long time.

You can test it on yourself. If for example, you do not have much general knowledge about economics, and not much specific knowledge about the current "debt limit" crisis in the U.S., but you find yourself automatically siding with the demorcratic view...then congratulations, you are an association victim.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:08:22 UTC | #855043

Eosimias's Avatar Comment 19 by Eosimias

Or perhaps idealogical facists that help keep africa starving and under developed due to their own political agenda?

How's that, exactly?

Have you actually read anything about what environmentalists are doing for Africa and other developing nations? Population control efforts include educating women, providing birth control, and vaccinating children.

Or allow people to go blind rather than distribute golden rice because of an idealogical hatred of GM food?

I'm also against any knee-jerk rejection of genetic engineering, but you're naming one potentially beneficial product out of many modified organisms that simply allow farmers to dump even more herbicides on their crops. (Google "Roundup Ready.") There are also legitimate concerns with the health and environmental safety of GM crops, as well as GM corporations' tactics of suing farmers whose crops get cross-pollinated with their (patented) varieties.

Or fire bomd labs.........(greenpeace, sea shepard, earth first movement, the ALF)

Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and Earth First! have never firebombed any labs. The ALF is an animal rights organization -- not an environmental organization. Yes, they are very radical (almost every movement has its radical fringe), but even they harm only property.

The "Bullshit" episode wasn't just about environmental extremists and alarmists; it was about environmentalism as a whole. They propogated the lie that scientists in the 70's were predicting an ice age, claimed that 1998 was a peak year for global temperature (despite evidence to the contrary), and they made Bjorn Lomborg look like the voice of reason

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:11:43 UTC | #855044

                                   ike's Avatar Comment 20 by ike

...

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:58:42 UTC | #855067

                                   ike's Avatar Comment 21 by ike

Comment 7 by danconquer

You're calling people who care passionately about the planet Nazis

I call these concerned people, who care more about chickens than people, concerned trolls.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 10:59:14 UTC | #855068

spab's Avatar Comment 22 by spab

Eosimias: How's that, exactly? Have you actually read anything about what environmentalists are doing for Africa and other developing nations? Population control efforts include educating women, providing birth control, and vaccinating children.

I have read some of what’s going on in Africa, I've also seen some of it and there are many issues. I think you seem to think that I am labelling all environmentalism as fascist or Nazi. I'm not, and it seems to have been missed. There are some sweeping generalizations on here so I guess I (and others) need to be more clear. Allow me to try:

My point was, not all (many?) environmentalists are "defenders of the air YOU breathe and the oceans that nourish the planet". It appears to be that most are just joiners trying to remove western guilt by recycling and signing petitions, not actually standing up and doing anything. It this sense, it's fair enough to call the groups that exploit these people with sensationalism and shock tactics as Nazi ( I don't like the using the word Nazi, I'm using it here because thats where this started on this tread, don’t like the word extremist much better but think it fits better than Nazi)

Eosimias: I'm also against any knee-jerk rejection of genetic engineering, but you're naming one potentially beneficial product out of many modified organisms that simply allow farmers to dump even more herbicides on their crops. (Google "Roundup Ready.") There are also legitimate concerns with the health and environmental safety of GM crops, as well as GM corporations' tactics of suing farmers whose crops get cross-pollinated with their (patented) varieties.

Yes, I did just name one, there are many other GM crops that save lives by producing higher yields in harsher conditions and add vital nutrients to foods. There are also dangers and issues as you point out. I guess this is where we either have to read all the science completely before we make a judgement or place our trust somewhere. I’ll put my trust in reasoned and clam organizations than in the sensationalist ones knowing I can always view the data myself if in doubt.

Eosimias: Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and Earth First! have never firebombed any labs. The ALF is an animal rights organization -- not an environmental organization. Yes, they are very radical (almost every movement has its radical fringe), but even they harm only property.

Again, my bad for not being more clear, when I wrote Greenpeace, sea shepherd, earth first and ALF I meant it the refer to the entire paragraph, I can see how you may take it to mean I think they all firebomb labs.

Sea Shepard has been involved with numerous violent acts, normally against the Japanese. Earth first have been linked to bombings and have a splinter group known as Earth Liberation Front that are even more extreme and Greenpeace have been responsible for the refusal of aid due to the aid being GM. Allow me to be clear, these are extreme groups and there are many groups and people doing excellent work and making a real difference. However, to keep this in context, I was responding to earlier posts about the “environmental hysteria” Bullshit show and Nazis/Defenders. I think it’s ok to call out these groups for the damage they do and think the episode was correct. On an unrelated note, first time posting today and if anyone could tell me how to get the quote text is those boxes/bordered off? That would be helpful. Thanks

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 11:26:12 UTC | #855074

luka_qnice's Avatar Comment 23 by luka_qnice

This is from a book review of The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer by Ronald Bailey (science correspondent for Reason magazine) (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303365804576432011569887724.html)

In addition, as evolved social creatures, we have brains that are attuned to trying to discern the intentions of others—and we look for patterns, there, too, and then try to infuse them with human intention and meaning, or what Mr. Shermer calls "agenticity." Patterns in life are variously ascribed to the work of ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers and federal conspirators. "Even belief that the government can impose top-down measures to rescue the economy is a form of agenticity," the author says.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:00:27 UTC | #855084

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 24 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 22 by spab

Place a "greater than" > character at the beginning of any paragraph you which block-quoted. you will need to insert some text if you wish to separate blocks of block-quoted text. You can give it a wee try and check the results before posting the comment. there is about ten minutes "cooling off" where you can edit any comments made, thereafter it is in the "hands of the Mods", pun intended.

Example:

Eosimias: How's that, exactly? Have you actually read anything about what environmentalists are doing for Africa and other developing nations? Population control efforts include educating women, providing birth control, and vaccinating children.

I have read some of what’s going on in Africa, I've also seen some of it and there are many issues. I think you seem to think that I am labelling all environmentalism as fascist or Nazi. I'm not, and it seems to have been missed. There are some sweeping generalizations on here so I guess I (and others) need to be more clear. Allow me to try:

My point was, not all (many?) environmentalists are "defenders of the air YOU breathe and the oceans that nourish the planet". It appears to be that most are just joiners trying to remove western guilt by recycling and signing petitions, not actually standing up and doing anything. It this sense, it's fair enough to call the groups that exploit these people with sensationalism and shock tactics as Nazi ( I don't like the using the word Nazi, I'm using it here because thats where this started on this tread, don’t like the word extremist much better but think it fits better than Nazi)

Eosimias: I'm also against any knee-jerk rejection of genetic engineering, but you're naming one potentially beneficial product out of many modified organisms that simply allow farmers to dump even more herbicides on their crops. (Google "Roundup Ready.") There are also legitimate concerns with the health and environmental safety of GM crops, as well as GM corporations' tactics of suing farmers whose crops get cross-pollinated with their (patented) varieties.

By merely placing a > before the emphasised words...hey presto!

P.S. forgot to say hello and welcome.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:10:08 UTC | #855090

spab's Avatar Comment 25 by spab

Eosimias: The "Bullshit" episode wasn't just about environmental extremists and alarmists; it was about environmentalism as a whole. They propogated the lie that scientists in the 70's were predicting an ice age, claimed that 1998 was a peak year for global temperature (despite evidence to the contrary), and they made Bjorn Lomborg look like the voice of reason

global cooling was a topic in the 70's and there was much coverage of it and sensationalism. At no point in the episode did they say scientists where reporting global cooling, just that there was hysteria about it.

also, the episode was created in 2003, and at that point 1998 was the warmest year on record. since then it's be 2005 and 2010. They did not say it was a peak year and now it was declining, they said it was the peak so far, and since the temperature was now (then) lower, should we be panicing about that?

From Penn's opening lines in the episode it's clear the focus is on feeling sexy because you're saving the planet and the hysteria that goes along with that. it's about how many people are joiners and want guilt removed cheaply and easliy (sound familar, bit like religion). Penn has stated more than once that Bullshit! is an evangelical show and they are biased. but they did not propogate lies or distort evidence....

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:28:27 UTC | #855099

spab's Avatar Comment 26 by spab

Sweet, thanks Amos

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:29:52 UTC | #855100

spab's Avatar Comment 27 by spab

Place a "greater than" > character at the beginning of any paragraph you which block-quoted. you will need to insert some text if you wish to separate blocks of block-quoted text.

Sweet, Thanks Amos

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 12:43:57 UTC | #855105

Nicole85's Avatar Comment 28 by Nicole85

I sincerely hope Penn keeps his classic, "and then there's this asshole", when introducing somebody...but I doubt it sigh

It will be great to listen to Teller express his opinions verbally though.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:46:44 UTC | #855158

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 29 by Tiende Landeplage

First of all, P&T are wonderfully consummate entertainers, tops in magic acts and comedy. In addition, they have been influential ambassadeurs for healthy skepticism, especially in their Bullshit! series.

I'll agree with some others here that the later seasons were usually less inspiring than the first ones where they brilliantly took on "cold reading", "Feng Shui" and other new age (and old age) nonsense, with notable guests such as James Randi and Christopher Hitchens. Their "Bible" episode was actually a bit tame, though- However, they made up for that with their Vatican episode (season 7), which is still mysteriously eradicated from the network's history: Never re-run or syndicated, unmentioned on the official web page and dropped from the DVD collection.

Still, the Vatican episode can be viewed online and is most heartily recommended.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 19:30:45 UTC | #855297

kansas city chris's Avatar Comment 30 by kansas city chris

P & T tell A lie? just one? is this some sort of testing of our skeptical abilities by the dawkins.net people? These two are bought and paid for by the Kock brothers, firmly in the pockets of libertarian ideologs. Didn't anyone pay attention to their Bullshit series? notice that their "experts" more often than not, were Cato institute fellows (just like P & T) rather than real experts,like, say scientists who actually know what they're talking about? Their previous series was aptly named, and it reaked. sure, they're funny, sure they're great magicians, but honest messengers of truth and scientific fact they most certainly are not.

I am really disheartened to see this site peddling this kind of pseudo-scientific claptrap.

Thu, 28 Jul 2011 23:02:36 UTC | #855390