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I found a new favorite podcast. Skeptoid is a debunking website by a guy named Brian Dunning.

Once a week he does a fascinating fifteen minute podcast that skeptically examines something in popular culture. He produced an excellent 40 minute video called “Here be Dragons” on how to examine things.

It’s terrific.

I showed it to my Addiction class last night before doing a lecture on the causes of addiction. I wanted them to know what it means to use the scientific method and what real research was.

The video looks at psychics, vitamins, new age medical treatment and conspiracies.

Dunning does a scene where he argues with himself about 9/11. One voice says things like:

“What about the fact that no steel building ever collapsed/”

“What about building seven collapsing and housing the SEC?”

“What about George Bush’s brother being a landlord for one of the WTC floors”

etc, etc, etc

Dunning answers all of the questions by countering with “Who flew the planes?”

His point was that everything else is a red herring. That when you looked at it there were a dozen or so guys who hijacked these planes and crashed them. There’s no evidence for anything else.

My class revolted. They argued about new age science, defended acupuncture and generally said that you couldn’t trust any research.

Dunning says people like conspiracies, easy answers and magic.

I know I do. I now know my college class does even more.

But could it be that the FDA, the CIA, the military and the government in general conspires against us? If they do what’s their motivation or reasoning?

Watch the video when you get a chance.