Friday, June 08, 2007

Skepticality Podcast


Everytime I visited the USA, I would always buy the current issues of Skeptic magazine. The magazine is the official publication of the Skeptics Society, a scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas, and the promotion of science.

I was looking for something interesting to listen to on my computer and mp3 player, and I found out about Skepticality, which is the official podcast of Skeptic magazine. I was very happy to see the podcast archive that should feed me for a year.

There are two things that currently annoy me greatly and make me think that skepticism should be more widely practiced in Thailand:

1. The "Jatukam Ramathep" hype in Thailand.
2. Books such as "ไอนสไตน์ถาม พระพุทธเจ้าตอบ" which short-change the intricacy and beauty of science in the public's mind by confusing various religious claims with scientific ideas.

In the first annoyance, I am quite pissed that people who claim to be Buddhists blatantly ignore Gautama Buddha's teaching and give in to superstition and worship to attain their well-being. It's as if Buddha never existed and never taught us what he discovered.

For the second annoyance, I usually found gross inaccuracies about what we know about the world through scientific investigation in this type of books. Given the authors' sloppiness about being well-informed and accurate about science, I think it's prudent to assume that they are similarly sloppy about their religion too. The uninformed readers would be fooled by the authors' eloquence and misunderstand our universe in the end. A mind poison, indeed.

Of course, the two annoyances are just the latest fads that reflect our society's preference, and I think the more people consciously become a skeptic, the more we can dispel ignorance and superstition from our society. I firmly believe that democracy critically depends on a large number of informed citizens that can make logical decisions. Sadly such a prerequisite seems to be absent from Thailand.

Anyway, I would like to end on a more positive note and would like to introduce you to a very entertaining video of Michael Shermer giving a talk titled "Why people believe strange things." If your Internet connection is not fast, you would probably want to download the file and play it later.


ZuperMOO said...

I will read the 2nd one and will tell you later that in religion side, it is a fool or not.

Thongrop said...

Very interesting, I might find it and read it :)

Also, I found this

It's about "The Secret", which is also another woo woo believe. And I've seen it in Thailand now :(

I'm sick of Jatukarm too, not that I think Jatukarm himself is bad or anything, I think the way they promote him and how they treat him make him look worse. Oh my Buddha :(