• Skepologist Survivor and Tele-conference Trouble

    by  • 4/7/2008 • geek, humor, science • 0 Comments

    First, unrelated to the PZ Myers thing, I’ve heard about the lineup for a new pilot that friends of friends are making. I question the name of the show, but I guess it’s playing on all the non-skeptical shows like the Ghost Hunters, etc. Anyhow, The Skeptologists. Stars of the show in its pilot stage include Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy), Michael Shermer (Skeptic Magazine, Author), Yau-Man Chan (UCBerkley College of Chemistry CTO, Survivor Fiji), Kirsten Sanford (This Week in Science, Wired 2007 Sexy Geek nominee), Mark Edward (Professional mentalist), Steven Novella (New England Skeptical Society founder). I’m most excited by Yau-Man being in there; I’d rather hear him talk of science and geeky things than reality show intrigue, especially when I know that he can’t be voted off of this show.

    Anyhow, on to the real meat of the latest PZ story … How did I miss this?

    PZ may have been kicked out of the lineup to see the creationist propaganda film Expelled but he managed to stir up a press teleconference in an amusing fashion.

    I’m apparently not the only person that logs in to a conference call really early and leaves the phone on speaker so that I can carry on with my day while I wait for it to start. PZ did the same thing during a call where the press were supposed to call in with an authentication code that would keep them on mute. He called in mute rather early, and in a beautiful example of not allowing intelligence in their actions at all, the film makers and their PR hacks were discussing the upcoming call openly on the line, and they shared the speaker code with the call.

    The code that would allow anyone to dial in and have a working microphone.

    So, doing what I’m sure any of us might have done in his position, he called back in with the speaker code, and he stayed quiet as long as he could.

    So I interrupted. I said, in essence, hang on — you guys are spinning out a lot of lies here, you should be called on it. I gave a quick gloss on it, and said that, for instance, anti-semitism has a long history in Germany that preceded Darwin, and that they ought to look up the word “pogrom”. There was some mad rustling and flustering about on the other side of the phone some complaints, etc., and then one of them asked me to do the honorable thing and hang upůso I said yes, I would do the honorable thing and hang up while they continued the dishonorable thing and continued to lie.

    Then I announced that if any reporters were listening in, they could contact me at pzmyers@gmail.com and I’d be happy to talk to them.

    I heard a bit of the audio on the latest Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe show, thanks to Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson recording the conference and making some choice samples available on her entry on the subject.

    While I agree that the atheists and scientists would be pissed if the situation were reversed; had Ray Comfort secreted himself away in a big evolution press conference and interrupted to correct us on some points of theology. I do agree that this would have been declared out of line and harrumphed over at length by our side, so what makes it right in this case? I really don’t have an answer for that, but it’s still damned amusing, and I think that PZ handled himself very nicely; I wouldn’t have done nearly as well at keeping a level head.

    “We’re sick of being pushed around by the intelligentsia, although I’m one of the intelligentsia”. —Scientifically illiterate and arrogant fool Ben Stein

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