James Randi At The World Skeptics Congress And Women, Media And Science #6WSC12

It’s a Sunday morning and everyone is on the edge of their seats, to hear Massimo Polidoro interview James Randi. We’re hearing stories about the Alpha Kids, Philippine faith-healers, Peter Popoff, how his asteroid is larger than Arthur C. Clarke’s (although more recently named – thanks for the correction, Rolak!), the intersection of science and magic…

…and how a matchbox didn’t fool him:

New podcast episode out at the Token Skeptic, one that I conducted a while back – Episode One Hundred And Twenty-One – Women, Media And Science – Interview With Ben Radford.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • http://sparksummit.com Bailey

    Interesting interview – I’m one of the girls who worked with the teen mentioned (we’re part of a group called SPARK), and that e-petition currently has over 75,000 signatures. Julia Bluhm, the girl who started it, was able to meet with the editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine after only 2 weeks of media pressure when the petition barely had 25K signatures. The press coverage has been international, and people are still talking about ways to get magazines to engage in real change.

    I’m disappointed in the lack of awareness around how media affects girls, too. A lot of credit is given to teen girls, which is great – teenagers are much smarter than they’re normally given credit for – but the images in magazines do have an effect on girls and women, and this is a well-documented and well-studied phenomenon. It’s largely a subconscious effect: no, looking at one image in one magazine is not going to give girls anorexia, but flipping through a fashion magazine or watching stereotyped commercials does lead to more body anxiety and worse performance on standardized math tests. There is a real problem with these images. It’s not going to be changed by a boycott, it’s going to be changed by altering standards and talking back to the media.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      I’d be interested in knowing your sources as to ‘well-documented and well-studied phenomenon’? From the discussion I had with Ben (and from the research I did on anorexia), it’s more of a pre-existing problem that is not helped by unwell people cherry-picking from the media to further bolster their condition.

  • rolak

    how his asteroid is smaller than Arthur C. Clarke’s

    A small note: When trying to show off with the asteroid named after him, Randi was ‘displeased’ hearing of Clarke having one for a significant longer time. So he collected info — to happily pay back with the fact that his own (despite of its age) was about a third larger than Clarkes’.
    Definitely a mens world struggle, these pissing contests. I remember some frome my just-grownup years…

    btw: Thanks (from that guy who at least managed to correlate bag and owner ;-)) for your captivating talk on pseudoeducating, a segment of the irrational that speads wildly (and sadly) in germany, too.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Oops, corrected – thanks!


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