Quickies

Quickies: Psychics and the Truth, the Boys Club of Animation, and Fact-Checking Nonfiction Books

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Mary

Mary

Mary Brock is a scientist who works on drugs you've hopefully never heard of. She enjoys cooking to Blue Grass music, messing with her cats, and hosting the Boston Skeptics' Book Club. She was born in the South but loves living in New England (despite the lack of chocolate chip pizza). Mary does not use Twitter and don't even try to follow her, because she is always looking over her shoulder.

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5 Comments

  1. August 31, 2015 at 10:54 am —

    Is it typical to mock convicts during parole hearings? I guess I don’t know much about the tone, but that seems like the wrong time to be cracking jokes. Also I think parole hearings are going to give you the answer the parole board wants to hear, not the truth. After all they may recant fortune telling, but how often do they praise having found Jesus? Reading this I was wondering if they would mock an evangelical revival preacher the same way.

  2. August 31, 2015 at 7:23 pm —

    On fact-checking. I tried to read James Frey before the balloon burst, in fifteen minutes I knew that he was an unreliable narrator. His story was tailored to the expectations of a large audience, so it was swallowed whole.

    In a more sinister vein. It was only when the pseudo-historian David Irving sued Deborah Lipstadt for libel that his writing were FIRST subject to critical review. On historian-witness at the trial testified that he could not honestly testify to Irving’s accuracy on ANY point without every, single source at hand. No reference made by Irving could be trusted without direct comparison. The judge found that every word that Irving had ever written, all the way back to his first book in 1963, was driven by his devotion to fascism and his desire to exonerate the Nazis.

    But to this day, Irving’s fictional claims about the scale of the Dresden bombing are repeated as fact. The death toll Irving claimed was arrived at by adding a zero to the end of each number in the Nazi government’s report.

    • September 1, 2015 at 4:11 pm —

      I like how Irving said “I’m not a Holocaust historian, I’m a Hitler historian.” That always reminded me of the people who try to divorce the Civil War from slavery. Some acts have such a degree of vileness that they color your opinion of the actor.

  3. August 31, 2015 at 10:08 pm —

    Mary,

    I’m glad to hear at least some physics are admitting that they don’t have any physic powers. If only now we could find a way to get them to do so in large numbers without threatening them with prison.

    • September 1, 2015 at 4:13 pm —

      The difference between a psychic and a magician is, with the latter, everyone knows it’s an illusion. Magicians tend to encourage skepticism, psychics…their entire livelihood depends on the kayfabe.

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