Episode One of Be Reasonable is now online, and you should check it out by heading over to the Merseyside Skeptics website. In this episode Marsh and I talk to the medical dowser Anita Ikonen. The show is in the process of being added to iTunes, so I’ll post a link when it’s possible.

It has been great to read all of the positive feedback on Facebook, the MSS website, Twitter and more. I’m really glad people are enjoying the podcast. I was quite amused to see somebody comment on the MSS website that they wouldn’t listen to the show because they disliked me and, oddly enough, the way I speak. They said

Sorry guys, a podcast too far for me, it just seems to me to be taking the interview portion of the old RI podcast, which I always thought an excellent idea. I loved and miss that show, but the good thing about it ending was no more of that atrocious, self-obsessed woman with that awful, awful speech defect, every “um”, “er” and “erm” peeved me greatly. I won’t be listening.

I do have a very slight stutter that manifests when I’m flustered. Very occasionally I stumble over my words so will pause and mutter the odd ‘um’ while I reflect on what I’m saying. Despite this I continue to podcast, interview people, and speak publicly (at both skeptic events, paranormal events and more) to large audiences of people about scepticism and the importance of evidence based research into paranormal claims. I don’t let it get the better of me and I make the best I can out of what could be a negative problem. I can’t imagine letting something as unimportant as the odd ‘um’ trigger unnecessary negativity.

That’s just me though – and if the occasional ‘um’ or ‘er’ really offends you, well… that’s just you.

5 thoughts on “um.

  1. I think you speak very well, it actually crossed my mind recently when I was listening to this very podcast, and before I read this post. The only flaw, if I can even call it that, is that you always seem to pronounce “th” as “v”, ie: “with”=”wiv”. It’s actually more endearing than annoying though! I will certainly be listening to further episodes of “Be Reasonable”.

    I don’t know how you resist going in for the kill in these interviews. Anita Ikonen seemed very nice, but it really made me cringe to listen to her. She provided a textbook list of things people who think they have powers do to deceive themselves, and as a science student she really ought to know better. It’s almost like she thinks her science training allows her to discard good experimental procedure because she’s clever enough to compensate for any potential biases on the fly, when the lesson she should be taking away is that she should be as rigorous as possible because that is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to error. Nobody is immune to cognitive biases, it’s really the height of arrogance to think that you are.

    What kind of fool thinks it’s okay to throw away results because she “knew it was wrong” at the time she was doing the trial? What if she’d turned out to be correct, do you think she would have still thrown away the results because it felt wrong?

    1. What good would ‘going in for the kill’ do? What good result would that produce? A feeling of smug satisfaction? Hardly useful.

      Also, if Anita is a fool simply for believing in something and not being entirely rational about it, then so are we all in one way or another. As you said yourself ‘Nobody is immune to cognitive biases’. It’s knowing that, that rids me of any desire to ‘go in for the kill’ as you put it.

  2. Geez louise. I just can’t understand how people turn their common decency filter off just because they are online. Placeholder words are common, especially when one’s brain is running faster than their mouth. I think your interviews are great because you take a balanced position, taking care not to ridicule even if you don’t agree with the person’s views. We need more interviews like that. Keep up the good work.

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