login

Author Topic: Penn and Teller: BS!  (Read 31332 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline gbeenie

  • Ephialtes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7313
  • Liked: 415
  • Prepare to die, obviously!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #60 on: March 22, 2007, 05:02:49 AM »
But all you have to do is look at the last fifty years of human history (I'm not even gonna mention the past 100 years, as that would be too easy), and the amazing things that been done to improve the human condition worldwide; that, coupled with the ever-accelerating pace of technological advances, can only be reasonably met with optimism about the future. In my view, it's the pessimists of the world who are generally ignoring important facts that surround them every day.

Well, that may be true for you and me and much of the Western World, but the fact remains that at least 1 billion, maybe 2 billion people, (depending on which study you go by the CDC or the recent JAMA review), still live in bone crushing poverty, slavery and slums.

No one's denying that. BUT, thanks to our current amazing ability to access and see information from all around the world, we are far more able to understand the size and scope of the problems, and to hopefully deal with them effectively. Hell, in the past sixty years, nearly a billion people in poorer parts of the world have been saved from starvation by the actions of one man (food scientist Norman Bourlag, very probably the greatest human being who has ever lived. And he's still around; how many of our forebears can say they lived at the same time as someone who had such a positive impact on the world?). In the absence of all other evidence, that alone would be cause for optimism.

Want another example? Look at the PlayPump (www.playpumps.org). The FIRST human need, above ALL others, is safe drinking water; here's a playground that children in rural Africa play on, which, through their activity, pumps safe water from deep underground for their villages. That isn't just life-giving; it's beautiful, in virtually any way I can think of to define the word. It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. I honestly don't see how cynicism and pessimism can look at such a wonderful beneficent creation of the marvelous human brain, and not simply whither and die.

And these amazing things have had a huge negative impact on our environmental niche.  Now, I say OUR environmental niche because I have no such silliness in my head that we are hurting the planet in any way.  We are hurting ourselves.

There's no evidence to support that. Air and water quality have IMPROVED in most of the world over the last thirty years, and in the places where they're not improving, they're getting worse at a much slower rate than they had been. The reason, again, is technology. The industrialized world is learning to balance its needs for productive capacity with environmental concerns, and the result is not only environmental improvement for us, but the creation of more opportunity for prosperity for the third world. Most of the third world's problems are political; what the people living in oppressive regimes need the most is information, to show them that they don't have to live that way. Did you know that right now, in Iran, millions of people are getting information their fundamentalist theocracy doesn't want them to have, through the use use of satellite dishes (which are illegal there)?

You're right, Randy: the genie IS out of the bottle. But the genie is not the end of us. The genie is the potential for human magnificence, and it's here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

And it's all out of bubblegum:)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 05:07:31 AM by gbeenie »
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

- Conan O'Brien


Offline gbeenie

  • Ephialtes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7313
  • Liked: 415
  • Prepare to die, obviously!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #61 on: March 22, 2007, 05:09:40 AM »
I find it funny that certain people seem to point out the sites/media who oppose Michael Moore as if they're unquestionably pure fact while pointing out that his movies do nothing but lie.

How so? A thing is either true, or it's not true. If Moore purports something in one of films to be factual, when it ISN'T, how is pointing that out "funny?"
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

- Conan O'Brien


Offline pyro

  • Not Hurt By Pain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1308
  • Liked: 0
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #62 on: March 22, 2007, 05:33:52 AM »
One small example to support Randy though is that the Romans seemed to be way ahead of their times (plumbing, philosophy, etc) but after their civilization failed a lot of their ideas were lost for years...


Offline torgosPizza

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 7733
  • Liked: 247
  • Heaven is nowhere, just look to the stars.
    • RiffTrax
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #63 on: March 22, 2007, 05:57:01 AM »
Just as a reminder, Penn and Teller: BULLSHIT! is premiering Season 5 tonight.

The episode, entitled "Obesity," airs tonight at 10pm on Showtime.


Offline RandyMistie

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2290
  • Liked: 116
  • Hello!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #64 on: March 22, 2007, 06:45:23 AM »
Beenie, I think you have profound Star Trek poisoning!

Look, my problem is I just do not have any faith in the Human Animal.  We are essentially the same grinning, gibbering, bloodthirsty apes we were 100,000 years ago and aren't likely to change in the next 10,000.  What you are talking about is all window dressing.  We will always have better machines but for the most part, these machines allow us to get places faster in order to kill, torture, and maim more efficiently.

In order for us to survive the the next century or the next century after that, we will need to fundamentally change our very perceptions and emotional responses from reptile to something somewhat more enlightened.  That may happen, it is absolutely possible, as is anything.  An evolutionary leap, some divine or otherworldly intervention, or cosmic mutation could make us wake up and stop slaughtering everyone and everything around us.  Remember though that mass extinction is a regular event for good ol' Mama Earth.  She likes to clean the slate every couple million years and start over.  There are several natural disasters that we will have no control over and that are kind of "overdue" in a geological timescale, that could wipe us out lickety split.

As far as the environmental thing:  sure, it gets better in one area and worse in others and people point to the good and say, "See?  Everything is cool!"  But the eco-system is all connected as one living organism.  If China is polluted, (and it is BIG time), then so is/will be America.  This stuff doesn't just go away.  When we dumped 70 million tons of Dioxyn into our own eco-system in the 60's and 70's because we just didn't know any better and there was no EPA, we didn't realize that that stuff NEVER goes away.  Now, our babies are born with it, our food is full of it and it is having effects and will have effects on all of our health for hundreds of years to come, until our biology can adapt to it properly.  Just as one small example.

But, hey, maybe someone will come up with a miracle like the "Dwarf Wheat" that you refered to, or some neato Star Trek technology that will save the world, (as long as it's profitable for some mega-corporation, that is!)
Hi!  I'm Randy and I'm a Riffaholic...


Offline gbeenie

  • Ephialtes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7313
  • Liked: 415
  • Prepare to die, obviously!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #65 on: March 22, 2007, 07:43:19 AM »
One small example to support Randy though is that the Romans seemed to be way ahead of their times (plumbing, philosophy, etc) but after their civilization failed a lot of their ideas were lost for years...

That's because they only survived long enough to go from polytheism (which they mostly stole from the Greeks, anyway) to monotheism, which is inherently anti-advancement. Had the Greeks not been vanquished and plundered by the Romans, there's evidence that their ongoing move away from polytheism would have resulted, not with yet another religion, but with reason and enlightenment, and human civilization might well have been 1500+ years ahead of where it is right now.
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

- Conan O'Brien


Offline pyro

  • Not Hurt By Pain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1308
  • Liked: 0
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #66 on: March 22, 2007, 07:59:15 AM »
Yeah, I actually meant Greece... I tend to get the 2 confused a lot for that very reason...

But I was talking more about Aristotle, Socrates, and Aristotle as far as philosophy goes...  And mainly about how technilogically advanced they were for their time and how after their demise things sorta fell apart if I remember correctly till after the Middle Ages.


Offline pyro

  • Not Hurt By Pain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1308
  • Liked: 0
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #67 on: March 22, 2007, 08:01:26 AM »
Just as a reminder, Penn and Teller: BULLSHIT! is premiering Season 5 tonight.

The episode, entitled "Obesity," airs tonight at 10pm on Showtime.

got that email earlier today  ;D, also looking forward to the premier of This American Life afterwards which I hear nothing but good things about the radio version of but have yet to listen to...


Offline gbeenie

  • Ephialtes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7313
  • Liked: 415
  • Prepare to die, obviously!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #68 on: March 22, 2007, 09:18:15 AM »
Beenie, I think you have profound Star Trek poisoning!

Sorry Randy, but I don't believe in Roddenberry's hippie free-love commune version of the future any more than I believe in Rick Berman's "happy communist" version (seriously; watch the scene in First Contact where Picard is explaining to Lily how the economics of the 24th century work. He's describing Red China, for crying out loud!).

Look, my problem is I just do not have any faith in the Human Animal.

Faith is belief without proof. The problem is, you DO have faith; in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, you persist in the belief that human beings are only capable of savagery and self-destruction. This is exactly the same as the "original sin" garbage that religion tries to sell.

We are essentially the same grinning, gibbering, bloodthirsty apes we were 100,000 years ago and aren't likely to change in the next 10,000.  What you are talking about is all window dressing.  We will always have better machines but for the most part, these machines allow us to get places faster in order to kill, torture, and maim more efficiently.

In order for us to survive the the next century or the next century after that, we will need to fundamentally change our very perceptions and emotional responses from reptile to something somewhat more enlightened.  That may happen, it is absolutely possible, as is anything.  An evolutionary leap, some divine or otherworldly intervention, or cosmic mutation could make us wake up and stop slaughtering everyone and everything around us.

Again, where's the evidence? The last century has seen the greatest increase in the standard of living for human beings in the history of the world. The wars that we still see around the globe are primarily the death throes of religion, which foolishly believes that there is a level of violence that can turn back its march into oblivion (its march into obsolescence having been complete for nearly a thousand years). And this hasn't happened because of "some divine or otherworldly intervention, or cosmic mutation"; it's happened because it's not just our bodies that evolve. Our thinking has also evolved; to believe otherwise is to ignore virtually everything you see around you, and to dismiss the advances in our daily lives as mere "window dressing" is not only fallacious, but misses an important point: our ability to focus on minutiae is not only proof of our ongoing evolution, it's the substance of it as well. We already think differently than we did 100 years ago; a century ago, every person on this planet (including those here in the civilized West), with a FEW notable exceptions, had to eat EVERY SINGLE THING they could lay their hands on in order to avoid starvation. While this is still unfortunately true in many parts of the world, the fact is that most everyone in civilized societies no longer has this concern.

Remember though that mass extinction is a regular event for good ol' Mama Earth.  She likes to clean the slate every couple million years and start over. 

First off, you're anthropomorphizing a hunk of rock. I don't really know how that's helpful. And your statement itself ignores the fact that there has never been another species like ours on the planet; our ability to adapt doesn't even have a close second among animal species.

There are several natural disasters that we will have no control over and that are kind of "overdue" in a geological timescale, that could wipe us out lickety split.

NOW you're changing arguments. You've gone from "we'll destroy ourselves, just wait and see" to "well, Mother Nature has it in for us, so it doesn't matter anyway." And I disagree in either case; do you know how many people weren't killed in the tsunami of 2004 who would have been, were it not for early-warning technologies some places had? And how many who died could have been saved, if such technologies had been more advanced and widespread? If you wish to frame it in terms of "Man Vs. Nature," then I've already chosen my side (most of you reading this have, too; you just don't realize it). The primary technological goal of human achievement has been to put ourselves in a position where nature (which, in direct contradiction to the "Mother Nature" nonsense most of us have been subjected to for decades, is not kind, charitable, forgiving, nurturing or gentle) can no longer fuck with us. We're not all the way there yet, but you better believe we're getting there.[/quote]

As far as the environmental thing:  sure, it gets better in one area and worse in others and people point to the good and say, "See?  Everything is cool!"

Please read what I actually wrote, Randy, instead of trying to shove me into your own ideological box. You come across as a bit condescending when you do that.

But the eco-system is all connected as one living organism.

Again with the nonsense of trying to put a human face on the environment.

If China is polluted, (and it is BIG time), then so is/will be America.

Except that America is FAR less polluted than it used to be (regardless of China's problems), and ultimately, China is going to be put in a position where their continued economic growth will be dependent on them cleaning up their act. If China's problems really ARE our problems, then it follows logically that our solutions will be their solutions.

This stuff doesn't just go away.  When we dumped 70 million tons of Dioxyn into our own eco-system in the 60's and 70's because we just didn't know any better and there was no EPA, we didn't realize that that stuff NEVER goes away.  Now, our babies are born with it, our food is full of it and it is having effects and will have effects on all of our health for hundreds of years to come, until our biology can adapt to it properly.  Just as one small example.

And don't you think the fact that we DO know better now is just one small example of how our thinking changes and evolves over VERY short periods of time? I have to say, your example IS novel; I haven't read a word about Dioxin in at least twenty years. If there IS an ongoing health problem resulting from its former use, I'd actually like to learn a little about it.

But, hey, maybe someone will come up with a miracle like the "Dwarf Wheat" that you refered to

Dwarf Wheat is NOT a "miracle"; it's a product of the human brain, the only force I respect or fear in the entire universe.

or some neato Star Trek technology that will save the world

Once again, you make with a snide Star Trek reference, and again I detect a note of condescension. Not only is it not appreciated, but, to put it bluntly, given the merits of our arguments, it's not even remotely justified.

(as long as it's profitable for some mega-corporation, that is!)
I certainly hope so. Corporations are responsible for virtually everything you see when you look around you (indeed, they make our very ability to have this conversation possible); hell, a corporation brings us our beloved RiffTrax. I'll trust a hundred corporations I KNOW to be corrupt over ONE government that purports to be honest any day of the week.
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

- Conan O'Brien


Offline RandyMistie

  • The FBI Pays Me to Surf
  • *
  • Posts: 2290
  • Liked: 116
  • Hello!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #69 on: March 22, 2007, 10:22:02 AM »
You know what, Beenie, I am really sorry.  I did sound condesending and I really didn't mean to.  When I read it back I was a little shocked myself.

You make excellent arguments.  And I have admitted many times on this forum that I know nothing.  Please forgive me.  I wrote in haste with not enough editing.
Hi!  I'm Randy and I'm a Riffaholic...


Offline gbeenie

  • Ephialtes
  • *****
  • Posts: 7313
  • Liked: 415
  • Prepare to die, obviously!
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #70 on: March 22, 2007, 03:40:15 PM »
And I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I'm angry, Randy; I'm not.
"All I ask of you is one thing: please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism -- it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."

- Conan O'Brien


Offline ChrisHanel

  • Not Hurt By Pain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1720
  • Liked: 0
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #71 on: March 22, 2007, 03:46:21 PM »
Group hug, everyone.


Offline pyro

  • Not Hurt By Pain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1308
  • Liked: 0
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #72 on: March 22, 2007, 05:48:48 PM »
couldn't get access to the digital cable TV, anyone catch it?


and why did you delete your post torgos?


Offline torgosPizza

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 7733
  • Liked: 247
  • Heaven is nowhere, just look to the stars.
    • RiffTrax
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #73 on: March 22, 2007, 07:53:44 PM »
Eh, I realized I didn't really need to voice my opinion on the matter. I didn't want to be taken too seriously as taking one side or the other. And besides, the debate was fairly light hearted even if it was passionate.

But I will say that it was a good debate and beenie won.  (Happy now, pyro?) :)

Anyways... the episode was awesome. "Do I smell pie?" Needless to say I feel better about myself, having seen a viewpoint on the show that I hadn't quite considered. Tomorrow I shall celebrate - mexican for lunch, Wendy's for dinner. Sounds like a great day.


Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

  • Compsognathus
  • *****
  • Posts: 10320
  • Liked: 15
Re: Penn and Teller: BS!
« Reply #74 on: March 22, 2007, 11:28:35 PM »
geese i switch shifts (from boring ass nights, to busy days) and i miss THIS??  sigh. 

ps beenie how can you even bother calling randy condescending when you just called every religous person (me pak jproof randy and a few others ive seen admit to it) a blithering idiot and curse on this planet?  Dont you think that sort of bigoted hatred is not helpful to the proper sort of enviroment we would like to see?