Why I Left Joe Rogan on My List of Celebrities Promoting Pseudoscience

On January 14, 2014, I went on the Joe Rogan Experience to call out Joe on what I believed were public disservices done on his show. What followed was a storm of controversy and charges of dishonesty.

You can watch it here (warning: 3 hours).

Before proceeding, I want to be clear that there is (for my part at least) not the slightest bit of bad blood between us. [UPDATE: Unfortunately that didn’t last long. Joe’s last emails to me after the appearance, and after I wrote this, consisted only of obscenities. -BD] Joe is friendly, funny, cool, and just plain-old the kind of guy you want to hang out with. From beginning to end, he has been fair, straight, and honest with me. After the show, we hung out at his awesome studio for half an hour, had beer and chatted. We came away with some disagreements, and disagreements are exactly the reason that good, productive discussion takes place. Disagreement is undervalued. For what disagreements I have with Joe, I value them, and like him personally at the same time. If the rest of this blog sounds like I’m attacking his views, then consider it to be the productive exploration of disagreement.

In our email exchange before the show, I suggested (and Joe agreed) that a good icebreaker to conversation would be my 2008 inclusion of him in Skeptoid #125 “Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience”. In the science and skepticism communities, Joe has long had a reputation as a publicizer of conspiracy theories,  illustrated nowhere better than his infamous debate with astronomer Phil Plait on whether or not the Apollo moon landings were hoaxed. I’d heard that Joe had since moved away from his position on the moon landings, and he did a great job contending Roseanne Barr’s chemtrail beliefs, so I wanted to correct the record wherever necessary.

As a standup comedian and live host, Joe is a master of rhetoric. I’m the opposite; I’m terrible on my feet. I don’t do live debates. I’m much more of a writer. I did not expect to do well if I got into a live debate with Joe about conspiracy theories or anything else. Joe even beat up Phil Plait on a subject where Joe was (at the time) dead wrong and Phil was (still) dead right, and Phil is much better on his feet than I am. But I was fine with this prospect; it’s entertainment. So before I went on, I tweeted with my tongue firmly in my cheek:

So how did the show go? I should have had more Russian thugs. I got beat up. The whole show ended up hashing and rehashing what World Trade Center 7’s collapse looked like and the value of dietary supplements. Neither of us would give on either subject, so it was desperately repetitive. The whole time I was on, I was thinking to myself that Rogan’s listeners were going to hate both me and the episode.

The fallout was pretty spectacular — if tweets can be considered spectacular. Joe has a huge audience, and the vocal minority of any audience that size is correspondingly large. From this vocal minority (probably a bottom 1%), I received hundreds of hostile tweets (at least) over the ensuing weeks. There were death threats, wishes that I would die, and a huge amount of just plain profanities and name calling (they are particularly fond of the “C word”). It’s not surprising — even my own show has a bottom 1% of fans who send similar feedback to those who disagree with me. I don’t support it, and I’m sure Joe doesn’t either.

There were three common themes to the non-obscene feedback. First, I need to go smoke some weed (which I don’t do because of a life-threatening overdose I once suffered). Second, I have a huge ego. Third, I stubbornly insist on always being right. But the feedback changed into charges that I’m dishonest when I posted the following as an update on the original 2008 transcript:

On January 14, 2014, I went onto Joe’s show The Joe Rogan Experience to discuss this. A blog going into more depth is forthcoming and will be linked here, but Joe did not convince me that he should be removed from this list. Indeed he certified it stronger than ever.

Joe did deny that he ever believed 9/11 was a conspiracy, but then spent half an hour convincing me that it was. He also denied being a moon landing hoax believer and a Roswell believer, and I will give him that.

Let’s see what was dishonest in that update. “Joe did not convince me that he should be removed from this list. Indeed he certified it stronger than ever.” This is a fact. Joe did not convince me. I did not come away from the talk feeling that he should be removed and the remainder of this post will explain why, in detail. I do not claim that he said he should remain on the list, or that he endorsed his position on it.

“Joe did deny that he ever believed 9/11 was a conspiracy, but then spent half an hour convincing me that it was.” This language was so badly chosen on my part that I hereby retract it. I apologize to Joe and to everyone who, understandably, thinks I was lying here. What happened was that Joe denied believing 9/11 was a conspiracy, and then spent a big chunk of the show playing videos of Tower 7 collapsing and saying how much it looked like a controlled demolition, and how people could get that impression. He did not say that it was a controlled demolition. But there is a reason I said this. Following his showing of the videos, I told him on the show that a person who might come in and watch him give that presentation could very easily get the impression that Joe was trying to sell the point that it was a controlled demolition. I felt he was presenting it as if it were a valid alternate explanation. I was not the only one who got this impression.

So let’s get started by looking at why I originally included him in my 2008 episode Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience. Here is the entirety of what I said on the show:

Comedian Joe Rogan does what he can to promote virtually any conspiracy theory that he stumbles onto, apparently accepting them all uncritically with a wholesale embrace. He believes the Apollo astronauts did not land on the moon. He believes the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He believes the Oliver Stone version of the Kennedy assassination. He believes aliens crashed at Roswell in 1947 and the government is covering it up. He thinks Men in Black from Project Blue Book stole his friend’s camera, even though Project Blue Book ended over 38 years ago. The worst part is that he promotes these ideas to the public at every interview opportunity, but gives himself the intellectual “Get out of jail free” card of not needing any evidence by hiding behind the childish debate technique of saying “Hey, I’m just the guy asking questions.” Joe, if you’re going to put so much effort into promoting conspiracy theories and eroding what little rationality the public has left, at least have the courage to come forward with a cogent argument and well-sourced evidence, instead of the lameness of “I’m just the guy asking questions.” Take the responsibility.

That’s what I said in 2008. When I read this on his show, I started by apologizing that back in 2008, when Skeptoid was still a part-time hobby, I did not keep great records of my sources. So to answer some who charged that I made these up, here are sources for each of them.

He believes the Apollo astronauts did not land on the moon.

Joe has been totally up-front that he used to believe this, and that he has since moved away from this (he said as much in his 2013 conversation with Neil Degrasse Tyson). Compare this to his comments in the 2007 debate with Phil Plait on Penn Jillette’s radio show, linked above.

He believes the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He tells me today that he does not believe this, and I’m sure that’s true. But listen to what he said as recently as 2011. On his episode #160, at about the 2:07:00 mark, when prompted to bet whether WTC was a controlled demolition or not, yes or no, black or white, Joe thought out loud about it and said:

…I’ve got to go with controlled demolition, if I had to, one way or the other. I absolutely don’t know. But I would not be surprised if it was proven that it was a controlled demolition.

It would be very difficult to reconcile Tower 7 being a controlled demolition with any version of 9/11 that was not an inside job.

He believes the Oliver Stone version of the Kennedy assassination.

In 2012, in his episode #206, they were discussing Oliver Stone’s assertion that CIA agent E. Howard Hunt was involved. Rogan was asked “So you believe he was assassinated by the CIA?” and he answered:

Yes. For sure. I think. If I had to guess, yeah.

I believe this adequately supports my 2008 assertion. He was still stating it publicly four years later on his own program.

He believes aliens crashed at Roswell in 1947 and the government is covering it up.

Joe also told me on his show, in no uncertain terms, that he does not believe this at all. I fully accept that he does not believe it now, if he tells me so. So where did I get the idea? From this 2001 interview, for one; the same place he also talked about the moon landings being faked based on how compelling a particular shockumentary was. Asked “Does it ever strike you as odd that we come up with new technology so fast sometimes? How computers and the Internet have changed and evolved in such little time?” He answered:

Well, I believe what happened at Roswell, New Mexico played a hand in that.

…and then proceeded to discuss what he perceived as inconsistencies in the official accounts of what happened in 1947. I am open to any alternative suggestions, but I cannot see any way to read this as anything other than an assertion that part of our current technology came from aliens at Roswell that were covered up by the government. Call me crazy.

He thinks Men in Black from Project Blue Book stole his friend’s camera, even though Project Blue Book ended over 38 years ago.

This one I’m going to fully retract from inclusion. I believe this probably happened just as Joe says — and if it didn’t, it’s perfectly consistent with what Blue Book did. Collecting evidence of UFOs was their whole purpose. Theirs was a national security mandate. In 2008 I misinterpreted Joe’s story, and assumed it was a current event. But no, it was the story of someone who was of the correct age at the time Blue Book was operating, identified only as Steve. But I don’t re-record old episodes when there are errors. If I was wrong, let the record show that I was wrong. Instead I compile errors into special corrections episodes on Skeptoid, and I will include this one in the next such episode. My apologies to Joe for misinterpreting this claim.

So then we come to the big question. Why am I not taking Joe Rogan off of my list?

There are two reasons. First, and most simply, it was a 2008 episode, and within the context of 2008 I am satisfied that (with the exceptions noted above) it was true enough. There was no suggestion that the celebrities included were deliberately harmful. I don’t think Joe has ever been deliberately harmful.

Second — and this is what I meant when I said “he certified [my position] stronger than ever” — the debate tactics and argument framing that he demonstrated with me on his show are precisely the type that give misinformation and pseudoscience the energy it needs to permeate popular consciousness. To wit:

Promoting a conspiracy theory is not the same as believing a conspiracy theory. Whether Jesse Ventura or Alex Jones believes a conspiracy personally has nothing to do with whether they put the belief out there and promote it. It’s not relevant whether Joe personally believes that WTC7 was a controlled demolition; if he spends a big chunk of time on his show running the tape and telling people that it has all the characteristics of a controlled demolition, that’s promoting the conspiracy theory. At worst, it encourages faulty thought processes; and at best, it suggests that unsupported ideas are as worthy of consideration as are supported ideas.

In 2001, the FOX network notoriously ran the documentary Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon? This was a public disservice, as it was presented as legitimate theory without proper context. It was a public disservice regardless of the personal beliefs of those who worked on the show. Presenting bad or discredited information as a viable alternative to supported theory or proven history is what we call “false balance” in the media. Isn’t it fair to show “both sides” to a question? Only when it’s really a question.

Shows like Finding Bigfoot perpetuate this false balance. Bigfoot advocates are presented as maverick researchers, bravely pursuing a quarry, the reality of which they are given an unchallenged platform to promote. A viewer who knows little about the subject is offered scarce reasons to suspect that the entire theme is faulty — absurdly so. Yet I strongly doubt the Finding Bigfoot producers are believers. Their job is to engage viewers, not to educate or to care about the accuracy of their product. That they pursue their job without regard to the consequences upon the viewing public’s intellect is unfortunate. It is a public disservice. Moreover, it can easily be done better: The $10 Million Bigfoot Bounty also portrays believing Bigfoot hunters in an engaging reality-television format, but gives them each a science-based smackdown at the end of each episode. This leaves the audience better educated, not worse.

But these examples are people who knowingly put out misinformation without caring. Joe cares. Joe has never knowingly put out misinformation, to my knowledge; and from having met him, I’m satisfied that he never would. He is good people. But let’s look specifically at this snippet from my 2008 piece:

…[Joe] gives himself the intellectual “Get out of jail free” card of not needing any evidence by hiding behind the childish debate technique of saying “Hey, I’m just the guy asking questions.”

It’s great to ask questions — when it’s the right question. Many questions are those which, by their very nature, encourage us to look for only useless answers. An example from my episode 297 on reasoning errors:

The producers of ghost hunting TV shows know that they need to produce a program that yields positive results. They also know that they’re not going to happen to run into any ghosts or catch anything unexpected on camera. So instead, they frame their program around asking the wrong questions: Can we get interesting readings on our electrical and temperature meters? By structuring their show around the wrong questions, they commit a deliberate Type IV error in order to produce the desired answers.

A Type IV reasoning error is asking the wrong question. We shouldn’t ask “Is [US military research facility] HAARP is a weather-controlling superweapon?” Instead we should ask why people might believe such a miraculously bizarre idea; or at least the interesting science-based reasons why we know it can’t be.

I don’t think Joe has ever deliberately asked the wrong question, or asked any question that he hoped might provoke adoption of an invalid idea. But the questioner’s intent is not relevant to the effects he creates.

Joe showed the Tower 7 videos and asked (paraphrased) “Doesn’t this look like a controlled demolition?” But he knows/believes that it’s not, so is there a better question he could have asked that would not have encouraged his listeners to consider an invalid possibility? Yes. Perhaps “What’s a good way to encourage people not to misinterpret this video?” or even “Why are some people so powerfully motivated to assign a hidden agenda to ordinary events?” These are questions that we learn from.

Briefly on the show, we alluded to the (then) upcoming debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham over whether the Earth is as science shows it to be, or whether all natural sciences are wrong and it’s actually only a few thousand years old. This seems, to most of us, to be an absurd question; and by any reasonable scientific measure, it is. It is as basic a question as “Did we go to the moon as all available physical and documentary evidence shows, or could some insanely implausible alternative scenario be shoehorned into fitting a few skewed observations?”

I’m just asking questions.

During our talk, Joe gave me a direct answer to a direct question: Yes, he does consider himself to be a science advocate. I applaud the intent but not the method. Being the one “just asking questions” is fraught with pitfalls. Debating the wrong questions in a popular, public forum is no more likely to give the right impression than it is the wrong one; indeed it will often suggest the wrong impression where none necessarily existed before. Engaging all listeners with the right questions, however, confers upon them the tools to better analyze and understand their world; not just for the current question, but for any they might ponder in the future. And that’s effective science communication.

About Brian Dunning

Science writer Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid.
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196 Responses to Why I Left Joe Rogan on My List of Celebrities Promoting Pseudoscience

  1. Blake Smith says:

    I think since Joe has such a large audience, you could show a heck of a lot of good will by adding an addendum to the episode file and show notes that link to this essay. You wouldn’t issue the retraction some are asking for – but you’d be able to explain your position without breaking your format. (That’s my $0.02 worth.)

    • Shoot, I knew there was something I forgot. Thanks, I will add that right now.

      • Pablo says:

        I enjoy listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast mainly for the information on a variety of topics that I’ve never heard of. My job is then to go do my research and make an opinion for myself; and anybody that listens to his podcast would know that is the whole point of the show. That is the same reason why I decided to come to your site and read more about you.

        That being said, I think that you are doing the very same thing you accused Joe of. If people are listening, you have a responsibility. When you talk about being a skeptic and have such strong positions on a variety of topics, you shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever you want and then retract after you’ve looked into it. I’m certain that as a science writer you must be very knowledgeable in several topics. Also, It is great that you admit to your mistakes, but going on a show live and saying whatever popped in your head and EXCUSING yourself of not being a good debater and that being the reason why you “got destroyed” is ridiculous.
        In my opinion, it is better to admit you just don’t know and look into it.
        Joe was on that 2008 list because of things he said before, and now you where going to the show to give him a chance to make it right, 6 years later!! You decided to leave him on the list but corrected some of the views about him; however, that means you had false statements for your listeners/readers to see for 6 years!! And you dare to say that if someone decided to listen to 5 minutes of the conversation with Joe (not the whole episode or at least the full section on that topic), they would believe he is a conspiracy theorist???

        How can someone have any credibility if they are constantly retracting themselves?

        This is only my opinion and I am not defending Joe or going against you, just encouraging productive disagreement.

        Thanks

        • Stacey says:

          @BrainDunning please respond to this one ^^^^

        • I would say that a person who retracts errors is more credible than someone who won’t.

          • Anonymous says:

            If a large portion of your statements are later retracted, then how am I to distinguish which statements are credible and which aren’t..

          • Ryan says:

            Just to clarify, is the statement above still valid or has it been retracted?

          • @ Anonymous, by evaluating the presented evidence, the methodology used, and the conclusions drawn. Like you would in any other scientific debate or exchange of knowledge.

        • Pablo I think you’re completely off base here. Did you listen to the debate? You say that Brian was “saying whatever popped in to his head and excusing himself of being a good debater and that being that reason he ‘got destroyed’ was ridiculous.” Brian didn’t make any assertions that weren’t true or say anything that wasn’t backed by scientific evidence. I think you’re missing the point of why Brian admits to feeling like he was destroyed when in actuality that never happened, Generally when people argue about conspiracy topics are generally anything that is not supported for solid evidence they begin to rapidly throw at claims that they feel back up their assertion. ie 9/11 truthers saying while how does, that explain thermite dust clouds, how can jet fuel possibly melt molten steal, how could Norad fail times in one day with their proven success rate etc. etc. etc, These are never one question with one answer however the assertor purposes them and expects an immediate response. Some one who is knowledgeable is going to want to take the time to break down and explain each individual question so that the audience can understand.

          However typically as he is retorting to one of the first points the person he is debating will typically throw out a whole other web of question. Brian Dunning doesn’t have nearly the media training that Joe Rogan has so it is much easier for him to write it out and thoroughly debunk all aspects then to try to keep the web straight on the spot in a live broadcast and not forget all the points Joe made to contend to. As it’s Joe’s audience he lacks burden of proof because most are already aligned with the same belief. He can just shape his rhetoric to make it seem like he is still winning when he is really saying nothing tangible.

          Thirdly Brian sources and cites why he made the claims he did against Joe. They were all words taken from Joe’s mouth or former debates he was in. Brian didn’t retract anything because he was wrong. He asked Joe if he still believed these things and in the past decade Joe has changed his stance on a number of conspiracy theories. This shows that he was prone to confirmation bias but presumably he is getting better at seeking out evidence instead of blindly believing what he reads. That is why his opinions are started to change. This is no fault of Brian’s because at the time he wrote the original list these were Rogan’s publicized beliefs so it was more like Rogan doing a retraction of himself.

          As to how can anyone have any credibility when they’re are constantly retracting himself? Not being attached to any of your beliefs is the mark of a true skeptic. You’re not attached to any idea you merely follow what the evidence shows. If new evidence comes up to show that you were wrong you admit it and move on. Joe is getting better at this in my opinion but he still belongs on this list because of his endless promotion and misinformation about nootropics and vitamin supplements. I doubt that will change anytime soon either as it’s a big source of his income.

  2. I’ve listened to very little of Rogan’s show, but I get the sense that he wants to be both a skeptic and a believer. He sees WTC7 collapsing and knows it’s not a controlled demolition, but thinks it looks like a controlled demolition, so it COULD be a controlled demolition.

    It’s the classic “I’m not saying it is, and I’m not saying it isn’t.” If that’s what you say, then you’re really not saying anything. Which is what the podcast episode was, incidentally. Three hours of not saying anything.

    • I get a sense that Dunning and you just want him to pick a side so you guys can argue your points better. Any logical person would read the statements Rogan said and get a sense that he’s on the fence about subjects he hasn’t spent his life studying. Isn’t science about being on the fence while trying to prove something to be real or false? It’s funny how you guys are twisting his words around to make him seem wrong. Like when he said “I can see how people may think it’s a controlled demolition”. You guys are skeptics and science writers but yet you come to the conclusion he believes it’s a controlled demolition. Actually he said he understands how OTHERS would see that as a controlled demolition. You guys are missing basic conversational skills and that is listening. It’s ironic because Dunning even said yes to Joe when he asked him if it looked like a controlled demolition.That would make Dunning a conspiracy believer right?

      • “[Y]ou just want him to pick a side so you guys can argue your points better.” – Isn’t it traditional to pick a side in an argument when you’re arguing about something?

        Otherwise you just have people talking in circles agreeing how something happened and didn’t happen. Which is complete nonsense.

        And saying something looks like something else doesn’t mean it is something else. Do you think the “face on Mars” is a face?

        • A debate is a good thing I agree but when Dunning is taking Rogan’s words out of context just to prove Rogan believes in conspiracy is childish and you know it. I’m not here to say Dunning is a complete liar but he’s made a list and a blog about something so small and out of context it’s comical. And no I’m interested in conspiracies. Not because I know they fake or real it’s because I don’t have the time to get involved in it. So no I have never heard of any face on Mars.

          • I’m more than willing to correct anything that I wrongly took out of context, but if your takeaway from this is that I’m trying to prove Rogan believes conspiracies, you didn’t read very carefully.

          • Fair enough. You are trying to prove he promotes pseudoscience. In my opinion he might bring up topics that are pseudoscience but doesn’t give you the right to make stuff up in a childish way. But you just said you would correct that and I can admire that. But for some people you get one chance. You bullshit someone they are going to think you are always like that.

        • eudaimonus says:

          Mike, creating a dichotomy is not necessary when it comes to figuring something out or discussing what is known, especially something like WTC7. “inside job vs only terrorism” is not the only way to look at the topic. neither joe nor brian have enough information to argue for either side, though joe at least provides a few reasons why he remains skeptical of the government’s story. brian did not have a reason to argue against joe at all. that is exactly why his views seemed so much weaker than joe’s. he took a stance on (made a claim about) a subject that he didnt need to. this is the opposite of skepticism. skeptics dont take a stance on a subject just because it “seems” like pseudo-science. that is why joe explores ideas without becoming necessarily bound to them.

          joe knows he doesnt have enough information to make positive claims about most of what he talks about (his audience knows that too), so he examines the information that he does have or has attempted to find. just because it might support one explanation rather than another does not mean that he believes in one over another. brian seemed to be representing an absolutist perspective most of the time, whereas joe seemed more like a skeptic. one cannot pick sides arbitrarily or speak in absolute terms about unknowns and call oneself a skeptic.

          Dialogue > Dichotomy

        • Torchwood says:

          The face on Mars looks like half a face to me. George Baker looks like Robert Shaw to me: this is not to say I think George Baker (I Claudius) is Robert Shaw (Jaws.)

  3. Walter Clark says:

    Don’t forget Brian, to admit that you are exploiting strong feelings to get your audience to read your stuff. Consider me a cynical skeptic. As a libertarian in a family of statists, I’m so accustomed to wrong-headedness that I just smile and move on. Reading all you had to endure on the Rogan show depressed me. I would use any excuse to escape if I were in your place. You kept in there though, as did Bill Nye with Ben Ham. How do you guys do it. It may be because both you and Bill have your own audience and presenting your experience to them gives you something to look forward to and the more crazy the other guy the more excited your audience will be. It reminds me of something Woody Allen said about prudish people and sexual mores; the more people consider it nasty, the more fun it is. Or something like that.
    So exploit away.

    • liquidmuse says:

      Ugh, bad week to pick a Woody Allen philosophy on sexual mores…

      Walter, it sounds like you did not listen to the podcast, so I’m not sure you’re qualified to write a lengthy treatise, *essentially*, equating Joe Rogan with the intellectual of bereftness of Ken Ham. If it makes you feel any better, Joe Rogan can adequately (ha) be described as a libertarian himself.

    • I don’t get this “all you had to endure” line. Even Brian said, Joe was extremely polite and friendly. It’s not his fault that Brian said and did a bunch of stuff that made him look stupid. And no offense, but you simply can not make bold accusations without knowing at least what facts you are basing them on. Brian did it twice. When talking about Joe’s beliefs in the past, and when trying to paint Dr.Gordon as some evil salesman. If you’re mad because Joe rides the fence a lot, that’s understandable, don’t listen to his show. But you’re not allowed to pick a side for Joe or anyone else. All I’ve come away from this whole dialogue learning is that Mr. Dunning is an extremely bad listener. And he’s willing to contradict himself to try and prove his point… exampled by him saying that we should trust the government when they come out with a statement, but that the government is known for lying so he wasn’t surprised when it was confirmed that they were spying on Americans.

  4. Jim Preston says:

    About the collapse of building 7,”is there a better question he could have asked that would not have encouraged his listeners to consider an invalid possibility?”

    How about, “Yeah, that sure looks like a controlled demolition, I wonder why? Given what did happen to cause the building to collapse, would we expect it to look different? Buildings almost never collapse in modern times due to causes other than a controlled demolition; is it possible that the reason we think it looks so much like one is because that’s our only frame of reference? I wonder what the experts on structural failure have to say about it? I wonder if I could get one to come on my show and explain why the collapse looks so much like a controlled demolition, and how we know it really isn’t?”

    Then he would really be a science advocate, instead of just a guy asking questions.

  5. I listened to the entire episode, but I think Brian missed Joe’s point. His point was terrorists conspired to crash planes into buildings. He never said the US government was involved.

    As for moon landings he clearly said he was wrong about it and has changed his opinion.

    • True, but neither is claimed by Dunning if you read his text above.

      However, he does claim Rogan promotes the notion of an inside job of sorts…. and here it comes down to what “promotion” means?!

      In this case it does not mean “believe” but it means that he promotes the rationale behind why some conspiracists question the WTC7 collapse. He does not believe it hemself, but he does promote the rationale used by those who do…If such “promotion” would qualify someone on a list of this kind, is perhaps a bit of a stretch – but, that is a matter of opinion.

  6. I think you’ve nailed it here, Mr. Dunning. I’m not a listener of Mr. Rogan but I did tune in to hear you on the show.

    I was puzzled by the amount of time Mr. Rogan spent presenting two conflicting points of view while trying to persuade you that WTC 7 could be interpreted as a controlled demolition while he also denied it was an inside job. However what really annoyed me was his refusal to admit any kind of responsibility for the correction of erroneous information presented on his show.

    If you’re communicating with a large audience then as far as I’m concerned, whether the purpose be entertainment or education, you owe it to that audience to correct any factual errors or mistakes to ensure you do not mislead them.

    Mr. Rogan insisted that the views of his guests were theirs and not necessarily his own and that this excuses him from responsibility for what they say. Whether he shares the views of his guests or not does not change the responsibility he owes his audience by sharing his soapbox with his guests.

    I’m sure Mr. Rogan would not interview a Holocaust denier on his show without challenging them with the facts no matter how persuasive an argument they present. Mr. Rogan cannot provide a platform for wild speculation without ensuring the facts are made clear and this is true whether the guest is as innocuous as a Doctor advocating a miracle hang-over cure or as extreme and harmful as a Holocaust denier.

    • liquidmuse says:

      Again, another person discounting the adult ability to reason independently (i.e., the audience). This is getting awfully close to “people are sheep, you must lead them!” for my tastes. In the age of information, people can generally find out if somebody is FOS, or, people can even perform background checks on the guests before, during, & after the show. Joe puts people on his show that he thinks will be fascinating, & if they come on there & hang themselves with illogic & fallacy, then I’m not sure how this is a bad thing, really. 3 hours is a LONG time in any popular medium, really ever, to examine something (even if just conversationally), & Joe consistently performs 3 hour podcasts, several times a week. So yes, every angle of just about every thing does get a bit of exploration, without reason for the most part.
      If you want to throw anything at Rogan, he does tend to Google things DURING the show, & for brevity’s sake often, tends to believe the 1st couple things he reads.

      • liquidmuse says:

        Damn, that’s ironic…I meant WITHIN reason, not without reason, though yes, the only reason to explore things at least a *little* is to ensure nonsense gets dismissed properly, & yes, reasonably. But the reason to do that is to make sure there is no angle or scenario missed. I think the state of “wondering” too often in Skepticland is dismissed as “rank nonsense”, which makes me wonder how anyone would ever be on the cutting edge of exploration if they had no imagination to begin with.

        • Stephen Propatier says:

          I would not agree with characterizing joe’s continued discussions about the WTC 7 “controlled demolition” to be exploring. This has been done for over a decade. The evidence has been looked at but it is not convincing. Additionally over time it becomes more and more convincing that it just is not the case. I mean all the people that have been cleaning and building that site back up find nothing? NO evidence supporting any of the alternating theories popping up. Yet Joe continues to present it like, well I can see why people have questions. Trying to backpedal away from a theory instead of just refuting it. To us is like beating a dead horse. . Yet he keeps on addressing the topic keeps on bringing up the discussion. Like after a decade we should still be looking into this.
          Same tired argument I’m just asking questions, presenting their view point etc. It is a cop out. Questions have been answered and you don’t like the answer so you keep asking the question searching for a different answer.The only reason you do this is because you think the idea has merit. If not, you explore it once, present their views and walk away. You openly say I looked at the evidence as presented and I just don’t buy it.
          Saying well maybe I can see why they think that. Realistically means one of two things.
          1. You have changed your mind but don’t want to admit it.
          2. You really think the idea has merit but you don’t want to considered a loon.
          Either way trying to draw the conversation into a point counterpoint show is just elevating a failed theory to equality with the well evidenced findings. Making weasel statements like I can see how the video cold be seen as a demolition. Is giving weight to something that has none. Doing it repetitive in the face of evidence IS promoting the idea.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think Joe Rogan’s approach to questioning everything is great. However, i agree with you that certain % of his listeners will blindly believe anything he say’s. That’s why it is good to have someone opposing Joe’s method of questioning. In a perfect world people would listen to the podcast you and Joe did with an open mind and do independent research on what they believe to be true or false. So has Joe promoted Pseudoscience, I would say yes because he talk’s about conspiracy theory’s and give’s his opinion, but at the same time he is not being concrete in his decision without evidence. Also, I think he does more good then bad to those who blindly follow him. Furthermore, since you were on his podcast I believe he has become more aware of the effect he has on his audience and I am sure he take’s that into consideration when he or one of his guest’s knowingly or unknowingly come across misinformation during serious discussions.Anyhow, thanks for the post.

  8. idoubtit says:

    Bigfoot Hunters? I think you mean “Finding Bigfoot” (which they NEVER do).

  9. Shirley Rieven says:

    I would be insanely happy if even 1% of ANY conspiracy theory contingent read this post of Brian’s AND, for once, noticed the effort he expended providing:

    * thorough references for his positions,
    * links to direct source materials where necessary, and not least of which,
    * owning up to instances where reconsideration suggested that he was likely wrong the first time around.

    This is good and responsible reporting on Brian’s part and should stand as an excellent example of “How it should be done”. Kudos to Brian for demonstrating the process and for putting in the hard work required to substantiate and support properly. If people put in just a fraction of this effort to learn from others, we would all be better off. But, I fear that there is likely a snow ball’s chance in Bermuda that it will happen in my lifetime. Sigh.

  10. geogavino says:

    I’m not sure I agree that talking about conspiracy theories or pseudoscience, even in an uncritical or flippant manner, is the same as harmfully promoting it. People speak casually and I don’t think that should be condemned. You’re not going to protect people by trying to block them from everything that is wrong. If he had never, in your view, promoted pseudoscience, the dialogue would never have occurred. Bad ideas should be in the open, not lurking in the shadows.

    There is something a little dishonest by falling back on “I’m just a comedian.” Jon Stewart is a master of this.

    • “I don’t believe in Big Foot but those foot prints look real”

      or

      “….those foot prints look real, and here is why they look real and here is why we still conclude them to be fake or very improbable”

      Both are right. Second one is the right way and responsible way to do it. First one is the sort used by Rogan (sometimes a mix, to be fair). Nothing off about that, but let us not kid ourselves.

      • geogavino says:

        “I don’t believe in Big Foot but those foot prints look real”

        That sounds harmless. If the concern is that the second part of the sentence is an attempt to convince the listener that Big Foot is real (which is not the only possible conclusion), then the first part of the sentence explicitly refutes that. It is nothing more than a subjective observation. If I say “that dog looks like a kangaroo,” then I’m not irresponsible for not explaining to the listener that there are no kangaroos roaming suburban Cleveland.

        Rogan did this with Dunning – explicitly stated that he does not think Building 7 was demolished but then went on to try to explain why someone, including maybe him at one time, might think it was just by watching the video. Again, not a conclusion but a subjective observation. Now Dunning says he was trying to convince him that Building 7 was demolished, which isn’t what I heard. Rogan did the same thing with Tyson, but Tyson had a dialogue with him about it and worked out some of the fallacies with Rogan’s observations about the moon landing. Dunning takes a different approach and has mis-characterized what Rogan said. Dunning has good intentions, but what he has said lately is more irresponsible.

        • Absolutely, but it depends in which light this conversation is taking place. If one is an authority of sorts, it demands responsibility. “With great powers comes great responsibility”, is essentially what I am saying.

          I too think Dunning did not communicate his point well in this podcast at all and he purposefully over-read what was being said. But I still think he has a valid concern, rigid as it may seem. If we would only listen to the first 10 minutes, it would seem Rogan was promoting why some doubt the official story of WTC7 (perhaps not himself, but something is rotten here). However, listening to the whole podcast made it clear neither of them doubted it.

          In a normal conversation there is nothing wrong with the “I don’t believe in Big Foot but those foot prints look real” however, when broadcasting to millions one should be more careful and acknowledge ones power and responsibility – and I think this is what Dunning really was talking about and pushing fore. Fact of the matter is that WTC7 did not collapse like a controlled demolition. It fell poorly and destroyed much in its shadow. The reason many doubt the official story is because of the top floors and what appears to be small explosions. Nothing wrong with mentioning this like the mindfuck it is, but when the conversation is anything but private, I think the responsible thing is to push the conversation further than the ““I don’t believe in Big Foot but those foot prints look real” approach. I do think Rogan mostly does though, but perhaps sometimes not enough.

          • geogavino says:

            Point taken. The concern about communication may be valid. And certainly it is virtuous to try to advance the conversation based on reason and evidence. But to say Rogan is promoting pseudoscience, just because someone might think so if they listened to parts of the podcast out of context, It’s just a big stretch. Removing context is a tool of pseudo-science. If nothing else, a skeptic should be explaining the context accurately, not shielding people from their own inability to understand the importance of context. Dunning is sort of a pseudo-critic by painting Rogan in the manner that one might only think without context.

            And if Rogan was really irresponsible in this manner, then Jon Stewart would have to be the epitome of irresponsibility (I only bring him up because the Daily Show is such a good example of context manipulation). Most interviews (not guests on the show, but interviews that are part of the stories from the field reporters) is displayed for the implicit purpose of removing context for both comedy and promoting the views of the show’s writers (mainly Stewart, I presume). And then answering most criticism with the “we’re comedians” defense. Even if the views they promote are correct, the methodology is, by this rigid standard, irresponsible.

  11. “Brian Dunning is my hero.” -Science

  12. Blake says:

    This blog shows clearly that you’re NOT a liar or a jerk. I do think you’re holding Joe to standards of behavior that are too high at best and close minded at worst, however.

    Joe is a comedian. His podcast is designed for people to listen to interesting and funny conversations. It’s not, nor does he claim it to be, a science based show. It’s not really reasonable to expect him to do intense scientific research for every show. It would be like expecting you to write a hilarious sketch and include it in all of your work. Your works have different focuses.

    Also, I can’t help but feel that your positions on some things discussed with Joe are quite close minded, which, as you know, as anything but scientific. You imply that Joe should not even be allowed to look at tower 7 and say that it looks like a controlled demolition. The attitude is essentially “it wasn’t and that’s all there is to it and stop thinking about it!” How unscientific can you get?

    The same thing can be seen with your resistance to any “conspiracy theory.” On the show, Joe pointed out several times when the government HAS done secret and disturbing work (NSA, LSD experiments, etc.) You seemed to move the goal posts in a sense and say those weren’t conspiracy theories because “oh anyone could have seen that coming” or “Ah we only figured that out afterward.” Those points seem quite insignificant compared to the governments actions. Maybe you weren’t surprised that the NSA was tracking all of our information, but I guarantee mainstream experts would have said it was not happening and thinking so was silly or paranoid.

    I agree with you on almost all issues and think you’re doing great work at skeptoid. However, the true spirit of science is to be open to all possibilities. If the evidence does not support an idea or proves it wrong, share how (which you do on your site), but the answer is never to tell people to stop asking questions.

    • Of course the government has done secret and disturbing work, as have a lot of other parties around the world. That’s got nothing to do with whether goofy conspiracy theories should be seriously considered without evidence.

      • Abe says:

        “That’s got nothing to do with whether goofy conspiracy theories should be seriously considered without evidence.”

        I’m not a regular reader of yours or of Rogan’s, and I’m not a truther, but I did watch your appearance on his show. When he talked about the collapse looking like a controlled demolition, why can’t you answer why it isn’t, despite any appearances to a layman’s eye? You had a chance to hammer him down but you didn’t at all.

        Rogan says that the fall of the towers, at least at face value, are similar to the controlled demolition of other large buildings. That isn’t a non-factual statement, as evidenced by the many people who agree with it, and are then misled by misinformation. If you bill yourself as some kind of professional skeptic blogger your game should be much tighter in regards to disarming misconceptions. Instead you you go on his show and mostly appeal to authority without giving any of the knowledge that the authorities would possess.

        You didn’t talk about the physical properties of the building lending towards a pancake collapse. You offered no clarification on the melting point of steel vs the softening of it to the point of failure under load. You didn’t mention the alternate angle photographs of building 7 with a giant gaping hole that the conspiracy websites never show. You just waved your hand, which would be understandable if you were a busy scientist without the time to engage foolish beliefs. But, to my knowledge you aren’t a busy scientist, you’re an internet skeptic who writes for a website all about debunking BS.

        You actually are considering these goofy theories. Your whole gig seems to be in considering them and proving them false. I can understand the desire to not give credibility to idiots by even paying attention to their cries, but when you can’t even address their flawed points with a counterargument that is weak. Your boss at skeptic headquarters should fire you or at least demote you for this poor, shameful performance.

        • Fair enough. As I agreed on the show, the way it fell does indeed look a lot like the way a controlled demo building falls. That’s where the similarity ends. It lacked the other main component of a controlled demolition, which is the whole series of triggering explosions. But this not the place to debate WTC 7. There is a whole page on this site devoted to that, and another on the softened steel, if you want to go there and continue.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          “Your boss at skeptic headquarters should fire you or at least demote you for this poor, shameful performance”. …. Thanks for the well written comment Abe. It is fairly rare that I read a critical review that is so well presented and disciplined. In reading your post, I was impressed with your smooth transiton from constructive criticism to shaming. It seems to me that the skeptical community would be worse off over all if the Skeptic Boss came down from Skeptic Heaven and fired Brian because he performed poorly in a public debate. If you don’t like “Brian’s gig”, perhaps you might consider doing public debates to debunk conspiracies yourself? I see that your writing skills are quite good. Perhaps you are more well rounded than Brian and posess oratory skills as well? That would be very helpful to our cause. But perhaps you are a busy scientist and lack the time or commitment to jettison YOUR day job in favor of a heartfelt and laudable goal. I actually don’t disagree that his was a weak performance (and I suspect Brian wouldn’t disagree either), but no need for the smackdown on this. He already knows. Instead, lets try encouraging ALL skeptics in methods to do public debates better. I think Brian does great in his strong suit (written rebuttals) and certainly has shown more hutzpah and commitment to the cause than most of us armchair quarterbacks. Lets not dissuade him from improving in oratory. Better to strengthen and support than to shame.

          • C (@emlax3) says:

            Brian, I think you can safely post from your Brian Dunning account. There aren’t too many people on here who believe you and “Shirley Rieven” are different people.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            C, that is quite enough. I am a real and distinct person with adequate credentials to speak for my self and just as qualified as you to state my position. If you doubt my ability to speak to the issue of scientific method and doubt my credentials and autonomy I suggest you google my name. Once you have done that, I suggest you come back here and then we will have a conversation about scientific rigor.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            P.S. I have never met, do not know, and have no affiliation with Brian Dunning except in my familiarity with his work as represented through Skeptoid.com. Period.

      • Blake says:

        What bothers me with this response is your word “considered.” Of course they should be considered. Blind rejection of an idea is just as bad as blind acceptance. Should they be ACCEPTED without evidence? absolutely not. Indeed, conspiracy theories are largely silly and completely unfounded.

        I have no doubt, though, that, 5 years ago, a person who said the government was recording everyone’s phone calls and internet activities would have been deemed a loony conspiracy theorist.

    • “The attitude is essentially “it wasn’t and that’s all there is to it and stop thinking about it!” How unscientific can you get?”

      I’ve been reading both sides of this argument off and on for a day now, and I think this quote reflects exactly how I felt about Brian’s effort on the podcast. after listening, I sat back and had two opinions, one new, and one reinforced.

      Joe is a nice, honest guy. He has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to scientific inquiry. He does not, and never will, have the ability to directly observe anything significant on behalf of the scientific community. Unless he’s the subject of a THC study or something.

      Joe Rogan is never going to be a credited author on a white paper. You know exactly what you’re getting when you talk to him. He’s just a good dude that likes to think about things outside the box, even when he speaks “out of school”. Nothing he knows about any topic hasn’t been told to him via conversation or written article.

      But, he’s gotten a lot of unlikely people to consider cutting edge sciences; fields of physics and computer science that would never have never been exposed to them before. Personally, his discussions on Kurzweil steered me towards exploring the nature of AI and the long term implications of social media exposure. It was, at least, a small factor in guiding my academic career.

      One thing I believe about Joe is that he never lies, particularly not to make himself look a certain way, and certainly never to popularize his podcast or leverage attention for his supporters. I trust what he says to be what he believes, and I never feel manipulated by any of his (sometimes absurd) statements. I find that admirable. I think it matters.

      I have limited exposure to Brian, but the impression I was left with was that he too will never directly make a significant contribution to the scientific community, but he does great work when it comes to writing about the contributions of others. What he does is needed – it gives people who get a half-baked idea from someone like Joe a source to turn to that will be strict in its reliance on fact.

      But to be direct, my opinion is that Brian simply has a shitty attitude. Brian seems like the type of kid that would have appealed to the gym teacher in grade school to disqualify a stud from a kickball game for being out of uniform, or try to get a kid with a stutter kicked out of a spelling bee when they stammered on an extra letter. Everything he says seems to be at it’s end incredibly self-serving. At first it made me uncomfortable to watch, then it just made me feel sad for him. As Blake inferred, it just seems childish. I felt at times Brian was circling Joe’s statements, engineering an opportunity to appear intellectually superior. I don’t get the impression that Brian is the kind of guy that I would like to spend any time with. I think he enters an argument concerned with how the outcome will make him look (and Freud might say how it will make him feel), and I think it’s manipulative. I think that matters as well.

      I think Brian likes to strap on his Science cape and fight the good fight, but it’s not on behalf of science, or free thought. It’s on behalf of himself. It’s something I see so much in the “skeptic” community. A bunch of people that pledge undying support and love for the sciences, but don’t actually have its best interests at heart; rather, they imagine themselves standing in the sun in a flowing white lab coat next to Jonas Salk and Albert Einstein, confusing their religious dedication to established scientific fact as some kind of virtue and not profound arrogance. I think Brian (and maybe some of his supporters) fashion themselves as some of these white knights of science, but I just don’t think it’s true. I think, maybe, you see science for the truth that it is, but you feel deep down that by believing it and defending it, you inherently make a similar statement about yourselves. Which is many, many things, but mostly it’s just sad.

      It’s easy to take sides in this “debate”, but the bottom line is that there really isn’t one. One side is committed to using accepted scientific doctrine as a strict framework for what makes acceptable conversation, and the other side isn’t. But what one side lacks in creativity, the other makes up for. Both sides need the other.

      Like it or not, no single innovation ever evolved without a creative person pushing the boundary of accepted fact. Granted, they’re usually not tattooed stand up comedians, but these conversations (JRE episodes) are carried on in that spirit.

      Once upon a time, a lot of men and women who pushed the envelope of accepted thought saw their heads fall into a guillotine basket at the command of people who sound an awful lot like the skeptic community right now. None of us should ever point to anyone else (no matter what their intellectual ability) and say that the nature of their conversation is misguided. It’s absurd.

      Not being told how to think was the whole reason for scientific inquiry. If someone wants to spend time digging into something you don’t agree with, just give them a thumbs up and be happy they’re digging at all. If someday I’m fortunate enough to be published, I’ll be scared as SHIT if people just accept it because it showed up in a journal or it was featured in Popular Mechanics.

      Ricky Jervais said that all comedy is empathy. Maybe good debate is too.

  13. Joe Rogan says:

    You’re a jerk off.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      I have been told by those in the know that you (Joe Rogan) are a reasonable man and that you are a good arguer and advocate. I am hoping that your comment “You’re a jerk off” is not a good example of your communication or persuasion skills. It would make those who came to your defense in this very set of posts look pretty dumb indeed. Had they been right, I would have expected a more substantive comment.

      • josh says:

        Thats not the real joe rogan, jee wiz Reiven you are a pompous dummy

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Yeah, like that is obvious. Why does that make me a pompous dummy? You don’t seem to know the meaning of “pompous” and I can guarantee you that 1) I am not as pompous as you make me out to be, 2) I am not nearly as pompous as I might be. If you want a dose of pompous, stand back because I have just about had as much of the personal attacks as I will take. If you want to call me names, you demonstrate your childishness and ignorance. I think you should put some facts behind your mouth and and stop being a mindless, factless coward who is only equiped to fling epithets.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Ok….so? i don’t really care WHICH Joe Rogan he is. “You’re a jerk off” is still an ignorant thing to post.

  14. Joe says:

    I think you’re giving this guy too much credit, Brian. From the quotes you included from him about 911, Kennedy and Roswell, he seems to just come up with conclusions on the fly without any real thought.

  15. blakej says:

    I love both of you guys and thought this episode had so much more potential. I understand Joe’s need to clear the air on his 9/11 stance, but the episode turned into a witch hunt against you. I hope that he can have you back on the show to talk facts on topics instead of making things personal…and I hope you would be open to that even though I wouldn’t blame you for not being interested again.

  16. Rodrigo says:

    Brian, you were embarrassed on the JRE podcast because of your enlarged ego. If you never admit when you are wrong then you lose credibility. You are not perfect in any way nor will you ever be. Rogan helped you get noticed. Be grateful. Continue your journey but please have a slice of humble pie and get a massage, you are too stiff and uptight. Peace.

  17. liquidmuse says:

    It could *easily* be reconciled that tower 7 could be controlled & 9/11 NOT be an inside job, because maybe the government rigged that tower to go down in case something weird happened at the World Trade Plaza due to the sensitive nature of what was housed in there. This thought (albeit weird) DOES NOT say also that the government was behind the twin towers going down.

    (& isn’t it almost literally impossible, with the LD50 rate, to overdose of ganja, as Brian said he almost did?)

  18. liquidmuse says:

    “A big chunk of time”…”A big chunk of the show” showing Tower 7 going down—15-20 minutes out of 3 hours is “a big chunk”? That’s disingenuous, in my opinion. If we’re going to worship being precise, let’s stop with the misleading euphemisms. In fact, painting someone with the big “celebrity promoting pseudoscience” brush, I think “adequately” leaving someone on there is not strictly correct, when Rogan does not go around proclaiming all of these “conspiracies” to be the truth. It seems to explore all possibilities, WITHIN REASON, is a good way to go through life…yet if Joe does this, he’s “promoting” something. THINK OF THE CHILDREN, errr, adults we must protect, who cannot suss out a discussion & think something is ironclad truth if it’s ever uttered.

  19. Dear Mr Dunning, unrelated, and perhaps still related,

    Quote:

    “But I don’t re-record old episodes when there are errors.”….. “Instead I compile errors into special corrections episodes”

    In my opinion the above policy does a disservice to the individual episodes – as we really have to look at them as standalones, when you have so many of them. Thing is, I enjoy your episodes very much, and consider them a solid fix of whatever topic is being discussed. They are great to link and share etc. when we are debating in our own circles. But, I cannot full-heartedly rely on them until I have listen to the corrections … and this is not only the following ”correction episode” , but every single “correction episode” made hereafter, as some errors are found years later… In other words, the “correction episodes” are fun for the regular listener, but not overly supportive to the power of each individual episode.

    My point is simply, each episode would stand stronger if updated. Keep on making the compilations of the “greatest corrections” but add on epilogue to those episodes where later knowledge really demands it. No need to actually do costly re-recordings, just an added epilogue would make em even better and of course only if the error or new knowledge is qualified as substantial to the topic or conclusion – those errors are rare, but they exist.

    Anyways, just my constructive opinion. Keep up the fight, cheers!

    • I would love to be to do it, unfortunately redoing an episode takes half a day to do properly, and I am not remotely able to keep up with the workload. I need employees!

      • What about a comment at the bottom of the transcript where the references go saying “corrections to this podcast were recorded in episode NNN.” A thorough listener looking for the evidence would go to your references.

        • That’s a great idea. I’ve implemented it a bit with some of the corrections episodes, but doing it in an organized and comprehensive manner remains as a project on the to-do list. There isn’t yet a corrections episode for this one so there’s no link to give yet.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Brian, your boring and you suck the life out of speculative conversation. As a general tip after listening to you, I would recommend that you learn to have more fun and to take the serious nature of reality less seriously, sometimes at least. The only interesting part of your article on Joe was where you stated that you almost died from a weed overdose, would love to hear more about that… Everything else you wrote was boring.

    • So…Brian should have more fun with skepticism. Yet when he posts a music video of a silly rap about science, meant entirely in fun, people attack him for it.

      That’s as nonsensical as believing WTC 7 both was and wasn’t a controlled demolition.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      Personally, I LIKE the idea of “sucking the life out of speculative conversation”. Speculative conversation is, frankly, most appropriately engaged in while enjoying a hefty dose of cannabis, and I’m pretty sure that is not what is intended here. Down with speculation…Up with informed and supported discourse.

      • lao says:

        That is what Joe’s podcast is. That is exactly what it started as and its still at the spirit of it. Enjoying some cannabis and speculating about the universe. Not everyone wants to listen to some rigorous conversation where everyone is afraid to say something that might end up being wrong. Or a convo where people will never venture off into something weird and personal. That is Brian’s podcast not Joe’s.

        I would say what Brian wants isn’t even natural I don’t want to watch some news pundit robot. I like podcasts because its a natural conversation. Brian is real careful he even censors naughty words on his twitter(and judging by my comment not being here, even PG-13 type words). I don’t even feel like that’s really who he is when I see stuff like that its like I’m looking at someone who’s fake.

        So once again I’m left wondering what the problem really is. The criticisms levied against Joe are exactly what make the podcast charming. If he’s wrong about something he’ll usually address it he’s even had experts on to talk about subjects.

        • Skeptoid is not about my personal life. It is a clean tagged show intended for a general audience and is used in a lot of schools. If you feel that makes me “fake” than you are entitled to your opinion.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Astrology is charming… astronomy is science. Just because something is charming and draws market share is irrelevant to the conclusions (or methods) of science. To advocate for science on that podium misrepresents the importance of the idea itself. Humor and charm can be used to spice up a discussion certainly, and I appreciate clever humor as much as the next guy, but science (to many) is fascinating, engaging and worthwhile in its own right. Charm is the frosting, not the cake. Taking that approach would be like inviting a Supreme Court justice on the show and saying to them “Gee, what you do is soooo quaint! You don’t mind if I just mix it up a bit here for ya? My audience really wants funny and really doesn’t care too much for the reality of how you do your work day to day. So sit tight, I’ve got it from here…. trust me.”. Yeah. Right.

          • liquidmuse says:

            This is incorrect, Shirley, because really you’re taking the notion of “Joe’s sense of wonder is charming”—& equating that with astrology…when astrology is something Rogan would probably be biased to dismiss, yet, would spend 5 minutes exploring the ins & outs & whethers & whys of it. It’s why I enjoy Mr. Rogan’s podcast, because he generally has shown an ability to really get at the heart of just about any matter in my opinion a novel & constructive way.

            Just as, if Rogan had a Supreme Court justice on, he’d probably want to know the psychology behind a person who 1)goes into law, & 2)how they go about constructing a new layer of objective reality (i.e., upholding or dismissing laws/cases). To say Rogan would just dismiss a credible & knowledgable person like that while on the podcast in lieu of “Hey, watch me mentally juggle like a silly person everyone!” to me shows you’ve maybe not given his podcast a decent listen (& that’s A-ok, but just like Dunning did in 2008 & 2014 (in listening to something for 9 minutes out of 3 hours), & Proclaiming Something as Fact/Nothing to See Here just strikes me as less than rigorous, & bordering on pompous).

  21. I’ve been watching/listening to Joe’s podcasts for years and I subscribe to ‘Skeptoid’ and ‘In Fact’…and as painful as that podcast being Rogan and Dunning was, Joe has the greatest alibi for nonchalance out there…he can be passionate yet lighthearted at the same time, taking no responsibility for his speculations and rhetoric because he is a comedian. That’s the bottom line. He’s a thinker and and a joker, not a philosopher, scientist, or politician.

    • But he also hosts his podcast, and as the host, it’s his responsibility to control the flow of the show. He easily could have shut down the endless, circular argument about WTC 7 and moved on, but he didn’t. Because he wanted to be right. He wanted to both believe and not believe that it was a controlled demolition. And how do you have anything other than an endless, circular argument with someone who believes both sides of an issue?

      • Anonymous says:

        if you don’t like it, don’t listen. he doesn’t owe you or your skeptic army of closed mindedness anything.

        • Stephen Propatier says:

          I love it the Skeptic Army. Sounds like a rock band
          Really though. Skepticism is founded upon the principles
          1. What is the evidence?
          2. Start from the Null Hypothesis.
          3. Always open to new evidence.
          4 we modify positions according to new evidence.
          Why is that “closed mInded?”

          • Yan Keepan says:

            It is close minded because when you say things like. “You know wtc 7 wasn’t a controlled demolition, so ….” You are not starting with the evidence, you are starting with the conclusion. If indeed it the NIST report is correct it should be a simple matter to examine the evidence regardless of what it “looks like”. I find Brian Dunning’s fear of questioning certain subjects unsettling. I recently watched the Nye vs Ham debate and saw a calm knowledgeable man make a fool of close minded zealot. I watched the a similar thing happen on the Rogan vs Dunning debate.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Yan, just a note: I don’t think Stephen’s list of principles needs to be taken precisely in order. That being said, one well understood method of falsifying an argument is, indeed, by starting with the conclusion first (before the evidence) and then exploring backwards to see if the conclusion can be soundly demonstrated to lead to a contradiction, or other false condition. Just sayin’

          • Yan Keepan says:

            The part of your list that isn’t happening with Brian Dunning, is #4 “modify positions according to new evidence” He seems frightened to gain new evidence about certain subjects and completely unwilling to modify his position based on any new evidence that is presented.

          • Example? Happy to rectify if so.

          • @ Yan Keepan, when listening to the JRE podcast one would get this impression indeed, but I can assure this is not the case in the Skeptoid community. He often has so called corrections episodes, when new knowledge has appeared or if he simple made mistakes. I am sure such an episode too will follow this incident eventually. That being said, I get the feeling that quite strong evidence is needed to change his opinion if it has once cemented…. but hey, some credence is needed in a position like that.

      • liquidmuse says:

        Mike, how is “believing & not believing” something “wanting to be right”? That almost literally makes no sense. Rogan was saying 1)”It looks like THIS” 2)”Therefore, THIS could mean THAT (building was intentionally demolished)”, & 3)”It *does* look like THIS, which *doesn’t* necessarily mean THAT, but if THAT was the case, why would that happen?” & as I’ve said before in this forum…to me, Dunning making the leap to “Was Building 7 demolished” = “The Twin Towers were torn down by the government” was ANTI-skeptic, in that saying one thing happened doesn’t automatically mean another thing happened. Again, with the sensitive nature of the departments in Building 7, it could stand to reason that they had pre-rigged that building to go down if any attack happened at World Trade Plaza. It’s outlandish, but that thought doesn’t mean there WASN’T a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.

        Skeptics (probably rightfully so in the grand spectrum) think this is irresponsible with no evidence…but again I use the phrase WITHIN REASON as the “let’s explore & examine the possibilities in real time of any given subject” as being the Rogan Notion on the podcast.

        • But if WTC 7 had been demolished, someone had to have done it. If it wasn’t the terrorists who attacked the WTC, then it was the government. And if it was the government, then it takes a terrorist attack and turns it into a conspiracy theory that after 12 years, still isn’t supported by evidence.

          That’s the problem with “just asking questions.” At some point, you get an answer. If you choose not accept that answer, that’s fine. But you can’t pretend the answer wasn’t given.

          • liquidmuse says:

            But Brian Dunning is taking the two (Tower 7 was intentionally blown up/the government brought down the two towers under the guise of a terrorist attack) & conflating them, it seems to me…mostly because most “Truthers” do that as well. Rogan is not saying that.

            To me, if the government rigged Tower 7 to go down, i.e., planned that years ago, to protect all the sensitive data in that building, IN CASE the World Trade Center plaza was ever attacked…this DOES NOT intrinsically mean the government engineered the bringing down of the TWN TOWERS. They COULD be two separate things. Otherwise, it’s like saying the government built a secret bunker to house the president in case of emergency…therefore, they engineered the emergency that got him down there.

            The Dunnings of the world, as his 2008 paper illustrated, are in the “A-HA! CAUGHT YOU!” business, while Rogan is in the exact opposite business…”Hmmm…what if?”. See, Rogan ADMITS he wants certain things to be true, because it’d be strangely fun & massively intriguing…but in my opinion, giving air to weird theories (just like Brian does) is not “promoting them”. To this day, I still think Rogan does this within reason.

            Brian shoots the “weird theories” down, using the evidence he has that day…while Rogan brings them up, examines them (in real time), gives them an airing to shoot down, or, consider the ramifications if they’re true. It really is the difference between a hyper-prepared 10 minute podcast, & a completely improvised 3-hour conversation.

  22. Spencer says:

    Being a religious Rogan listener, I had an extremely difficult time listening to the podcast. The back and forth banter was almost painful at times. To be completely honest I may have been in the bottom 1% demographic, briefly uttering terrible things under my breath about you.My scope of life does not require me to consider conspiracy theories, which makes it a complete waste of time to even try to educate myself enough to debunk them. It is merely amusing to entertain such ideas at times. After reading the article above you have garnered a tremendous amount of respect from me. I agree strongly with your statement that you are much better at writing then debating on your feet. The article you have presented is a flawless justification for everything you said on the podcast and also your original article published about Joe’s beliefs. Although I may not agree with your execution of your thought process, you are an extremely smart man and an excellent writer. You have earned yourself a fan.
    -Spencer

  23. craig says:

    Just like to say i agreed with what you said on joes podcast, im a fan of joe but did think he was a little to over the top with this wtc7 building.

  24. andy says:

    Good post, Mr Dunning. I disagreed with the way that you worded a lot of stuff on the podcast, but the overall point you were trying to make was valid. I do think that Rogan always seems like he WANTS something to be true so badly that he is saying it is, even if he doesn’t 100% believe it.

    Really, I just want to apologize for any hate you got. His fans are savages on a good day.

  25. andrew hepburn says:

    I feel like objectivity and the willingness to be open to both points of view is the important thing here , joe understands the endless possibilities and variations in human behavior and the possible events that can conspire due to this unpredictable force . His reluctance to answer definitively is the same reason why i myself sit on the fence regarding these subjects , to put it simply we think we know but we dont really know. I think when you label yourself a “skeptic ” or a ” conspiracy theorist ” your beliefs become defined by that and its easy to lose track of the actual issues as human nature dictates we have subconscious biased toward opinions that support our own ethos . I guess what im trying to ramble is that im happy being a fence sitter and open to any possibility when i myself dont have all the answers .

    • Blake says:

      Awesome response. To piggy back off of what you said, shouldn’t a skeptic being willing to question and demand evidence of all positions, even those that are accepted by the mainstream?

      It seemed like Dunning’s opinion on the podcast was that a person should not even entertain the idea of a conspiracy theory because those are never right. I don’t think that is his true belief, but that’s how it came off and why a lot of people were frustrated.

      • The problem with “demanding evidence of all positions” is that very often, the evidence that people use to back up certain positions doesn’t actually exist.

        • eudaimonus says:

          demanding evidence of all positions ensures that there is evidence of all positions. the burden of proof is on the person making a claim. taking up the “official”, “mainstream”, or “consensus” opinion does not excuse one from explaining why that opinion makes sense. in fact, it just weakens the consensus position if ignorant believers are the ones supporting/promoting it without justification.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Agree. The attitude of “that’s the wrong question to ask, so I won’t discuss it” is not going to do much to convince people. For those who truly want to know the answer, this response is unsatisfactory, and really not what I would expect from Skeptoid. Sure, if the question is wrong, then you won’t get a very useful answer. But the fact that the question is being asked means that people are interested – whether or not they believe the conspiracy contrived around the evidence.

    There’s a moment when a person is questioning their understanding of something, and they’re receptive to some new information or a new way of thinking about it. At that moment, if you respond with “you’re asking the wrong question, we don’t answer that question” or “that’s a goofy theory, not worth talking about” then at the very least, that’s an opportunity missed, and it’s likely that person won’t bother to ask you anything again.

  27. Christo says:

    Unfortunately Mr Dunning, Joe is the kind of person who does awaken people’s interest in science. I think you would agree that this is a positive, however, I think what you want to say but won’t, is that he isn’t qualified.

    This is true, his isn’t qualified, however his podcast with Neil deGrasse Tyson had a huge amount of hits and i’m sure many of Tyson’s fans also listened and watched.

    You should just come out and say what you don’t think he is qualified, the problem for you and other science advocates is that you recognize the need to make science more accessible, but you don’t recognize the fact that you as scientists are not equipped to do so.

    I’m not sure if you are aware of this fact. Like actually think about, you as scientists are not good as science advocates.

    Even someone like NDT, who i think is a fabulous presenter, could only dream of having the audience Joe does. Face it, you suck at advocating science, I have listened to your podcast and seen your show….its frankly, rubbish.

    Joe is a conduit, for better or for worse, people will be turned on to science as opposed to turning off-like when they watch your show.

    He’s not always right, he’s not always wrong, I never take everything he says seriously…

    Just as i wouldn’t show the kind hubris to create a top ten list of “most dangerous celebrities”.

    Get upset or don’t but Joe is just better than you at promoting science and adding him to your list has just given him a wider audience….

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      Speaking of rubbish…. I can barely begin to summarize how many misguided ideas you posit here Christo. “you don’t recognize the fact that you as scientists are not equipped to do so [advocate science]”. This statement is ridiculous and, frankly, is overt stereotyping. Many of my fellow scientists advocate science all the time by volunteering at local schools as guest subject experts and many take their public presentation skills very seriously, often to specifically counter this type of bandwagon profiling. For instance, it is not at all unheard of to meet scientists of all types continuously improving their communication skills through organizations such as Toastmasters International and meet-up groups around the country. I personally have both an advanced degree and Toastmasters Triple Crown award. and have had the distinct pleasure of introducing exuberant fourth graders, college freshmen and grad students to the grandeur of historical and physical geology. An advocacy I am both proud of and humbled by. It is simply ignorant to suggest that subject matter experts are (as a group) unfit to convey their perspectives, expertise and passion about science to an audience, just because humorists excel at it elsewhere. It is equally ridiculous to suggest (even mildly) that a person skilled in the use of humor in presentations is better suited to advocate on any j-random subject simply because of that skill with humor. No doubt about it, humor is a very effective way to gain and keep an audience but it speaks not at all to the issue of how accurately a subject is conveyed or advocated. On a related note, a non-credentialed person has every right to advocate for any idea he or she wishes but that doesn’t mean he or she will do so accurately, honestly, or forthrightly. As Harlan Ellison so succinctly put it… “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”. If a person wishes to advocate a subject or action but is not able (for whatever reason be it opportunity or motivation) to gain any relevant credential, then their burden is heavy in that they must be willing to make a concerted effort to ensure their understanding of the material separate from established and accredited organizations. It is not that it can not or should not be done, but that it increases the burden or credibility on the speaker. It is on this point that you draw completely the wrong conclusion. You state unequivocally that what isn’t being stated is that Mr. Rogan is “not qualified”. I rebut your suggestion, saying that Mr. Rogan is perfectly capable of being qualified and/or credentialed, if he chooses to make the effort. Either credentialed or non-credentialed but qualified would be recognized IF the ideas presented are well considered and well formed. Advocating science should (IMHO) represent the subject from the get-go using and respecting the core tenets of science. It feels to me that advocating science primarily through the use of misdirection and sensationalizing of hot-topics that mean little or nothing in the field is both lazy and disingenuous on the part of the presenter. Indeed, I would hazard to say that a presenter that claims to be advocating in this manner is riding coat-tails to garner social power and has little interest in advocating in truth. I would seem that if one was going to make a living doing a public broadcast where humorous speculation was the main event then one should straightforwardly say so and leave the title of advocate for someone who is willing to do more homework. Science advocation should be more than saying “ooooo! Now THERE is a hot topic my fans will like. Lets do that!”. Pure RUBBISH! PURE PURE RUBBISH!!!

      • Christo says:

        “Many of my fellow scientists advocate science all the time by volunteering at local schools as guest subject experts and many take their public presentation skills very seriously, often to specifically counter this type of bandwagon profiling.”

        Interesting, while i can’t be bothered, but am happy to be proved wrong, interest in the hard sciences and maths is steadily decreasing. I am sure you take your public presentation skills very seriously…as I take my poker…that doesn’t mean I am any good. The gradual decline in interest in the hard sciences and maths in the US might have something to do with its advocacy or lack there off.

        “it is not at all unheard of to meet scientists of all types continuously improving their communication skills through organizations such as Toastmasters International and meet-up groups around the country.”

        Sure, strive to keep improving, but that wasn’t my argument. Keep aiming high, but Joe does it better. That sucks, but its true.

        “I have had the distinct pleasure of introducing exuberant fourth graders, college freshmen and grad students to the grandeur of historical and physical geology.”

        Happy to be proved wrong but point to some trend data showing increase in uptake of these hard sciences and maths.

        “it is equally ridiculous to suggest (even mildly) that a person skilled in the use of humor in presentations is better suited to advocate on any j-random subject simply because of that skill with humor.”

        They are not skilled on the subject but they are likely a better public presenter, thus more engaging thus a better advocate.

        “No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
        Tell that to idiot America, I am Australian by the way and I am constantly amazed about how stupid Americans are.

        “Advocating science should (IMHO) represent the subject from the get-go using and respecting the core tenets of science. It feels to me that advocating science primarily through the use of misdirection and sensationalizing of hot-topics that mean little or nothing in the field is both lazy and disingenuous on the part of the presenter”

        Call it what you want, you suck at presenting science, Joe doesn’t. Why did Bill Nye debate Ken Ham, in his words: “I am doing this because there might be some kid sitting in the crowd who needed to hear this”
        There might be a college student listening to the Rogan podcast who changes his mind. Due to Joe’s reach he will reach views who normally never would be interested in science. You probably reach kids to, but its likely kids who want to be informed, you have a captive audience. That is the easy part, its harder to convert those who are not engaged.

        “would seem that if one was going to make a living doing a public broadcast where humorous speculation was the main event then one should straightforwardly say so and leave the title of advocate for someone who is willing to do more homework.”

        Now your being a child, because Joe does it better, doesn’t mean you have to get emotional.

        “Science advocation should be more than saying “ooooo! Now THERE is a hot topic my fans will like. Lets do that!”

        I Don’t think Joe does take the hot topics, as far as I know he hasn’t taken any of the hot button science issues, climate change, god particle, frontier engineering etc…

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Thanks for dismissing my points. I find it interesting that you appear able to listen to several three hour humorous podcasts a week but put up wall against points made in written text because they seem too long for you. My rebuttal was indeed long. Sometimes, when there is enough material that shit just happens.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Ooo. I’m sorry for the curse word and do agree that because Brian’s stuff does get used in schools, I should probably refrain, so here it is again without the profanity. Sorry.

            “Thanks for dismissing my points. I find it interesting that you appear able to listen to several three hour humorous podcasts a week but put up walls against points made in written text because they seem too long for you. My rebuttal was indeed long. Sometimes, when there is enough material that kind-of thing just sorta happens….”

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            I want to retract my volatile snarky reply. I am clearly getting irritated and I apologize for my human foibles. Please accept my apologies as I exit. Thank you.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          By the way Christo, your last paragraph hit the nail squarely on the head. (I meant hot button in the sensationalizing meaning of the phrase). Ask yourself the question “Why does Joe NOT include topics such as climate change, the “God Particle” (which isn’t by the way), frontier engineering…. It would seem that by their exclusion we can clearly see that he IS engineering his subject list. Why might that be, I wonder?

          • liquidmuse says:

            Ooops, I’m here again! (Sorry! ;o) Mr. Rogan HAS addressed these above topics, ESPECIALLY the “god particle”. Heck, the Large Hadron Collider I think made it into his comedy special last year. Granted, he doesn’t understand it all (what layman does?), but I thought it brought up some interesting discussions nonetheless.
            As for frontier engineering, tweet an article about that to him, & there’s a chance it’ll be on the podcast next ;o).

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Well Liquidmuse, I would compliment you on the excellent lookup and thank you sincerely for pointing out my error but conveniently, Mr. “C” (above) has essentially rid me of an independent voice on this thread by denying that I exist as a real, live person in my own right. This being the case, I am not sure if I can personally make that apology (tongue firmly in cheek here. Actually, I do thank you.).

            Hmm. I’ve had the experience of being interrupted, talked over, marginalized, and recently called pompous, but never, until now (above), have I been made overtly and vocally non-existent. So, I will have to thank you from the intellectual ether where I may or may not reside. (Please forgive me if I sound just a wee bit angry I’m not angry at you…. I just lack the intestinal fortitude to accept my non-personhood with a larger dose of grace. I thought I had gotten past that part of my life long ago when I formally slid from being a Ms. to being a Dr….. Sadly, apparently not. ). Anyway, thanks for the correction. 🙂

          • liquidmuse says:

            Dr. Rieven, look at it this way—your points were so persuasive, & your defense of the skeptic creed (if you will) so ironclad, some people thought YOU were the one who should have the podcast, should have this website, should have been on Mr. Rogan’s podcast…therefore, they confused you with the person engendering all of this attention (Mr. Dunning).

            With all due respect to Mr. Dunning, maybe you *should* have been the one to have had a friendly, *productive* discourse with the “open-minded skeptic” (as I read Rogan described the other day). I have no doubt Mr. Rogan could’ve learned to vet his sources on a deeper & possibly more responsible level after comparing evidence-assembly techniques with you.

            To be sure, it’s tough to be Mr. Evidence, when he assembles a list of accusations 6 years ago, & when confronted on such effrontery in front of millions, he claims “Welp, sorry to besmirch your reputation, but I’m plumb out of evidence why I accused you in the first place”. *I’m* skeptical of Mr. Dunning’s motives in assembling that list ;o).

            But alas, here we are. & there we go…

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            That would be a bit of a stretch, as I did little in my posts other than plead for civility and substantiation and later run for the hills under the withering attacks. I don’t feel I brought much substance to the actual content–I spent far too much energy being irritated and too little being analytical. It has been an ugly, painful lesson for me, this thread, and I regret much (if not all) of my involvement. I do think that Mr. Dunning has made a reasonable, principled and concerted effort to his work at Skeptoid and has tried to bring critical thinking to many people who might otherwise not be exposed to it. It seems to me that those of us who are so willing to criticize a human being as viciously as some have done here in the end do more harm than good. Even if Mr. Rogan were the tin-type of Tyson, I see no lasting value in beating people up to this ridiculous extent. It really degrades the credibility of the entire effort because if we can’t exercise enough self-discipline to construct sound criticisms free of personal affronts who could possibly take any of this … and any of us…. seriously. I hope that Mr. Dunning has a thicker skin than I and that he continues to bring the best of his efforts to Skeptoid. I am not so cocky as to suggest that I would ever or could ever do better than he has on balance. In fact, I know that I would fail were I to try it as my temper exceeds reasonable and useful limits. We all have our limitations, the question is, can we get off each others backs long enough for the scraggly lot of us to move analytical thought forward. I hope so… let us not dissuade anyone from trying.

          • liquidmuse says:

            This is my correction post! ;o) Heavily edited that last paragraph, & didn’t start off with a clear distinction of who “he” was (it obviously became Dunning). Off to clear my head! ;o)

      • liquidmuse says:

        Ms. Rieven, unfortunately, you sorta proved Christo’s point. In any forum, be it verbal or the written form, who is going to wade through that wall of text? I’m not outright dismissing your views or thoughts as I DID wade into the thing…but it is the height of irony (& yes, humourous) that a “from-on-high/dismissive/with a yelling final point” was thought by you to be an effective conveyor of ANY notion, much less important ones.

        You continue to cry “BRING THE EVIDENCE!”, yet I’m of the opinion (reading two post of yours) that you have scant evidence of how Mr. Rogan approaches topics. This is ok, of course, as you seem quite busy doing important things…but for us plebeians, Rogan DOES NOT cater to what he thinks will be a “hot topic”. The guy is independently wealthy, has two vibrant careers outside the podcast, & has funded the FREE show himself as well as taking advertisers (which he’s stated he only takes those that he believes in, turning down many, many others), which in return supports the podcast as a self-sustaining entity. He does it for fun, to convey & explore topics which HE finds fascinating, & hey what do you know, has both experts & a smattering of kooks on (which again, if they’re truly rank, he gives them the rope to hang themselves, whilst expressing sufficient skepticism while not being simply rude) to explore almost literally every topic known to man. If it was all claptrap & bunk, I somehow don’t think it would continue in the iTunes top-10 for 4 years…& I don’t think he was shooting for simple popularity by having the show be 3 hours several times a week.

        Again, expressing wonder & pondering possibilities = pseudoscience in the eyes of skeptics, & that’s ok. But again…what if there IS no evidence for something (YET)? This is off-topic? Were the initial quantum scientists simply woo-peddlers? Is the fact that cannabis & mushrooms are illegal prevent us from exploring if they actually HELP human consciousness? What IS imagination? Why is ayahuasca here at all? It seems in the skeptics viewpoint, this is all akin to saying “You can fly, I just know it”. NOT the same thing, in my opinion.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Thank you for not dismissing my views or thoughts liquidmuse. I’m sorry that I wrote over-long. As Mark Twain said “I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

          • liquidmuse says:

            Ms. Rieven, I (unfortunately), over-explain & overwrite as well. What I *personally* learned was to make sure, in the internet age, to adhere to punctuation, capitalization, etc (didn’t always do that…the internet is free expression! Etc :o/)—but what I also learned (in the internet age) is to separate my paragraphs, or else, the infamous “TL;DR” meme will be applied to your thoughts (& might anyway)…”Too long, didn’t read”. Ugly I know, & it could be argued those who cry at the long steps to the library don’t deserve the library. But I’d just hate for smart souls like yourself to be overlooked because a fool missed his chance to hear you.

            Speaking of attention span, I admit, out of Rogan’s 440+ 3-hour podcasts, I’ve listened to 400 or so, so I’m familiar with his thought process, hence, why I had to wade in with counterpoints to some of the “dismissals” of his supposed tactics. I find him to be a nice mix of reasonable & curious. The skeptic crowd do not feel the same way, & again, with respect to the whole spectrum of humanity, this is ok ;o).

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Liquidmuse, I reread your latest post and would like to repeat my thank you. As a self proclaimed member of the skeptic community, I truly value descriptive and constructive criticism. Your latest post was pretty much perfect (IMHO) with regards to useful suggestions for me as well as civility. I had pretty much given up on this thread and was taking it as just another installment of vitriolic exchange, but you have helped me breathe easier. It seems that there may be hope for civil discourse in humanity after all. Many thanks. Many thank indeed.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            OH MY GOSH! I need an editor! Sorry I missed an “s” there….. LOL. (Oops).

          • liquidmuse says:

            & thank YOU, Ms. Rieven. To be frank, I *have* pretty much given up on most public internet correspondence (ironically enough, quickly perusing a scintilla of comments today, I read the internet described as “the 8th circle of hell” ;o) . It seems people are still 1)uber-tribal 2)hyper-competitive, but with a special internet stew of 3)being minutely informed yet shouting from on high. It’s all a bit much, because the older I get, the more similarities I see amongst us all. Godspeed to everyone here, & I still think Mr. Rogan is by & large doing the lord’s work ;o).

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Peace be with you Liquidmuse. Good travels.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          P.S. Attention span matters.

  28. John says:

    Brian, first off, im a huge fan of the podcast. That being said, I don’t understand what your intentions are/were on that Joe Rogan show but you really came across as dumb ass ego maniac. Ill continue to listen to skeptoid but I’m having trouble looking at you the same way. You reminded me of a friend a once had who always had to be right, even when logic and all sense showed otherwise.

  29. whitey says:

    Give me 5 years of you talking and I could piece together that you’re a member of the Church of Satan, believe in leprechauns and once rode a unicorn into battle against a herd of feral kittens. Please do not join law enforcement, many people will spend the rest of their lives in jail because of your horrible investigative work

  30. Russ Dobler says:

    So if he no longer believes the Moon landings were faked and that 9/11 was an inside job … what convinced him?

    • He never believed in a 9/11 cover-up. I remember he says that the evidence simply supports the official version of the 9/11 and I have also heard elsewhere he says it simply it the most likely scenario.

      Regarding the Moon landing; I do not know specifically why he changed his mind. But given the fact we have equipment on the moon which we can optically communicated with (large laser reflectors installed on the surface of the moon back in 1969 by the Apollo 11 crew, and later updated by the Apollo 14 and 15 missions), sort of make that doubt rather trivial.

      In his podcast with Neil Degrasse Tyson I remember he said a cover-up would be even more impressive than the actual event of going there… said differently, the evidence supports a moon landing and not a hoax. I think it is more a question of education; the more he learns, the more he is inclined to make the right conclusions – as with us all. He is just s a sucker for conspiracy theories, and he knows it. Doesn’t matter, as long as he considers the evidence objectively.

  31. jessica says:

    i noticed brian dunning himself promotes a lot of pseudoscience… he has a lot wacky nonsensical ideas about physiology… he says in the podcast you only pee when you drink too much water? huh? thats pretty harmful pseudoscience hes promoting… where does he get weird ideas like this?

      • Jessica says:

        Right is right. At the time 2:39:50 mark of the podcast, you said “the only reason you poop and pee is because you ate more than you needed to”. This is pseudoscience and is in fact harmful pseudoscience to promote. Its really more than pseudoscience tho, its laughably rdiculous and illustrates an utter & profound fundamental misunderstanding of physiology. 🙂 riiiiight….

        • It’s pretty goofy to try and frame that so far out of context. As you well know, we were speculating on what would happen if one ate exactly only the nutrients the body would use, and not a speck more. What good are you trying to do by portraying it otherwise? For real — what is your goal here?

          • Blake says:

            Well…. to be fair you guys weren’t speculating on that. You were talking about supplements and you just offered up the “You poop because you eat too much” statement.

            And, of course, the “what if you only ate what you needed” question is really simple and not worth speculation anyway. You’d still poop.

    • BigChris says:

      Lmao i remember that part. rogan and redban were like “wtf is this guy talking about!?” lol. he says a lot of crazy weird stuff, i dont think hes really into science, he has a lot of weird theories about things that are completely unscientific.

      • Me? What are some of my unscientific theories? Even one example?

      • P says:

        “He said 1000mg!! He said 1000mg!!” That part was just sad, specially when everyone else could see that the point was the absorption percentage and the dose was used as an example… Also, Overdose on THC?! really? did you consume 1,500 pounds of this substance in 15 minutes or less? I’ll post a reference to this data in a later comment or, if I am wrong, I’ll post a correction. Just believe me for now.

        • That part of the show was excruciating. I could not figure out for the life of me what their problem was or why they wouldn’t move on.

          • They did not move on, because you insisted on something he never actually said. He used the 1000mg as an example of absorption rate from a particular dilivery method – he was not talking about recommended daily dosage at all, which you zoned in on.

          • And given that it’s Joe’s podcast, it’s his job to keep the conversation moving. He didn’t. Because he had to be right.

  32. lizz says:

    lol i love the part where dunning claims no conspiracy theory has ever come true, and they give him like 10 examples of conspiracy theories that completely came true, so funny.

  33. Josh says:

    Brian Dunning, you are a broken man. Smoke some weed and look in the mirror. The process will indeed be a painful one because you will have to deal with a lot of repressed insecurities, but it is never too late to overcome the ego. God speed soldier.

  34. Shirley Rieven says:

    I am really finding some of the newer comments on this thread appalling and childish. Could people try to make constructive comments PLEASE? Threads like these COULD be made opportunities for learning, but some of the later comments have degenerated into the offensive and do nothing to inform anyone. Just wishing…

  35. Fascinating that the Roganites constantly talk about the virtues of smoking weed, yet seem like some of the most un-mellow people around. Maybe they’re not getting the good stuff?

  36. C (@emlax3) says:

    The only reason I didnt like the podcast with you is b/c of how uninformed you were about everything. I wish he would have had a more intelligent, well informed skeptic on the podcast that would make counterpoints that made the audience think.

    When he easily made you look stupid because you were wrong about most of your facts, all credibility was lost and the podcast became a bore.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      “Everything”
      “more intelligent”
      “stupid”
      “wrong about most of your facts”
      “all credibility”
      “became a bore”

      The use of personal epithets, extreme judgements (such as “all” rather than “many”)
      and the lack of specific examples makes your post just as unconvincing as you say the podcast was. Can you provide more facts and less opinion? Constructive criticism is more useful than personal attacks.

      • C (@emlax3) says:

        “just as”
        “unconvincing”
        “more facts”
        “less opinion”

        I can quote random words too. Fact is, i am not a skeptic on a major podcast looking like a complete fool. I am an anonymous person on the internet sharing my opinion. In my opinion, he sounded like a complete fool that was making up facts. I am not going to list each time he sounded stupid, as there were many if you listened to the podcast.
        Not sure why he can throw the word “quack” out there whenever he wants, but “stupid” is for some reason not allowed.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          Those are by no means “random words”. They are your words and peppered through your post with impunity. Your post is vacuous as it contains nothing more than your intuitive perceptions and no substantiation. You seem perfectly content to be an anonymous commenter. It is really too bad that you have so little confidence in your postion and are not willing to put your name to your thoughts.

    • “Wrong about most of my facts” – Bold statement, but I’ll let you off easy. Name three.

  37. Haywood says:

    You lost me at marijuana overdose

  38. Phil says:

    I listen to both of you on a regular/semi-regular (Skeptoid and JRE respectively) basis and really like this podcast. As a semi regular Rogan listener, I can say that he is definitely into the “woo,” but he does regularly offer a skeptical viewpoint. I think he tends to be a little confrontational for the sake of the podcast, as that draws out the details of some issues, but overall he takes a skeptical approach to most issues. However, he does have a few “sacred cows” that constantly make me cringe while listening. Thanks for this exchange, overall I think you came out on top.

  39. king9inch says:

    Who cares what any celebrity thinks. As a fan of the joe rogan show and never listening to your show I was excited to hear you were coming on. I was hoping for some interesting skeptic talk on current events. Instead you introduced yourself with what sounds like a personal attack, then spent the next hour or so defending your self in a manner that made you sound like someone who’s ego had been hurt because your opening statement on the show might be wrong.

    The whole experience left me not wanting to listen to your show, comment on your blog, say anything to you on twitter, or interact with you in any way. I came away feeling skeptic of anything you might say, who knows your ego might be getting the best of you when you feel you aren’t rite.

    I think you should stop gossiping about celebrity’s. This isn’t TMZ skeptoid is it?

    If you think joe is such a nice friendly guy that you agree with on so many things then you should go back or have him on your show and go into that stuff instead of rehashing your disagreements. If you can’t get over your ego, go around it.

  40. androosk says:

    I have listened to JRE for a long time. Sometimes I love it, sometimes it’s tolerable and sometimes I just walk away. Because of that podcast, I came to listen to yours as well and became a supporter. I don’t have a problem with much of what I hear on JRE, because I already believe our species find that “it is easier to believe something than to know something,” by the way that’s a quote from Chris Hadfield on JRE. That becomes the default mode. Plus, we constantly have bullshit documentaries on the history channel and others that sensationalize myth while sacrificing the truth, and infect the vulnerable with their views.

    There will always be a fringe element that believes the most outlandish theories without regard for facts. You are not going to convince a hardcore conspiracy theorist that tower 7 wasn’t a controlled demolition and most average people will never be convinced that it was. Unless the fringe begins creating problems for the masses, I really don’t see where it matters. Let them live in their ignorance.

    What does matter is when the pet ideas of the fringe spill over into dominant culture and gain a foothold. This is happening right now with the anti-vaccine community. While there is not a shred of scientific evidence linking vaccines to the widespread ills they are blamed for, there is a boat load of anecdotal evidence pushed on us all the time by celebrities and the like. Society would be much better served if these people kept busy either entertaining (their job) or supporting worthwhile, proven causes (say, HIV/AIDS research, or, I don’t know, promoting vaccination as a modern miracle that has brought humanity much improved health?).

    I admire your courage going on that show, but honestly you were served a brutal beat down of the facts and sanity you try to promote. I had to listen to it in pieces, because I found myself yelling at the radio as to what your responses could have or should have been. Of course, I’m quite sure I would have done far worse in your situation. So props to you Mr. Dunning.

  41. mike says:

    Gee. I’m a big Skeptoid fan and I though the “Joe Rogan” post was pretty funny. If it was the real Joe, it was downright hilarious and meant to be so. If, as seems more likely, it was a fake, well, it still made me smile.

  42. Ana says:

    “You poop and pee because you ate too much.”

    What on earth…. I thought you had a science background?
    That statement you made was absurd.

    • morgan says:

      he has no science background. he flunked out his freshman year of college. and he was studying computer science anyway, not biology, chemistry, or anything related to health sciences. he has no credentials as a science critique, hes wrong about most things most of the time.

  43. Claire says:

    Lol Dr. Rhonda Martin was just on the Rogan Podcast. Shes a PHD, medical nutrition expert, and she explained why everything Dunning said was totally wrong. He was completely wrong about vitamins and micronutrients and supplementation. Lol owned. So funny. Nice that rogan had a real doctor who actually knows what shes talking about come on to explain why dunnings harmful pseudoscience is wrong.

    • People selling woo will almost always claim that science is wrong, dishonest, corrupt, take your pick of the words I’m sure she used.

      • Claire says:

        She didnt say science is wrong. She said youre wrong. Big difference. Shes the one who is a scientist (unlike you) shes a doctor, she has her PHD, clearly by any measure Rhonda Patrick is much more knowledgable about science than you are. You can listen for yourself to see what she had to say. Pretty hilarious you would accuse her of “selling woo” when shes the scientist and youre not, and you dont even know wha she said. that really says it all about how weak your character & critical thought process is.

      • Nam Le says:

        Brian, why don’t you actually listen to what she had to say before you dismiss her as a person “selling woo?”

        She didn’t call science wrong, dishonest or corrupt. She’s an actual research scientist that studies biological pathways and can actually explain the mechanisms behind vitamins and micronutrients. What are your credentials in this field?

        Maybe you should have her on your show. She sounds awfully smart. She also makes a compelling arguments against your stance on vitamin supplementation. Being a man of science, I’m sure you must be super excited by this opportunity. Right?

        • Leah says:

          After he got his butt thouroughly handed to him by rogan, i really doubt hes going to want to go up against a PHD who already dismantled him on rogans show. Seems like dunning would rather just hide in his blog where he can make his ridiculous distorted statements without any contest from the people who actually know what their talking about.

      • yeah man. She’s a post-doc researcher who explained the science which controverts your position. her position was well reasoned, supported with data and cogent. she also displayed an impressive and nuanced understanding of how the human body processes nutrients and why supplementing with vitamins is not only efficacious, but also important and useful.

        • Jay says:

          “People selling woo will almost always claim that science is wrong, dishonest, corrupt, take your pick of the words I’m sure she used.” Seriously… She has a PHD in Biomedical SCIENCE!
          Just like you tried to discredit Dr. Mark Gordon, and got proved wrong after they went back and played his podcast, and still tried to defend yourself instead of admitting you were wrong. You are not a scientist, you are not a doctor, you are a hypocrite if anything.

          • ? – What was I wrong about?

          • androoski says:

            Dr. Mark Gordon was wrong about many things on that podcast. The anti vax bullshit he was peddling costs lives. And not just the lives of the poor children whose parents listen to and believe it. It can also cost lives of people in the communities around these children turned vectors. You want to kill yourself with alcohol, because you decide to take the advice of some quack and think taking glutathione is going to allow you to drink an unlimited amount of alcohol? Knock yourself out man. Drink yourself to death. It is, after all, a free country. But don’t punish your children with your ignorance. That guy might be doing some good work in neuroscience, but that’s where he should stay.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            So she has a PhD…. Many do, but I have noticed a bunch on TV quite willing to advocate crap. I’m not saying that she wasn’t legit or correct in her technical assessment but appeals to authority can come back and bite you … (See my response to johnnyk below).

          • Ken Ham and Dr. Oz have doctorals too.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            It is true (although I wish it were not) that credentials do not really guarantee consistent habit of sound analytical thought and certainly does not empower the holder (or their advocates) to claim ownership thereof. the “do of Science” or (more accurately) the lifelong practice of honing ones analytical and thinking skills is not and SHOULD NOT be guarded jealously by the previously educated nor should it be claimed that critical thinking at one time in one’s life demonstrates continued practice, effort, or any kind of due diligence. Similarly, ones credentials should also not lessen the effort or desire by others to attempt, or pursue bettering their own education or skills, or advocating rational thought even when they fall short of an ideal. Some (but not all) of the commenters here are getting a kick out of riding coat tails for fleeting self-agrandizement by way of advocacy. If they had any inclination to help raise all boats, they would offer some specific improvements rather than flinging personal attacks. What they offer in volume they lack in character and maturity.

        • Shirley Rieven says:

          You reveal your support of supplementing with vitamins so I hope you are aware of your own confirmation bias playing in your understanding of Dr. Matin’s position. Vitamin supplementation (regardless of actually truth which none of us truly know) is a concept that has a seen considerable disagreement over the years. As far as I can tell, there are two groups, the ‘fors” and “againsts”. We may know where she stands, but that does not guarantee her position is correct, only that her understanding of the data supports it. When we stop seeing reports that buying and using supplements is a waste of money, I’ll start to send my money to the pharmaceutical companies that rake in the bucks.

    • johnnyk says:

      yeah i watched that. especially the last 20 minutes of the show they just destroyed him. she’s a real scientist and doctor unlike dunning. she hit the nail on the head when she said his understanding of science is very topical and he just doesn’t have the proper capacity for quality science writing.

      • Shirley Rieven says:

        “doesn’t have the proper capacity for quality science writing”. What an ignorant thing to say! If “we” are EVER going to improve the pitiful state of science understanding in the world today, scientists had better get over themselves and their egos and their thinking that there is a special elite class of people who can understand and “do” science (and yes, I say this as a credentialed and professional, industry scientist). It is this “white tower” attitude that does us ALL a huge disservice. And just because she has a doctorate (as many if us do, including quite a number who have demonstrated their willingness to sell woo on television anyway) does not at all ensure that what she is saying trumps everything. Sure, she may have been right on her account of nutrition etc, but in implying that someone “doesn’t have the capacity” she undermines her own authority. You can cherry pick experts all day long and you’ll find what you like as they are human, all. As a wise man once said “Having a PhD means only one thing… that at one time in your life you were willing to work very, very hard”. I have found this to be pretty much true. Be careful of advocating elitism, it will bring us all diwn eventually.

        • johnnyk says:

          youre just strawmanning, it has nothing to do with elitism or any of that crap. its about the fact that dunning has no science background whatsoever, and doesn’t critique science correctly. Dunning is the one acting elitist, trying to automatically dismiss her as “selling woo”. a PHD isnt everything, but at a certain point, you need a certain level of understanding of science, to evaluate & critique it correctly, which dunning lacks and she has, this is just reality. she explains on the podcast specific flaws he has made in his analysis of studies due to his amateur understanding of science. having limited science understanding and education does come with certain limitations, and thats not “elitism” thats just reality. elitism is when dunning just scoffs at everyone who disagrees with him, and calls them “quacks” or “hacks” or whatever else, no matter how cogent and informed their ideas and arguments are. and in any case if im looking for nutritional information, im going to look to the experts in that field, like Dr. Patrick, im not going to look to a computer science undergraduate dropout who cant even analyze data correctly, that wouldnt make any sense. so you can stop accusing people of being “elitist” when theyre really just being rational and reasonable.

          • Shirley Rieven says:

            Fair enough. I can respect your position of that and your criticism of my statements. I still wish we could empower peoples improvement instead of denigrating and disuading. In all of my comments (and yes, I know I am wordy and perhaps overly willing to respond to posts) I have not been explicitely defending “Dunning” (as if he has no first name or even a Mr.) because that is not my intent. My interest and intent is to make the point that “Dunning” can be wrong, wrong, wrong, but that doesn’t mean that the commenters here are right, right, right. In many cases they have been “advocating scientific thought” in the same breath as applying rampant logical fallacies. I’m not perfect either and I make an effort to avoid fallacies where I can and when I can, but I try to not be mean and nasty about it or implying that people’s abilities are fixed in stone. We can all learn and improve. All of us.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      This whole bit of thread is “hoo hah” appeals to authority. I care nothing about her PhD (I have one too) -all that means to me is that she (at one time) worked very hard on something and thereby has been granted popular (and maybe industry ir academic) authority, but that is about as far as it goes in my book. She increases or decreases that perception of credibility with what she says “today”, what she is willing to do and act on and say about others (including egregious implied elitism… see my response to johnnyk below). “Real doctor”… this is simply a “my guy is better than your guy” business being sold in the comments immediately below. I’m not saying Dunning was right in what he said, or egoless in how he said it, but remember, Dunning being wrong has absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Martin being right. All she has to do is speak well and sound credible and she is golden in the eyes of some.

      • Shirley Rieven says:

        The above comment was supposed to follow Claire’s entry, not TLeaf’s. My apologies for its misplacement.

      • Claire says:

        Nobodys implying that a PHD makes you infallible, thats a straw man. But Credentials do matter, and they do grant a degree of authority, and its nonsense to say otherwise. The only reason people are invoking her credentials is because dunning dismissed her as “selling woo” and also because when dunning was on the podcast he was emphatically saying that theres absolutely no benefit to vitamin supplementation, and he was saying it like it was absolute fact and was claiming authority himself. So when an expert is disagreeing with him, yes obviously people will raise that she is a credentialed expert with more knowledge and experience than him and that she probably knows better than he does. When dunning arrogantly speaks as if he has authority with certain absolute terms about a subject hes lacking information in that triggers people to alert him actual credentialed experts disagree with him.

        • Jay says:

          @ Claire- There is no sense in rationalizing w/ Shirley. She, like Dunning is going to dismiss any opposition of her mind set. Dr. Rhonda Martins is a professional on nutritional health and supplementation, yet she is dismissed as “peddling woo”. Now her PHD and research on the matter has no frame of reference…. Wow.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Brian Dunning needs an ayuhuasca trip. This dude definitely need to sort out his emotions and connection with the real world.

  45. Saul says:

    I feel like the argument your making here is an appeal to social responsibility. That is to say that because Joe has a popular podcast, he then has a social/public responsibility to make sure his audience’s misguided beliefs are not bolstered in any way. He doesn’t. No one does, and I don’t think this is an ethically ambiguous area. If he were lying, intentionally misleading, or refusing to publicly admit he was wrong once he found out (after the fact) that he made some false claim, it would be different; it would be unethical. But, you said yourself that’s not what he’s doing.
    I must admit I understand your frustration. I also think so-called ‘believers’ feel as though they’ve been vindicated when Joe’s ‘just asking a question’ that sympathizes with their claims, but he’s not responsible for their beliefs, they are, and I think it’s unfair to claim that there is some sense in which he is. I watch Joe Rogan’s podcast when he has interesting guests (like you) and I find I disagree with Joe Rogan about many things (probably most things), but he does not deserve to be put on a list with Jenny McCarthy and Opera Winfrey, especially when people like Dr. Oz and Depak Chopra exist. There is a difference between promotion of hokum for direct monetary gain and leaving yourself open to have your statements distorted and/or co-opted by extremists. All people should be held to the same set of standards, I don’t believe there are any extra rules that should apply to public figures.

  46. Human says:

    Not when simple facts should be established in the first place before relaying info.
    And your fracking-being-safe claims are repulsive. Simply not true. What state do you live in, other than denial?
    Just another businessman posing as someone who cares.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      My PhD thesis was on fracking and even amongst experts the jury is still out on its safety, regardless of what some may have concluded. Now please know that I myself am not an advocate of fracking, but your unequivocal statement and surety of its hazards are, IMHO, misrepresenting the fracking problem itself. Your use of the term “repulsive” suggests an emotional investment that may prevent you from being objective. “Simply not true” is a pretty solid statement of certainty…I hope you have enough data to back that up. I wrote a whole thesis on it and didn’t have the confidence to make that claim. Your reference to fracking here, in this thread, is a red herring argument and your attempt to make transfer it to Dunning’s credibility on a totally different matter is simply not relevant.. I hope other readers see the problems with this approach.

  47. So the debate continues on the Rogan Experience http://youtu.be/qh0xB4OJdpQ – through out, but especially the last 20 minutes

    Joe clearly is no fan of this blog

  48. Jay says:

    On the Joe Rogan Podcast you misconstrued what a previous guest said (on two separate occasions) and then when they went back and played it you still defended yourself even though you were clearly in the wrong. Yikes. You should have just said hey my bad I heard it wrong. Then you said you were going to take him off your list thing, and you don’t do it because people called you out on twitter. You are full of yourself and it shows. The fact you have to overly explain everything afterwards is ridiculous and shows your delusional arrogance.

    • I absolutely did not say I was going to take him off my list. I went on his show to give him a chance to convince me I should. I came away unconvinced, as discussed in great detail above.

  49. Jay says:

    “You only poop and pee because you ate too much” -Brian Dunning

    • I am going to have to get some T-shirts made with this, the Roganites have been having such a field day with it. It *REALLY* makes you guys look bad. I hope, and trust, that most Rogan fans actually have some kind of listening comprehension.

    • morgan says:

      lol that was so funny. after they explained to him that that’s wrong, he got all embarrassed and tried to pretend he didn’t say it. too funny man, this guy does not understand science at all.

      • Shirley Rieven says:

        And, presumably, you do… Please demonstrate rather than making an appeal to someone else’s authority.

        • Morgan says:

          I do appeal to people who have authority. I get my information from experts in their fields. The people who are educated in a field, and spend their time working and researching in a field, obviously have the most knowledge in that field, therefore they are the authorities. Weird that i have to explain this…You can listen to the guy with the funny poop theories if you want to lol, ill stick with the people who know what they’re talking about.

  50. M.Sc says:

    the most informative part of the podcast was when you laid out your credentials in terms of science literacy which are……nil….. mister overnight ‘science writer’. I work in a molecular biology department full of first year undergrads that know more about how to read science than you do.

    • Eric Hall says:

      If this is true – wouldn’t you be interested in teaching science to people who are not knowledgeable, including Rogan and Dunning? I also find it interesting that you refused to use your name and didn’t write from the University’s computers but instead your home ISP.

      If you indeed have a Master’s degree – use it and show us where Brian is wrong. That would actually be helpful

  51. Shirley Rieven says:

    Eric is right. Mr. or Ms. M.Sc. and the other people posting here in the last week or so are providing no useful content. Additionally, if they do (as some have suggested) have science educations, shame on you for exercising absolutely no characteristics that a good scientist should have. If you recall from your grad school days, going to those ubiquitous departmental seminars, your professors and mentors (presumably those who mentored you) would be peppered by questions from the audience and it was (at least where I went to school) another measure of scientific maturity to meet ALL questions and ALL comments (including “ignorant” ones) with decorum and generosity. REAL scientific mentors do this as a matter of course. It is a part if scientific “growing up” to help bring others (especially the willing) up to speed instead of cutting them down (which is more a power play on your part than a useful contribution). You and the other “science advocates” criticizing a science reporter, advocate, and enthusiast for his “shortfalls” are demonstrating, not your science literacy, but your science immaturity. Say something constructive or go back to your lab and do something better suited to your education level. You aren’t really to graduate.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      typo “ready”.

    • Leah says:

      Obviously your the one with an emotional investment here considering youre rampantly attacking any person who criticizes dunning, no matter how legitimate their criticisms are. Notice how theres several people agreeing and expressing the exact same ideas here, maybe theres some legitimacy to this criticism? The problem with dunning isnt just that he has some “shortfalls” its that he represents information as absolute fact when its not, and dismisses anyone who disagrees with him as being inferior. Which is the exact thing youre trying to accuse others of doing which is really just grasping at straws to defend your guy. If you were consistent in your reasoning you would see that and be equally critical of dunning. The fact of the matter is PHDs ARE generally authorities in their field. Youre acting like theres something wrong with getting information from experts. Lol who are you supposed to get your information from then? This is a ridiculous case your making and the fact that youre taking the time to make these longwinded responses to several different people just proves what your real intentions are. You just have a bias towards dunning so youre running around making a silly argument to anyone who will listen. Also i find it a little suspicious that your even able to make so many posts so frequently, everyone elses posts get moderated and limited. Pffft i wouldnt be surprised if you were dunning himself under some lame pseudonym.

      • Shirley Rieven says:

        Nope. Not a pseudonym.

      • Shirley Rieven says:

        There are plenty of people here criticizing “Dunning”, you don’t need any more. That point has been made long ago and is completely worn out. You can use your energy trying to “convert” me to “your side” if you feel you simply must have 100% compliance but you would have missed my point. To say if yet again, I am not defending “Dunning”, I’m criticizing the apparently endless stream of commenters here who have no compunction against voicing their mean spiritedness along with many logical fallacies. I may be wordy and flawed and just as illogical, and I may be impassioned enough to over-reply, but I’d rather be criticized for the position I am taking than be as unhelpful and mean as many others here have been.

        P.S. Just because I disagree with the mob, does not mean I am a pseudonym; I am a real human in my own right and your callousness in implying otherwise is also mean spirited. If you can’t take even one dissenter without implying things like this, you may wish to examine your words and intent.

  52. Mike says:

    “You only poop and pee because you ate too much”

    Could you actually refute Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s findings?

    If so, I’d love to read about it.

    • Shirley Rieven says:

      Fair enough. I can respect your position of that and your criticism of my statements. I still wish we could empower peoples improvement instead of denigrating and disuading. In all of my comments (and yes, I know I am wordy and perhaps overly willing to respond to posts) I have not been explicitely defending “Dunning” (as if he has no first name or even a Mr.) because that is not my intent. My interest and intent is to make the point that “Dunning” can be wrong, wrong, wrong, but that doesn’t mean that the commenters here are right, right, right. In many cases they have been “advocating scientific thought” in the same breath as applying rampant logical fallacies. I’m not perfect either and I make an effort to avoid fallacies where I can and when I can, but I try to not be mean and nasty about it or implying that people’s abilities are fixed in stone. We can all learn and improve. All of us.

  53. Ben Dutro says:

    Dunning is creating controversy to get more visibility. Rogan has literally 10x more listeners than Dunning… and Dunning is creating this stir to get some eyeballs. Smart…. unfortunately he comes off like a prick lawyer with zero credibility.

  54. Dennis says:

    I’ve been a fan of both shows for years now. It was painful to listen to the episode with Brian dunning. I believe Brian did as good as he could have against a giant. Joe is trained to deal with hecklers and he’s on his home court with an army behind him. Brian showed a moment or two of weakness and joe pounced. Brian’s points were valid and Joe’s were too except the charge and the defense were never in sync. Either the accusation was worded a bit incorrectly or the defense didn’t quite address the accusation. They seemed so close to settling but were always a half step offset from each other.