Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Skepticon III Video

Video of my presentation at Skepticon III last year is now available. I like this one. This is my best and most entertaining talk yet. Informative and fun. I definitely recommend it. To watch it on YouTube click here. Filmed and edited by Rob Lehr of Hambone Productions, I recall there was a loss of data at the event but he restored it best he could (so you'll see a fade at one point), and I'm pretty sure no significant content was lost. The accompanying slideshow is also available for private viewing here (warning: it's a large PDF file).

There is also a video of the panel I was on (on a different day), Confrontation vs. Accommodation. Me and P.Z. Myers on one side, Debbie Goddard, David Fitzgerald, and John Corvino on the other (although we were all pretty much on the same side when it came to the issue discussed), moderated by D.J. Grothe (who made a valiant effort at playing Devil's Advocate). The panel is interesting but some will consider it a bit dull and frustrating in many respects (not only because of audio problems). Often thoughts couldn't be completed or revisited as a viewer would want, e.g. at one point I briefly approve of politicians lying, though I meant in regard to the religious and diplomatic palliatives politicians must deploy to get things done, not, of course, breaking the law or perpetrating a major deception. I thought that was clear in context, but on reviewing it, it's not. And if that was true for me, you can expect it may have been for the other panelists as well. So it should be viewed charitably.


Smesko said...

You mention, in the video, that "intelligence is learnable". Mind giving some more information on that?

Richard Carrier said...

Google "Flynn Effect" for an example. Several studies have similarly shown that when controlled for all other factors, years in school (and quality of school) correlates with gains in IQ (some of these are discussed in Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists respond to The Bell Curve and Brody's Intelligence (pp. 186-95 and 252ff.), cf. also Wikipedia sources on education-and-IQ). There is adequate evidence that, even controlling for other causes of the correlation between IQ and education, education, in the home and in school, still causes gains in IQ (e.g. that nutrition is the causal factor in these differences has been ruled out: cf. Isaac Bejar, "Does Nutrition Cause Intelligence? A Reanalysis of the Cali Experiment," Intelligence 5.1 (Jan-Mar 1981): pp. 49-68; and e.g. the AEIP study).

No studies have confirmed any specific course however as having such an effect (so anyone who claims they have an "IQ boosting" class is not to be heeded; one needs broad, organic exposure to problem solving and abstract reasoning, sustained over the course of years).