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Bigfoot is Bullshit?
April 27, 2006 9:34 PM   Subscribe

"After our transparently bogus story and our impossibly shitty video appeared on the website... we received a flood of messages from big-shot bigfoot hunters who were dying to find out about [the] footage. Our plan was working." So, Penn and Teller faked the Sonoma bigfoot footage. But only the BFRO fell for it. Conveniently, they deleted the evidence of that. With so many sasquatch enthusiasts expressing doubt about the video when it was released, can our favorite Libertarian and mime really use it to prove that bigfoot is bullshit?
posted by kyleg (70 comments total)

 
I like their show for the most part, but even when I agree that something is bullshit, they tend to make me uncomfortable with their sometimes disingenuous presentation of facts and blatant editing or controlling of contradictory opinions. I look forward to seeing whether they present this information honestly or they try to spin it into fodder for their opinions.
posted by Falconetti at 9:45 PM on April 27, 2006


Hail Bigfoot!
I'm not the Bigfoot. Would you please listen? I'm not the Bigfoot.
Do you understand? Honestly!
Only the true Bigfoot denies his identity.
What? Well what sort of chance does that give me? All right, I AM the Bigfoot.
He IS! He IS the Bigfoot!
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:51 PM on April 27, 2006


Why do they care what other people believe so much?

Personally, I like the fact that people still believe in Bigfoot. It's fun to think that there still might be some mystery in this world. I'd like to believe in Bigfoot myself, but I'm too old and cynical. But by God, when I was 8 years old, I thrilled at the idea of a world that held Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, crystal skulls, and whatever else Leonard Nimoy was discussing on "In Search Of."

I think Penn and Teller need to lighten the fuck up.
posted by keswick at 10:03 PM on April 27, 2006


Falconetti: The other problem with P&T (this from a big P&T fan) is that they deliberately confuse the message with the messenger. On an episode of "Bullshit!" about environmentalism, they spent the entire time ripping on stupid environmentalists rather than, you know, addressing the issues.
posted by papakwanz at 10:06 PM on April 27, 2006


I'm perfectly delighted that there are mythical forest creatures, since they often make for rich imagery.

Have you ever seen a squonk's tears? Well, look at mine!
posted by SteelyDuran at 10:11 PM on April 27, 2006


There's a thin line between contrarian and asshole. I don't think Penn Gilette has any idea where that line is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:15 PM on April 27, 2006



posted by puke & cry at 10:41 PM on April 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


There's a thin line between contrarian and asshole. I don't think Penn Gilette has any idea where that line is.

That's prolly why I relate to them so well, for better or worse.
posted by wsg at 10:42 PM on April 27, 2006


The thing to remember about P&T's Bullshit is that - at its heart, the show is made by illusionists. Their profession is making you see what they want you to see. Why would it surprise anyone that their facts would be misrepresented and footage presented in a way that is anything but designed to make the audience believe what they want them to believe?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:42 PM on April 27, 2006


Puke & Cry - I can dislike their tactics, but that was possibly the finest moment in tv history.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:44 PM on April 27, 2006


I enjoy Bullshit (the show) a great deal, even though Penn is a massive and unapologetic asshole. Reminds me of me.

It's interesting, to me, because they mix together what seems to be totally thud-dullard propagandizing with slyly meta approaches that make them look bad and foolish (by deliberately making some of their talking heads look foolish, for example), in effect saying with a nod and a wink that there's no such thing as 'the truth' or 'the right answer'. It's hard going sometimes following them through their paces, and I'm giving them credit they may not deserve, perhaps, but I think that the way that they veer from twee earnestness to utter assholery in seconds is deliberate, and a metacommentary in and of itself.

So it's fun at a few levels, I reckon.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:49 PM on April 27, 2006


"It's fun to think that there still might be some mystery in this world."

And there most certainly is, which is why you shouldn't waste time on bullshit.
By now you would think that someone would find a dead bigfoot, a bigfoot den, some bigfoot shit, but no, we just have a couple of shaky videos and a lot of...bullshit.
posted by 2sheets at 11:05 PM on April 27, 2006


That is why I believe in bulls.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:25 PM on April 27, 2006


My name is Mark Nelson, and I'm an amateur naturist.

With credentials like this he must be telling the truth. Maybe he will turn pro now.
posted by Joeforking at 11:25 PM on April 27, 2006


Why do they care what other people believe so much?

Um, because human beliefs have serious consequences. Because "harmless" bad beliefs, and "harmful" bad beliefs flow from the common fount of poor thinking.

Anti-intellectual bullshit like your comment are exactly why people can sell trillion dollar wars over poorly forged documents - no one cares about truth or thinking critically. Lighten the fuck up indeed.
posted by dgaicun at 11:26 PM on April 27, 2006


Heh. I think dgaicun just channelled Penn there for a minute.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:30 PM on April 27, 2006


My favorite Penn and Teller show was when they endeavored, clumsily and with much venom, to demonstrate how global warming is bullshit.

And then the next show in the series demonstrated how bottled water wasn't much more than purified water.

EGADS! Someone save the Republic!
posted by undule at 11:30 PM on April 27, 2006


The antidote to bad skepticism is better skepticism, not brain dead apologies for stupid beliefs.
posted by dgaicun at 11:40 PM on April 27, 2006


Note that I see this attitude again and again: people who have the nerve to fight against bad ideas with the slightest bit of seriousness or conviction are criticized just as much or even more than those who saw fit to invent or spread the bad ideas to begin with. It boggles the mind.
posted by dgaicun at 11:54 PM on April 27, 2006


Yeah, the show has issues (they tend to be heavy-handed and love making straw men.) In the one where they went after college, they made a big deal out of how people can succeed without college, and how you don't need to go. While it is possible to succeed without it, whether you need to go depends on what field you want to work in. Good luck being a doctor, engineer, or scientist without going to college.

Note that most of the attack on college was an attack on the PC-ness and emphasis on 'diversity', not on the institution itself. So the episode wasn't all bad, it just had some issues.

They've done it at other times, too. I challenge anyone who saw the show about the endangered species act to tell me that show didn't have the biggest strawman and appeal to emotion ever used. Ohmygod the poor woman has to shower in the yard!! If she can afford to buy land and build a house, she can afford to rent an apartment for a short time while the law works itself out. Jeez. (Also, a bad application of the law does not a bad law make.)

I guess the thing to remember about the show is that the real lesson is not about any given topic, it's about thinking critically and making your own decisions based on empirical evidence. That policy should be applied to everything, even to the show itself.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:54 PM on April 27, 2006


Behold my Patrick Duffy leg!

And isn't a "naturist" a euphemism for nudist?
posted by bardic at 12:00 AM on April 28, 2006


I love Penn And teller, but Carl Sagan outlined the treacheries of pushing agenda based off of patently false belief much better.

I am quite sure that Sagan, knowing he was soon dying, gave us The Demon-Haunted World as his last plea to stop fucking up and believing in (and basing policies off of) bullshit.

Penn and Teller are funny, sure, but Sagan PWl\l35 them.
posted by sourwookie at 12:07 AM on April 28, 2006


i think a lot of the time, their "straw men" are just time fillters. for example, the recycling episode had a lot of really strong points (like: recycling produces more pollution, costs more, doesn't save trees, etc etc) but they included a segment on how willing people were to bend over backward to recycle. Doesn't really help their point, its just entertaining. ... though i generally perfer their bullshit experiments to include boobs.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:11 AM on April 28, 2006


There's a thin line between contrarian and asshole. I don't think Penn Gilette has any idea where that line is.

I always thought that was part of the act, and would have said what stavros said were I more eloquent.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:03 AM on April 28, 2006


For what it's worth, I really enjoyed picking out all the pop lyrics referenced in Penn's novel, Sock. The book itself is kinda meh, but it's a quick read and the fun of spotting the musical references almost makes up for the meh-ness.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:12 AM on April 28, 2006


I like some P&T, too, but it's pretty dumb to pretend you're smart by acting like new species aren't discovered all the time.

And I'm not talking about just bugs or microbes. There are mammals, birds, fish, etc. -- primates, too, if you're open to that.

Seems like only a real stick-in-the-ass fundamentalist would make a crusade out of claiming various "mythological" primate species can't possibly exist.

Ain't hard to be smart in Vegas, as everybody knows. But just plain ignoring emerging science is what we usually call "stupid."
posted by kenlayne at 1:42 AM on April 28, 2006


I'd like the show a lot better if they called "bullshit" on the myth of the "invisible hand."
posted by maxreax at 2:06 AM on April 28, 2006


As a total socialist, I can say that Penn Jillette is probably my favorite libertarian, yeah. His radio show (and podcast), in which he alternately screams and is reasonable, can be found here.

Recently they just went after this Kirk Cameron video.
posted by sklero at 2:10 AM on April 28, 2006


Aww, hell. I fucked the link and now YouTube is down so I can't find it. Anyway it's the video where he and his buddy prove evolution is false with a banana.
posted by sklero at 2:14 AM on April 28, 2006


I like some P&T, too, but it's pretty dumb to pretend you're smart by acting like new species aren't discovered all the time.

This is retarded; please work a little harder to understand exactly what kinds of claims and methods are being challenged. Bigfoot is not an "emerging science", anymore than ghosts are just an undiscovered species. P&T fuck up a lot, (I haven't seen it, but the global warming one sounds like a cringe-worthy example), but they sure didn't on this one.

Kent Hovind trying to "prove" the book of Genesis by finding a living T-Rex is NOT the same as, e.g., the current debate by real scientsts over the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. The devil is in the details.
posted by dgaicun at 2:20 AM on April 28, 2006


The devil is in the details.
posted by dgaicun at 2:20 AM PST on April 28


Well, now you've gone and done it and made the Dominionists' argument for them:posted by Dunvegan at 2:35 AM on April 28, 2006


OK - which link actually goes to Penn and Teller confessing?
posted by A189Nut at 3:18 AM on April 28, 2006


I watched "Bullshit" for a while and then lost interest. I get the impression the show would be better if it weren't a half hour bit of fluff entertainment. They barely scratch the surface of an issue and then declare it bullshit.

More facts, less "magic" would make the show 200 times better. And that's a scientific fact.
posted by neek at 4:39 AM on April 28, 2006


Why do they care what other people believe so much?

Yeah, why should we care what other people believe? I mean, since irrational beliefs of all kinds have been shown to be completely harmless over and over again.

I think you need to brighten the fuck up.
posted by Decani at 5:55 AM on April 28, 2006


They've done it at other times, too. I challenge anyone who saw the show about the endangered species act to tell me that show didn't have the biggest strawman and appeal to emotion ever used. Ohmygod the poor woman has to shower in the yard!! If she can afford to buy land and build a house, she can afford to rent an apartment for a short time while the law works itself out. Jeez. (Also, a bad application of the law does not a bad law make.)

I agree that this situation was dealt with heavy-handedly, but I perceived their point to be to disprove the one "pro-endangered species law" talking head, when he said that no one has ever been kicked off their land over this law. (I would also contend that it is not a guarantee that a person could afford an apartment after sinking considerable money into a parcel of land, but I don't know the full details of the situation.)

I enjoy the show, and I'm a Christian, which would probably put me in the minority of their audience. It's entertaining, and I take what they say with a grain of salt. At least they're questioning instead of swallowing the status quo whole. I would hope that they're encouraging conversation. That being said...Bigfoot? As real as the Loch Ness Monster.
posted by byort at 6:54 AM on April 28, 2006


What kills me about Bullshit! is that while I applaud them going after what is, usually, complete (or at least largely) bullshit, they do it in such a transparently dishonest way that I'm not sure that the people they convince are in any way improved by it.
posted by empath at 7:06 AM on April 28, 2006


Sasquatch, that's a province in Canada, right?
posted by Floydd at 7:07 AM on April 28, 2006


That's Sasquatchequan.
posted by mendel at 7:15 AM on April 28, 2006


I like some P&T, too, but it's pretty dumb to pretend you're smart by acting like new species aren't discovered all the time.

It seems you didn't watch the show as they made this exact point. The problem I had was that they try so hard (all the shouting and swearing has got to be draining) to make people look stupid and gullible by being -- provincial and stupid.

I mean, half of their criticisms of the spastics on their show were of things like how non-North Americans pronounce buoy and similar irrelevancies. Now, that's fine that there are people out there fighting the good fight against quackery and nonsense but it gets a little hard to swallow yet more ugly, fat Americans trying to talk good scientific sense into us when we have a pretty good idea of what the status of science and clear thinking is in their own country.
posted by Jenga at 7:29 AM on April 28, 2006


Teller doesn't shout and swear...and he's not fat. Just sayin'.
posted by byort at 7:39 AM on April 28, 2006


Its comedy.
posted by sfts2 at 7:45 AM on April 28, 2006


while I applaud them going after what is, usually, complete (or at least largely) bullshit, they do it in such a transparently dishonest way that I'm not sure that the people they convince are in any way improved by it.

This is what I was gonna say. Like when they called believers in UFO's "whackjobs" about fifty times in 30 minutes. While I happen to think that's a fairly accurate description, calling them that to their face like that will only make them tune out and not listen to anything you have to say. Which turns the whole show into a case of preaching to the choir - the people who like it already agree, so neither side comes away from it thinking any differently and nothing's improved.

But sometimes they do better than others. The Feng Shui show where they had 3 Feng Shui "experts" all insist that it was an "exact science" - yet all three came up with completely different ways to lay out the house, and one in particular adovcated buying lots of overpriced crap... That was one of my favorites.

Also - does anyone know what happened to an episode last fall called "Holier Than Thou"? I saw a preview of it the week before it was to air - it was apparently going to discuss Mother Theresa. My Tivo only catches later-in-the-week repeats of the show because the first airing conflicts with something else. But the Holier Than Thou episode never re-aired, if it ever aired at all. I'm just curious if there was some hoopla that caused it to be cancelled.
posted by dnash at 7:47 AM on April 28, 2006


i have to recommend this book. Me Write Book Awesome, but not too long. bigfoot wish longer.
posted by joeblough at 7:53 AM on April 28, 2006


I too enjoyed this show for maybe three or four episodes, but it just got to where I was tired of having really thin and kinda bizarre arguments yelled at me by the sanctimonious blowhard Penn. It's a decent aim that's quashed by the overwrought delivery; I found the same to be true of his many appearances on Politically Incorrect.

If I want some truth TV, I'd rather watch old Carl Sagan or even James Burke over these guys. A show, all in all, to make dumb people feel smart. These should do an episode where they take themselves apart. BTW does anyone know if Penn was/is in The Residents? I've heard that for years, but I hope it's not true.

And really, Bigfoot? Who cares about Bigfoot? A show about how many 'experts' don't know what they're talking about? In Bush's America? It's like shooting fish in a barrel. Go after the government or white collar crime or something. Going after Bigfoot afficiandos is basically just jockish behaviour - it's one big dweeb and one tiny dweeb encouraging all the couch potatoes at home to laugh at the wannabe scientist dweebs. No thanks.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:59 AM on April 28, 2006


OK - which link actually goes to Penn and Teller confessing?

They do on the actual show, which is what the quote in the post is from. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find a transcript or even a YouTube piracy of the episode, though there are various other ways of obtaining the episode online.
posted by kyleg at 8:05 AM on April 28, 2006


I don't think they are trying to change anyones mind, really. They are preaching to the choir, and they know it (and occasionally allude to it). They have some fun with their topic. Even so, they occasionally give me something to think about, perhaps to look up.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:05 AM on April 28, 2006


Also - does anyone know what happened to an episode last fall called "Holier Than Thou"? I saw a preview of it the week before it was to air - it was apparently going to discuss Mother Theresa. My Tivo only catches later-in-the-week repeats of the show because the first airing conflicts with something else. But the Holier Than Thou episode never re-aired, if it ever aired at all. I'm just curious if there was some hoopla that caused it to be cancelled.

Basically, they said that Mother Teresa took money from bad people and allowed the poor to suffer because that brought them closer to God. Mahatma Gandhi was a racist. The Dalai Lama is a dictator who wants to go back to those days of subjugating others. People like Brent Bozell (Mr. "I know what's best for you") were up in arms over the anti-Catholicism statements and profanity directed at Mother Teresa and the nuns. Don't know if that was the "official" reason for the lack of repeat viewings, but it probably didn't help.
posted by byort at 8:08 AM on April 28, 2006


And really, Bigfoot? Who cares about Bigfoot?

either there is one or there isn't ... if there isn't, then people have wasted some time looking for one ... if they do find one, then we've just added another species to the list

the professional skeptics are wasting their time with this ... the existence of bigfoot wouldn't invalidate any scientific theories or turn our view of the world upside down ... i can give my reply to the bigfoot believers in one short sentence -

"let us know when you catch one"

it's not that big a deal and i don't know why people spend so much time "debunking" something that has such a simple standard of proof ... just tell them to find one, and move on to something else
posted by pyramid termite at 8:12 AM on April 28, 2006


BTW does anyone know if Penn was/is in The Residents?

He toured with them as the Narrator/himself on the Mole shows, but he's not a permanent member. As everyone knows the guys under the eyeballs are the same guys who call themselves The Cryptic Corporation, but it's still fun to pretend there's a big mystery ("It's actually David Byrne, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu!", etc.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:19 AM on April 28, 2006


P&T can prove "evidence" of Bigfoot is bullshit, but proving "Bigfoot doesn't exist" is rather silly. There are thousands of acres of this planet humans don't even exist in... conversly there are thousands of acres of rainforest and other land that humans destroy, with potential undiscovered species being destroyed in the process without humans even knowing.

We have no conclusive evidence there is life on other planets; to say we've explored enough of the universe to say conclusively there are no such thing as extraterrestrials is equally presumptuous.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:43 AM on April 28, 2006


sciencepenis
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:31 AM on April 28, 2006


The guys behind Mythbusters have said that they won't do monsters or ET because they wish to focus on testable hypotheses. Of course, the Discovery Channel's use of bigfoot in advertising has drawn some complaints.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:50 AM on April 28, 2006


P&T can prove "evidence" of Bigfoot is bullshit, but proving "Bigfoot doesn't exist" is rather silly.

X: There's a big blue boogeyman in my closet, my evidence is that cereal gets soggy in milk.

D: Thats a nonsequitur, your evidence does not justify that conclusion.

X: Ok, so we're back to the default conclusion: it is equally likely that the blue goblin' lives or doesn't live in my closet.

D: Um, no, it is a half-assed, ad hoc, illogical idea that contradicts numerous facts we do know about nature and reality. The evidence indicates you are a moron. It is FALSE that a big blue boogeyman lives in your closet.

X: Wait, ok, so it's very, very unlikely that a boogeyman exists in my closet, but it's still possible, because it's not mathematically impossible. This point is eminently worthy of reflection.

D: An infinite number of stupid, yet logically noncontradictory ideas can be generated, therefore your idea needs to be consigned to the infinite heap in terms of conceptual legitimacy. Any further special mention of the idea will be taken as a tacit rejection of this fact on your part. The big blue boogeyman in your closet doesn't exist, in the same manner that a 6000 year old earth does not exist. Both are provisional, but do not require this qualifier, because all nonmathematical knowledge would require the same qualifier. The qualifier is therefore already implicit in all nonmathematical claims, something you would know, if you knew how knowledge worked.
posted by dgaicun at 9:52 AM on April 28, 2006


stinkycheese: In Bush's America? It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

Monkeys. In Bush's America, we shoot monkeys in a barrel.
posted by oncogenesis at 10:37 AM on April 28, 2006


Um, no, it is a half-assed, ad hoc, illogical idea that contradicts numerous facts we do know about nature and reality.

what is it about bigfoot that contradicts these numerous facts? ... what would the discovery of one change what we know about nature and reality?

your best rebuttal is this - "show me one" ... that's all you need say
posted by pyramid termite at 10:43 AM on April 28, 2006


what is it about bigfoot that contradicts these numerous facts

I could go into this but it's pretty pointless. Just one example, though, for the Senoma bigfoot. All biology is interpreted and filtered through the facts of evolution; Darwin predicted that humans evolved in Africa, and that the earliest transitional fossils would be found there based on the biogeography of forms, that is to say the greatest variety of primate species that most resembled man, living and fossil, were clustered in Africa. So the entire record of fossils, and existing animals, known on the American continent, which show nothing that remotely relates to the evolution of such a hominid, and contradict that such a creature would have evolved here. The existence and nonexistence of things goes beyond mere "I see or don't see" kind of evidence. If I'm your highschool friend and I say there is a nuclear bomb I built in my room, you can reject this not only because I fail to present it, but because you know I don't have the highly complicated/specialized knowledge to build such a device. "Show me one" is not all there is by a long shot.
posted by dgaicun at 11:03 AM on April 28, 2006


The idea that irrational ideas are somehow more dangerous than rational ones is, all things equal, the title of Penn & Teller's show. Good luck proving that.
posted by Captaintripps at 11:03 AM on April 28, 2006


So the entire record of fossils, and existing animals, known on the American continent, which show nothing that remotely relates to the evolution of such a hominid, and contradict that such a creature would have evolved here.

such what kind of creature? ... all we have is vague descriptions by untrained observers, certainly not enough to claim that the evolution of such a hominid is not shown ... because we don't know what such a hominid is

the entire record of fossils is somewhat incomplete, anyway ...

let the burden of proof lie on those who think there are such creatures
posted by pyramid termite at 11:12 AM on April 28, 2006


Perhaps the strongest argument against a large American primate (other than humans) has to do with ecology and range. The basic problem is that there is precious little of the 48 contiguous United States that has not been logged, farmed, developed, or at a minimum, penetrated with recreational roads and trails. This makes it highly unlikely that a stable population of large mammals have existed in the U.S. Northwest without the discovery of trail, scat, or actual specimens. The same argument strongly suggest that it is highly unlikely for a monster aquatic species to exist in a Loch with large quantities of recreational boat traffic.

Now of course someone will bring up the Coelacanth. But it's frequently the case that the "re-discovery" of a species just means the discovery of specimens by biologists with access to publication journals. The Coelacanth was well-known by fishermen in its range. It just wasn't until a bounty on strange fish in the 1930s that anyone bothered to save it.

dgaicun: So the entire record of fossils, and existing animals, known on the American continent, which show nothing that remotely relates to the evolution of such a hominid, and contradict that such a creature would have evolved here.

An easy counter-argument is that Homo sapiens may not have been the only hominid to enter North America from Asia during the last glacial maximum.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2006


My favorite Penn and Teller show was when they endeavored, clumsily and with much venom, to demonstrate how global warming is bullshit.

I'm much more concerned about this than I am about people believing in bigfoot. My understanding is that global warming is pretty well documented and accepted by the scientific community, with some folks dissenting but not very persuasively.

In my experience, libertarians tend to be somewhat reflexively against environmental concerns (I recall in particular a libertarian screed I read proclaiming each individual's right to despoil the environment as much as they please), and that makes me wonder if sometimes Mr. Teller's own individualist agenda doesn't cloud his own bullshit detector.

I've never seen the episode in question, but in my mind it certainly undermines Penn's role as the arbiter of what's bullshit and what's not if they are calling global warming bullshit.
posted by illovich at 2:03 PM on April 28, 2006


The idea that irrational ideas are somehow more dangerous than rational ones is, all things equal, the title of Penn & Teller's show. Good luck proving that.

You . . . you're kidding, right? Are you seriously postulating that irrational ideas are not more harmful than rational ones? I am going to need a stiff drink.
posted by jenovus at 3:46 PM on April 28, 2006


Illovich: It is not Mr. Teller. It is just Teller. There are two people: Penn (Jillette) Is the tall, fat, long-haired one. Teller (no surname) is the short, silent one.

/pedantry
posted by papakwanz at 4:01 PM on April 28, 2006


Bullshit! is at its best when it exposes assholes who bilk money from the gullible. The "Speaking to the Dead" and "UFO" episodes, among others, are noteworthy in this regard.
posted by papakwanz at 4:05 PM on April 28, 2006


While it is possible to succeed without it, whether you need to go depends on what field you want to work in. Good luck being a doctor, engineer, or scientist without going to college.

Nah. I do surgery with out medical degree. I specialize on the... the ... thingy... you know? The goobery thingy in your skullitamus... oh what's it called? Your thinkamus organ. Something like that. Anyway. I do surgery all the time on that.

P&T are fighting an uphill battle. People LOVE them until they hit on a pet subject. eventually they alienate 90% of their audience.

I had a friend who adored them until they went and said "Chi" was bullshit. (Which it is.) He was an acupuncturist.

Should P&T "lighten up" on peoples beliefs? Let's see:

Aaaand take two, GODWIN ARRIVES:

"Personally, I like the fact that people still believe in WHITE SUPREMACY. It's fun to think that there still might be some mystery in this world. I'd like to believe in WHITE SUPREMACY myself, but I'm too old and cynical. But by God, when I was 8 years old, I thrilled at the idea of a world that held HITLER, the KKK, EUGENICS, RACISM, and whatever else THE ARAYAN NATIONS was discussing on "WHITE POWER."
posted by tkchrist at 4:59 PM on April 28, 2006


Jesus Christ, you're a douchebag, tkchrist.

FWIW, I don't believe Bigfoot exists, but the fact that there are people who believe in Bigfoot doesn't send me into froth-mouthed rage.
posted by keswick at 5:06 PM on April 28, 2006


What illovich said, but I'd go further. The impression I get of Penn and Teller, quite strongly, is that they are ideologues who use the whole hard-nosed no-bullshit skeptic act to spread their own (libertarian) propaganda. Much of which I regard as irrational, intellectually bankrupt bullshit itself, but then, I'm one of those radical environmentalist whackos that they hate so much.

I may get a barrage of flames for this, but- I've read stuff here bemoaning how people get suckered in by Bush because of his good-ol'-boy act. I think that Penn Jillete's whole tough-minded skeptic schtick makes a lot of people here take him more seriously than they would some Cato Institute pundit saying the same things, just because they find it viscerally appealing on an emotional level. Much like Bush's Christian cowboy schtick is viscerally appealing to so many Republican voters...

I don't mean that as a criticism, really. I think everyone has emotional/ideological soft spots like that(I certainly do). It's mainly how I interpret the relatively positive reaction the show seems to get in Metafilter threads, despite the fact that they're pushing some stuff that I don't think the average MeFite agrees with, the "global warming doesn't exist" thing being the prime example.
posted by a louis wain cat at 5:59 PM on April 28, 2006


Recently they just went after this Kirk Cameron video.

Really?
posted by bshort at 6:29 PM on April 28, 2006


I don't believe that Bigfoot exists, but if professing a belief in Him allows me to walk around in the woods in Sonoma, heck, sign me up.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:33 PM on April 28, 2006


keswick: FWIW, I don't believe Bigfoot exists, but the fact that there are people who believe in Bigfoot doesn't send me into froth-mouthed rage.

IMO a belief in bigfoot is relatively benign. After all, bigfoot hunters probably are just about like mushroom hunters in terms of getting out into undeveloped areas.

I think other hoaxes/myths however do have negative effects. For example, the "satanic panic" of the 80s resulted in false prosecutions and an industry centered around convincing people that their mental health systems were caused by elaborate but forgotten scenarios of horrific abuse.

I think also there is an underlying difference in ideology. The "will to believe" vs. "will to doubt."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:15 PM on April 28, 2006


Jesus Christ, you're a douchebag, tkchrist.

FWIW, I don't believe Bigfoot exists, but the fact that there are people who believe in Bigfoot doesn't send me into froth-mouthed rage.


Is Jesus the douche Bag or me? I'm betting me.

It's all about Big Foot, keswick. That's what it's aaaaall about. I can't stand the thought of Big Footses. Ooooh. Them BIG FEETS! Wait. I'm going into a froth mouth rage.

ARAAARARAARGLE!!!!

And you caught me. I was right in the middle of my campaign to lobby congress to stamp out Big Foots and all their pesky believers. And it would have worked if it wasn't for you nosey kids. Ah. The Humongous hominid Act of 2006. We were gonna round up all these Big Foots and their crazy-ass followers and put them in camps. Maybe make bathroom rugs out of them.

But you busted me. Damn it.

Though it does beg the question. Keswick are you not glad there are douche bags out there to catch all that douche? Otherwise we'd be up to our knees in it, wouldn't we?

I think also there is an underlying difference in ideology. The "will to believe" vs. "will to doubt."

I also think there is "the will to not know when somebody is fucking kidding." ;-)

I, and others here, grow ever more tired of those unwilling to comprehend the difference between "tolerating" and "agreeing with".

We can be good tolerant people who make room for a wider swaths of beliefs AND yet still say people who worship tree nymphs, cast magic Chinese spells, chase 8 foot tall cave monsters, shoot chi blasts from their fingers, or get abducted by UFO's are fucking idiots.

See - I would fight to the death for your right to believe nearly any of the ridiculous bullshit you want if doesn't infringe on my right to do the same. Just don't expect me to NOT make fun of you, ok. I don't expect that of you. In fact I encourage you to challenge my view of reality every once in awhile.

TK - catching Douche since 1963.
posted by tkchrist at 8:13 PM on April 30, 2006


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