This is episode 62 of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, our first release of 2022. Happy New year!
In this episode, we’re doing something a little different. Traditionally we alternate between interviews and Science Explainy Bits, but the second segment here is a bit more philosophical than usual, and ran a bit short, so I’ve added something a bit more topical – some astronomy news!
As covered previously on this website, the science media were very excited to report the discovery of an impossible exoplanet. I thought it was a bit silly to describe something as being “impossible” when you’ve literally just proved that it exists and is real, so I wrote a report – Giant exoplanet upsets theories on how planets form – to try and take a more balanced look at what’s actually going on. I still had more to say, though, and you’ll find it in the first half of the podcast.
Rhetoric and the scientific method11:05
Scientists and skeptics alike are often a bit scornful about rhetoric. They don’t trust what they see as clever arguments and manipulative words to persuade an audience. Why stoop to such methods when you have truth, facts, and evidence on your side? But I think that’s unfair, and try to explain why rhetoric not only has a place, but should actually be used when communicating science.