Showtime to air Penn & Teller in B*llsh*t

I’m not sure how much good it’ll do. People who really need to hold on to their deeply held beliefs will be the first ones to change the channel. I hope P&T will have somebody to sing to besides the choir.

I just realized that the link doesn’t mention the title of their show, but according to P&T’s web site it will be called “Bullshit”.

Just out of curiosity, what will they be showing for second-hand smoke? That it rally isn’t as bad as they say? :eek: That it is good for you? :rolleyes: Or perhaps that it really is bad for you. But I thought we were supposed to know that which is why I thought that is what they were debunking.

That’s one of the benefits of being a debunker. You get to take on the easy ones: Miss Cleo, alien abductions, Friday the 13th being an unlucky day, etc., and then you get to slip in some of your own political beliefs, boulstered by the authority you’ve gained.

(Sorry, feeling a bit cynical today. But I really don’t think there’s enough conclusive evidence on the second-hand smoke issue to be “debunking” much of anything.)

NYR407, contrary to the hype there’s no good data showing significant adverse health effects from second-hand smoke. That’s probably what the show will point out.


I recently saw some rough cuts of the show. It’s everything I hoped it would be – and trust me, I was very skeptical (no pun intended) about how it would turn out. Basically, it’s an entertaining yet highly judgmental look at quackery, paranoia, and the human frailties they prey upon. Think first season “Daily Show” remote segments with more of an agenda.

Specifically, the bits I saw covered TV psychics. (Penn actually had a very touching and insightful commentary on the harm caused by psychics who “channel” dead relatives.) It showed how much editing and rehearsal goes into these things – stuff that I knew about, yet actually seeing it in practice was still pretty cool.

Also pretty amusing was that the title doubles both as shock value and slander-proofing. That is, although Showtime can be sued for calling someone a “liar” or a “fraud”, there’s supposedly no legal recourse if Penn & Teller (well, just Penn :slight_smile: ) just calls them “motherf****rs” or “a**holes”. I dunno if that’s accurate, but since network legal departments are notoriously skittish, I’d assume it was thoroughly vetted.

I heard Penn on a talk radio show talking about a segment on fancy bottled water. Apparently, they went to a fancy restaurant, put tap water out of the outside garden hose into a fancy bottle, and offered it to diners for, like $10 a (small) bottle. When nobody made a stink, they upped the stakes by offering a comparison taste test of two different bottles, both with the tap water, and people claimed they could tell the difference. Then, they put a spider (!) in the bottom of the bottle of water, claimed it imparted some minerals to the water, and still people bought it.

I don’t know if asterisks would do the job, but it might help that it’s ambiguous-- If challenged (unlikely, given their targets,) they can always claim that the title is a self-deprecating assessment of their own show.

Thanks Fiver, that’s what I thought. I should have said “…supposed to believe (instead of know)…” Because although I am a recovering smoker I don’t believe that second hand smoke is as bad as they would have you believe. But that is for another thread.

My bad. I meant more generally that not only is the plan to advertise the show as “Bullshit!”, no asterisks (or “Untitled For Reasons Of Profanity Penn & Teller Showtime Program” if advertisers won’t spell it out, although that’s more wishful thinking on the part of the producers), but that “Bullshit!” is what they’ll pepper their commentary with – “That’s BULLSHIT!” as opposed to “That’s a lie!”

Wow. Cool.

About fucki*g time. :wink:

Are they gonna tackle Quantum Physics? 'Cause the proof of that seems somewhat tenuous. Of course, today’s science is yesterday’s religion…

Saxman said:

And it’s worked for them for literally years. I had lunch with them a few years ago and asked that same question, because in their shows they routinely referred to people like Uri Geller in those ways. I asked how they could get away with it since Geller is notoriously suit-happy, and they explained it in exactly the way you have. Call him a fraud and he can sue. Call him an asshole, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

I am saddened to see that it will be on showtime which means I will not be able to see it for a few years until it migrates down to the learning channel or the like.

You are typing that message on a computer which is made with transistors which people are able to design and understand using Quantum Physics. So I think that the proof for at least some aspects of Quantum Physics is staring you in the face.

gazpacho said:

Yeah, same here. Then again, at the rate stuff is coming out on DVD these days, we may only have to wait a year or so to get a whole season!

:confused: All the parts in my computer were designed by and conform to the laws of Physics as were set forth by Einstein. Which part of how a transistor works requires Quantum Physics to explain it?

Plus, as I recall, in the particular bit they do that makes fun of Uri (the cut and restored linen–don’t know what they call it), they never actually mention him by name.

I, too, am saddened, but then I recall that I’ve seen every episode of the Sopranos this season without having HBO, for reasons this board would rather I not discuss. :slight_smile:

Dr. J

At the risk of totally hijacking the thread

Well almost every thing about how transistors and semiconductor work is from quantum mechanics. How electrons and holes move in semi conductors is understood through quantum mechanics.

Some links that discuss these things:

Einstein got his Nobel prize for the photo electric effect. He was a major contributor to the under standing of quantum mechanics.

Gazpacho, are you telling me that physics as Einstein presented it is the same as phyisics in the world of Quantum Physics? Are you tell me that because some of his work has been used as a basis for Quantum Physics that Einstein endorsed these theories?