Penn and Teller Sometimes Argue Really Badly

I don’t know how I had not come across this blog previously, but it seems there are still many great resources out there I have not yet tapped…

[Originally posted at: The Gotham Skeptic]


And now that I’ve praised them a little… I have to make a complaint.  I recently watched the first two episodes of this new season (their eighth) and I really thought the arguments they were using were pretty weak.  There may be folks out there who feel that, because they’re ostensibly on the same side as we are, we should give them some slack.  I would disagree with that view.  I think because these guys are probably the highest profile skeptics in the mainstream world, we need to point out when they start arguing badly, and we need to try and figure out what the reasons those argument failed are.

The first two episodes are on cheerleading and Fast Food respectively.  Specifically, the first episode is about how cheerleading is not officially considered a sport, but it should be, and also that it’s a very dangerous activity.  The second is about how fast food is “the new Public Enemy #1,” and that bashing fast food is bullshit.  I’m mostly going to discuss episode 1, as I think the logical flaws are more blatant, but don’t be surprised if I slip a bit into discussing episode 2 as well.  Also, and I’m just going to mention this up here – if anyone wants to see, I’ve written up point-by-point summations of both episodes.  They’re pretty long (2255 words and 1763 words), but if folks express a desire to see them, I have no problem putting them up in the comments.

The major problem with the cheerleading episode is, to be frank, that it’s made out of really poor arguments.  I don’t disagree with either their conclusion that cheerleading should be considered a sport or that cheerleading needs better safety standards, but there is an attempt to link these two points together combined with an assertion that the people behind Title 9 are feminists who don’t want to make cheerleading a sport because they don’t like activities where women are feminized that just isn’t proven.  At all.


[Read the rest of this post at: The Gotham Skeptic]

About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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2 Responses to Penn and Teller Sometimes Argue Really Badly

  1. poietes says:

    Interesting that you should post this. I was just thinking the same thing when I watched P&T’s episode on martial arts.

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