Re: Science Saturday: Celestial Couch Potatoes (John Horgan & George Johnson)
These guys have my vote. Horgan and Johnson are a good model of what works in the bhtv format. Same with Loury and McWhorter. Not so much with McArdle, Althouse, Lake, etc.
The adversarial model doesn't work. Debaters invariably rehash known ideas while trying to score points with viewers. The ideal format has the heads all but forgetting the presence of an audience. Take Horgan and Johnson: these are two friends having a smart conversation at a cafe, kind enough to let us in on their discussion. But they don't need us in their mental frame. We're irrelevant, which is why it works. We observe their wavefunction but we don't collapse it. Horgan and Johnson are post-quantum -- a compliment, by the way. But in the adversarial mode, especially when the chemistry sucks, the participants' urge to score points with us makes them collapse their wavefunction in quick ill-tempered utterances with no particular connection to truth or logic.
Right-left pairings look good on paper but they favor performance over reason. And performance gets tiresome.
Last edited by ohreally; 12-24-2011 at 01:14 PM..