Thursday, September 6, 2007

In memoriam: Perry DeAngelis

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast has had a defining feature that, in my humble opinion, greatly contributed to its success. It was the appearance of the always speaking his mind Perry DeAngelis on the panel. Unfortunately, at the age of 44, Perry has passed away. Not only the podcast will have a hard time adjusting to the new reality, so do the fans and skeptics out there.

What made Perry a true skeptic, was maybe less his loud mouth, if not foul mouth, rejection of anything than the demonstrable truth and abrasively sweeping aside the alternatives. What made him, in my eyes a true skeptic, was that he did not fear to be critical of his fellow skeptics any less. He could scold his fellows on air for dealing with the inappropriate subject, if he thought so. In addition, he didn't allow himself to be dragged into main stream scientifically accepted thinking if he was not convinced himself. An example of this was his stand on global warming. In spite of what is acceptable these days, also in skeptical circles, he did not take on the view that human induced emissions of carbon dioxide significantly attribute to global warming. (A skeptical link added in his honor)

He also had a stubborn pride as a skeptic not just in the face of his fellow panellist or main stream science, also facing the law. As he expressed on the subject of the Sickesz case in the Netherlands. I liked his stand a lot even if it were legally unattainable. When his health deteriorated, this is what kept him going and allowed him to publicly stand for. Perry is gone, but we can always go back and listen to SGU podcasts 1 to 110 in order to hear his voice. May his voice be heard.

Oh, and by the way: Maria Sickesz is een kwakzalver.
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