Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, Episode 4: Rational Judgement

In this episode of Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?, we pose the question to Dr. Fleming: “Are people incapable of rational judgement?” Interwoven in the discussion are the protests in Portland, Kathy Griffin, “settled science,” the left/right paradigm, the alt right, along with appearances, via quotes, of course, by E.E. Cummings and Max Beerhbohm.

Original Air Date: June 16, 2017
Show Run Time: 47 minutes
Show Guest(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming
Show Host(s): Stephen Heiner


Surely, You Must Be Joking Dr. Fleming?℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2017. All Rights are Reserved.


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7 Responses

  1. Alexander Coleman says:

    As one of the billions of non-individuals out there, I found this a most immersive and thoroughly enjoyable podcast with many a fine argument from Dr. Fleming.

    Even as a young boy I recall reading some scribbling from Newt Gingrich following the “1994 Revolution” of Republicans taking the House of Representatives with Gingrich sitting in the catbird seat. I was stunned to read that to Gingrich the three greatest U.S. presidents with Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. So the standard-bearer of “’90s conservatism” in the U.S. championed the Great Society and its many works, not to mention everything before it. The only sense that creatures like Gingrich are conservatives at all is that they conserve the tail end of the left’s constant revolution, with the occasional feigned plea of, “Now let us take a ninety-minute lunch break from the revolution!”

    Only a few weeks ago I met a Bay Area Republican, roughly my age, who said, “I just want things to get back to where they were, somewhere around 2005, maybe 2006.” Oh, yes, the halcyon days of a decade ago!

    I do blame Dr. Fleming for making me search for Mr. B on YouTube now as I must confess “Straight Out of Surrey” sounds potentially delightful.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    You might start with the history of Chaphop and then follow the feud between Mr. B and the Steampunk ironist Professor Elemental. I’ve tried to get Derek Turner to do a piece but he is not interested. Perhaps I’ll do it myself.

  3. Alexander Coleman says:

    Taking your recommendations to heart I did start with the “History of Chaphop,” which was infectiously amusing and funny. Even as someone who does not care for rap at all, what Mr. Heiner was noting in the podcast is true, if you are a certain age, one cannot escape the colorful catchphrases for their pervasiveness. I will have to take a look at the feud between Mr. B and Professor Elemental later this evening. Thank you, Dr. Fleming, as always.

  4. Dot says:

    Except for those who incapable of making decisions, all are capable of rational and irrational judgements, some more than others. No exceptions. “To err is human; to forgive is divine” Keats.

  5. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    “To err is human, to forgive divine.” Alexander Pope.

    As I have explained both in the podcast and in writing, people are capable of rationality but it is a capability typically potential. As for people capable of thinking their way through an argument, consistently and unflinchingly, toward a conclusion that was not dictated by someone in authority–parent or teacher, creed or guru–it is the rarest of human achievements, common among literary detective heroes and perhaps in some scientists pursuing their researches, but the scientists I have known are no more rational than anyone else in the conduct of their personal lives.

  6. Dot says:

    Toastmasters is a great place to visit.

  7. Jacob Johnson says:

    On the topic of the meaning on phrases used by rappers; I think that they first make noises spontaneously, and later assign meaning to them. All of the phrases are related to this formula: