For yesterday I was leaning toward Penn and Teller based on Bobbie’s reasoning:
Penn & Teller not only create interesting, often politically-relevant, magic. They are also visible skeptics who critique the over-claiming of magicians/mystics/paranormal advocates and they use empirical arguments/demonstrations when they speak to debunk pseudoscience. For those of us who care about such things as the “replication crisis,” creating better science, the acceptance of science, etc., is there a better analogy than to magic?
But then I read this from Daniel:
The question is whether we want a seminar focused on Bullshit! like most seminars, or on a universal truth and beauty: The Beautiful Game. I gotta go with Pele, but given it’s an academic seminar I’m pretty sure we’re going to get the Bullshit!
And the deciding argument from plusplus:
I would really like to hear Pele’s considered thoughts on who really is GOAT — him or Messi. I know, he is on the record about it already, but has been already refuted massively [sic] by video evidence, so what better than confronting a hostile seminar audience and justify his title?
And today we have the second-ranked mathematician of all time (recall that the ranking was done by a statistician; that’s how applied statisticians Laplace and Turing ranked so high) vs. an unseeded, but memorable, eater. Either one would be entertaining. Recall that Laplace anticipated all of behavioral economics, so his talk should attract people from the psychology and econ depts and b-school as well as the usual suspects from math, stat, and physics.
Again, the full bracket is here, and here are the rules:
We’re trying to pick the ultimate seminar speaker. I’m not asking for the most popular speaker, or the most relevant, or the best speaker, or the deepest, or even the coolest, but rather some combination of the above.
I’ll decide each day’s winner not based on a popular vote but based on the strength and amusingness of the arguments given by advocates on both sides. So give it your best!