Derek sits down with Bob Nygaard, a retired police officer from New York City who moved to Florida and now has a second career helping victims of Psychic fraud. Find out what it takes to help victims of a crime often ignored by law enforcement.
After a long break, Derek comes back just in time for Christmas. This time he sits down with Henry Jay Przybylo, (Dr. Jay), to discuss his new book 'Counting Backwards'. Dr. Jay is an associate professor of anesthesiology at Northwestern University School of Medicine, specializing in infants and children. The book is his 'Doctor's Notes on Anesthesia', find out more about one of the great mysteries of modern medicine.
Fighting post-truth politics, promoting rational thinking and wise decision-making in the political sphere seems like it has become harder in the past couple years or so. Gleb Tsipursky, founder of 'Intentional Insights', which unites reason-oriented people to popularize science-based strategies for wise decision-making and rational thinking in politics and other life areas. Gleb is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State in the Decision Sciences Collaborative and History Department. Derek got to steal some of Gleb's time to chat more about his work, and his 'Pro-Truth Pledge', whose purpose is to change the incentive structure for public figures.
Skepticality #285 - Houdini's Final Incredible Secret
This episode Derek talks with Bob Loomis, librarian at the Magic Circle, and scholar of the history of stage illusion. His latest work is the book "Houdini's Final Incredible Secret", which is a detailed account of Bob's obsession with figuring out how one trick was performed.
Skepticality #284 - Son of a Buffett - Interview: Peter Buffett
This episode Derek sits down with Peter Buffett, the son of the famous investor, Warren Buffett. Peter became famous not for his investing and banking skills but for his work in music and composing. He and his wife now run a non-profit charity, NoVo, which works to empower women and girls as the primary agents of change throughout the world. Find out more about what it was like to grow up as a Buffett, and more about how he and his wife decided to spend so much of their time, money, and effort focusing on the rights and conditions for women around the world.
This week Derek has a conversation with returning guest, Dr. Bo Bennett. In the past few months Bo has been working on his latest book, 'Uncomfortable Ideas'. In the book, Bennett discusses many of the 'hot button' topics which even the most rational of us tend to shy away from discussing, or thinking about critically. As Bo says in the book, "Facts don't care about feelings. Science isn't concerned about sensibilities. And reality couldn't care less about rage." Find out why it is important to push through discomfort, and engage even the hardest issues with rational thought.
For the new year episode of Skepticality, Derek presents an interview he recorded with Britt Hermes, a former Naturopath turned evidence based medicine advocate. Find out what happens when you go from licensed alt-med practitioner to evidence based medicine champion.
This episode Derek has another conversation with Jonathan Tweet, game designer, book author, and past Skepticality guest. After the success of his last book, 'Grandmother Fish', a book aimed at teaching pre-school children about Evolution, his follow up is a card game, Clades. Clades is a kids card matching game which centers around the evolutionary concept of Clades. Find out more about the new game, and maybe some updates on the status of Grandmother Fish.
This episode Derek has a conversation with Tini Howard, writer of graphic novels and former comics contributor for Paste Magazine and Teen Vogue. Just a couple weeks ago Tini released her newest comic book series 'The Skeptics'. The series is a political adventure about a pair of hip, clever, teens who fool the world into believing they have superpowers. Loosely based on the real events surrounding 'Project Alpha' and other skeptical investigation tales.
This week Skepticality starts out with a touching message about friend of the show and past contributor to Skepticality, Bob Carroll. Then Derek talks with comedian, talk show host, and political commentator, John Fugelsang about 'Dream On', a PBS Documentary about the American Dream, and a road trip across the country to find out if it still is alive.
This episode Derek plays one of the lectures from this past Dragon Con. There is a lot of misconceptions about what can actually heal, and what is *actually* medicine. Find out what some of the most common, and sometimes funny, treatments that seem to crop up in doctors offices and Emergency Rooms. ER Doctor Angie Feazel Mattke gives a talk aimed at explaining just how far reaching some of these 'unscientific' medical ideas can go.
This week Derek talks with Illustrator/Author Rachel Ignotofsky. Once a illustrator for Hallmark Greeting cards, she now focuses her talent for creating easy to understand and attractive art on creating works that inform others about science and history. Her first book is just now out, "Women In Science", a illustrated encyclopedia of historical women who made significant contributions to science who are both well known, and those who more people should know. Find out more about Rachael, and what drove her to shift her career to focusing on education, and the history of science.
This episode Derek hands over most of the episode to Swoopy who conducts an in-depth interview with Hal Bidlack, a Hamiltonian scholar and performer who gives Chautauqua performances as Hamilton himself. They discuss how Hal ended up living a double life as Hamilton, and his importance in American history. As well as a bit about the resurgence of Hamilton's popularity due to the smash-hit Broadway play named after the founder. Bet you didn't know there are even folks who are 'skeptical' of Hamilton!
This episode Derek has a chat with David Person and Chuck Miller about their new documentary project, 'Exodus', a feature-length documentary about the growing number of African-Americans leaving religion. Chuck is a regional director for the American Atheists, and David is a journalist, radio host and a Christian. Find out how two unlikely friends came together to work on a project which looks into the rejection of religion by one of the most religious demographics in the United States.
kppn2u3r Derek has discussion with artist/writer, Darryl Cunningham, about his work and how a health care assistant/cartoonist decided to take on the job of educating the public about misconceptions surrounding psychiatry, science, and even world financial affairs.
Derek does a quick update discussion with Jonathan Tweet, the author of 'Grandmother Fish - a child's first book of Evolution'. Since last Jonathan was on Skepticality to discuss his Kickstarter project to create a book which appeals to the youngest of us that also teaches about the scientific theory of evolution, his book has been finished and is now in the hands of many families. Find out if the story was a success in getting kids more interested in evolution and how all life on Earth is interconnected.
Derek grabs some time with Professor of History, David Wootton, to talk about his latest book 'The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution', a book about the early years where the modern methods of inquiry and scientific thinking came to be. Find out about how a teacher who once focused on historical topics about politics and atheism ended up writing books about science and medicine.
Skepticality #271 - Viewing the World with a Rational Eye
Derek nabs some time with Dr. Micheal Shermer, the man in charge of Skeptic Magazine and the Skeptics Society for a little update and chat about his new book highlighting his fifteen years writing a regular column for Scientific American magazine, followed by some discussion about how science factors into the current United States presidential election.
This episode Derek has a discussion with Dr. Ivan Oransky, MD. Dr. Oransky is the global editorial editor for MedPage Today, and co-founder of Retraction Watch, a site which reports on scientific integrity, fraud, and other issues. He previously was executive editor of Reuters Health and held an editorial position at Scientific American and The Scientist. His main passion is the promotion of science based medicine and encouraging those in the medical field to use a more common sense approach to diagnosis and focus less on 'pre-conditions' and possible symptoms of less-than-certain diseases.
A special Easter day episode with Raphael Lataster. Raphael is a writer and Religious Studies expert who focuses on the history of religion. Raphael recently has been working with Richard Carrier on the historicity of Jesus, and the likelihood of his existence. So, take a listen while you hunt your colored eggs!
This week Derek sits down with the author of "A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours", John Allen Paulos. The author has written books weaving math into facets of life with book topics ranging from math and humor, to the stock market. This new work takes a more 'personal' look at the intersection of math, numbers, and personal stories and histories.
This episode Derek chats with Ben Radford, a Skepticality past guest, author, and investigator. Ben has just released his latest book, "Bad Clowns". Clowns might not be your usual idea for a skeptical topic, but Ben thinks you might just change your mind once you delve into the history and stories in his new work. So, turn off the lights, snuggle your favorite creepy clown and join in for some Bad Clown fun.
This episode Derek has a conversation with Zack Wienersmith, the creator/author of the popular web comic series 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' (SMBC). Zach was a speaker at The Amazing Meeting 13, so while they were both in the same building Derek was able to get some time with Zack to discuss how he got interested in science, skeptical thinking, and how the two relate... or not.
Derek presents another interview from his trip to The Amazing Meeting 13, a recorded interview with Dr. Dean Edell. Dr. Edell had an impressive array of popular media shows on radio and television over the course of his career. He promoted science based medicine to the masses and fought against shoddy medical reporting and pseudoscience throughout his time communicating to the public. Back in 2010 he announced his retirement from his media career, Derek got to catch up with Dr. Edell at TAM to talk about his retirement, and what drove him to keep fighting against anti-science, and to push well founded medical information when much of the mainstream media seems so lax to do so.
Skepticality #264 - Don't Mess With Her Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Derek presents another interview from his trip to The Amazing Meeting 13,a recorded interview with Yvette d'Entremont, AKA SciBabe, an analytical chemist with a background in forensics and toxicology. Before working full-time as a science writer and public speaker, Yvette worked as a chemistry professor and a toxicology chemist researching pesticides for safety. She now runs her own blog/website, SciBabe, dedicated to debunking pseudoscience that tends to proliferate online and in society. In this episode find out how SciBabe came to be and why she ended up focusing her work on clearing up misinformation about science, food and nutrition.
This episode Derek chats with author/filmmaker Chris Matheson about his recently released book 'The Story of God - A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate)'. A funny look at the events as described in the Bible from the perspective of God and how the divine fumbles its way through the origins of reality and all we know. Find out more about how the man who helped create, and film, classic movies featuring Bill and Ted came to write a story which has a supreme being as its main character.
This episode Derek has a discussion with past Skepticality guest, Guy P. Harrison on his latest book, 'Good Thinking'. In this book Guy took on the challenge of discovering more about human brain evolution, and sought out what the current, best, science is on how we can keep our brains healthy and working the best way possible. Maybe you shouldn't be eating that extra scoop of drive through ice cream after-all....
This episode Derek chats with Bo Bennett, popular author, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and co-host of 'The Humanist Hour', along with several other critical thought podcasts and radio shows. Find out more about Bo's journey into the world of critical thought, skepticism, humanism and activism.
This episode features a live recording of Derek and James Randi on stage at Skeptrack 2015 this past Labor Day weekend at Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA. Derek and Randi discuss the origins of The Amazing Randi and his work exposing fakers and other harmful charlatans over the years.
This episode Derek digs into a recording which he conducted out in California at the Skeptic Society "I The Year 2525" conference. It is a recording Derek did with Dr. Donald Prothero not long after he finished his talk which was about the current state of the climate, how we know that humans are causing massive change, and what we might be able to do to help mitigate and, possibly, improve things going forward as a global society.
This episode Derek brings another interview from his trip to The Amazing Meeting 13, a discussion with Edwina Rogers. Edwina is currently the CEO for the Secular Policy Institute where she is helping bring more critical thought into the halls of American Government. Find out more about how a conservative from rural Alabama came to be such a major champion for science and critical thinking.
This episode continues our series of special content which Derek recoreded while attending The Amazing Meeting 13. Just after she gave her talk on stage, Derek sat down with Natalia Reagan, anthropologist, writer, actress, and comedienne. Using her specialized knowledge in primatology, she was one of the judges on the television show, "10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty". Find out a bit more about how Natalia decided to leverage her advanced science degree and experience into a form of skeptical outreach which has been seen by millions.
With The Amazing Meeting ending only a couple days ago, Derek doesn't wait to give you the first recorded interview from the event. Derek talks with Jim Baggott, author of many books on the nature of reality and physics. His latest work, "Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth". Baggott argues that there is no observational or experimental evidence for many of the ideas of modern theoretical physics: super-symmetric particles,super strings, the multiverse, the holographic principle,or the anthropic cosmological principle. These theories are not only untrue, it is not even science. It is fairy-tale physics: fantastical, bizarre and often outrageous, perhaps even confidence-trickery.
This week Derek gets back from his trip to the Skeptics Society Meeting and gets right back to 'work' by talking with Sunny Fugate and Jeane Wong. Jeane founded 'The League of Extraordinary Scientists', (LXS), a community effort to bring quality 'science-ing' to K-5th grade classrooms in the San Diego area. Find out how the LXS is determined to bring their proven method of delivering science into the classrooms of the youngest students, and how they believe they can make it happen across the world.
Derek, Swoopy, and Tim Farley jump on stage at Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, GA for a live recording of their 10th anniversary episode. Learn some fun facts about Skepticality, Derek, Swoopy, and even a surprise return of some of their original segments. Find out if Derek and Swoopy have any grand plans for the next ten years...
Skepticality #252 - A Skepticality Guide To The Universe
This time around Derek has a light hearted conversation with Dr. Steven Novella, clinical neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine. Oh, and the host and producer of ‘The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe’ podcast. Derek and Steve started their skeptic based shows within the same week about 10 years ago this time of year. They discuss a bit about the landscape of the skeptical movement, the impact of new media and… some current skeptical news.
Skepticality #251 - A Skeptics Adventures in Narnia
This episode Derek interviews Laura Miller, one of the original co-founders of the popular online site Salon.com about her first book, 'The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia.'. A personal story about her experience re-reading her favorite series of books, 'The Chronicles of Narnia', uncovering the meanings embedded into them by C.S. Lewis, then realized how one can still find immense joy in books, even when one does not agree with some of the messages contained within.
This episode marks the 250th episode of Skepticality, the 10th Anniversary of the show is coming up very soon. Derek announces where you can see the episode which will mark our 10th anniversary be recorded in person. After which he joins Evolutionary Biology professor Jim Krupa to discuss his latest article which was recently released by Orion Magazine. Find out more about this award winning science professor and defender of evolution.
Skepticality #249 - Skepticality On The Side - Something New
Skepticality is almost a decade old. In light of the upcoming landmark, Derek and the show's usual crew of contributors decided they needed to start bringing to listeners different content to supplement the standard format. Today, we present the first installment of Skepticality: On The Side in which you can listen in on Derek, Susan Gerbic, Tim Farley, and Bob Blaskiewicz as they discuss the history of Skepticality, and some of the hot topics they have been following in the realms of skeptical thought and pseudoscience.
This week Derek has a conversation with Dr. Michael Shermer about his recently released book, 'The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Led Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom'. Find out more about how a shift in society which lead to the Enlightenment, abstract reasoning and skepticism have moved humanity toward a more just and moral world.
This round of Skepticality features a Skeptic Society sponsored talk which was given by the well known science communicator Bill Nye. Nye talks about the topics covered in his latest book, 'Undeniable', then afterwards sits down with Dr. Michael Shermer to talk one on one about how Nye got into science communication and the interesting journey he took on his way to become 'The Science Guy' most know him as today.
This week Derek has a conversation with Julien Musolino. Julien is an associate professor of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics and Rutgers University and the author of the book "The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs". In this episode Julien describes why he argues that the existence of the soul is a testable hypothesis Ð one thatÕs failed time and time again to hold up against the weight of scientific evidence. And, despite these findings, why he and everyone else should not be sad, or depressed by this fact, but to embrace it and lead a happier and more productive life.
Skepticality #245 - Classic: The Trouble With Christmas
This week Derek decides to get a bit nostalgic and brings you a classic interview from the Skepticality archives. Back in 2005, our first year of the show, Swoopy and Derek had well known author, Tom Flynn, on the show for an interview about his book, 'The Trouble With Christmas'. Since it is the holiday time of year again, find out why so many people seem to find Christmas so troublesome as you unwrap your gifts this year.
This week Derek chats with National Laboratory programmer turned hard science fiction author, Andy Weir, about his book 'The Martian'. The wildly popular book about a stranded astronaut left behind on Mars after a tragic accident. The story uses ideas based on real and near-future tech to drive the plot-line. Find out what inspired Andy to put his ideas down into a novel, and his journey from offering the work for free to now having his book turned into a major motion picture set for release in 2015.
The simple act of eating a cheese sandwich change your mood? Will taking some commonly prescribed drugs make you more likely to help random strangers on the street? Well-known neuroscientist, Molly Crockett, may have some answers. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek explores altruism, morality, and values-based decision-making in humans, with Molly, who reminds us against blind acceptance of some of the more overstated claims about neuroscience in the media.
This episode Derek steals some time away from Caitlin Doughty, a past guest of Skepticality from 2012 right around Halloween. Once again, Caitlin comes back for the spooky holiday time of year to discuss her first book, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", which is a personal account about what it is like to work in the 'death business'. Find out a bit more about what brings someone who was born and raised in a sunny location like Hawaii to find herself as a professional in the business of death.
This week Derek has a conversation with Sheldon Helms, a member of the Bay Area Skeptics, and one of the people involved with Operation Bumblebee, a scouting operation put together by Susan Gerbic to go to one of the big events put on by Chip Coffey, a self described psychic. Sheldon provides some details about his involvement in the operation, and how two teams of skeptics worked to put together a fairly detailed event.
Skepticality #240 - Critical and Thinking - Interview: Ian Harris
This episode Derek sits down with previous Skepticality guest Ian Harris, a working comedian who focuses on critical thought and skeptical topics for his humorous material. Ian recently released a new video special, and comes on Skepticality to talk a bit more about the climate of humor when performing stand up comedy in front of wildly varied crowds across the United States.
Skepticality #239 - Denying Evolution and Climate Science
This week Derek brings you a taste of what you may have missed by not coming out for the yearly Skeptic events at Dragon Con. A recording from the star studded panel, "Denying Evolution and Climate Science". Which involved Matt Lowry, David DiSalvo, Dr. Steven Novella, and Barbara Drescher.
This episode Derek tracked down Sikivu Hutchinson, a passionate skeptic and rights activist. Sikivu is the senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angles County Human Relations Commission, and the author of several books centering around race, gender, politics, and atheism in minority society within the United States. Her most recent book, 'Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels', attempts to shed light on the issues centering around minorities which often become overlooked by many in atheist communities and skeptic circles.
This week Derek talks with Thomas Goetz, past Executive Editor for Wired Magazine, co-founder of Iodine, and author of healthcare related books. Thomas's latest book, 'The Remedy', is about Robert Koch, the father of modern bacteriology and his quest to find the cause and cure for tuberculosis, and the relationship between him and Arthur Conan Doyle.
This week Derek talks with Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated Magazine, Jon L. Wertheim. Jon is the author of 'Scorecasting', the New York Times Beselling book which is a interesting blend of Freakonomics, Moneyball, and Mythbusters. Yes, the book is about sports, but it comes at the world of sports from a scientific angle to expose the hidden forces which shape how games are won and lost, while breaking down many of the superstions and myths which are embedded in popular culture about sports in general.
This week Derek chats with Arthur I. Miller, a PhD particle physicist who has spent his life fascinated with the nature of creative thinking and the cross-section between creativity and science. Arthur's latest book, 'Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art' is a look at this world from the 1960's until today.
Skepticality #234 - The Most Famous American You've Never Heard Of
This week Derek talks with Gary Kaskel, film maker turned animal protection advocate. Gary's latest book, "Monsters and Miracles: Henry Bergh's America", is a biographical look into Henry Bergh, a man who founded two social justice organizations directly after the United States Civil War. Almost everyone has heard of the ASPCA and about the same number of people also believe that children should be protected and have the right not to be treated as property. However, what most people don't know is that both of those things were pushed up to the forefront of public understanding due to one man, Henry Bergh. Find out more about the man who can be easily called 'The most famous American you've never heard of'.
Skepticality #233 - Evolution Reading: Pre-School to High School
This episode Derek sits down with two guests. First is Jonathan Tweet, game designer, and science advocate. Tweet comes on Skepticality to discuss his latest writing project which will be coming to Kickstarter quite soon. It is a fun science book aimed at pre-school level children teaching the basic facts behind evolution and how living things came to be. Next, Derek talks with Allen J. Woppert about his latest book, 'The War On Science Goes Batshit', a Young Adult book about when a biology teacher in the small town of Batshit, Illinois attempts to slip Intelligent Design into the High School classroom. Derek talks with Allen about how the book came to be, and the challenges in writing a book geared toward a Young Adult audience which has the teaching of evolution as its main topic.
This episode Derek has a discussion with Bruce Carlson, the creator and host of the popular podcast and radio show 'My History Can Beat Up Your Politics'. The show has a mission, to apply history to the politics of today. Many times people tend to use historical references to justify their modern day political ideas, Derek wanted to find out more about how Bruce attempts to correct bad thinking when it comes to the intersection of politics and the past.
Skepticality #231 - Do The Most Good - Interview: William MacAskill
This week Derek has a conversation with William MacAskill. William is a former Fulbright scholar at Princeton University, and PhD at Oxford University. William is the founder of OxfordÕs Center for Effective Altruism and of 80,000 Hours, a service which helps determine how best to use your time to do the most good. As a person who is deeply concerned with the effects of charitable giving, he set out to provide ways for people to give in the most effective manner possible. What are the best places to give your money so it has the highest potential to further good in the world? William discusses why it was important for the charities he helped create have a scientific way to determine where donations and/or work should be best directed for the most good.
This week Derek speaks with Raphael Lataster, a secular PhD researcher in religious studies who focuses on philosophy of religion, Christian origins, logic, Bayesian reasoning, and the social impacts of atheism. His Master's thesis dealt with Jesus mythicism, concluding that historical and Bayesian reasoning justifies a skeptical position in regards to any form of 'historical Jesus'. His work led him to write his new book, 'There Was No Jesus, There Is No God'. Derek decided to sit down and talk with Raphael and find out more about how the ideas contained in the book came about and how they fit when so many prominent, modern, religious scholars tend to keep making statements as to the historical certainty of a Jesus figure.
Skepticality was the recipient of the 'Ockham's Razor Award for Best Podcast 2014! Along with a short announcement about that, this week Derek talks with author Andrew Endersby about his newest book, "America's Imaginary Hostage Crisis". In 1979 a group of Iranian students invaded and occupied the US Embassy in Tehran. The United States military decided the best way to try to deal with the event was to use a group of newly 'trained' psychics using remote viewing to determine what was going on within the walls of the embassy. Now that the actual papers which detail what the remote viewers actually reported, how accurate were they, really?
Skepticality #228 - Scorecasting - Interview: Jon L. Wertheim
This week Derek talks with Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated Magazine, Jon L. Wertheim. Jon is the author of 'Scorecasting', the New York Times Beselling book which is a interesting blend of Freakonomics, Moneyball, and Mythbusters. Yes, the book is about sports, but it comes at the world of sports from a scientific angle to expose the hidden forces which shape how games are won and lost, while breaking down many of the superstions and myths which are embedded in popular culture about sports in general.
Skepticality #227 - God Bless America Beyond Belief - Interviews: Dale McGowan and Karen Stollznow
Since Skepticality took a break last episode, Derek comes back with two interviews to fill the void of having no show for a full month. The first is with Dale McGowan; author, speaker, philanthropist, and founder of 'Foundation Beyond Belief'. They discuss how the Foundation came to be, what the current goals are, and how people can get involved worldwide. After Dale, Derek has a discussion with Karen Stollznow; writer, linguist, and author of several books which have a skeptical slant. Derek talks with her about one of her latest books, 'God Bless America', which takes a look at some of the unusual religious practices and beliefs across the United States of America.
Skepticality #226 - Taboo - Interview: Jeremy Steele
This week Derek sits down with Jeremy Steele, the author of the new book 'Taboo: The Questions You Aren't Supposed to Ask'. Jeremy is not only an author and skeptic, he is also a practicing Methodist Pastor. Derek discusses what lead a man of devout faith to be such a strident skeptic, and how his skeptical themed book came to be.
Skepticality #225 - Think - Interview: Robert Blaskiewicz and Guy P. Harrison
This episode Derek has a chat with Robert Blaskiewicz, who has been highly involved in bringing attention to the dodgy cancer research that Stanislaw Burzynski has been conducting. Then, Guy Harrison visits Skepticality, once again, to talk about his new skeptic focused book, 'Think', which aims to give rational thinkers a set of tools to help talk to, and work alongside, those who hold dubious beliefs.
Skepticality #224 - Test For Intelligence? - Interview: Keith E. Stanovich
This week Derek has an interview with Keith E. Stanovich, a CSI fellow and is the Canada Research Chair of Applied Cognitive Science at the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto. His work in critical thinking and how science goes about measuring intelligence has won him many awards. Derek wanted to find out a bit more about his work and what areas of research he has been working on in recent days.
Skepticality #223 - Pieces of You - Interview: Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Ever think about all the bits of yourself that you leave behind everywhere you go? We all leave behind traces of genetic material pretty much each time we visit any location. Derek's latest guest, Heather Dewey Hagborg, is an artist who had a massive curiosity about just how much of our personal information we leave behind in the form of DNA evidence. Heather went on a personal mission to find out if she could artistically replicate portraits of people from the DNA they leave behind everywhere you go.
Skepticality #221 - Out Of Iraq - Interview: Faisal Saeed Al Mutar
With the coming anniversary of Isaac Newton's birthday, Derek , sat down to have a chat with Faisal Saeed Al Mutar. Until about 9 months ago, Faisal was living in Iraq where he was at odds with the Sunni, Shai, and Al-Qaeda. He now lives in the United States after being granted asylum. In his short time living in the United States, he was gone on to help build an amazing community of people dedicated to making society a better place through the promotion of humanism, secular values, and skeptical thinking.
Skepticality #220 - You Know You Want This, Neuromarketing - Interview: Dr. Peter Steidl
With the shopping season upon us, Derek decided to sit down and talk with someone who knows a bit about how to sway people using the power of marketing. neuroscientist, Dr. Peter Steidl, has been an adviser to the World Health Organization, represented Australia at the European Center for Social Science Research, and is an author and working professional in the world of Neuromarketing. Just how much power, or sway, can marketing really have on the spending habits of people?
Skepticality #219 - Shout Science! - Interview: Scott Dubois
This week Derek talks with Scott Dubois, a teacher and artist who always wanted to explore ways to better teach and explain science to his audience. Using his artistic talent and his love of teaching he set out to create 'Shout Science!', an interactive application that teaches using a, fun, narrative method.
Skepticality #218 - Make A Connection - Interviews: Randy Olson, Brian Palermo, and Dorie Barton
Many of us who are science-minded, or are champions of rational thought, may lament the fact that our messages often fall upon the deaf ears of a populace seemingly without the patience, nor care, for science literacy. Past Skepticality guest, Randy Olson, has spent his time working on ways to help people to understand and communicate information to a broad audience. Teaming with actors Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo, he has formed a well-proven storytelling methodology, which anyone can learn to use, to engage an audience and help people better understand complex information. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Randy, Brian and Dorie to discuss their work, its origins, and how anyone can learn to become a better storyteller.
Skepticality #217 - A Creepy Neuro-Revolution! - Interview: Greg Gage
It is the creepy time of year once again. To celebrate the coming of All-Hallows-Eve, Derek has a chat with Greg Gage, a neuroscientist who is dedicated to bringing citizen science to the world of what goes on in the brain. As the founder of 'Backyard Brains', Greg has invented do-it-yourself equipment which you can use, at home, to conduct experiments which demonstrate how the nervous system works. Nothing could be more fitting around Halloween than learning how you can create your own 'zombie' cockroach!
Skepticality #216 - Just Apply Rationality - Interview: Julia Galef
This week Derek spends some time talking with Julia Galef, the president of the Center for Applied Rationality, (CFAR). Along with her impressive work heading up an entire think tank dedicated to rational thinking, she also is the co-host of the popular podcast, 'Rationally Speaking' along with Massimo Pigliucci. Find out more about how something like CFAR came to be, and how Julia and her group and aiming to spread critical thinking to the masses.
Skepticality #215 - Do You Believe In Magic? - Interview: Dr. Paul Offit
This week Skepticality features an interview with Dr. Paul Offit, in which he discusses his work in science based medicine. From his time as a vaccine inventor to his tireless work educating the public about harmful medical fads and misinformation. His latest book, "Do You Believe In Magic" is a scathing expose' of the so called "alternative medicine" industry and gives insights into how to decide if a treatment is real, a helpful placebo, or just hogwash.
Skepticality #214 - Reality Check - Interview: Dr. Donald Prothero
Derek releases another interview which was conducted at The Amazing Meeting 2013. This time he sits down with Dr. Donald Prothero to discuss another of his books which were released in the past few weeks, 'Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future'. Find out why Dr. Prothero has dedicated so much of his time attempting to ensure the public becomes more scientifically literate, and what he fears will happen if it doesn't happen.
Skepticality #213 - Abominable Science - Interview: Daniel Loxton and Dr. Donald Prothero
This week Derek releases one of the interviews that he recorded while at The Amazing Meeting. On the first day of TAM, the new book penned by Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero, 'Abominable Science', made its debut. So, Derek stole some time with Daniel and Donald to talk a bit about their latest collaboration, and get some of their impressions from their time doing the research into the many Cryptozoological topics packed into the informative tome.
Skepticality #212 - The Science of This vs. That - Interview: Jon Hotchkiss
This week Derek is finally back to the show after 'The Amazing Meeting' out in Las Vegas. And takes time to talk to Jon Hotchkiss, well known for the many science based television shows he has produced, directed, and written for. Shows such as; Bullshit! starring Penn and Teller and Pumpkin Chunkin' from the Science Channel. Jon's latest television project is another science show, This vs. That, which he is bringing to the masses via the Internet so he can ensure that the show is about the science, without the issues which plague the major media outlets. If you want more, science based entertainment, find out where your next fix might be come from.
Skepticality #211 - The Limits of Neuroscience - Interview: Dr. Robert A. Burton
It seems that every other day there is another news story or article touting some breakthrough in the world of neuroscience. This can tend to cause even the most ardent science lover to be confused as to what the practical applications are of the brain research we keep hearing about. This week on Skepticality, Derek speaks with Dr. Robert A. Burton, author of On Being Certain, about his latest book A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind. Dr. Burton’s latest focus is on identifying the strengths and limitations of modern neuroscience. His book helps us to better understand the topic so we can make better use of the information contained with the plethora of published studies.
Skepticality #210 - Talkin' Death and Injury - Interview: Geoffrey “Thor” Desmoulin
This week on Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with Geoffrey “Thor” Desmoulin, a Biomedical Engineer from Vancouver, Canada. Geoffrey works in accident reconstruction and medical device testing. Most people, however, know him best from his well-loved Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior. Using scientific testing and a bit of investigation, the show featured highly detailed dramatizations of historical combat scenarios to find answers to questions like: ‘Who would win in a toe to toe fight, a Ninja or a Spartan?’ It’s kind of like Mythbusters, but more dangerous.
Skepticality #209 - Watching Bad Science - Interview: Michael Kruse
This episode Derek talks with #209 - Watching Bad Science - Interview: Michael Kruse, the current Chair of 'Bad Science Watch', consumer advocacy group based out of Canada which focuses mainly on educating the public about important issues surrounding bad claims dealing with health and medical issues. Michael and his group have been in recent struggles with anti Wi-Fi panic caused by a misinformed public, frustrating governmental restrictions on scientists communicating their findings, and 'nosodes' a form of homeopathy claiming to be an effective vaccine for preventable disease, which has been contributing to a low vaccination rate in several areas across Canada.
Skepticality #208 - What The Frak!? - Interview: Dr. Michael Webber
This week on Skepticality, Derek spends some time talking to Dr. Michael Webber, an alternative energy expert and advocate, based out of Austin Texas. Webber describes some of the current issues he sees related to power generation and consumption. In a time when everyone seems interested in better ways to gather and produce energy for an increasingly power-hungry world, it is good to assess all potential energy solutions—weighing their pros and cons—in the search of the silver bullet that will keep the lights on in the future.
Scientific laws, concepts, and theories can be difficult to understand. Thanks to the duo at ASAP Science, you can watch short, bite-sized videos on YouTube and learn some pretty cool facts. This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Mitchell Moffit, one of the co-creators and producers of ASAP Science.
Skepticality #206 - Superlaw! - Interview: James Daily and Ryan Davidson
This week on Skepticality, Derek chats with James Daily and Ryan Davidson, the creators of the popular legal blog, Law and The Multiverse and the newly released book based on the site, The Law of Superheroes. If there’s one thing that many science and reality-minded people tend to do quite a bit, it’s over analyze every little detail in the movies, TV shows, books, etc., that they find entertaining. James and Ryan, being lawyers, decided to take that same mindset and explore what might happen, legally, if some of the fantastic things depicted in comic books and superhero entertainment actually happened in real life.
Skepticality #205 - Goin' Prehistoric - Interviews: Tyler Keillor and Daniel Loxton
This week Derek presents double Dino-related goodness! First off he has a discussion with Tyler Keillor, a Fossil Laboratory Fossil preparator and Paleoartist. Then Daniel Loxton, of Jr. Skeptic, joins in to talk about his newest book, "Pterosaur Trouble", the next installment in the 'Kids Can Press' line of "Tales of Prehistoric Life" books.
Skepticality #204 - Spot The Bull - Interview: Loren Collins
This week Derek has a discussion with Loren Collins, the author of the book 'Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation'. The book is a guide for people to distinguish real conspiracies from conspiracy theories, and real science from pseudoscience. Loren set out to provide a way to use the tools of critical thinking to spot real evidence from information which has been manipulated to create false impressions of the truth.
Skepticality #203 - Rocks Don't Lie - Interview: David R. Montgomery
This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews geomorphologist and Professor of Earth and Space Sciences (University of Washington) David R. Montgomery about how his work led him to write his latest book The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood. The book is thoughtful and readable, and attempts to respect both young Earth creationist views and the world of evidence-based geological science. According to the books publisher, with an explorers eye and a refreshing approach to both faith and science, Montgomery takes readers on a journey across landscapes and cultures. In the process we discover the illusive nature of truth, whether viewed through the lens of science or religion, and how it changed through history and continues changing, even today.
Skepticality #202 - Intelligence And The Future - Interview: Nicholas Eftimiades
This week Derek sits down with Nicholas Eftimiades, Chinese Intelligence expert who was the Chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency Space Division for a period of time. He recently penned a new book which is a science fiction novel set 200 years in the future where a few androids decide to communicate with the Almighty.
Skepticality #201 - Should You Answer Aristotle? - Interview: Massimo Pigliucci
This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Massimo Pigliucci about his latest book, Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life, discussing what lead him to write the book, and getting his personal take on the modern skeptical movement.
Skepticality #200 - 200 Episodes! - Interview: Dr. Michael Shermer
In this, the 200th episode, Derek sits down with Swoopy for a long while to ramble about the past (and future) of the podcast (and a bit about what Swoopy’s been up to while absent from the show). Derek then talks with Dr. Michael Shermer about the recent news surrounding Lance Armstrong and the reality of doping in athletics. They also discuss Michael’s recent articles about the Sandy Hook mass shooting, and the new conspiracy thinking which has cropped up in the few days since that tragic event.
Skepticality #199 - Another Doubtful Year - Interview: Sharon Hill
We all survived one more end of the world scare! Now that we have to keep on living, Derek decided to sit down with Sharon Hill of 'Doubtful News' to chat a little about what some of the big skeptical news stories of 2012 were, and get her thoughts about might be looming over the horizon for 2013.
Skepticality #198 - More American Than A Good Shag - Interview: Mark Forsyth
It is Christmas time! Derek and Swoopy chat a small amount about Christmasfor a few seconds, then Derek interviews, Mark Forsyth, 'The Inky Fool',about his latest book 'Etymologicon'. Find out about the secret origins ofwords and phrases, such as 'shag', or the seemingly innocent 'feisty'.Mark brings the social science behind how words and languages evolve, andwants others to come and discover why we use the words we use.
Skepticality #197 - The Budding Biologist - Interview: Kristine Duehl
Have you ever really paid much attention to what is depicted on clothing, toys, and such made for children? This episode Derek sits down with Kristine Duehl, a PhD of Biology who focuses on plants and the biomes in which plants and their common fauna live. When Kristine had her first child, she wanted to ensure that her own kid had learning materials which were accurate to the real world, so she created 'The Budding Biologist' book series.
Skepticality #196 - Jill-Jet: And The Magical Tale of Penn - Interview: Penn Jillette
This week Derek spends some time with Penn Jillette discussing his journey into magic, his past with James Randi, where we might see Penn and Teller next, and his latest book, 'Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No!'
Skepticality #194 - A Good Death - Interview: Caitlin Doughty
It is All Hallows' Eve once again, the time of year when all things creepy and terrifying seem to be highlighted. Derek decided to embrace the time of year and have a discussion with Caitlin Doughty, a mortician from Los Angeles, California who attempts to educate society about the reality and science of death, and hopefully remove some of fear and uncomfortable feelings which come along with death.
Skepticality #193 - Threesome With Jesus - Interview: Dr. Darrel Ray
This week Derek sits down with Dr. Darrel Ray to discuss his latest book, 'Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality'. Dr. Ray, is a former minister, now the creator of the 'Recovering From Religion' support system, and founder of the 'Secular Therapist Project' which allows secular minded people to find therapists near them who practice from a secular, scientific, mindset. His new book covers the harm that religion continues to exert on human sexuality in modern society, and how this harm happens within almost every sect, and flavor of belief.
Skepticality #192 - Sexual Brain Science - Interview(s): Dr. Ginger Campbell and Joanne Hanks
This week on Skepticality, Derek first sits down with Dr. Ginger Campbell to chat about her new book, Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty, to find out more about why it is difficult for any of us to be certain about many things. Then, Derek has a discussion with Joanne Hanks, the author of “It’s Not About The Sex” My Ass, about her journey deep into the world of fundamentalist Mormomism, and her move to becoming a skeptic and critical thinker.
Skepticality #191 - Attracting A Mix - Skeptics and Believers - Dragon*Con Skeptrack Panel
This week on Skepticality, Derek presents another recording from the 2012 Skeptrack Panel at Dragon*Con on the topic of “Attracting A Mix: Skeptics and Believers,” featuring Sharon Hill, Tim Farley, and Nicole Gugliucci. Panelists discuss how to tailor your message so it may attract people from the widest range of world views for the greatest potential good.
This week Derek briefly re-caps the events of the Skeptic Track at Dragon*Con 2012. For those of you who could not make it out for the fun and excitement, he plays one of the group sessions from the event. It is a panel which involved JREF Outreach Coordinator, Brian Thompson, Best Selling Authors Michael Stackpole, Scott Sigler, and Gail Z. Martin, as well as Skepchicks Rebecca Watson and Amy Davis Roth. As they discuss using popular art and creative endeavors to get skeptical and critical thought into a segment of the population which would otherwise never seek out the information directly.
Skepticality #189 - Les Folies de Foi - Victor Stenger
This week Derek spends a little bit of his time before the start of Dragon*Con with Victor Stenger discussing his latest book, "God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion". Based on his experience as a particle physicist, Stenger outlines how hard science actually has a lot to say about all supernatural and religious claims, even though many have mistakenly gone too far to accommodate ideas for which there is no scientific evidence.
Skepticality #188 - Hope In Small Doses - Nikki Stern
This week on Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with noted humanist Nikki Stern on her latest book, Hope in Small Doses. The book is a journey to find the ultimate meaning of “hope” from a secular point of view without the need or requirement for supernatural thinking. Hope has been something that Nikki has thought a lot about since the tragic death of her husband during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York City.
Skepticality #187 - The End Is Nigh? - Mathew Gross
From the book of Revelation to global warming catastrophes to the many predictions of the end of civilization, why does culture seem to be obsessed with the idea that the end is near? In this episode of Skepticality, Derek speaks with Mathew Gross: the man responsible for Howard Dean’s internet strategy in his bid for the presidency in 2004. Mathew is a nature trails historian, avid hiker, and recently the author of the new book, The Last Myth, which is a look into the rise of apocalyptic thinking and what it tells us about America.
This week Derek sits down with Mike McRae, a science writer, and touring science communicator for Australia's National Science and Technology Center. Mike has recently released his latest book, 'Tribal Science', Derek and Mike discuss how the book came about and how our current culture still owes many of its common illogical behaviors to our tribal nature.
Skepticality #184 - Learn Like a Sponge: Dr. Jeremy Friedberg
The landscape of education is changing at a pace which might be considered'warp speed'. With tools like Google and Wikipedia, along with a more techsavvy population new hurdles and challenges face professors and teachersat all levels. Computerized, online media is where many are turning forgood resources and content. This week Derek sits down with Dr. JeremyFriedberg, the founder and president of Spongelab, an online communitywhich bills itself as "A Global Science Community". This community is fullof resources, digital media, educational computer games, lesson plans andmore aimed at professors, and teachers to further enhance and help theminform and get students excited about learning the beauty of science andthe real world. Best part, all the content is free to use for anyeducator. Find out more about how one company is making sure that scienceand the real world are communicated in the most effective manner in ourmodern, cyber-enhanced world.
About Fifteen years ago the largest mass suicide on American soil was conducted by the Heaven's Gate cult in Rancho Santa Fe, California. While most were hearing, or watching the news coming out of California, not many heard there were other, connected, suicides which happened in cities around the country. This week Derek has a chat with Deborah Simpson, the sister of one of the Heavens Gate group, Jimmy, who was living in Atlanta, GA at the time. In his farewell letter he wrote, "It's past time for me to
go", soon after he took his own life to join his Heaven's Gate brother in the 'next level'.
This week Derek sits with Deb Simpson, author of the new book, "Closing The Gate", a deeply personal book about her brother, and the story about how he got involved with such a destructive, and manipulative group. A rare look into some of the inner workings and the effects that such groups can have on the families which they end up effecting.
Skepticality #182 - Laugh, It's Science! - Interview: Dr. Pete Ludovice
It has become quite obvious to many skeptics and promoters and lovers of science that in our current world where it seems that all too many in the world get convinced to turn their eyes blind to the mountains of evidence and rational thought of the past few hundred years, one of the few bright candles in modern times tends to be that of comedy. In this episode Derek has a special in-studio guest, Dr. Peter Ludovice. Peter is a Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. Dr. Pete is also a popular stand up comedian who performs science, and rational based comedy at events around the United States. Derek discusses with Dr. Ludovice how he uses his interesting mix of professions to reach out to his students, and the people who come to see him perform at any of his events.
Skepticality #181 - Unnatural Evolution Is A Funny Thing - Interviews: Bob Carroll and Ian Harris
In this weeks installment of Skepticality, Derek talks to Ian Harris, a science based comedian who is part of a troupe of comedians who all center their work on topics that science loving folks will really enjoy, the tour is called "The Evolution of Comedy Tour". Ian and Derek discuss how comedy seems to be a great fit for skeptical and scientific issues. Then Derek checks in with Bob Carroll to discuss his new e-book, "Unnatural Acts" which he produced as part his ongoing efforts over at skepdic.com.
Skepticality #180 - Odds of Popular Beliefs - Interviews: Guy Harrison, Wendy Hughes, and Jarrett Kaufman
This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Guy Harrison about his latest book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, a guide to help steer people away from bogus pseudoscience by offering alternative explanations to commonly held unfounded beliefs. Derek also sits down with the founders of the website The Odds Must Be Crazy, a site which highlights extraordinary stories submitted by people who claim to have experienced the supernatural (yet these experiences have perfectly natural explanations).
Skepticality #179 - Dictionaries, Bugs, and Space - Interviews: Bob Carroll, Bug Girl, and Neil deGrasse Tyson
This week Derek sits down for a packed episode, by starting with an interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on his latest book "Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier", which tackles a history of NASA, and the issues which we now face ourselves with in regards to research and travel beyond the confines of our planet. Also, there is the debut of "Unnatural Virtue", a new segment by Bob Carroll of 'The Skeptics Dictionary', where he will be discussing some of the basic foundations of critical thinking and skepticism. To round out the show we have 'Bug Girl' who comes on to talk a bit about why someone whose main focus is insect study is also so highly involved in the world of skeptical thinking.
Skepticality #178 - You Are Not So Smart - Interview: David McRaney
This week Derek has a discussion with David McRaney about his latest book,'You Are Not So Smart'. David is a journalist who mainly coverspsychology and technology which lead him to researching many of the focalsubjects which Skeptics gravitate to. Find out why you have too manyfriends on Facebook, why your memory is mostly fiction, and other ways youare probably deluding yourself.
Skepticality #177 - Can You Make Your Brain Happy? - Interview: David DiSalvo
This week Derek talks with David DiSalvo, award-winning public outreach and education specialist, and popular writer for Scientific American Mind, Psychology Today, and other publications and blogs. David's newest book, What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, delves into ways in which we can reconize our brains faults and use them to live more fulfilled lives.
Skepticality #176 - A Midsummer Night's Foxconn - Interviews: Tom Merritt, Bob Blaskiewicz and Eve Siebert
This week Derek sits down with Tom Merritt to discuss why it is important to use some critical thinking when it comes to passionate issues such as the much reported working conditions at computer manufacturer Foxconn, a large supplier of Apple components. Then, Bob Blaskiewicz, and Eve Siebert join him to talk about the many reasons we know that Shakespeare was actually the man who penned the famous plays of the Globe Theater and how the movie 'Anonymous' is steeped in fiction based on all available evidence.
Skepticality #175 - Religious Disinformation - Interview: Daniele Bolelli
This week Derek chats with Daniele Bolelli, the author of "50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion". Daniele is a is an Italian writer, MMA competitor, and university professor. This book is from a series being produced by the people behind the Disinformation, (http://www.disinfo.com/) website, blog, and podcast. Derek attempts to find out how a Italian born philosopher ends up moving to America to end up competing in one of the toughest forms of Martial Arts, and also finds time to teach, and write about all the things which many people have faulty 'knowledge' about.
Skepticality #174 - Attack of the Theocrats! - Sean Faircloth
Swoopy pops in for a quick chat with Derek about what she has been doing, and some fun, new, ideas for Skepticality. Derek interviews Sean Faircloth about his new role at the Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science, USA branch and his new book, "Attack of the Theocrats!".
Skepticality #172 - Magnetic Force - Interview: Scott Hannahs
This week's guest on Skepticality is Dr. Scott Hannahs, the Director of DC Field Instrumentation and Facilities National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Find out a bit about what it is like to work with the worlds most powerful magnet, and what types of experiments require such a powerful bit of scientific equipment and what discoveries and research comes out of the science of magnetic fields.
Skepticality #171 - Astronomy by the Kilometer - Interview: Joseph Lazio
This week Derek has a chat with Joeseph Lazio, project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. To find out a bit more about what this next-generation radio telescope is going to attempt to find, and how it will address some of the fundamental questions in astrophysics, physics, and even astrobiology.
Skepticality #170 - The Tipping Point - Monster Talk v. Skeptiko
In September of 2008 Ben Radford appeared as a guest on the podcast Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris. During that interview he agreed to take up Alex's challenge to investigate the best case of the efficacy of psychic detectives. What followed was months of research, numerous interviews and a follow-up which ended in acrimony. Now, three years after the initial challenge, the hosts of MonsterTalk (Blake Smith, Ben Radford and Karen Stollznow) have Alex onto their show to discuss Skeptiko, the interface of skeptics and believers, and to settle the matter of whether or not Ben's investigation disproved the psychic's claims.
Skepticality #169 - Sports Season - Guest(s) Scott Sigler & AJ Mass
An update from Scott Sigler about his newest book and a fun free give-away. Then Derek takes some time to sit down with AJ Mass, a staff writer for ESPN, and card dealer in Atlantic City, to discuss his new book 'How Fantasy Sports Explains the World'. From the Last Supper to Star Wars, winning advice about almost any facet of life can be found almost anywhere, especially when you pay attention to reality and the current known odds.
Skepticality #168 - Centers For Zombie Control - Guest David Daigle
This episode Derek sits down with David Daigle, a leading member of the CDC preparedness team to talk about the CDC 'Be Prepared' Zombie campaign which has been rolling out since this past May. David relays information about how the CDC keeps track of upcoming threats to citizens be it a pandemic, food contaminations, and even disastrous massive storms.
Skepticality #167 - The Happy Humanist - Guest Jennifer Hancock
This week Derek sits down with Jen Hancock to discuss her newest book,
"Jen Hancock's Handy Humanism Handbook". In this work, Jen attempts to
give people a quick, easy, book which describes the philosophy of Humanism
and how it relates to culture and personal happiness.
Skepticality #166 - Ankylosaur of the Cosmos - Guests Daniel Loxton and Ann Druyan
This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Daniel Loxton about his latest book, Ankylosaur Attack. Then, checks in with Ann Druyan to discuss a bit about the current world of science and her current work on the sequel to the groundbreaking science miniseries, Cosmos and the upcoming 2012 Dragon*Con Skeptrack Carl Sagan Essay contest.
This week on Skepticality, Derek gives a brief wrap-up of the Skeptic Track at Dragon*Con 2011 as well as giving you a sample from one of the many events which took place over the four day track of skeptic events. The panel is an important discussion moderated by JREF President, D.J. Grothe on the topic of Education vs. Debunking, how they are different and when and how each should be used to the greatest effect.
Skepticality #164 - Can YOU see the Gorilla? - Interview: Cathy Davidson
This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with author and professor Cathy N. Davidson, co-founder of HASTAC, "Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory", about her recently released book, "Now You See It", which tells the fascinating story of how our understanding of human attention and learning can be used to enhance and change the manner in which we teach in the modern era.
Skepticality #163 - Extreme Fear - Guest: Jeff Wise
This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Jeff Wise, science writer, outdoor adventurer, and pilot of airplanes about his latest book, Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, and reveals how our bodies react to different types of fear, and how we might be able to make our fears work for us.
Skepticality #162 - Bill Nye "the Science Guy" - Guest: William Sanford Nye
It's safe to say that a generation of science enthusiasts were inspired and educated about the wonders of life on earth and beyond by the man best as Bill Nye "the Science Guy". In recent years, William Nye's concern about our changing planet has garnered him new monikers, like Bill Nye "the climate guy", and as Executive Director of The Plantary Society, Bill Nye "the planetary guy".
This week on Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy talk with "that guy", William Nye (who recently was a featured Guest at The James Randi Educational Foundation's 2011 Amazing Meeting), about the challenges facing a new generation of science educators on television and in the classroom, and his new project to promote algebra literacy entitled "Solving for X".
Skepticality #161 - TAM 9, Tyson From Outer Space - Interview: Neil deGrasse Tyson
This week, members of the skeptical community gathered en masse in Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in the James Randi Educational Foundation's 9th annual Amazing Meeting.Just off the plane from the conference, team Skepticality share their interview with TAM 9 keynote speaker - author and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Skepticality #160 - Paranormality - Interview: Professor Richard Wiseman
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Professor Richard Wiseman about his new book, "Paranormality: Why What We See Isn't There" and discovers how paranormal research has led to amazing insights on how we believe and interact with our every day world.
Skepticality #159 - From Darwin to The Ledge - Interview: Matthew Chapman
For over 30 years Matthew Chapman, the great, great grandson ofCharles Darwin has written and directed major motion pictures, as wellas authoring notable books of his own on the topic of evolution -"Trials of the Monkey - An Accidental Memoir", and "40 Days and 40Nights - Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and OtherOddities on Trial in Pennsylvania".This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with Matthew Chapman about hissoon to be released independent film "The Ledge" (starring Liv Tylerand Terrence Howard), in which a battle of philosophies between afundamentalist Christian and an atheist escalates into a lethal battleof wills.
Skepticality #158 - Return to Lake Skepticamp - Featured Talk: Tim Farley
As the international skeptical community gears up for another seasonof conferences presented by established groups like The SkepticsSociety's Science Symposium, The James Randi Educational Foundation'sAmazing Meeting, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's CSICon, anew generation of skeptics are also finding the critical thinkingmovement in their own back yards at local meet ups called Skepticamps,which are community driven, informal "un-conferences" borne from thedesire for people to share and learn in an open environment.This week on Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy report from AtlantaSkepticamp 2011 and share one of this year's Skepticamp talks bySkeptic History contributor Tim Farley appropriately entitled "Don'tStart a Blog or Podcast", on the topic of how to handle the vastamount of skeptical content created by blogs and podcasts, and how tostand out if you decide you do decide to jump into the fray.
Skepticality #157 - The Believing Brain - Interview: Dr. Michael Shermer
Over the past 30 years, Skeptics Society founder Dr. Michael Shermer has questioned how and why humans believe what we do in all aspects of our lives—from our suspicions and superstitions to our politics, economics and social beliefs.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Shermer about his new book, The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies - How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, a compendium of the research and neuroscience that reveals how our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen and ultimately why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our beliefs are based in reality.
Skepticality #156 - Humanism and Happiness - Guest: Jennifer Hancock
In 1765, the author of an anonymous article in a French Enlightenment periodical spoke of "The general love of humanity ... a virtue hitherto quite nameless among us, and which we will venture to call ‘humanism’, for the time has come to create a word for such a beautiful and necessary thing."
Today on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with author and Humanist Jennifer Hancock about her book, "The Humanist Approach to Happiness", a practical guide to living an ethical, compassionate and happy life that outlines critical thinking and common sense human solutions to everyday human problems.
Skepticality #155 - Human Hacking - Interview: Christopher Hadnagy
Skeptics are well versed in the many tools of the trade used by charlatans and hucksters to defraud their unwitting victims. Some of these same tools - elicitation, pretexting, influence and manipulation to name a few - are also used by hackers, spies and identity thieves to obtain information.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Christopher Hadnagy, author of "Social Engineering, The Art of Human Hacking" which not only examines the maneuvers and the science behind them that are aimed at deceiving unsuspecting victims, but also addresses ways to reduce our own susceptibility to the hackers and security threats in our every day lives.
Skepticality #154 -Packing for Endeavour - Guest: Mary Roach
On this special bonus episode of Skepticality, celebrating the eve before the final launch of the Space Shuttle "Endeavour", Swoopy catches up with author Mary Roach whose best-selling book "Packing For Mars" was recently released in paperback.
Skepticality #153 - The Science of Fat - Interview: Gary Taubes
Each year 45 million Americans diet to lose weight, spending $33 billion on weight-loss products - and yet, 68 percent of Americans are now classified as overweight or obese. If the prescription to eat less and exercise more, or maintaining a calorie deficit is all it takes to lose or maintain a healthy weight, why are so many of us fat and getting fatter?
This week on "Skepticality", Swoopy talks with award-winning science journalist Gary Taubes about his most recent book, "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" which looks critically at the science of adiposity, the hundreds of years of scientific research and data about the best ways to avoid obesity and obesity related illness, and debunks the myth that losing weight is all about the calories.
Skepticality #152 - Catastrophes! - Interview: Dr. Donald R. Prothero
The 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan on March 11th, 2011 is being reported as one of the five most powerful earthquakes since seismological records began being kept in 1900. The awesome destructive power of our constantly changing world is highlighted by these kinds of disasters on a fairly regular basis, but does the understanding of when and how these events may happen change the way humans are choosing to live on dangerous planet earth?
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Donald R. Prothero, professor of geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles and a lecturer in geobiology at Caltech about his new book "Catastrophes! Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and other Earth-Shattering Disasters" which discusses not only the dangers we face from geographical challenges but also those that affect us all: overpopulation and global climate change.
Skepticality #151 - The Science of Usability - Interview: Charles Mauro
What was it about iTunes that changed the way we buy music? What inspires people to donate to causes online, and what factors make the game Angry Birds so addicting?
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Charles L. Mauro, a Certified Human Factors Engineering Professional and founder of MauroNewMedia, which has pioneered groundbreaking research on how we consume and respond to media (including television, web, mobile and virual platforms), how we engage in social networking, and even why sometimes we can't seem to stop.
Skepticality #150 - The Science and Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould - Interview: Richard York
"Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency." - Stephen Jay Gould
Of the scientists who have left their mark on science, skepticism and indeed the Skeptic's Society, few are more quotable or thought-provoking than the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Richard York, co-author (with Brett Clark) of The Science and Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould. This new book offers a unique look at Gould not only as a paleontologist and evolutionary theorist, but also as a humanist and one of the most prolific science historians of our time.
Skepticality #149 - The Upside of Irrationality - Interview: Dan Ariely
Skeptics are all too aware of the irrationality of human nature and society, and turn to critical thinking to live more happily. But could there be benefits from the commonplace irrationalities of everyday life? Cognitive psychologist and behavioral economist Dan Ariely argues that there are.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Professor Ariely (author of the New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational) about his latest book, The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home. Find out how experiments illuminate the unexpected roles of irrational decision-making in daily life, and in shaping the world around us.
Skepticality #148 - The Secret Lives of Cells - Interview: Lewis Wolpert
How we live, how we function, how we reproduce and how we age are all explained by the smallest and yet most complex of living structures — the cell.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Lewis Wolpert, Professor Emeritus of Biology as Applied to Medicine at University College London and author of The Unnatural Nature of Science and Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief about his newest US release, How We Live & Why We Die: The Secret Lives of Cells. This basic primer on cellular biology deftly examines the invisible world of all living things, from our evolutionary past, to stem cells, cloning and the future of regenerative medicine.
Skepticality #147 - Sleights of Mind - Interview: Stephen L. Macknik PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD
In order to accomplish amazing illusions and magic tricks, performers of prestidigitation must be well versed in the art of deception; thus, it is not surprising that many of the world's most renowned skeptics are also world-class magicians.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Stephen L. Macknik and Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde, co-authors of Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions (with Sandra Blakeslee). Both are laboratory directors at the Barrow Neurological Institute and columnists at ScientificAmerican.com - experience they bring to their multi-year, world-wide exploration of magic (with a team of advisors including Jamy Ian Swiss, the late Jerry Andrus, and James "The Amazing" Randi). Can ancient principles of the conjurer's trade be explained using the latest discoveries of cognitive neuroscience? Find out on this episode!
Skepticality #145 - Support The Season of Reason - Guest: Michael Blanford
Most skeptics are familiar with the James Randi Educational Foundation - a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996 that offers a $1,000,000 prize for testable proof of paranormal ability. This world-renowned skeptical organization promotes critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural claims. But besides the Foundation's famous founder and the Million Dollar Challenge, the JREF is notable for its commitment to education.
This week on Skepticality, science educator and grassroots skeptical organizer Michael Blanford discusses his role as Director of Educational Programs for the JREF. Michael describes ongoing and upcoming educational programs — and how skeptics can help.
One of the most positive aspects of the skeptical movement is advocacy for consumer awareness about the claims made by producers and advertisers of all sorts of products, from the outlandish to the commonplace.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Robert Tiernan, Managing Editor of Consumer Reports magazine, the monthly publication produced by The Consumers Union. For nearly 75 years, the Consumers Union has utilized rigorous scientific testing to separate hype from fact and good products from bad ones — empowering consumers to think more critically about everything from cars to health care.
Skepticality #143 - The Nature of Existence - Guest: Roger Nygard
What if you could travel the world to ask scientists, artists, spiritual leaders, gurus, and everyday people why we exist? Documentary film-maker Roger Nygard (best known for his films about Star Trek fandom, Trekkies 1 and 2) did just that, conducting over 170 interviews to explore The Nature of Existence.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Roger about his journey across the globe, and what he discovered during his compelling conversations with people of faith and science (including Richard Dawkins, Leonard Susskind, and Skeptic Society founder Michael Shermer).
Skepticality #142 - Anarchy Evolution - Guest: Dr. Greg Graffin
Over the years Skepticality has featured many science educators, and more than a few musicians. This week, Swoopy talks with Dr. Greg Graffin, a professor of life sciences at the University of California at Los Angles who also happens to be the lead singer and songwriter for the legendary punk band Bad Religion.
As well as touring in support of The Dissent of Man, Bad Religion's 14th studio album, Dr. Graffin has just released his memoir Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God (co-authored with Steve Olson).
Skepticality #141 - The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics - Guest: Professor James Kakalios
Professor James Kakalios, a mild-mannered physics professor at the University of Minnesota, has something in common with the characters he chronicled in his 2005 book The Physics of Superheroes - he has a super power. In fact, his new book The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our World, Kakalios reveals that all humans have a super power: our intelligence. With that power (and with a little help from quantum mechanics) we have created the greatest technologies the world has ever known.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Kakalios (a science consultant on the 2009 Warner Brothers filmWatchmen) about his latest book. Not only does he explain how quantum mechanics enables your blu-ray player; he also explores the similarities between the young physicists who developed quantum theory and the science fiction pulp writers of the 1920s and 1930s - blending pop culture and hard science to reveal the physics behind our world.
Skepticality #140 - The Earth Moves - Guest: Dan Hofstadter
Eppur si Muove is Italian for "and yet it moves." These are perhaps the most famous words attributed to the Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Galileo Galilei. While this quote makes for a dramatic climax to the story of Galileo's condemnation for heresy in 1633, there is no proof that the great scientist ever said it.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with author Dan Hofstadter, whose book The Earth Moves: Galileo and the Roman Inquisition paints a unique picture not only of Galileo the heliocentrist, but also of Galileo the humanist.
Skepticality #139 - The Calculus Diaries - Guest: Jennifer Ouellette
In her new book, The Calculus Diaries: How Math Can Help you Lose Weight, Win in Vegas, and Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, author and science blogger Jennifer Ouellette reminds us that our stubborn resistance to calculus is not entirely rational, and that we all do a little calulus every day whether we know it or not.
This week on Skepticality Swoopy talks with Jennifer about how The Calculus Diaries seeks to inspire our math-phobic culture by explaining complex concepts using simple real world applications like theme park rides, shopping for real estate, and even fortune telling.
Skepticality #138 - The Universe Verse - Guest: James Lu Dunbar
In keeping with a tradition of highlighting artists, illustrators and film-makers who are bringing great stories of science to their genres, this week Skepticality is pleased to welcome James Lu Dunbar, author and illustrator of an educational series of graphic novels about the history of the universe targeted at children of all ages entitled The Universe Verse.
Swoopy chats with Jamie about the process of creating this series of self-published books, and how the second book in the series It's Alive!, about evolution, is being funded by supporters via donations on Kickstarter.com.
Skepticality #137 - Packing for Mars - Interview: Mary Roach
Imagine you were talented enough, ambitious enough and lucky enough to be chosen to part of a manned mission to another planet. What you might see out there? What you might learn? And, what about going to the bathroom, taking a shower, eating, drinking, sleeping, or even sex? This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with psychologist, journalist and bestselling author Mary Roach. Her new book Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void explores how space programs, scientists and astronauts (and even astro-chimps) tackle the unexpected complexity of performing everyday activities when in space. As with her previous books Spook (the science of the search for the afterlife), Stiff (the science of the dead), and Bonk (the science of sex), Ms. Roach's accessible investigation into the science of space travel sparkles with humor and insight.
Skepticality #136 - Voodoo History - Guest: David Aaronovitch
Historical precedent, eyewitnesses, academic experts — these are among the tools that critical thinkers use to verify facts and give credibility to their arguments. And yet, misuse of these same principles provides the foundation for widely accepted conspiracy theories. Why does the public often prefer wildly improbable half-truths to the demonstrable facts of history? This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with award-winning journalist and author David Aaronovitch about his book Voodoo Histories: The Role of Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History. Deconstructing both well-known and obscure conspiracies, David illuminates how such far-fetched claims come to be believed.
Skepticality #135 - Team Skeptic TAM 8 Round Table - Guests: Daniel Loxton, Blake Smith, Tim Farley
This week after returning from The Amazing Meeting 8 - a conference celebrating skepticism and critical thinking sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation, Skepticality is pleased to host a round table discussion with a distinguished group they have dubbed "Team Skeptic".
Daniel Loxton (editor of Junior Skeptic and author of Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be), Blake Smith (paranormal investigator and creator of the Skeptic podcast Monster Talk) and Tim Farley (creator of WhatsTheHarm.net and the Skepticality contributor of This Week in Skeptic History) discuss their impressions of this year's Amazing Meeting Las Vegas with hosts Derek and Swoopy.
Skepticality #134 - The Price of Altruism - Guest: Oren Harman
From "survival of the fittest" to "the selfish gene," familiar evolutionary themes advocate an amoral viewpoint that favors the individual. And yet, evolutionary biologists have uncovered countless examples of altruism in animals and humans — which has given rise to the idea that there is an evolutionary component to these selfless behaviors that can be quantified.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Professor Oren Harman, author of The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness. Both a history of the study of social evolution and a biography of George R. Price, this book explores a life which would become an illuminating experiment in altruism and lead to the development of the Price equation (a mathematical equation used to study genetic evolution).
Skepticality #133 - The Arts and Sciences - Guests: George Hrab and Scott Sigler
Over the last five years Skepticality has been pleased to interview some of the world's most interesting and noteworthy skeptics and scientists and some of those skeptics and scientists are also gifted artists. This week Swoopy and Derek talk with George Hrab about the release of his new album Trebuchet, which he has been kind enough to provide to our listeners in it's entirety for free as a full album mp3. Among the many topics, and music clips, George talks about marketing this new album via his award nominated Geologic Podcast, and about the subject matter that is, as always relevant to his audience of skeptics and music lovers alike. Additionally Derek chats with New York Times best selling author Scott Sigler, about the release of his book Ancestor (a sci-fi horror thriller steeped in hard science) by Crown books on June 22nd. Scott didn't just stop by to chat, he also has some special give-aways for Skepticality listeners.
Skepticality #132 - Decoding the Language of God - Interview: Dr. George C. Cunningham
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with geneticist Dr. George C. Cunningham, author of Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer? This book serves as a point-by-point rebuttal of the 2006 bestseller The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Dr. Francis S. Collins.
Dr. Collins was the head of the Human Genome Project during its final phases, presiding over one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time. And yet, some skeptics expressed unease about Dr. Collins' 2009 appointment as the Director of the National Institutes of Health. At issue were the award-winning geneticist's beliefs that our "genetic code is, after all, God’s instruction book" — and that God himself does not need an explanation since he is beyond the universe.
In this interview, Dr. Cunningham respectfully questions the proof Dr. Collins offers for his beliefs, including the Bible and the writings of C.S. Lewis. Additionally, Decoding the Language of God serves as a primer for good critical thinking, discussing points of conflict between naturalistic explanations of reality (which are anchored in scientific research) and supernatural interpretations (which are not). Cunningham's well-reasoned discussion will appeal to people across a wide spectrum of belief and unbelief.
Skepticality #131 - The Science of the Unscientific - Guest: Jim Ottaviani
Skeptic readers may suspect that there's little to interest them in the pages of most graphic novels, dominated as they are by superheroes and the supernatural. However, a new generation of authors and artists are hard at work creating comics rooted in science fact — and even critical thinking. This week Skepticality welcomes back Jim Ottaviani: nuclear engineer, librarian, lead author for GT Labs (which produces graphic novels about the history of science and prominent scientists). Swoopy talks with Jim about his most recent published works, T-Minus: The Race to the Moon; Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love; and, of special interest to skeptics, The Science of the Unscientific: Levitation: Physics and Psychology in the Service of Deception.
Skepticality #130 - The Sound of Science! - Interview: Artichoke's Timothy Sellers and Steve Collins.
This week Skepticality welcomes two of the members of the Los Angeles-based band Artichoke: Timothy Sellers (who pursued physics before deciding on music) and Steve Collins (an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory).Artichoke is known to many eSkeptic readers for the song Mary Anning, their highly popular contribution to the Skeptics Mix Tape 2009 project. (As Mix Tape curator Daniel Loxton explains, "Artichoke is really top tier science music. There are vanishingly few bands who can match their catchiness and scientific depth.")On this episode, Swoopy chats with Timothy and Steve about the special challenges in writing fun, accessible music that also portrays scientists accurately — as featured on the band's albums 26 Scientists Volume 1: Anning – Malthus, and 26 Scientists Volume 2: Newton – Zeno.
Skepticality #129 - In the Land of Believers - Guest: Gina Welch
In-depth inquiry is a central virtue in the realms of skepticism and investigative journalism. In both traditions, investigators immerse themselves into unfamiliar worlds in order to understand, inform and illuminate the truth.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with author Gina Welch about her first book In The Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey Into the Heart of the Evangelical Church. Recounting her two years as a member of Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, the book is an honest discussion by a non-theist of her extraordinary look into the lives of the evangelical Americans who became her friends.
Skepticality #128 - Young Science Podcasters - Interviews: Princess Scientist and Aaron from Aaron's World
Over the past five years, Skepticality hosts Derek & Swoopy have been inspired by noteworthy scientists and skeptics—and by the many podcasters producing popular programs about science and critical thinking.
This week's guests are science podcasters with a little something extra. Aaron's World and Princess Scientist's Book Club are both podcasts hosted by children under the age of nine. This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with both hosts (and their parents) about the unique challenges and rewards of creating online programming by and for young science enthusiasts.
Skepticality #127 - Skepticism Through Manga - Guest: Sara E. Mayhew
One of our favorite things to do on Skepticality is to introduce listeners to new ways of communicating skepticism and critical thinking that may have never been tried before. This week's guest is a perfect example. As the International award-winning author and illustrator of Secrets of Sorcerers and Love Pet, Sara E. Mayhew is a professional illustrator who specializes in producing manga artwork that embraces the themes of skepticism and critical thinking.
In 2009 Sara became a TED Fellow (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design), as part of this distinguished program built on the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world she spoke about her goal to use the art of manga to teach young readers about science and critical thinking through engaging stories and images. She spoke again at TED 2010, and recently spoke at CFI West about Skepticism Though Manga.
This week Swoopy talks with Sara about her new manga, Legend of the Ztarr about a young girl on a far off planet who must ultimately utilize critical thinking and science to help save her world. And her popular blog about critical thinking, There Are Four Lights.
Skepticality #126 - Race and Reality - Guest: Guy P. Harrison
The concept of race continues to affect our world in undeniable ways. Sociologists tell us that people derive their attitudes about race from their family, culture, and education, with vast and persistent differences between the popular notions of race and the scientific view of human diversity. Even among scientists, who understand the current evidence, there is controversy about the definition of "race" — and about the usefulness of thinking in terms of race at all.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Guy P. Harrison, a part-time science and history lecturer and journalist about his latest book Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity. Harrison discusses scientific evidence that the human species has no races, and explores how that evidence could unite humankind.
Also featured is Atlanta Skeptic Taylor Proctor, on making this year's Atlanta Skepticamp a celebration of "Critical Thinking for Everyone".
Skepticality #125 - The Animal Manifesto - Guest: Dr. Marc Bekoff
In February 2010 a panicked zebra ran loose down a major Atlanta freeway at rush hour sustaining fatal injuries, the same month at Orlando's SeaWorld a whale trainer was dragged underwater to her death by a 12,000-lb killer whale, and this week in Mumbai an angry 56-year-old female elephant killed a man who entered her enclosure by picking him up with her trunk and slamming him into a wall. From food production to circus acts to scientific stud, animals have a long and controversial history in the lives of humans who not only learn from studying their biology but what they in turn teach us about our own behaviors.This week, Skepticality welcomes back Dr. Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado who alongside Jane Goodall co-founded the organization "Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals". Dr. Bekoff discusses his book The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint citing supporting current scientific research to outline six guiding principles designed to increase awareness of the deplorable conditions animals experience across a broad spectrum of activities, and what those of us who are concerned can do to help.
Skepticality #124 - Church and State Update 2010 - Interview: Sean Faircloth, Secular Coalition for America
This past week has been particularly troubling for secular humanists
and freethinkers, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the
words "In God We Trust" on American currency and "Under God" as part
of the Pledge of Allegiance are not in violation of the First
Amendment rights of nontheists.
Meanwhile, the conservative majority of the Texas State Board of
Education (whose sheer size and buying power influence textbook
content nationwide) revised its curricula to reflect a less secular
version of history, economics and sociology. Among other revisionist
changes, this reduces the role of President Thomas Jefferson as a
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Sean Faircloth (the new
Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America) about these
troubling current events. Sean also talks about the Coalition's recent
historic meeting with White House officials to open a policy dialog
with the Obama Administration — the first of its kind for American
Imagine you've just completed your PhD in molecular biology and genetics. Would enrolling at NYU film school be your next logical career step? Unlikely as it may sound, that's exactly what Alexis Gambis, creator of the "Imagine Science Film Festival," decided to do. This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Alexis about the surprising and yet natural collaboration between scientists who dedicate their lives to studying the world we live in, and filmmakers — who have the power to interpret and share this knowledge with a broader audience than ever before. This week also includes the debut of a new segment: "This Week in Skeptic History," hosted by notable skeptical activist Tim Farley (creator of the WhatsTheHarm.net).
Skepticality #121 - Astronomy Overload Hour - Guest: Dr. Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer
For a myriad of reasons, NASA is in the news this week. For an update on everything astronomical Skepticality is proud to welcome back The Bad Astronomer himself, Dr. Phil Plait (author of the popular books Bad Astronomy, Death from the Skies and his award-winning blog at Discovermagazine.com). Swoopy chats with Phil about this week's planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour (one of five final missions marking the retirement of the shuttle fleet by the close of 2010); the surprising recent announcement of President Obama's plans to increase NASA's funding but cancel the Constellation program already five years underway; and, Phil's own tough decision to step down as president of the James Randi Educational Foundation in order to extend his skeptical outreach to a global audience through television.
Skepticality #120 - Evolution of Jr. Skeptic - Guests: Pat Linse and Daniel Loxton
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with a true skeptical original: Skeptics Society co-founder Pat Linse, co-publisher and Art Director of Skeptic magazine. She is among skepticism's most influential pioneers — and yet, she has rarely stepped into the public spotlight.
Among Pat's many groundbreaking innovations was the creation of Junior Skeptic (the 10-page kids' critical thinking insert bound within Skeptic magazine). Joining Pat in this interview is current Junior Skeptic editor and illustrator Daniel Loxton, here to talk about their latest creation: a full-color children's book released this week by Kids Can Press, entitled "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be".
Skepticality #119 - Worlds of Their Own - Guest: Lois Schadewald
"The Universe does not bend itself to our ignorance." This simple truism is just one of the many observations made by author, skeptic and former president of the National Center for Science Education Robert J. Schadewald, who died of cancer on March 12th, 2000.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with his sister Lois Schadewald, who compiled and published a humorous, insightful volume of her brother's articles, essays and interviews in 2008.
Entitled Worlds of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas; Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams, and the Velikovsky Affair, Robert Schadewald's work reminds us that in order to understand the difference between science and pseudoscience we must investigate the unique claims and personalities of some of history's most unorthodox thinkers. Only then can we begin to learn what leads some people to embrace critical thinking and science — and others cling to their own realities despite all the evidence in the universe….
Skepticality #118 - The Santa Situation- Guests: Heidi and Hollis Anderson
The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, but for those parents raising their children to be critical thinkers and skeptics, there are some special challenges — namely, to Santa or not to Santa?
This week, on a special holiday episode of Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy talk with Heidi Anderson (whose article, Skeptical Parenting: Raising Young Critical Thinkers appears in the current issue of Skeptical Inquirer) and her seven-year-old son Hollis. Young Hollis, it turns out, has his own opinions on Santa, science and truth…
Skepticality #117 - Evolution Rx Part II- Guest: Dr. William Meller
Insomnia; depression; attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; sexual infidelity. Most of us have dealt with at least one of these issues in our lives, and no wonder — so did our ancient ancestors.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy welcomes back Dr. William Meller for a second round of discussion based on his book Evolution Rx. Evolutionary medicine sheds some light on how the adaptations of early humans affect our emotions, behaviors and our modern daily lives.
Skepticality #116 - Evolution Rx - Guest: Dr. William Meller
Water bottles, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap, vitamin supplements, broad spectrum antibiotics - ancient man had none of these things, and yet in harsh conditions he not only survived, but thrived. The study of evolutionary medicine illuminates how the past adaptation of early humans to their ancestral environment now affects contemporary humans with our vastly different diet, life expectancy, degree of physical exercise, and hygiene.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. William Meller, MD about his book "Evolution RX" which delves into the latest research in genetics, biology, and early human history in order to better understand a wide array of human health conditions and the ways in which our bodies have evolved to combat them.
Skepticality #115 - The Green Fairy - Guest: Cheryl Lins, owner Delaware Phoenix Distillery
Absinthe. The very name of this anise-flavored spirit has become synonymous with the forbidden. Associated with marijuana and other illicit drugs, it is said to cause hallucinatory and psychoactive secondary effects, delusions, criminal tendencies, convulsions, tuberculosis and death. At the start of the 20th century, these beliefs were reported by the media, widely promoted by the French wine industry, and spread via propaganda posters. This led to a ban on absinthe in Europe and the United States (lasting nearly 100 years). This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Cheryl Lins, owner of Delaware Phoenix Distilleries in Walton, New York, about how this once-accepted and popular drink came to be outlawed and misunderstood — and how it was eventually resurrected at the hands of skeptics and scientists.
Skepticality #114 - Monster Talk! - Guests: Blake Smith, Ben Radford & Dr. Karen Stollznow
Cryptozoological creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Chupacabra have fascinated and inspired monster hunters for generations, providing endless reports of sightings, unverified film footage and blurry photographs to feed the public imagination.
Thankfully, this kind of speculation and storytelling has also given rise to a new generation of skeptical investigators who use the tools of science to dig into monster claims. This week on Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy talk with Benjamin Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow, and Blake Smith — the team from the podcast MonsterTalk.
Skepticality #113 - Don't Be Such A Scientist - Interview: Dr. Randy Olson
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy catches up with biologist-turned-filmmaker Dr. Randy Olson, whose latest book, Don't Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style deals with the image and communication issues facing scientists in the new media era.
Some of the book's key messages (don’t be so cerebral; don’t be so literal-minded; don’t be such a poor story teller; don’t be so unlikable) are also on display in Dr. Olson's newest feature film, Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy. The new movie, a mockumentary that humorously relates just how hard it is to get a film about science made in style-conscious Hollywood, is the closing film at the Imagine: Science FIlm Festival in New York this week.
Skepticality #112 - Men Who Stare at Goats - Interview: Jon Ronson
One of the refrains of skepticism is that reality is often more amazing than fiction. This is most assuredly true of the stories reported by investigative journalist, filmmaker and author Jon Ronson, who has delved time and again into the worlds of conspiracy theorists and extremists.
This week on Skepticality Swoopy talks with Jon Ronson about his experiences bonding with skeptics at the recent Amazing Meeting London, his bizarre cruise (and rare interview) with psychic Sylvia Browne, and his 2004 auto-biographical book The Men Who Stare at Goats which will be released this November as a feature film starring Ewan McGregor and George Clooney.
Skepticality #111 - Pop Goes the Controversy - Interviews: Jill Sobule, Keith Williams and The Charlotte Atheists and Agnostics
On this week's Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy have just returned from
Charlotte PopFest, a unique music festival with proceeds benefitting
the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Unexpected
local media backlash against the PopFest benefitting a group of
"evolutionists" is further evidence why events like this one, the
first of it's kind, are so important.
These sentiments are echoed in this week's short interviews with
PopFest musician Jill Sobule, members of the Charlotte Atheists and
Agnostics and Keith Williams, a local Charlotte skeptic who wrote a
letter to WBTV Charlotte to express his concern over their reporting
of the PopFest as an example of "Science and religion butting heads".
Skepticality #110 - Pop for Science - Interview: James Deem, organizer Charlotte PopFest
This week, Derek and Swoopy recap Skeptrack at Dragon*Con 2009 and chat with musician James Deem about the upcoming music festival Charlotte Pop Fest.
Not your average music festival, this year Charlotte Pop Fest (September 24-26th) will celebrate the life of Charles Darwin and all proceeds from the event will benefit the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science.
Skepticality #109 - Columbine - Interview: Dave Cullen
On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on American society when they carried out their plan to kill as many of their high school classmates as they could. The very word "Columbine" has come to represent a specific brand of unthinkable horror: when children make a calculated decision to murder their teachers and peers.
In the chaos and aftermath of that April day, legends and misinformation quickly proliferated. A great deal of what was reported about Columbine was simply not true.
Author Dave Cullen has spent the last ten years of his journalistic career studying the lives of the residents of Littleton Colorado as they were before, during, and after this shattering event. Cullen's seminal book on the subject, Columbine, delves deep into the psyches of the killers, the victims, and their families — to set the record straight not only about what really happened on that fateful day, but why.
Skepticality #108 - Stars of TAM 7 - Interviews: Jennifer Ouellette, Michael Goudeau & Ray Hyman
This week Skepticality releases the entertaining wealth of recent audio Derek recorded at the James Randi Educational Foundation's "Amazing Meeting 7" conference in sunny Las Vegas.
The diverse nature of modern skepticism is well represented in interviews featuring Jennifer Ouellette (author of The Physics of the Buffyverse) and magician Michael Goudeau (executive producer of Penn and Teller's Bullshit!). Best of all, Skepticality shares thoughts from one of the founding fathers of the skeptical movement — psychologist Dr. Ray Hyman.
Skepticality #107 - Wild Justice -Interview: Dr. Marc Bekoff
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado and author of Wild Justice. His book examines the differences—and startling similarities—between the observed morality and emotions of human and non-human animals.
Skepticality #106 - TAM7 Recap - A view of The Amazing Meeting 7 from near and far.
This week on Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy recap The James Randi Educational Foundation's Amazing Meeting 7 conference, which took place this past week in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Derek recounts his many adventures as a TAM7 attendee, including his interviews and discussions with TAM Guests including Ray Hyman, Jennifer Oullette and MythBuster Adam Savage. Looking at this epic convention in a new way, Swoopy shares her impressions of following the conference from home via social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook and uStream.
Skepticality #105 - Scam School! - Interview: Brian Brushwood
"Don't try this at home! …This trick just might kill you! … Fool your friends, amaze your family and scam your way to free drinks!"
These taglines and more invite the average college student to study with spiky-haired rabble rouser, Brian Brushwood — skeptic, author and award winning magician — via his popular podcast Scam School.
This week Derek & Swoopy talk with Brian about his work. Digging into the biggest scam of all, they reveal that Brian Brushwood is the epitome of the modern skeptic. Beneath the bar room bravado lurks the mind of well-studied, articulate critical thinker.
Skepticality #104 - The Skeptic Mix Tape and Jenny McCarthy - Interviews: Daniel Loxton & Derek Bartholomaus
Though the celebrated and the famous have long used the glare of the spotlight to highlight personal causes, rarely has fame been used to such staggering effect as by Jenny McCarthy. Since 2007, this former Playboy model now turned autism activist has advocated for parents to stop vaccinating their children against deadly diseases.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Derek Bartholomaus, creator of “The Jenny McCarthy Body Count” website. This chilling and controversial site utilizes data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to keep a running tally of illnesses and deaths from vaccine preventable diseases - a sobering reminder of the human cost of anti-vaccination rhetoric.
On a lighter note, Derek & Swoopy also talk with Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton about the launch of the “Skeptics Mix Tape” project. This eclectic collection of songs of science and skepticism are available as free MP3s from Skeptic.com.
Skepticality #103 - The Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs - Interview: Dr. Donald R. Prothero
Mass extinctions, rising temperatures, and changing glaciers may sound like current events, but Earth scientists are learning that this type of climate change is nothing new.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Donald R. Prothero about his new book Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs: Evolution, Extinction, and the Future of Our Planet. Prothero discusses the links between the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years.
Dr. Prothero also discusses "Ida," a 47-million year old fossil the media is hailing as yet another "missing link." Is Ida all she is hyped up to be — or is this Darwinius masillae just one more transitional fossil supporting the theory of evolution?
Skepticality #102 - The Great Psychic Detective Challenge - Interviews: Benjamin Radford & Dr. Phil Plait
This week Skepticality is pleased to have back paranormal investigator Benjamin Radford.
Derek talks with Ben about his recently concluded "Great Psychic Detective Challenge" which came about through amazing claims made to Ben while he was a guest on the Skeptiko Podcast.
We also catch up with JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) President Dr. Phil Plait about the upcoming Amazing Meeting 7, to be held in Las Vegas July 9-12.
Skepticality #101 - Quirky Hauntings Interview: Professor Richard Wiseman
This week Skepticality is pleased to once again speak with noted 'Quirkologist' Richard Wiseman, the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).
Swoopy talks with Professor Wiseman about his recent paranormal investigations and the initial findings from his Hauntings: The Science of Ghosts project that was presented as part of the 2009 Edinburgh International Science Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This week Skepticality celebrates it's long awaited 100th episode with a look back at past shows, thoughts about future installments and well wishes from their friends the skeptic community including Dr. Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer), George Hrab (The Geologic Podcast) and Brian Dunning (The Skeptologists).
Skepticality #099 - Confessions of an Alien Hunter - Interview: Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer - SETI
Why do we think aliens are out there? Is Earth really being visited? Will aliens really be short, gray, and hairless? What happens if we pick up a signal from another world? These are just a few of the questions this week's guest tackles regularly, in his role as the senior astronomer for the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. Dr. Seth Shostak talks with Swoopy about the ongoing search for life in the universe, as chronicled in his new book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
Skepticality #098 - What Do I Do Next? Interview: Daniel Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic
In 2007, Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton called for renewed focus on classical skeptical activism in an essay entitled "Where Do We Go From Here?" Released simultaneously as a PDF from Skeptic.com and as an audio essay on Skepticality, this article drew tremendous positive response.
But many listeners wanted to know, what’s the next step? How does one become a skeptical activist? This week, Skepticality and Skeptic.com are pleased to release the follow-up project, "What Do I Do Next?: Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism."
Daniel Loxton returns to tell Swoopy how a panel of 13 skeptics contributed almost 30,000 words of impassioned, in-depth commentary to this groundbreaking document — and how skeptics like you will take it to the next level.
This week's Skepticality hits the highlights and plays excerpts from Atlanta
Skepticamp. Topics from the two day "un-conference" included: raising children to be critical thinkers; homeopathy; the question of what organic food labels really mean; and (in discussion with the hosts of the American Freethought podcast) the role of new media in promoting the growth of the skeptical community.
Also, Derek & Swoopy check the Skeptic events calendar to keep listeners updated on upcoming Skepticamps and other events for skeptics around the world.
Skepticality #096 - Fossil Thursday! -Interview: Dr. John M. Harris, curator Page Museum, La Brea Tar Pits
On a special Thursday edition of Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. John M. Harris, curator of the George C. Page Museum at Rancho La Brea. Yesterday, it was announced that a new excavation near La Brea has unearthed the largest known cache of fossils from the last ice age including an eighty percent in-tact mammoth, named Zed.
Skepticality #095 - The Radford Files -Interview: Benjamin Radford
This week on Skepticality we check in with author and paranormal investigator Benjamin Radford. A regular contributor to LiveScience.com and Managing Editor for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Ben talks with Derek & Swoopy about his recently completed fourth book and his investigations into weird paranormal mysteries — including UFO sightings in New Jersey, the haunted hotel where President Obama stayed prior to his inauguration, and the claims of police department psychics.
Skepticality #094 - International Year of Astronomy! - Interview: Dr. Pamela Gay
The United Nations has declared 2009 the "International Year of Astronomy." Coinciding with both Galileo Galilei's celestial discoveries in 1609 and the publication of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova (which described the fundamental laws of planetary motion), the International Year of Astronomy celebrates 400 years of discovery and exploration of our elegant universe. It is an unprecedented opportunity to showcase some amazing science — and to inspire cosmic wonder.
On this episode of Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy talk with astronomer, educator, and podcaster Dr. Pamela Gay about the many exciting global events people can enjoy during the International Year of Astronomy. She also shares her thoughts about the changing face of NASA, and about some thrilling recent astronomical discoveries.
Skepticality #093 - Tales of the Investigative Atheist - Inside The Discovery Institute, Interview: Maria Maltseva
On a recent episode of Skepticality, guests Kate Holden and Tiana Dietz proposed their joint project, "Visit Discovery," which encourages people to visit Seattle's Intelligent Design think tank The Discovery Institute. Is there hope of fostering better dialog between advocates of science and proponents of Intelligent Design?
This week's guest, Maria Maltseva, a Seattle skeptic and practicing attorney, talks with Derek & Swoopy about her own recent visits to The Discovery Institute, where her talks with Institute insiders yielded a wealth of interesting information.
Skepticality #092 - Numb3rs - Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci creators of Num3rs
Rarely is mathematics a major plot component on American television. The exception, of course, is the current hit prime time CBS television drama Numb3rs. "We all use math every day: to predict weather, to tell time, to handle money. Math is more than formulas and equations: it’s logic. It’s rationality. It’s using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we know." So begins every episode — astonishingly — of one of the consistently highest rated programs in its time slot. Now in its fifth season, Numb3rs has helped pave the way for a whole new generation of science-based programming on American television. This week Swoopy talks with Cheryl Heuton and Nicolas Falacci (the creators and Executive Producers of Numb3rs) about the challenges of creating a fictional TV drama chock full of real science and mathematics.
Skepticality #091 - Skeptics Undercover - Kate Holden and Tiana Dietz visted The Discovery Institute (and so should you)!
Over the past several episodes, Skepticality has endeavored to showcase an eclectic range of skeptical activism. Our recent guests have overwhelmingly agreed that everyone has something to offer — and that "activism" comes in many flavors.
This week, Derek & Swoopy talk with bloggers Kate Holden and Tiana Dietz, who recently had an unorthodox adventure at the well-known Intelligent Design think tank The Discovery Institute. These unapologetic rabble-rousers discuss the controversial tactics that took them where few skeptics have gone before.
Skepticality #090 - This One Time at Skepticamp... - Reed Esau on Skepticamp, Tim Farley on helping StopSylvia.com
What can regular skeptics actually do to enhance the appreciation of science and skeptical inquiry?
This question has been an ongoing theme for Skepticality, and this week's guest has one answer to propose. In his audio essay, "Raising Our Game: The Rationale to Embrace Skepticamp," software architect Reed Esau argues that "Skepticamps" (self-organizing peer conferences of intimate scale) can harness the potential of the "long tail" of the skeptical movement — offering a voice to all of us who have passion and expertise to share but who cannot take on the role of a "professional" skeptic.
These meetings are an experiment in the structure of a movement, and they are capturing the imagination of many new skeptics. What are the true implications for skeptical organizing? Is the advent of social networking technologies really the moment when everything changed?
Also Tim Farley of Whatstheharm.net talks with Swoopy about an effort to help out a fellow Skeptical activist in need.
Skepticality #089 - Secular Values Voter! - Lori Lipman Brown at Skeptrack 2008
This Tuesday, November 4th, Americans head to the polls. But despite the outcome, the question remains: under the new administration, can nontheists, science advocates, and critical thinkers expect better representation in government?
In recognition of Election Day 2008, Skepticality is pleased to present a talk by Lori Lipman Brown of the Secular Coalition for America (the only Washington, DC lobbyists working on behalf of skeptics, rationalists and nontheists), entitled Pastafarian, Zoroastrian, Atheist — Can't We All Just Get Along?
Skepticality #088 - From Ghost Hunters to The Mentalist, a Skeptic's look at Fall TV
On this week's episode of Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy explore the good, the bad, and the scary among television's current crop of offerings — from "Psychic Kids" to "The Mentalist."
Also, in a lead up to her favorite holiday, Swoopy ponders the pros and cons of being a skeptic on Halloween….
Skepticality #087 - A Skeptic for Congress? - Interview: Dr. Hal Bidlack
With less than thirty days left until (U.S.) Election Day 2008, Skepticality checks in with noted skeptic Lt. Colonel Hal Bidlack (U.S. Air Force, Retired) — the Democratic Party's 5th Congressional District candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Swoopy talks with Hal about the challenging and expensive process of seeking public office in the United States, and how the recent upset of financial markets is shaping this election season. Hal also explains how his study of the U.S. Constitution and experience as the nation's premier Alexander Hamilton scholar lends valuable insight even in 2008.
Skepticality #086 - Where Do We Go From Here? - Daniel Loxton & Skeptrack Panel Discussion
This week, Skepticality rounds out its Dragon*Con coverage with the Skeptrack panel inspired by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton's op-ed essay, "Where Do We Go From Here?"
Daniel also joins Swoopy to share his thoughts upon hearing the panel discussion, and about skeptical trends.
Panelists for this conversation about the future of skeptical activism include the JREF's James Randi and Jeff Wagg, Skeptical musician George Hrab, The Secular Coalition for America's Lori Lipman Brown , Center for Inquiry's D.J. Grothe and Benjamin Radford, Australian skeptic Dr. Karen Stollznow — and by popular demand, new JREF president Dr. Phil Plait.
Skepticality #085 - Why Magic is Important - Panel Discussion with James Randi and D.J. Grothe
The hosts of Skepticality are recovering from their spectacularly successful "Skeptrack" events at Dragon*Con 2008: four days of lively discussion featuring guests from some of the most prominent skeptical organizations around the world. Included were James Randi and Dr. Phil Plait from the JREF, Dr. Michael Shermer of the Skeptics Society, Benjamin Radford and D.J. Grothe from the Center for Inquiry, and Richard Saunders and crew from the Australian Skeptics—to name only a few.
For those who participated in this groundbreaking weekend, we look forward to hearing your stories. For those who could not attend, Skepticality brings you the first of several recordings from last week's panel discussions, beginning with James Randi and D.J. Grothe discussing "Why Magic is Important to Skepticism." This in-depth discussion of the entwined histories of magic and skepticism reveals how creating illusions can illuminate the truth.
Skepticality #084 - What's The Harm? - Interview: Tim Farley
Misinformation is everywhere, but nowhere more prolific than on the internet. A Google search for "homeopathy" or "UFO" returns a landslide list of mystery-mongering websites. Yes, there are a few skeptical web resources too — but a non-skeptic can be easily misled online.
On this episode, Derek & Swoopy talk with Tim Farley, a skeptic applying his 20-plus years of software development experience to the creation of advanced tools and techniques for fighting the battle against misinformation on the World Wide Web.
Tim's popular websites include the Skeptical Software Tools blog "Skeptools" (which uses Web 2.0 techniques to aid the spread of critical thinking information online), and WhatsTheHarm.net, which has collected the stories of over 225,000 people who have been injured or killed as a result of supernatural and pseudoscientific practices from alternative medicine to hypnosis to faith healing.
Skepticality #083 - Watch this Space - Interview: Dr. Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer
Long-time listeners may recall that Skepticality's very first interview guest was Bad Astronomy author and popular science blogger Dr. Phil Plait.
This past week the James Randi Educational Foundation (one of the leading organizations to promote critical thinking and examination of pseudoscience) announced that The Bad Astronomer himself will be the new JREF President.
Now, Dr. Plait returns to Skepticality to tell Derek & Swoopy not only about interesting advances in privately-funded space travel and the future of NASA under a new presidential administration, but also about exciting developments in his own career — including his new role at the JREF, changes for Bad Astronomy, and Phil's impending trips to the Galapagos and Dragon*Con 2008.
The mainstream rap and hip hop communities are known not only for a way with words and penchant for controversy, but also for occasional drama. Rapper Greydon Square is no exception.
On this week's episode of Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy hang loose with Greydon and talk about his musical influences, being embraced by the atheist community — and why this Compton native (raised as a legal orphan by the Department of Children & Family Services of California) refuses to be a product of the system.
Skepticality #081 - Alpha Kids - Interviews: Banachek, Mel Lipman & Lori Lipman Brown
Continuing from last week's interviews recorded at the "Amazing Meeting 6" conference, Derek & Swoopy talk with secular lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown and her father Mel Lipman (both secular humanists with backgrounds in law and government).
They also speak with mentalist Banachek, who has been responsible for putting more magic and mentalism on American television than any other magic consultant in the world.
While the paths of these skeptics seem widely divergent, Derek & Swoopy learn that their common decision to further skepticism within their chosen professions illuminates many similar truths…
Skepticality #080 - Skeptic Rock Stars at TAM - Interviews: Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and Mythbuster Adam Savage,
This week on Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy return from the desert with highlights from "The Amazing Meeting 6" conference in Las Vegas (hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation).
Joining them are two skeptics who are changing the face of popular science: astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, and MythBuster Adam Savage.
The incomparable Neil deGrasse Tyson (Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, current host of Nova Science Now, and the only astrophysicist to be named one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men Alive") talks with Swoopy about getting the United States back on track as science innovators. (He also sets the record straight about Pluto.) and in his third appearance on Skepticality, Adam discusses his evolution from artist and model maker to skeptic and television scientist—as well as thoughts about his life after MythBusters.
Skepticality #079 - The Doctor is In! - Interview: Dr. Harriet Hall, the SkepDoc
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Skeptic magazine's resident expert critic of alternative medicine, "SkepDoc" Dr. Harriet Hall. Dr. Hall talks about about her recent memoir Women Aren't Supposed to Fly, which details her life as a family practice specialist, flight surgeon, pilot, and career Air Force officer. (She retired in 1989 as a full Colonel.)
Dr. Hall also discusses her recent regular contributions to Skeptic magazine and "The Science-Based Medicine" blog, which is quickly becoming an invaluable source for in-depth, quality articles investigating questionable medical practices (not only in alternative medicine but within conventional medicine as well), illuminating the mysteries of medical science—and even insight into how doctors think.
Skepticality #078 - What the Fossils Say, and Why it Matters - Interview: Dr. Donald R. Prothero
Just this week, the discovery of the 300-million year old Gerobatrachus hottoni ("Hotton's elder frog") confirmed the previously contentious inference that modern frogs and salamanders evolved from one group of ancient primitive amphibians. The dispute arose because of a lack of transitional forms; but, like so many "missing links," this newly discovered fossil sealed the gap.
The fossil record is one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution, yet it continues to come under attack by present-day creationists and advocates of Intelligent Design. This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with eminent paleontologist and professor of geology Donald R. Prothero about his bestselling Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters. This comprehensive book explores not only the rich mosaic of fossil discoveries and transitional forms, but also the very nature of science—and the "monkey business of creationism."
Skepticality #077 - Don't Be Such a Scientist! - Interview: Dr. Randy Olson
Over the past several episodes, Skepticality has interviewed some of the notable scientists featured in the new pro-Intelligent Design documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This week, the last word on the controversy goes to Dr. Randy Olson, the biologist-turned-filmmaker whose 2006 documentary Flock of Dodos: The Evolution – Intelligent Design Circus examined the communication breakdown between the science community and the rest of the world on the subject of evolution.
Dr. Olson strives to improve the reputation of science in the court of public opinion, where the Religious Right and Intelligent Design movements continue to wedge their way in by "teaching the controversy." On his "Shifting Baselines" blog, Dr. Olson was one of the first scientists to express concern that the well-funded Expelled was likely to succeed in selling its message to a tremendous number of people. The "dodos" of the blogosphere responded with incredulity.
At the request of many skepticality listeners, we're pleased to feature this week's interview with Dr. Olson about his controversial opinions — and about his new film, Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.
The contentious pro-Intelligent Design film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is now in its second week of wide release, and the controversy is far from over.
This week on Skepticality, Swoopy talks with Dr. Eugenie Scott about her participation in Expelled, her thoughts on seeing the film — and the "Expelled: Exposed" website, created by the National Center for Science Education (where Dr. Scott serves as the Executive Director).
Beyond the Expelled frenzy, Dr. Scott talks about her work with the NCSE, the future of science education, and what the average person can do to improve the public perception and understanding of science.
Skepticality #075 - Words and Music - Interviews: Slau, author Scott Sigler
This week on Skepticality we talk to two good friends, both skeptics and podcasters making an impact in their areas of expertise.
Slavko Halatyn (known to his many fans as simply "Slau") has enjoyed a rich career as both a music producer and award-winning recording artist. Derek talks with Slau about his work with other artists (like skeptical favorite George Hrab), being an early adopter of podsafe music — and the links between his career, his world view, and his becoming legally blind at the age of 21.
Author Scott Sigler sent a shot across the bow of mainstream publishing when, after first giving away his novel Ancestor for free as a PDF, the printed retail version then broke the Amazon.com top 10. As a result, Scott earned himself a seat at the table and a deal with Crown books. We talk to Scott about his new novel Infected — released on April 1st and already a bestseller.
Skepticality #074 - No Intelligence Allowed! - Interviews: Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr. Michael Shermer
In the upcoming a pro-Intelligent Design documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (starring comedy actor Ben Stein), several notable scientists speak in support of science and evolution, including evolutionary biologist (and outspoken atheist) Richard Dawkins, science blogger PZ Meyers, and Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer.
As Swoopy finds out this week when she talks with Dawkins and Shermer, Expelled is not the film these scientists agreed to be a part of—nor were their experiences at advanced screenings what they expected….
Skepticality #073 - Your Water on Drugs - Interview: Dr. Shane Snyder, PhD
Last week, a widely circulated Associated Press story reported that "a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in he drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans."
Derek and Swoopy look beyond the headline hype in their interview with Dr. Shane Snyder, who published his first study on "Screening of Drinking Water for Possible Endocrine Disrupting Compounds" over ten years ago.
As a doctor of Environmental Toxicology and Zoology, Dr. Snyder has devoted most of his career to studying the evidence of chemical, environmental and pharmaceutical compounds in the water supply—and what harm, if any, it poses to the organisms that utilize it.
Can a kids' science and critical thinking television program be both entertaining and informative? The award-winning Mystery Hunters, beginning its fourth season, is proving that it can. On this week's Skepticality, Swoopy talks with David Acer—known to fans of Mystery Hunters as "Doubting Dave," the skeptical scientist who helps the junior members of his team (Araya Mengesha and Christina Broccolini) investigate paranormal mysteries.
David is a close up magician, comedian, and actor and writer for children's educational programs including Popular Mechanics for Kids and Prank Patrol. David shares his thoughts about how to make debunking myths entertaining, and explains why it's difficult to get quality kids' science programs on TV in today's climate.
Skepticality #071 - Dr. Karl Explains it All - Interview: Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki
This week on Skepticality, science educator and skeptic Michael McRae interviews one of Australia's most recognizable scientists, Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki, who is known to most Aussies simply as "Dr. Karl."
Dr. Karl is the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney, as well as a proud recipient of the Ig Nobel prize. He is also a popular science commentator on radio and television, and a bestselling author of 26 books—including his most recent, Please Explain, which gives the facts on everything from why we yawn, to the history of near death experiences.
Skepticality #070 - Amazing Meeting 5.5 Wrap Up - Interviews: Michael A. Stackpole, Alison Smith, and Dr. Phil Plait
On this week's Skepticality, Derek talks with Dr. Phil Plait (a.k.a. "The Bad Astronomer"), Alison Smith (founder of the Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society), and author Michael A. Stackpole (leader of the Arizona Skeptics) about the recent Amazing Meeting 5.5 conference on the topic of "Skepticism and Activism." These distinguished guests also reveal details of their plans for 2008, and Phil sheds some light on possible impending "Death from the Skies", the subject of his soon-to-be-published second book.
Skepticality #069 - The Mind of the Market - Interview: Dr. Michael Shermer
"Watch out for gorillas!"
"Don't trade with strangers."
"Buy this now!"
Our brains are constantly bombarded with messages about how to behave, what to buy, and whom to trust. How do we parse these messages, and how do our choices affect the world economy?
This week on Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy discuss how economic and evolutionary theory speak the same language, and how our hardwired human biology affects modern economics, with Skeptic Society founder Dr. Michael Shermer author of The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics.
Skepticality #068 - The Candidates on Church and State - Interview: Lori Lipman Brown
Skepticality welcomes 2008 with an update from the Secular Coalition for America's Lori Lipman Brown — the only lobbyist dedicated solely to the concerns of secular humanists and non-theists and to the preservation of the separation of church and state.
Lori talks with Derek and Swoopy about why 2007 was the best year yet for the SCA, the top issues on the agenda for 2008, and how the current presidential candidates stack up on the issues important to skeptics.
Skepticality #067 - Humanistic Judaism and Lily The Pink - Interview: Michael Adelson
This week Skepticality features Michael Adelson, a staff conductor for the New York Philharmonic, and conductor of the Auros Group for New Music in Boston.
Mr. Adelson had the good fortune to study with the late Rabbi Sherwin Wine. Rabbi Wine founded Humanistic Judaism, a secular movement which provides atheistic and ignostic Jews around the world with a means for organization, mobilization, and a sense of community.
Speaking to Swoopy as a skeptic, Mr. Adelson shares insights from his lecture series, the “Forum for New Thinking‿ (inspired by Rabbi Wine). He also takes a critical look at music history, dispelling some false beliefs about artists — creative humans who are often painted with the brush of divine inspiration.
Building on the musical theme, Swoopy talks to Canadian blue grass trio The Dirty Dishes about their new rendition of “Lily The Pink‿, an ode to the late 1800’s “queen‿ of patent medicine Lydia Pinkham.
Skepticality #066 - Virtue or Vice, Naughty or Nice? - Interview: Peter Sagal
With the specter of the holidays looming and conspicuous consumerism running amok, Skepticality delves into the topic of vice with Peter Sagal, host of the National Public Radio's popular quiz show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.
Peter is the author of The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things and How to Do Them.
Skepticality #065 - A Secret of the Universe - Interview: Author Stephen L. Gibson
Many Skeptic readers are all too aware of The Secret, a slick repackaging of the principles of New Thought and Unity Christianity.
This week, Skepticality tackles an altogether different secret. Derek and Swoopy talk with author and podcaster Stephen L. Gibson about his own new book, A Secret of the Universe. A far cry from most books that offer up a secret message, A Secret of the Universe is a work of dramatic allegory about how we come to form knowledge about the Big Questions: God, sexual ethics, morals, political ideology—and how those beliefs affect our actions, our lives, and the world around us.
Then Derek gets an update from Jeff Wagg, General Manager of the James Randi Educational Foundation, about a recently administered Million Dollar Challenge in which Jeff himself became a test subject.
Skepticality #064 - Flock of Dodos - Interview: Dr. Randy Olson, evolutionary biologist turned film maker.
Recent episodes of Skepticality have touched on issues of outreach and activism in the skeptical community, and how skeptics like Jeff Wagg, Alison Smith and Daniel Loxton are using their particular talents to help nurture science and critical thinking.
This week, Derek and Swoopy are pleased to continue this trend with their interview of evolutionary ecologist-turned-filmmaker Dr. Randy Olson.
Dr. Olson's film, Flock of Dodos: The Evolution - Intelligent Design Circus, is not your typical evolution versus ID documentary. Rather than simply pitting one camp against the other, this whimsical film explores how the two sides of the debate market their ideas to the public—and, more specifically, how the scientific community has failed to capture their audience as effectively as the Intelligent Design camp has done in recent years.
skepticality #063 - Where Do We Go From Here? - Op-Ed and Interview: Daniel Loxton
Who is the watchdog for paranormal scams and mistakes if we won't do it?
This week, Daniel Loxton (editor of Junior Skeptic) offers his own personal perspective on the future of skepticism as a movement. Presented as an original full-length audio article his op-ed essay argues that the search for a "new skepticism" is misguided—and that the early titans of skepticism had it right in the first place.
Then, Derek and Swoopy sit down with Daniel to talk about the skeptics paradox: that so many people feel exhausted and fed up by the paranormal, at the very time that the most exciting new developments—from podcasts to conferences to community—are firmly focused on our core paranormal concerns.
Has classic skepticism run its course? According to Daniel, we're only now getting ready to start.
skepticality #062 - Girl Power! - Interview: Alison Smith, founder of The Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society (SAPS)
This week Skepticality has a double bill of brainy, beautiful skeptics working to educate the public about the benefits of science and evidence-based reasoning.
Private Investigator Alison Smith (the founder of the Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society) discusses her work and shares her thoughts about the recent lecture she gave on Skeptical Investigation as well as the Skeptic Smackdown debate she took part in, at Dragon*Con 2007. Lastly, we have a special clip of Dr. Pamela Gay explaining how astrophysicists look at Dark Matter in the Universe, recorded from a special Dragon*Con after party.
We're also pleased to present the full length video from Dragon*Con's "Skeptic Smackdown" debate, featuring skeptics Michael Shermer and Alison Smith, and paranormal proponents Patrick Burns and Graham Watkins.
Skepticality #061 - Skeptics invade a Sci-Fi Con - Interview: Jeff Wagg of the JREF and George Hrab
It seems for any particular social or interest group, there is a convention—including skepticism. The danger is that niche meetings may speak best to those who have already heard the message.
For over a decade, Dragon*Con has been integrating factual science and space programming with science fiction material from popular literature, film, television and gaming, such as Star Wars and StarTrek. This year, Derek and Swoopy worked alongside the directors of Dragon*Con's Space and Science programs to bring a contingent of notable skeptics to the world's largest culture convention.
On this episode, Jeff Wagg, general manager of the James Randi Educational Foundation and musician, author and skeptic George Hrab share their Dragon*Con experiences, and discuss how skeptics can promote their views at conventions to help the skeptical movement find a broader audience.
Skepticality #060 - Interview: Professor Richard Wiseman by Michael McRae
This week's episode of Skepticality features an interview with psychologist, skeptic, and author Dr. Richard Wiseman, recorded at the Australian Science Festival.
Dr. Michael McRae (previously a guest on Skepticality to discuss integrating critical thinking into the classroom) sits down with Wiseman to discuss new approaches to skepticism and the role of new media in promoting interest in science.
Also, Derek and Swoopy briefly talk about the skeptic turn out at Dragon*Con 2007.
Skepticality #059 - Engineers, Astronomers, Lobbyists Updates: Kelly Comstock, Dr. Pamela Gay, Lori Lipman Brown
This week, Skepticality tackles matters of politics on Earth, and discoveries out in the universe. First up, environmental engineer Kelly Comstock returns to answer listener questions from our bottled water episode and address concerns about potential dangers lurking in municipal water systems (like chlorine and fluoride).
Then, Derek and Swoopy check in with their favorite lobbyist, Lori Lipman Brown from the Secular Coalition for America, regarding ongoing investigations into abuses of non-theists serving in our military, how the question of separation of church and state is being highlighted in recent political debates, and what to look for when the legislature reconvenes in the Fall.
Lastly, astrophysicist Dr. Pamela Gay shares her insights about recent media attention paid to NASA troubles, the paper by two German physicists who claim to have broken the speed of light, and the potential discovery of inorganic cosmic dust with lifelike properties.
Skepticality #058 - Back to the Tap, the truth about Bottled Water. Interview: Kelly Comstock, Environmental Engineer
Put down that designer bottle of H20! Did you know that If you choose to get your recommended eight glasses a day from bottled water, you could spend $1,400 US dollars annually? That same amount of tap water would cost about 49 cents.
Wealthy nations like the United States have some of the cleanest, cheapest and best tasting tap water in the world. The US is also the world's largest consumer of bottled water: 8.3 billion gallons in 2006 (about 26 gallons per person)! Will our rising demand for bottled water harm our nation's aging water distribution and filtration infrastructure? And why are groups like Presbyterians for Restoring Creation boycotting bottled water?
On this week's Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy speak to Kelly Comstock, an environmental engineer and hydrologist who specializes in potable drinking water filtration technology, to answer these questions—and get to the bottom of the bottled water debate.
Skepticality #057 - On being a Skeptic of Faith, Dr. Hal Bidlack, Ph.D.
Does a belief in God undermine one's ability to be a skeptic? This is the question Hal Bidlack seeks to answer this week, as he movingly recounts his own personal experiences as a man of faith—and as a skeptic and prominent member of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
Atheism is relatively common within the skeptics community, and so it is sometimes supposed (especially in press accounts) that skepticism implies atheism. Dr. Bidlack is one of those who disagrees.
Skepticality #056 - The Search for iPhones and Aliens Interviews: Rob Walch of Today in iPhone, Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay
What's with all the media hype over the latest must-have electronic device, the iPhone? This week on Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy talk to Rob Walch, host of the Today in iPhone podcast, about the cult of Apple's newest release and ask whether if it lives up to the hype.
While it seems most humans on Earth are busy looking for iPhones, the National Academy of Sciences has published a report that states we need to start looking for alien life with novel biochemistries. Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay, hosts of the Astronomy Cast, help Derek and Swoopy interpret the new report "The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems", and what it means for the search for life in the universe.
Skepticality #055 - Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost Interview: Benjamin Radford solves the case of the "ghost" caught on video.
On the last episode of Skepticality, the "Skeptical Inquirer's" own Benjamin Radford discussed new Nessie sightings and other lake monsters from his comprehensive book on the subject. This week, Ben is back to tackle a brand new paranormal mystery from his own back yard.
Almost over night, a video of a glowing, orb-like apparition at the courthouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico has soared into the media spotlight, with widespread news coverage and nearly 100,000 views on YouTube. Was it the spirit of an infamous murderer, the ghost of a construction worker who met his demise, or a disturbed Indian burial ground? Derek and Swoopy discuss paranormal investigation in the age of viral video with author Benjamin Radford, who examined the video tape and went to the site to investigate the mysterious Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost.
Skepticality #054 - Rock Ness! Interview: Benjamin Radford co-author of Lake Monster Mysteries
Last week, new video surfaced of the elusive and famous Loch Ness monster and a £1 million prize was offered for proof of the creature's existence. There were over 30 sightings reported in 24 hours by concert goers at the "Rock Ness" festival who were offered "Nessie Snapper" cameras to keep an eye on the water as they rocked out through the weekend.
On this week's Skepticality Derek and Swoopy talk to the Center for Skeptical Inquiry's own Benjamin Radford about his definitive book that investigates sightings of Nessie as well as other prominent lake monsters, Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures, co-authored by fellow skeptical investigator Joe Nickell.
Skepticality #053 - Atheists Are People Too. Interviews: Lori Lipman Brown and the Rational Response Squad
On our last episode, Skeptic publisher Dr. Michael Shermer shared his thoughts about a recently televised Nightline debate between evangelical ministers Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron and "Rational Response Squad" members Brian Sapient and Kelly. Brian and Kelly contacted Skepticality, and Swoopy had a chance to talk with them this week about the work of the Rational Response Squad, and about what went on behind the scenes of the Nightline debate.
Most relevant to skeptics, the gang discusses Brian's recent involvement in a lawsuit against Uri Geller, who recently pressured online video host YouTube to remove a James Randi Nova expose regarding his spoon-bending psychic claims.
Also, Skepticality's Washington DC correspondent former Nevada State SenatorÂ LoriÂ Lipman Brown, theÂ federal lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America updates Derek and Swoopy about legislative issues pertaining to nontheists.
Skepticality #052 - Help Me Figure This Out: Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Phil Plait
Last week on ABC's Nightline, british journalist Martin Bashir was set to moderate a debate between members of The Rational Response Squad and Christian ministers Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Comfort and Cameron claimed that they could prove scientifically, without invoking the Bible or faith, that their god exists. Disappointingly the program that aired (after much editing) ran more like The Debate that Wasn't.
Instead of letting the nonsense get to us, we called upon voices of reason and great debaters Dr. Michael Shermer and Dr. Phil Plait to cheer us up, and help make sense of it all.
Why does Australia give the world so many great skeptics? This week on Skepticality, Derek has a great time chatting with author, educator and noted Australian skeptic Lynne Kelly to find out the answer.
It's been over a year since Derek and Lynne last spoke, and they catch up on topics ranging from current science, Australia's drought, critical thinking in the classroom and her latest book "Crocodile: Evolution's Greatest Survivor."
This week on Skepticality, author and skeptic Scott Sigler talks to Derek and Swoopy about finding the skeptic movement, and the recent success of his newly released, science-informed horror novel Ancestor (an Amazon.com bestseller).
Scott also tackles the future of traditional book publishing in the age of podiobooks. Before we let him go, Scott reveals the names of the folks who will be receiving autographed copies of his books Earthcore and Ancestor.Â
Skepticality #049 - Interview: Dr. Michael Shermer talks to Philip Zimbardo.
Skepticality is pleased to bring our listeners another great interview conducted by the founder of the Skeptic's Society, Dr. Michael Shermer.
In this nearly hour long meeting of the minds, Dr. Shermer talks to author and Stanford emeritus Professor Philip Zimbardo on the release of his new book, The Lucifer Effect which ponders the question, what causes some people to commit acts of evil while others become unexpected heroes.
Skepticality #048 - Infidels and Free Books: Reginald Finley and Scott Sigler's Ancestor
This week Derek and Swoopy talk to a legend in Skeptical broadcasting, Reginald Finley, known to his friends as The Infidel Guy and we take part in Monday Bloody Monday as we help launch the publication of author Scott Sigler's newest podiobook to print: Ancestor.
Skepticality #047 - More from TAM: Hal Bidlack, Kylie Sturgess and Michael McRae.
This week, Skepticality nears the end of its Amazing Meeting 5Â wrap-up. Derek & Swoopy are honored to sit down with retiredÂ Lieutenant Colonel Hal Bidlack PhD, who is one of the warmestÂ people in skepticism. Hal discusses not only his Master ofÂ Ceremonies role at past and future Amazing Meetings, but also hisÂ role as an Alexander Hamilton scholar and his own future careerÂ in politics.
Then, Swoopy interviews Aussie educators Kylie Sturgess and Michael McRae about their work in bringing skepticism and critical thinking into their classrooms.
Skepticality #046 - TAM Audio: Adam Savage, Lori Lipman Brown and Benjamin Radford
On this week's Skepticality, we continue our coverage of The Amazing Meeting 5.
Derek and Swoopy talk with some of their favorite Real Skeptical Heroes including author and CSICOP spokesman Benjamin Radford, Mythbuster Adam Savage and the first Congressional lobbyist for non-theists and director of the Secular Coalition for America, Lori Lipman Brown.
Skepticality #045 - TAM Audio: James Randi, Tory Belleci, Julia Sweeney, Jill Sobule, Michael Shermer and God
This week we'll begin sifting through four days of audio and video with some of the best candid moments from the four day brain expanding extravaganza of The Amazing Meeting 5, featuring a cast of familiar characters as well as some brave new voices in skepticism.
Skepticality #044 - Interview: Michael A. Stackpole
This week Derek and Swoopy are practically out the door on the way to The Amazing Meeting 5, but before they go they talk with New York Times Best Selling author Michael A. Stackpole, chairman of the Phoenix Skeptics about the group's 2007 predictions list, and the accuracy of their 2006 predictions.
Mr. Stackpole also discusses balancing skepticism in his daily life with his work as a science fiction author and role playing game designer, and gives his views on practical methods for teaching critical thinking.
Skepticality #043 - Skeptic's Caltech Lecture Series: Sam Harris
This week on Skepticality, we kick off the first show of 2007 with a recording of author and lecturer Sam Harris speaking at the Symposium on Science, Religion & Politics, part of the Skeptic sponsored Caltech lecture series.
Mr. Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation. Additionally, he makes regular appearances on television and radio to discuss the danger that religion now poses to modern societies.
Skepticality #042 - The Mythbusters (Adam, Jamie and Kari) from TAM 4
This week the long awaited Mythbusters interviews finally surface. Conducted by Skepticality correspondent David Federlein, live at The Amazing Meeting 4, we bring you candid conversations with Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and Kari Byron of the explosively successful Discovery Channel science show, The Mythbusters.
Skepticality #041 - Naked Skeptics and The Amazing Meeting.
What do pin up photos of famous Skeptics and The Amazing Meeting have in common? This week's episode of Skepticality of course. Skepticality correspondent David Federlein interviews Skepchick founder Rebecca Watson about the 2007 Skepchicks and Skepdudes calendar followed by Derek and Swoopy talking to The Bad Astronomer Dr. Phil Plait about his Skepdude photo as well as his contributions to the upcoming Amazing Meeting 5. Plus a sneak peak at next week's Mythbusters interviews.
Skepticality #040 - Listener Feedback and Commentary
This week Derek and Swoopy play some great listener feedback, mostly stemming from the highly popular Episode #34, Dr. Michael Shermer's excellent interview with James Randi. We also get some listener surprises, and James Randi himself makes a quick appearance.
This week on Skepticality, we're very pleased to present Dr. Michael Shermer's new, in-depth interview with author and editor Ann Druyan, wife of the late Dr. CarlÂ Sagan. In this insightful hour, Ann gives us a look into Dr. Sagan's thoughts on science, religion, and her decision to collect his acclaimed Gifford Lectures in the new book "The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A PersonalÃ�Â View of the Search for God.
Skepticality #038 - A Very Houdini Halloween with James Randi and the Houdini Museum
On this special Halloween themed episode of Skepticality Derek and Spooky..er, Swoopy delve into the mysteries surrounding the life and death of the great Harry Houdini who died on Halloween, 1926.
We have interviews with the curators of the Houdini Museum; Dorothy Dietrich and Dick Brooks, regarding their annual Houdini Halloween Seance and the Amazing James Randi helps Swoopy in sorting out fact from fallacy in the Houdini mythos.
Skepticality #037 - Interview: Fraser Cain interviews Dr. Simon Singh.
This week Fraser Cain of Universe Today interviews popular British author, journalist and particle physicist Dr. Simon Singh about dodgy homeopathy and his work to bring to light some of the dangerous practices of homeopaths in his country. Also, Derek and Swoopy play and discuss some listener voicemail, including Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, and provide a sneak peak at next week's Halloween Special!
Jim Ottaviani's G.T. Labs is one of the biggest producers of Science comic books. Join Derek and Swoopy as they delve into the world of graphic novels based on some of the most notable scientists in history. This is the second episode of our Big Science and Skeptical comics Double Issue.
Did you know there were comic books made for lovers of Science? This week we interview not one, but two authors of comic books and graphic novels dealing with the themes of Science and Skepticism; Chris Wisnia of Tabloia and Jim Ottaviani of G.T. Labs.
Skepticality #034 - Interview: Dr. Michael Shermer and James Randi
Skeptic founder Dr. Michael Shermer provides us with a special one on one interview with the "Amazing" James Randi, recorded for Skepticality while at sea during the JREF's Amazing Adventure
cruise to the Bermuda Triangle.
Skepticality #032 - Interview: The Bad Astronomer talks Pluto
We check in with Skeptic Magazine's founding publisher Dr. Michael Shermer about the dubious claims regarding Steorn's perpetual motion machine and Dr. Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer weighs in on the trials and tribulations of Pluto.
Skepticality - Derek answers the Skeptical 5 Questions
The Five Skeptical Questions version of 5 Questions and Skepticality was a lot of fun. We were just missing one thing: Derek's answers. In a sit down last weekend, Derek and Swoopy recorded together for the first time over three months. Also, monkey news and a great promo for the new season of the Signal podcast.
Next week's episode of Skepticality will be a mash-up with the interactive podcast quiz show, Five Questions. This short podcast will give you all the information you need to participate in the fun, including the 5 Questions for the skeptical episode.
Our friend Fraser Cain of Universe Today fame, helps out Skepticality by interviewing noted UK Skeptic Tony Youens, who is the founding member of the Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE). Also, Swoopy raves about her new George Hrab cd, and rants about avian flu.
Skepticality returns with an interview recorded the week of September 3rd with Dr. Marc Zimmer, author of Glowing Genes: A Revolution in Biotechnology. Dr. Zimmer shows us that phosphorescence isn't just for jellyfish and fireflies anymore, and Swoopy gives a big thank you to everyone who is keeping Derek's family and Skepticality going.
James Randi comes back to Skepticality! This time around Randi shares his thoughts on Bad Book Authors, The Amazing Meeting 4, A story from the Million Dollar Prize, and Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.
The world has had a love affair with the mirror through all of history. Be it your own image, the cars behind you, or just a way to check your haircut, mirrors are everywhere and a needed element in day to day life. Join Swoopy as she trips through the world of the reflective surface.
In this episode, we interview Dr. Bob Carroll, author of the book, 'The Skeptics Dictionary and founder of the online encyclopedia of skeptical knowledge; Skepdic. Join our conversation with Dr. Carroll as we talk about some of the topics he covers on his site and in his book.
In this episode, we had special guest, Phil Plait, on the show to answer some questions sent in over the past week by several listeners; A New Planet? Mars as big as the Moon? The War of the Worlds Re-Make, and the new Mars Observer launch. (comment on this episode)
Special Links: Podcast Pickle, Donal Hinely, Bad Astronomer
Our sidetrack through the Whimsical in life. This week Swoopy comments on how humans always try to add human traits and feelings to things... stuffed animals, boats, cars, etc... Wrapped in a fun story about the love she has for her Jetta.
Philosophunk! In this installment of Skepticality, Derek and Swoopy interview acclaimed musician and skeptic, George Hrab. George talks to us about his musical and philosophical influences, and we listen to some amazing tracks from his body of work, plus briefings on Skepticality at DragonCon, and a word about that new planet; Xena.
This week, Swoopy digs into our obsession with books. Why do some of us put so much importance on them, where do they fit in our lives? On the heels of the recent Harry Potter bookÃ¢?Â¦ you might want to arm yourself with a little Whimsicality!
My Odeo Channel (Code: 1e5b45f60b2a5540)
In this episode we talk with Dr. Michael Shermer about the Science of Good and Evil, Past Government Pseudoscience programs, and the Skeptics Society. Dr. Shermer is one of the most published Skeptics in the world, and has an incredible resume of work and appearences behind his name. This is one show not to be missed!
You ever notice how the number FIVE seems to pop up everywhere? Five Fingers, Five Toes... The 'Fifth' Element... Throughout history there have been people facinated with the number 5. Since this is our fith Whimsicality, we thought why not explore everything to do with that dreaded number...
We discuss our new website, Swoopy covers the news, and we have an incredible discussion with Jennifer Michael Hecht. Author of the book 'Doubt: A history'. We talk about how doubt and skepticism has existed throughout known history, and how is has been viewed over time. An interesting discussion about religion, doubt, skepticism, and humanist views.
In this episode, we are honored and excited to present to you, an interview with James Randi! James was kind enough to spend some time with us on the phone talking about the JREF, the Million Dollar Prize, and those pesky folks that think they can talk to the dead! Come join us and Mr. Randi for a great conversation.
We have a very special guest, Benjamin Radford, editor of Skeptical Inquiry and Pensar Magazine. Author of Media Mythmakers, and employee/expert at CSICOP. Benjamin joins us for a lively discussion on how the Media and Activists use myth, emotion and bad statistics to mislead us.
We have a very special guest, Tom Flynn, one of the Editors of Free Inquiry, Member of CSICOP, and the Center for Inquiry. Tom is also an accomplished book author, and well respected Secular Humanist. Come join us with Mr. Flynn as we discuss the meaning of Secularism, and how it applies to current events.
We have a very special guest, Rob Irving, from Circlemakers! Rob joined us to talk about the 'myth' of the crop circle and how he and the team of folks he works with create some of the beautiful and no-so-mysterious circles we see in the wheat.
The aPOD, (Astronomy Podcast of Doom!). This was a joint podcast which included 5-6 different science and astronomy based podcasters. The show/gathering was made possible by the folks at Slacker Astronomy, who gave us permission to play it as well! Since we are going on vacation today, this was a great little gift so we could bring you something cool to listen to! We hope you have as much fun listening as we did creating it.
Welcome to Whimsicality. This is our 'in-between' show, a short segment by Swoopy on one aspect of life that is whimsical, strange, or bizzare. An investigation into the lighter side of life, where non-sensical crap is fun, for just under 10 minutes.
This episode we investigate the mythos of the fortune cookie. Why does this little folded treat have that little kernel of wisdom inside? Who put it there, and what power does it really hold? Come inside, and find out!
This is our first interview show! We have a very special guest, Phil Plait, PhD Astronomer, Author of Bad Astronomy, and popular skeptic seen on the most recent episode of Penn and Teller's 'Bullshit' on Showtime. Join us with Phil, he's a great guy and proves that critical thinking can be FUN!
Just what is skepticality? It is science, critical thought, humanist discussion, physics, history, astronomy, the de-bunking of pseudo-science and the paranormal. Come join us, and don't forget to subscribe via iTunes!