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Skepticism/critical thinking

Podcast recommendations

I’ve become a big fan of podcasting and now like to listen to podcasts when I happen to be in my office while I’m working and in my car while driving to and from work. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of good skeptical podcasts, at least in comparison with the number of credulous ones. I thought I’d take this opportunity to mention a few skeptical podcasts that I listen to regularly:

1. Point of Inquiry. This is the official podcast of the Center for Inquiry and has to be near the top of the list for any skeptic to check out regularly. Host D. J. Grothe is a great interviewer, always prepared and always poised, and he regularly interviews fascinating guests like Ann Druyan, Richard Dawkins, Joe Nickell, and others. Well worth checking out, even on weeks when they seem not to have gotten an outside guest, which is when they usually trot out CFI founder Paul Kurtz to interview. Even so, D. J. Grothe is the best interviewer of the bunch.

2. The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. This is the official podcast of the New England Skeptical Society. I only discovered this one two or three months ago, and it has become one of my regular listens. Featuring Steve Novella as the host and a panel that includes Rebecca Watson (a.k.a. The Skepchick). Always entertaining and informative, this podcast also features a regular segment by The Man himself, James Randi.

3. Audiomartini with Rick Wood. Rick Wood does yeoman work interviewing not only skeptics like Chris Mooney, James Randi, Michael Shermer, or Phil Plait, but he also interviews ghost hunters, paranormal investigators, alien abduction believers, creationists like Michael Behe, and even holocaust deniers. He treats the latter respectfully and usually lets them talk enough to demonstrate themselves how irrational their arguments are, without Wood having to do much to highlight it. I do have to admit, though, I thought Wood went way too easy on Holocaust denier Mark Weber when he interviewed him.

4. Skepticality. Hosts Derek and Swoopy host a fun show that examines all the topics skeptics like to consider. I have to admit, though, that I’m not quite as big a fan as I was before it became the official podcast of the Skeptics’ Society this August after a long hiatus apparently due largely to Derek’s had his intracerebral hemorrhage last year. I can’t quite put my finger on why. Even so, that might just be my reaction; perhaps others will find it improved now that it has the imprimatur of the Skeptics’ Society.

At some point, I’ll make some recommendations for science and medicine podcasts…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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