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2014 Episodes

December 23rd: Skepticality Classic: The Trouble With Christmas

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek decides to get a bit nostalgic and brings you a classic interview from the Skepticality archives. Back in 2005, our first year, Swoopy and Derek had well known author Tom Flynn on the show for an interview about his book, The Trouble With Christmas. We figured it’s worth a replay, since it’s that time of year, and all…

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December 2nd: The Martian

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek chats with National Laboratory programmer turned hard science fiction author Andy Weir about his popular book The Martian (a story, based on real and near-future technology, about an astronaut stranded on Mars after a tragic accident). Find out what inspired Andy to write the novel, and learn about his journey from working for free, to having his book turned into a major motion picture (to be released in 2015).

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November 11th: Of Cheese And Neuro-Bunk

Can 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.

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October 28th: Death Business

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek steals some time away from Caitlin Doughty (a past guest of Skepticality in 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: And Other Lessons from the Crematory: a personal account of what it’s like to work in the “death business.” Find out a bit more about how Caitlin, born and raised in sunny Hawaii, found herself working as a professional in the business of death.

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October 14th: Sting Like a …

In this episode of Skepticality, This week Derek speaks with Sheldon Helms, a member of the Bay Area Skeptics, and one of the people involved in Operation Bumblebee, a scouting operation put together by Susan Gerbic to attend one of self-described psychic Chip Coffey’s big events. Sheldon provides some details about his involvement in the operation, and how two teams of skeptics worked to put together a fairly detailed event.

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September 30th: Critical and Thinking

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with previous Skepticality guest Ian Harris, a working comedian whose material focuses on topics around critical thought and skepticism. 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.

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September 16th: Denying Evolution and Climate Science

In this episode of Skepticality, 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,” with Matt Lowry, David DiSalvo, Dr. Steven Novella, and Barbara Drescher.

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August 19th: Race and Religious Rebels

In this episode of Skepticality, 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 around minorities which often get overlooked by many in atheist communities and skeptic circles.

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August 5th: The Elementary Remedy

This week on Skepticality, 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, his quest to find the cause and cure for tuberculosis, and the relationship between Koch and Arthur Conan Doyle.

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July 22nd: Shots of Awe

This week on Skepticality, Derek has a conversation with Jason Silva. Jason is known for his work as the host of the Emmy Nominated National Geographic channel television show, Brain Games. Jason is a self-proclaimed “wonder junkie” who has been pushing the ideas of inspiration, science, technology, and imagination not only through television but also via new media, TED Talks and anywhere else he can. Find out more about what made Jason set out to inspire others with such passionate intesity.

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July 8th: Colliding Worlds

This week on Skepticality, Derek chats with Arthur I. Miller, a PhD particle physicist who has spent his life fascinated with the nature of creative thinking and the intersection 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 1960s until today.

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June 24th: The Most Famous American You’ve Never Heard Of

This week on Skepticality, 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 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.’

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June 10th: Evolution Reading: Pre-School to High School

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with two guests. First is Jonathan Tweet, a game designer, and science advocate. Jonathan discusses his latest writing project: a fun science book aimed at pre-school children, which teachies the basic facts behind evolution and how living things came to be. (Look for this project on Kickstarter soon.) Next, Derek talks with Allen J. Woppert about his latest book, The War On Science Goes Batshit: a young adult book about a biology teacher in the small town of Batshit, Illinois who attempts to slip Intelligent Design into the High School classroom. Derek talks with Allen about how the book about evolution came to be, and the challenges in writing it for young audience.

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May 27th: History vs. Politics

This week on Skepticality, 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’s mission: to apply history to the politics of today. Many times people tend to use historical references to justify their current 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.

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May 13th: Do The Most Good

You‘ve got 80,000 hours in your career. How can you use them to solve the world’s most pressing problems? This week on Skepticality, Derek has a conversation with William MacAskill: a former Fulbright scholar at Princeton University, PhD at Oxford University, and founder of the Oxford’s Center for Effective Altruism and co-founder of 80,000 Hours, a service which helps you 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, MacAskill set out to provide ways for people to give in the most effective manner possible. He discusses why it was important, for the charities he helped create, to have a scientific way to determine where funding and effort should best be directed for the most good.

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April 29th: Jesus, God, or Nothing?

This week on Skepticality, 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. Raphael shares how the ideas in the book came about, and how they fit, when so many prominent, modern, religious scholars keep making statements as to the historical certainty of a Jesus figure.

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April 15th: America’s Imaginary Hostage Crisis

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 are available, which detail what the remote viewers actually reported, how accurate were they, really?

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April 1st: Scorecasting

This week Derek talks with Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated magazine, Jon L. Wertheim. Jon is the author of Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won, the New York Times Beselling book which is an 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.

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March 18th: God Bless America Beyond Belief

Since Skepticality took a break last episode, Derek comes back with two interviews to fill the void this past month. The first is with Dale McGowan: author, speaker, philanthropist, and founder of Foundation Beyond Belief. They discuss how the Foundation came to be, its current goals, and how people worldwide can get involved. After Dale, Derek has a discussion with Karen Stollznow: writer, linguist, and author of several books with a skeptical slant. One of Stollznow’s latest books, God Bless America, looks some unusual religious practices and beliefs across the United States of America.

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February 18th: Taboo

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Jeremy Steele, 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 led a man of devout faith to be such a strident skeptic, and how his skeptical themed book came to be.

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February 4th: Think

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek chats 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 skepticism-focused book, Think: Why You Should Question Everything, which aims to give rational thinkers a set of tools to help talk to, and work alongside, those who hold dubious beliefs.

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January 21st: Test For Intelligence?

This week on Skepticality, Derek interviews Keith E. Stanovich, a CSI fellow, and 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.

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