The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


2012 Episodes

December 25th: More American Than a Good Shag

This week on Skepticality, Derek & Swoopy chat a bit about Christmas, then Derek interviews Mark Forsyth (“The Inky Fool”) about his latest book The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language. Find out about the secret origins of words and phrases (such as ‘shag’, or the seemingly innocent ‘feisty’), learn the social science behind how words and languages evolve, and discover why we use the words we use.


December 11th: Interview with Kristine Duehl

Have you ever paid much attention to the imagery depicted on children’s clothing, books and toys? After having a child of her own, it became obvious to our guest this week. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek interviews budding biologist Kristine Duehl, PhD (Biology), whose work focuses on flora and fauna and the biomes in which they live. Her goal is to educate parents and teachers, and to ensure that children are taught scientifically accurate information.


November 27th: Interview with Penn Jillette

This week on Skepticality, Derek spends some time with Penn Jillette discussing his journey into magic, his past with James Randi, where we might see Penn & Teller next, and his latest book, Every Day is an Atheist Holiday! More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No!.


November 13th: Fake Science 101: Interview with Phil Edwards

This week on Skepticality, Derek chats with Phil Edwards (the author and creator of the website and book Fake Science 101: A Less-Than-Factual Guide to Our Amazing World) about how he came up with the grand idea to create a full-color satirical science textbook to promote the core ideas of science and prove that science can also be quite humorous.


October 30th: A Good Death: Interview with Caitlin Doughty

It is All Hallows’ Eve once again, the time of year when all things creepy and terrifying seem to be highlighted. This week on Skepticality, Derek embrace the time of year in this interview with mortician Caitlin Doughty, 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 that are associated with it.


October 30th: A Threesome With Jesus

This week on Skepticality, 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 discusses 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.


October 2nd: Sexual Brain Science

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.


September 18th: Attracting a Mix: Skeptics and Believers

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.


September 11th: Stealth Skepticism: Skeptic Track at Dragon*Con Recap

This week on Skepticality, Derek briefly re-caps the events of the Skeptrack 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: a panel discussion which involved JREF Outreach Coordinator Brian Thompson, bestselling authors Michael Stackpole, Scott Sigler, and Gail Z. Martin, as well as Skepchicks Rebecca Watson and Amy Davis Roth. 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.


August 28th: Interview with Victor Stenger

This week on Skepticality, Derek spends a little bit of his time before the start of Dragon*Con in conversation with Victor Stenger, discussing Stenger’s latest book, God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion. Based on his experience as a particle physicist, New Atheist Stenger outlines his belief that hard science has much to say about religious claims that scientific and skeptical organizations typically regard as falling outside the empirical scope of science.


August 14th: Hope in Small Doses: An Interview with 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.


July 31st: Interview with Mathew Gross on the Rise of Apocalyptic Thinking in America

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.


July 3rd: Interviews with Todd Stiefel and Mark Edward

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Todd Stiefel to talk about his involvement in recent, and upcoming secular public events and campaigns. His latest is working to collect one million dollars (or more) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the Foundation Beyond Belief. Also in this episode, Derek catches up with Mark Edward, a well known mentalist, about his new book, Psychic Blues, and the experiences which led him to write the book and his thoughts on the varied types of current psychics who are operating out there today, and through the recent past.


June 19th: Interview with Mike McRae

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Mike McRae, a science writer and touring science communicator for Questacon: 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.


June 6th: Spongelab: A Global Science Community

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 tech savvy population, new hurdles and challenges face professors and teachers at all levels. Computerized, online media is where many are turning for good resources and content.

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek sits down with Dr. Jeremy Friedberg, the founder and president of Spongelab, an online community which bills itself as “A Global Science Community.” The website is full of resources, digital media, educational computer games, and lesson plans—all of which are free for any educator to use to further enhance their curriculum, and to get students excited about learning the beauty of science and the real world. Find out more about how one company is making sure that science and the real world are communicated in the most effective manner in our modern, cyber-enhanced world.


May 22nd: Closing The Gate

About fifteen years ago, the largest mass suicide on American soil was conducted by the Heaven’s Gate cult in California. While most of the media attention focussed on the events in Rancho Santa Fe, there were other connected suicides which happened in cities around the United States. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek speaks with Deborah Simpson, the sister of one of the Heaven’s Gate group, Jimmy, who was living in Atlanta, GA at the time. In her new book Closing The Gate, Simpson shares the deeply personal story of how her brother got involved with the destructive and manipulative group. It is a rare look into some of the inner workings and effects that such groups can have on the families of those involved.


May 8th: Interview with Comedian “Dr. Pete”

When it comes to certain topics, people sometimes seem to turn a blind eye to the evidence and research that have been collected over the past few hundred years of systematic inquiry. Can comedy bring a bright candle to ideas that other methods struggle to illuminate? In this episode of Skepticality, Derek welcomes a special in-studio guest, Dr. Peter Ludovice (a.k.a. “Dr. Pete”), a popular stand up comedian who performs his show with a twist of science and rational thinking. Ludovice, also an Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, discusses how he uses his interesting mix of professions to reach out to his students and audiences across the United States.


April 24th: Interviews with Ian Harris and Bob Carroll

This week on Skepticality, Derek talks to Ian Harris, one of a troupe of comedians whose “Evolution of Comedy Tour” covers topics science-loving folks will really enjoy. Ian and Derek discuss why comedy is a great fit for talking about skeptical and scientific issues. Later in this episode, Derek checks in with Bob Carroll to discuss his new e-book, Unnatural Acts, which he produced as part his ongoing efforts on The Skeptic’s Dictionary.


April 10th: Interviews with Guy Harrison

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).


March 27th: Interview with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

This week on Skepticality, Derek sits down for a packed episode 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 discusses the research and issues humanity now faces with regard to 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, wherein he will be discussing some of the basic foundations of critical thinking and skepticism. To round out the show we have ‘Bug Girl’ who talks a bit about why someone whose main focus is insect study is also highly involved in the world of skeptical thinking.


March 13th: You Are Not So Smart

This week on Skepticality, Derek has a discussion with David McRainy about his latest book, You Are Not So Smart. McRainy is a journalist who mainly covers subject matter in the areas of psychology and technology, which lead him to researching many of the claims to which skeptics gravitate. In this interview, you’ll find out why you probably have too many friends on Facebook, why your memory is mostly fiction, and other ways in which you are probably deluding yourself.


February 28th: Interview with David DiSalvo

This week on Skepticality, Derek talks with David DiSalvo about his newest book, What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, which delves into the ways in which we can recognize our brains’ faults and use them to live more fulfilled lives. DiSalvo is an award-winning public outreach and education specialist, and a popular writer for Scientific American Mind, Psychology Today, and other publications and blogs.


February 14th: Interviews with Tom Merritt, Bob Blaskiewicz & Eve Siebert

This week on Skepticality, Derek sits down with Tom Merritt to discuss the importance of critical thinking when assessing heated 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 Derek to discuss the evidence that Shakespeare was actually the man who penned the famous plays of the Globe Theater, and how the movie Anonymous is steeped in fiction.


January 31st: Interview with Daniele Bolelli

This week on Skepticality, Derek chats with Daniele Bolelli, the author of 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion. Daniele is an Italian skeptic and writer, a mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor, and a university professor. His book is part a series being produced by the people behind (a website, blog, and podcast). Bolelli currently lives in the United States.


January 17th: Interview with Sean Faircloth

This week on Skepticality, Swoopy pops in for a quick chat with Derek about what she has been doing, and has some fun, new ideas for the show. Derek interviews Sean Faircloth about his new role at the US branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation For Reason and Science and about his new book, Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All—and What We Can Do About It (with a Foreword by Richard Dawkins).


January 7th: 2011: A Year in Review with Tim Farley

This week on Skepticality, host Derek sits down with Tim Farley to reflect on what happened in the skeptical world over the course of 2011 and ponder what is in store for 2012. Tim Farley is the creator of the website Whats the Harm (a catalog of actual cases of people suffering physical, medical, financial or other harm because of their beliefs in concepts not supported by science) and Skeptic History (a collection of historical dates of interest to skeptics).


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