Token Skeptic Podcast – On Critical Thinking, Alt Med And Science Communication (And Other Links)

Token Skeptic podcast, episode #113 (I can hardly believe it myself…) is out!

A bonus for this episode is featured – the start of the show is by Doubtful News, a ten-minute broadcast of some of the hit weird and wonderful stories that are in the media this month. Many thanks to Sharon Hill and check out the official site at http://doubtfulnews.com. Best of all, you’ll be able to see Sharon and many others in person at the forthcoming Amazing Meeting 2012 from July 12-15th.

The show also features content from last month’s Australian Science Communicators’ National Conference held from 27-29th February in Sydney – a lecture by Michael McRae and an interview with Dr Craig Cormick.

Michael McRae is the author of Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs and Bad Ideas, which has been released in Australia by the University of Queensland Press; the forthcoming U.S. edition is from Prometheus Books. He has worked in science, education, as an artist and is currently employed as a writer-editor at Australia’s CSIRO. He is also the writer behind the critical thinking videos for TechNyou, which can be found in six parts on YouTube and are part of a series on The Logic of Critical Thinking. His presentation at the conference that features in this episode is called “A Vital Divide: The Future Of Alternative Medicine in a Scientific Society”.

Dr Craig Cormick is a former science journalist and editor, and is widely published on research into the causes of public concerns into new technologies. He has travelled to all seven continents as a science communicator, including presenting at APEC and OECD workshops. Dr Cormick has published several books and authored the reports What You Really Need To Know About What The Public Really Thinks About GM Foods (2005) and Cloning Goes To The Movies (2006). He also recently conducted an interview on Risk Science Unplugged: Why do smart people believe dumb things with Dr Di Bowman about the social values that govern much public perception of risk, and how they affect the decisions people make.

Since I’m focusing on my studies for the rest of the month (and right up to the Global Atheist Convention - since I don’t want to be writing university assignments while in Berlin!), I’m not sure when the next episode will be out. I do have some episodes on hand, but I don’t want to make any promises about posting until early April.

If you do have any ideas or suggestions for future episode topics (and if you’re not aware of the range, the entire back-catalogue is here – be warned, it’s large and there’s more than #133 episodes!) – please feel free to leave a comment on this blog-post.

In the meantime – some other links for you today:

Globe and Mail – Ayaan Hirsi Ali: from Muslim ‘infidel’ to mother Ms. Hirsi Ali spoke with The Globe and Mail recently in Vancouver about her life under death threats, the Shafia honour killings, and how she plans to raise her child.

Thanks to Jason L for this find – THIS is something I’ve said and said often about art and culture,  and it’s not just my little, isolated town on the edge of a big island that needs a population saying it - To everyone upset about The Vancouver Playhouse, The Ridge, Book Warehouse, and all of the other culture that is evaporating in Vancouver:

I encourage each of you to look at your own participation in these situations. You know that theatre you love? Buy a subscription to their season, encourage your friends to do it with you or even buy them their first ticket. Go to more individual shows if you can’t commit the time or funds to a subscription. That magazine you love to read? Subscribe to it. Buy a second subscription for your friend who would also love it. That art gallery you love to visit? Become a member. Find out when their next fundraiser is and be there. At their art auction buy a fantastic piece of art for a ridiculously low cost compared to what the work is and what it is worth. That book you’ve been meaning to buy, the one you can’t find on Amazon or at Chapters? Go to one of the independent shops that carry it and buy it. That music group you love to listen to/see perform? Buy a subscription to their season, buy their CD, go to their concerts, go to their fundraisers. Go to an independent record shop to buy their work on vinyl.

The sobering state of the union: Evolution in the Classroom – No Dinosaurs in Heaven – an overview of a panel discussion in NY Academy of Sciences (and audio too) featuring Eugenie C. Scott (National Center for Science Education), Greta Schiller (Jezebel Films), and Yael Wynner (City College of New York, CUNY).

These days, more than half of U.S. women live in states that are hostile to their reproductive rights. How does your state stack up? From Feministing.

In Australia (and everywhere else!) – you should be checking out Leslie Cannold: Barking Mad – Puppies and Toddlers in an Intolerant Land:

Ill-informed opinion is the rage these days but its greatest achievement is to promote misunderstanding and encourage judgment – hardly recipes for social harmony. I know you’re in a hurry but either slow down or recognise that it’s you who needs to give way. The rest of us aren’t out to get you, we’re just doing the best we can in our own imperfect way.

In the UK - Mum’s meningitis vaccine campaign after virus kills son - while in South Africa: Muslim doctors denounce anti-vaccination drive.

I’m certain absolutely everyone on FreeThought blogs has mentioned it already – but Greta Christina’s Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless is out.

Finally, (and a definite must-read in my opinion) from More Women in Skepticism (the creator, Karen Miller, was in Episode Eighty-Eight of the Token Skeptic – On Codes Of Conduct Part II – Sexism, Skepticism And Civility Online) - “Slaves, Obey Your Masters”: The Billboard:

Yes, I’m late to the party, and I know this is all old news now, but my thoughts have finally cohered enough to make my points, and so I am ready to talk about how bloody awful the billboard is and how bad the people defending it look. I will number my points so I stay focused, and I will employ bold font to add an element of design because I’m artsy like that.

Enjoy, headdesk, cheer and download the podcast and send an encouraging Tweet to Sharon Hill! I’m going to settle in to read Chapter 5 on Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders in preparation for a little 3000 word assignment. See you on the other side.

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About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.


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