Why Is There A Skeptical Movement? And Of Mice And Minds – New Token Skeptic Podcast!

Today I had my first opportunity (a proper opportunity to learn, as opposed to playing with it for several hours in the labs at Curtin university and not being entirely sure as to what I was doing) to try Adobe Audition, as a part of a course I’m doing in radio. I’d be more thrilled if I hadn’t collapsed in exhaustion for the past five hours after getting home and then woke up to about 10,000 emails. It’s been a busy first week and it’s not entirely over yet.

Why Is There A ASkeptical Movement?

Here’s a fascinating two-chapter new investigation on Skeptic.com by Daniel Loxton, that I was fortunate enough to review in early draft form. Why Is There a Skeptical Movement? The ongoing work of the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine is part of an ancient and noble public service tradition. Today, we present two chapter-length explorations of that tradition, digging into the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism.

A while back I talked about the “compulsory reading” that’s often a part of college courses. Do yourself a favour and enjoy, especially if you’re keen on skeptical activism:

What is now called “scientific skepticism” — the practice or project of studying paranormal and pseudoscientific claims through the lens of science and critical scholarship, and then sharing the results with the public — was old when the first skeptical podcasts appeared in 2005.

It was old in 1996 when the James Randi Educational Foundation was formed; old in 1992 when Michael Shermer and Pat Linse organized the Skeptics Society and launched Skeptic magazine (one of the first skeptical periodicals to appear on newsstands); and it was already old in 1976 when CSICOP was formed — the first successful, broad-mandate North American skeptical organization of the contemporary period.

I should also mention this blog-post by Harriet Hall, which is also recommended reading: Gender Differences and Why They Don’t Matter So Much. In addition, congratulations are in order: JREF Appoints Jamy Ian Swiss as Senior Fellow.

Finally,  Sharon Hill was interviewed on BoA:Audio, where they “venture into the realm of the skeptics as we welcome Sharon Hill, creator and editor of Doubtful News, for a discussion on skepticism, the paranormal, and that sliver of intellectual landscape that may be able to harbor both worlds.” 

These are all the things that I don’t blog about any more because I don’t have the time, and now I’ve mentioned them, albiet briefly.  Amazing what I can achieve, even in my sleep.

New podcast episode out early tomorrow morning – On Mice and Minds, an interview with Dr Emma Burrows!

Dr Burrows, of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, has been given a Victoria Fellowship to continue her study in new touchscreen technology, which aims to improve treatment for dementia, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. For this episode of the Token Skeptic, we discuss her work and the claims of the “educational exercise program” known as Brain Gym, with suggestions as to how to sensibly and skeptically approach such practices.

You’ll be able to find it over at www.tokenskeptic.org, where there’s an update in the meantime.

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