Token Skeptic Podcast – Santa, Tim Minchin, Skeptical Women Online (Oh My!)

Token Skeptic Podcast – Santa, Tim Minchin, Skeptical Women Online (Oh My!) December 23, 2011

Just a quick heads-up about what you can download over the next few days from the Token Skeptic Podcast:

Firstly, you should already have sitting in your RSS feed the contributions of not only a scientist who is working for the Royal Institution of Australia, but a talk I did on astrology for the University of Melbourne’s Secular Society earlier in the year – which was released to herald the Young Australian Skeptics’ Blog Anthology. You can get your own copy here!

Episode Ninety-Three – On Science And Blogging – An Interview With James ByrneHe writes popular science articles for various newspapers as well as COSMOS magazine, and Scientific American online. He is the first non-American to write on the Scientific American site – his blog at the Scientific American is called Disease Prone. You can see the upcoming events at the Royal Institution of Australia (RIAus) here.

Episode Ninety-Four – Fleeced: The Rise And Fall of a Aries’ Belief In Astrology: This is a talk that I gave on Thursday 12th May, 2011 at the  University of Melbourne’s Secular Society, and it is with many thanks to Richard Hughes and the Melbourne Secular Society that I can play this for you!

But what next? Forthcoming episodes for the Christmas break include:

Episode Ninety-Five: On Skeptical Women Online – Julia Lavarnway, Susan Gerbic and Desiree Schell. As the number of people who learn about and choose to become involved with skeptical outreach and pro-science initiatives increases, so do the ways they choose to contribute vary. Traditional print media, blogging, contributing and editing Wikipedia, national radio shows and popular podcasts all play a part – and for this interview, these contributors all just happen to be women. If it’s true that role models and mentorship is a vital part of encouraging participation, then let’s look at some examples that exist out there on the internet.

And notice how everyone (and their boxer dog) has been banging on about Tim Minchin’s ITV-banned “Woody Allen Jesus” song and how the statement from the UK station reads that “It’s not unusual for there to be changes to the show in the edit, as we shoot more than goes out, and we felt the tone wasn’t quite right for the Christmas show“?

Well, apart from loving the song… I was actually more intrigued by the essay that Tim Minchin wrote for the latest edition of the New Statesman, which is about his daughter, Santa Claus and belief:

And so I face a dilemma: I had sold her the myth of Father Christmas in the spirit of allowing a child her sense of wonderment, but I felt that lying to her face when she asked me point blank about the veracity of my claims was a step too far. I fumbled around a bit before opting for: “Father Christmas is real… in the imaginary world.”

So, who better to talk to than Matt Lowry, the Skeptical Teacher – a high school physics teacher, plus a part-time physics and astronomy college professor, contributor to the James Randi Educational Foundation Education Advisory Group and awesome presenter for kids’ shows at Dragon*Con?

>Episode Ninety-Six: On Critical Thinking And Santa (Again) – Interview With Matt Lowry. Recently Matt Lowry wrote a blog-post on Using Mythology as a Critical Thinking Tool: The Lesson of Santa for Kids – just as Tim Minchin wrote a piece for the New Statesman about his own efforts to balance a pro-naturalistic worldview and living a life unencumbered by superstition, while raising kids and encouraging a love of fiction. For this interview we talk about all of these things (and whether Santa might actually be a Time Lord with a sleigh made out of quantum-something-or-other).

Finally – a message for the holiday season: here’s Prof Brian Cox accompanying Tim Minchin, with ‘White Wine in the Sun‘, a part of the Uncaged Monkeys show.

Oh – and HUGE love to Catherine Donaldson of Faster Pussycat Productions for the beautiful, beautiful photo of the Skeptical Blog Anthology!

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