Review: Skeptoid

SkeptoidIn a world where Fox News exists, it feels as though the media has become a little too credulous these days. Brian Dunning wants to change all that by promoting the art of critical thinking through his 10-minute weekly podcast Skeptoid which casts a skeptical eye on some of the most debated myths and misconceptions going around.

From homeopathy, psychics and creationism to recycling, smoking and McDonald’s, Skeptoid has covered an enormous amount of topics over its almost 200 episodes. Each podcast carefully deconstructs the claim before offering a well researched and easy to understand rebuttal. Although Dunning is not afraid to tackle the big issues, I’ve always found it’s the smaller subjects that are the most fascinating.

The 10 minute format means it takes a very small time investment and leaves the content incredibly rich with information. The downside to this is I’m often left wanting a deeper discussion on the matter. As far as criticisms go, of course, leaving your listeners wanting more is a pretty good problem to have.

Some episodes break format, offering advice for fellow skeptics, such as episode 65 entitled “How to Argue with a Creationist”. There are also episodes where Dunning answers questions from students, and others where he directly responds to listener feedback.

One thing you might notice after listening to Skeptoid for a long while is that the way you look at the world will shift. You will start to spot the logical fallacies in the media or during conversations with friends, which I suspect is exactly what Dunning aims to achieve.

By the way, you can hear an interview with Brian Dunning on episode 4 of the Nonsense podcast, which is longer form podcast along similar lines to Skeptoid and is also recommended.

Subscribe to Skeptoid: Website | iTunes | RSS

Hear the audio version of this review with audio samples in Episode 15 of Podwatch: iTunes | RSS | Direct download

Ratings for Skeptoid
Entertainment value
Depends on your interest in the particular topic for that week, but Skeptoid is always informative and concise.
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Quality of content
Well researched and clearly delivered.
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Production quality
Audio quality is excellent and release schedule incredibly reliable.
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Overall
This podcast can truly change the way you see the world. Even if you disagree with Dunning’s position on a topic, Skeptoid is a pithy programme that will articulate precisely where the scientific community is coming from. It’s also a wonderful resource for teaching institutions looking to promote the art of critical thinking.
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3 Comments

  1. Big Sista
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey Tom, I just listened to your Skeptoid review and I reckon it’s your best one yet! I have given you a huge plug by posting a link to your podcast and the following message on Brian Dunning’s wall on Facebook.
    “Hi Brian, I thought you’d like to know that Skeptoid has been reviewed @ http://www.podwatch.org. I do have an ulterior motive (but it’s NOT a conspiracy I promise): the author of this podcast is my brother, Tom Longo, so I encourage everyone reading this to subscribe :-)”

    I am a truly amazing big sis…and my bill is in the mail :-P

    • Posted September 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      haha, thank you for that. Looks like you’ve finally found a good use for Facebook :P

  2. Posted September 13, 2009 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    Yeah, Brian Dunning rolls out a mean podcast… Good call on this one.


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