Token Skeptic Podcast

Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a monthly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop. Hosted and produced by philosophy teacher and radio broadcaster Kylie Sturgess.

The Podcasts

Token Skeptic #123 - On Not So A.C.E - Investigating Accelerated Christian Education With Jonny Scaramanga

Jonny Scaramanga is an independent musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and teacher in Bath. He once attended an ACE school and questions whether the system has done the right thing by him and thousands of students world-wide, at "Leaving Fundamentalism".

His article "Fundamental Errors With Evangelist Schooling" features at the Times Educational Supplement site:

Visitors to Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools see how quiet classrooms are and how polite pupils are. You would be polite too if you attended a school where anything less than vigorous, smiling agreement with the teachers was seen as an act of rebellion. Rules were enforced with, if not a rod of iron, then a hefty paddle...

...Like all pupils, I taught myself from ACE textbooks containing information on core subjects interspersed with comic strips in which pupils with side-partings reminded me how good Christians behave. I sat in my "office", a small desk with high partitions separating me from my neighbours. Talking wasn't allowed, but staff were not taking chances. I went to the school as someone who loved learning, and left it seeing education as a necessary evil.

Jonny continues to raise awareness about the Accelerated Christian Education's influence world-wide, not only via writing articles and a book about his experiences at Leaving Fundamentalism, but through an engaging series of audio essays featured on the Pod Delusion podcastACE creationism and Word of Faith (episodes 135 and 136).

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Theme songs are “P&P” by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and “Leap Second” by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Please considering supporting the show via visiting Tokenskeptic.org.


Token Skeptic #72 - On Unbelievable - Interview With Lawrence Leung

Tremendous thanks to both Simon Taylor for helping me secure this interview and Belinda Nicholson (who appeared in the 365 Days of Astronomy episode 'The Stars Are Her Laboratory’ for lending me the astrophysics tea-room at the University of Melbourne to record it! Please note - Simon has a GREAT new project, a skeptically-funny comic series called 'Flim Flam' - send in your support by sending in your pledge to get it happening.

Lawrence Leung is an Australian comedian, writer and director from Melbourne, Victoria. He is best known for his television series Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own AdventureIf the truth is out there... then let's look at the evidence! This is Lawrence Leung's 'Unbelievable'.

He has performed in shows in London's West End, at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, and around Australia extensively. This interview investigates the origins of the show, his history as a questioning comedian regarding interesting paranormal claims and what exactly was he up to when he was at Melbourne University (that you won't find on Wikipedia)?? 

Special guest stars during this interview - occasional astrophysics students looking for a cup of tea.

Check out 'Unbelievable' on ABC1 from 9.30pm, Wednesday June 15th! Lawrence's official website can be found at www.lawrenceleung.com.

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com. Theme songs are 'P&P' by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and '365' by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com. Please considering supporting the show - head to the Merchandise link on the Token Skeptic site and keep an eye out for the forthcoming Token Skeptic book, available through Lulu.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_72_-_On_Unbelivable_-_Interview_With_Lawrence_Leung.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13pm HKT

Token Skeptic #61 - On Paranormality - Interview With Dr Richard Wiseman

Richard Wiseman is the UK’s most popular psychologist, with books topping the bestseller charts, over 10 million views on his YouTube channel and more than 60,000 followers on Twitter. A former professional magician, he has spent the past 20 years investigating the psychology of the paranormal.

His new book, Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There, tackles the psychology of seemingly supernatural phenomena. Dr Wiseman is also the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

The official site for the book is at http://www.paranormalitybook.com and you can subscribe to his popular blog at http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com and his Twitter account at http://twitter.com/RichardWiseman.

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Visit www.tokenskeptic.org – and I’d love to get your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com. Theme songs are ‘P&P’ by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and ‘365′ by Milton Mermikides, of www.miltonmermikides.com.

Direct download: Token_Skeptic_61_-_On_Paranormality_-_Interview_With_Richard_Wiseman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24pm HKT

In 2011 I was the organiser of the 10:23 Campign in Australia, with groups represented in Sydney, Brisbane, Victoria, Canberra and Perth. An interview with some of the participants features on the Token Skeptic podcast: http://tokenskeptic.org/2011/01/21/1023-campaign-in-australia-token-skeptic-special-episode.

In January, I noticed that on Twitter Dr Paul Willis was heading on his way to Antarctica - so I quickly wrote to him and to the organisers of the 10:23 campaign in the UK to sign him up as a participant! This is the eventual result. Probably the most interesting experience yet as a coordinator!

Thanks to Paul, all the organisers Australia-wide and to Marsh and all the UK organisers.

Direct download: 10-23_Campaign_With_Dr_Paul_Willis_In_Antarctica_-Token_Skeptic_Podcast.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 12:48am HKT

Token Skeptic #29 - On The Invisible Gorilla – An Interview With Daniel Simons And Christopher Chabris

For many listening to this podcast - the phrase 'Did you see the gorilla?' might remind you of a group of people throwing a basketball to each other. For those who have no idea - before you go any further, check out the award-winning video that will feature in the show notes!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY

Finished watching it? What you have just seen is part of a 2004 Ig Nobel award-winning study - which makes the following interview really quite special.

Christopher Chabris and Prof Daniel Simons have released a book about their ten years of research - on why people succumb to everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Called The Invisible Gorilla, it details the experiment and how it might explain such things as why companies spend billions on product they knows will fail and why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes. They combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble.

The Invisible Gorilla And Other Ways our Intuition Deceives Us is available from bookstores world-wide and I do suggest you check out my favourite bookstore online, Embiggen Books, for a copy. You can head to the official site to learn more, at http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com.

By the way - my science blog Podblack is up for an Australian science blogging award! Head to http://thebigblogtheory.com.au and support bloggers for Science Week!

This show is available on Zune, mp3 via Libsyn or iTunes. Speaking of  iTunes, you can find and rate all of the shows there, or you can visit www.tokenskeptic.org –  I’d love to hear your feedback at tokenskeptic@gmail.com.

Theme songs are ‘P&P’ by Derek K Miller of www.penmachine.com and ‘365’ by Milton Mermikides, at www.miltonmermikides.com.