August 24th, 2008Site of the Week – Skeptoid
What is a skeptic? Ask Brian Dunning. He is one – and proud of it. According to Brian, a skeptic is someone who applies critical thinking skills to claims that may or may not be true. Skepticism is not just the art of debunking a bogus claim, but a process of examining any claim to find out if it is based on actual, verifiable evidence.
Brian’s site, skeptoid.com, hosts a weekly podcast that has become my favorite. In concise, 10-minute chunks, Brian takes a thoughtful (yes, skeptical) look at a number of popular and frequently controversial topics. Recent podcasts titles: “Should Tibet be Free?” “Genetically Modified Organisms: Jeopardy or Jackpot?” “Should You Take Your Vitamins?” Brian has produced 114 podcasts to date, which translates to roughly 19 hours of skeptical listening pleasure. Is he ever wrong? Yes, and Skeptoid #101 was even devoted to the errors in his previous 100 podcasts.
For those who don’t enjoy podcasts, Brian has made a 40-minute video explaining the process of skepticism and critical thinking. He has also written a book that includes material from the first 100 episodes of Skeptoid.
Agree with him or not — and I sometimes do not — Brian does encourage you to think for yourself. In my opinion, that encouragement alone is worth 10 minutes a week.