Friday, October 30, 2009

. . . 48, 49, 50

The Skeptical Review at 50

It is hard to believe that I began typing the Skeptical Review on that old portable Remington typewriter in October, 1959, over a decade before I was born.  No. Wait.  That's not correct.  It is only my fiftieth post not my fifty years of posts.  Well.  This is not such a big deal after all.  Let me start again.

It is hard to believe that it has been fifty posts since I began this blog way back in July on my Mac using that ancient Leopard instead of Snow Leopard OS.  How did I survive?  Anyway, it has been interesting writing this blog, and I appreciate all the feed back I have received to date.

While I wish I had some deep sweeping and insightful thoughts, I only have a few mundane mental mutterings.  For one, I have a far greater appreciation for those who blog on a daily basis.  For another, while I stand by everything I have authored to this point, I must admit I am not thrilled by my occasional poor use of language.  I shall endeavor to write to a higher standard.  (I went through a period of comparing everyone and everything to turning coal into diamonds in one's rectum.  I could have done better.)

I have only made a few changes since July.  I added a picture/logo, and I added two podcasts to my roster.  I am considering dropping the religion-focused podcasts (Irreligiosophy and Reasonable Doubts) to focus more on the general skeptical podcasts.  I still enjoy both podcasts immensely, but I find I am running out of time to listen to all the shows on my list.  I may add one more general skeptical podcast to the list as a bonus, but all of these ideas are far from certain.  I am also pondering adding the occasional guest author.  I do not consider my thoughts or opinions on any topics as the end all be all.  Please feel free to comment or email with your thoughts and suggestions in this regard.

The skeptical movement is at an interesting crossroads.  Skepticism, if not highly unified by emerging technologies, is at least made more aware of related activists and organizations.  The recent Richard Dawkins Award to Bill Maher flap has shown that most who fall into the rationalist/skeptic category may not always have the same immediate goals as some appear to hold the diminution of religion as a priority, while others hold the promotion of science as their first priority.  While both view are not mutually exclusive, they are not always mutually supporting.

A specialization trend appears to be occurring in the skeptical podcast genre.  The Skeptics Guide to the Universe and The Skeptic Zone are maintaining a variety show approach by tackling various issues with some news items, some interviews, and some general group discussions sloshing around in their programs.  Skepticality has trended away from this open format into a bi-weekly interview show with Swoopy talking with a notable skeptic or author.  There are religion focused shows Irreligiosophy and Reasonable Doubts.  The Conspiracy Skeptic is obviously focused on conspiracy theories.  There is the newly launched Monster Talk which is going to focus on cryptozoology.  The Amateur Scientist podcast  focuses on sex obsessed skeptical commentary and humor, although host Brian Thompson does a number of excellent interview shows too.  I think the above shows a trend that the skeptical programing on the web is beginning to mature.  Exactly where this is headed is anyone's guess, I do think the future to the podcast genre will continue to be more niche oriented.

Finally, I am truly honored that you have taken anytime to read my sometimes incoherent and all too often poorly constructed blatherings.  If I have only once or twice made the reader stop and rethink a topic or ponder an issue from a different angle, I consider it an accomplishment.  Hope you see fit to read the next fifty posts.

I also note in the November/December issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, D.J. Grothe saw fit to mention The Conspiracy Skeptic, (old chestnut) Logically Critical, Quackcast, The Skeptic Zone, Skepticality, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, and Skeptoid as recommended podcasts.  It appears that Mr. Grothe and I have a similar stable of shows on our iPods.

2 comments:

  1. Hello! You have surprised the Skeptic Zone team by mentioning that we're in the next Skeptical Inquirer as a 'recommended show'! In Australia, we're still waiting for our copy of the mag (impatiently, by now, after hearing we're mentioned!). :)

    Thanks again for the feedback - do you have any additional advice for our show? I think the 'regular' segments - the Think Tank, the Grain of Salt and occasional interviews - have become our 'standard', and I'm making a big effort with my 'Token Skeptic' segments to start advertising those groups out there with projects and events. I've found that doing that has been a wonderful way to connect with new listeners and it has made a difference to our numbers.

    Being the sort of 'team' that is able to travel to events and do both broadcasts and live shows has been a bit of a 'bonus' with us too. We have, over time, become REALLY keen on improving the sound quality and I've even refused to use some footage taken for my interviews because it's 'not up to par'. Thanks again for keeping an ear on our show and hope to see more in the future! :)

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  2. I am glad I could bare tidings of good news. I believe I was also the first to inform Karl Mamer, The Conspiracy Skeptic, that he made "The Skeptics Guide to Podcasts" list. I would have assumed the editor would have emailed or phoned those on the list ahead of time. Learn something new everyday.

    I have a few ideas bubbling on tweaks that could be made to The Skeptic Zone as I do on almost all the shows I listen to on a regular basis. I think I need to have a few more shows under my belt before I feel comfortable to comment. (My notions border on the minor.)

    Thanks for reading.

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