Thursday, November 8, 2012

Three excellent recent podcasts


I have gone through a recent period of skeptical podcast listening where none of the episodes truly grabbed me.  They were not particularly bad, but just sort of there.  I feared a bit that perhaps I was losing my mojo jo jo jo.  Luckily, the below three podcast episodes have been released during the last few days, and each was an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience.  Shew-w-w-w  And there are others in my queue that still need to be heard, so hopefully my skeptical listening batteries have been recharged.  



The Conspiracy Skeptic


Karl has released a new episode of the Conspiracy Skeptic Podcast, and this time he interviews Derek, a 42-year-old attorney from Western Canada.  The topic was the freeman/sovereign citizen movement in Canada and also the sister movement in the United States.  I expected the topic to be citizen militia movements that were all the rage in the 1990’s and early 00’s.  However, while cut from the same cloth, the freeman/sovereign citizen movement has an aspect of deep, deep seated conspiracy with a heavy dose of legal illiteracy, con-man/guru, and just plain wackiness.  Derek in his field of law has occasional encounters with freeman, and how their legal documents and arguments are so far afield from real law that it is difficult to deal with in a normal manner.  Derek does a good job in explaining the freeman legal and world view as best as such things can be explained. Derek also discusses the difference between the Canadian and American branches, and the differences between freeman and sovereign citizens.

Karl and Derek had a wonderful chemistry that I suspect is in part a bond that only Canadians can share.  The episode runs a little over an hour, and it was a entertaining and informative episode.  I am a fan of CS in general, but this episode was particularly well done. 

Skeptoid 


Another excellent podcast episode was Skeptoid Episode 335 on Cleansing Diets.  First, I was a bit surprised that Dunning had not already covered this topic.  I suppose there is a lot of dubious material out there in the world to cover, so better now than never.  He goes down seven claims that are offered as reasons for going through a cleansing diet and the alleged health claims attached to them.  He quickly and efficiently points out the fallacy of each.  As always, the episode is not dispositive of the topic, but is an excellent ten minute overview on why such diets are nonsense and often expensive nonsense.  As always, the production value is good and Dunning has a knack for picking the perfect background music to set the proper tone.  


The Token Skeptic


Crazy madman bridge
builder of people.  Look him being
insane. -goodness me.*
Finally, the Token Skeptic Episode One Hundred And Forty Three featured an interview with Chris Stedman on his impending new book: Faitheist On How an Atheist Found Common Ground With the Religious.  I have been trying to limit the amount of atheist material on my blog for the last few months.  I consider myself a skeptic.  Religion and faith is not for me.  I am not a rah-rah atheist.  That is fine for many, but not me.  However, it's my blog and I get to bend my own newish rules on it.  Stedman has seen and endured his share of crossfire on his desire to work with people of faith, which has earned him the term as a "faitheist."  Stedman showed himself to be a mild mannered and thoughtful person during the interview.  His book is his story of how he has bridged often successfully those of faith and those without faith to cut down on the stereotypes each side brings with them.  He also shared some of his personal experiences of transitioning from being religious to a non-believer, and some of his experience as being gay and religious to being gay and non-religious.  The interview is about an hour, and well worth the listen.  It has raised my interest to buy and give his book a read.  



*a joke

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