Despite all the nasty blogs and even worse twitter battles, there remain shining examples of good skepticism and reasoned discussion. I’ve avoided getting involved in the recent disturbances in the skeptical force for a couple reasons. The first, is that I think most of what’s gone on the last month has been so unproductive and so damaging. Not damaging to the movement of skepticism, for it’s bigger than a few nasty blog writers. I mean it’s damaging to yourself. All that negativity and bile is not good for you. The saying ”You don’t change the devil, the devil changes you” is probably apropos.
The second reason is because while I rarely care about what I say publicly about things like supporting drug legalization, supporting total unencumbered abortion rights, total support of gay marriage, and being an public atheist, what I don’t want associated with my name is the kind of accusations that have been thrown own too loosely by too many bloggers. I do have a professional side of me where I deal with issues of sexism and bias as best I can within my power, and the last thing I need is someone making public accusations about me because I follow someone on twitter or because I dislike nasty tone. So, unfortunately, I remain more quiet than I normally would.
So that brings us to the blogs and podcasts that I want to give shoutouts to.
The first blog is ICBS Everywhere written by Barbara Drescher. Barbara writes somewhat infrequently, but when she does, her writing is a great example of skepticism done right. Her use of language, rhetoric, and argument far surpasses my own abilities to write so every post is like a lecture in itself, in a good way. Her dedication to the core principles of skepticism has taught me much about how to improve my own ideas, such as the intersection of skepticism and veganism.
The second blog is Doubtful News run by Sharon Hill, a daily news site that brings you interesting stories on the paranomal, strange and unusual from the skeptical point of view. The blog is never boring, always updated, and one of the most impressive collections of news stories out there. Sharon’s writing is not cynical in the least, and she is fair to everyone involved. It’s probably the second thing I read every morning after I check my email.
Ben Radford writes a lot and is also on one of my favorite podcasts, Monster Talk. Ben writes so many articles, covers so many topics that it is inevitable that he writes stuff that I really like, and stuff that I really have a problem with, sometimes based on my own biases. There is not a thing wrong with this, and in fact, it shows that Ben is not afraid to go after everyone’s sacred cow. He has also shown the ability to admit when he was wrong, but above all, Ben keeps everything professional and is open to reasoned conflict based on facts and logic.
Brian Dunning is the creator of Skeptoid, a weekly podcast that is a staple of my podcast listening habits. Much like Ben, Brian hits so many topics that he often touches on subjects that I have a problem accepting I’m wrong on. Skeptoid is unafraid to go after sacred cows and really push the boundaries past the common consensus. Not every episode is one hundred percent correct, and Brian has shown a willingness to admit he gets it wrong sometimes. Skeptoid has something for everyone to love and hate.
For the record, this post is not a comprehensive list, it’s just the starting point, and I hope to highlight a few more blogs, podcasts and people in the days leading up to TAM.