I am rather lucky to have significant free time between work tasks – mostly spent driving in my car to the next ailing piece of technology, and this gives me precious time to immerse myself in the aural ecstasy that are Podcasts.
The comforts of Philosophy and the intricacies of Neuropsychology and the social and intrapersonal dynamics of Psychology keep me company on these journeys. Being a skeptic and rationalist my media playlist is full of quality Skeptical content as well and I thought that I would share with you some of my favourite podcasts.
If I have missed any gems, please feel free to let me know in the comments…
In vague order of preference (I love em’ all):
Hosted by the superbly talented Julia Galef (who I met at TAM 9) and the great Massimo Pigliucci (who I have never met), both of whom I hold in very high regard, Rationally Speaking is the official podcast of New York City Skeptics and never fails to deliver superbly interesting and critically examined content. Loads of Philosophy of Science and skeptical thinking training.
I love the long, casual but by no means pedestrian format of this discussion podcast.
The Partially Examined Life is a philosophy podcast by some guys who were at one point set on doing philosophy for a living but then thought better of it. Each episode, we pick a text and chat about it with some balance between insight and flippancy. You don’t have to know any philosophy, or even to have read the text we’re talking about to (mostly) follow and (hopefully) enjoy the discussion.
So even though they get some of their funding from the Templeton Foundation, this is a superb podcast with two great and knowledgeable hosts taking us through a wide range of Philosophy topics. I love their roving philosophical reporter segments and the 60 second philosopher segments by Merle Kessler are just wonderful.
Short nuggets of philosophy on a super wide range of topics in the form of interviews with philosophy professors / field experts. This is the crack cocaine of podcasts – never start this thing, you cannot stop!
I originally stumbled onto George Hrab’s podcast hoping it would be about Geology – HA HA HA – there is no Geology per say in the podcast, but if you are a skeptic, atheist, rationalist and you are looking for the best entertainment and good honest Humanist content, this is for you. I listened to George’s podcast for 3 years before I met him at TAM 9 – I felt like I knew him, but didn’t want to be THAT guy, so I downplayed my appreciation in person. I really value his contribution to the world of Skepticism and his honest and personal sharing interspersed with great segments like Religious Moron of the Week, Geo’s Mom reads Jay Z lyrics, and his well thought out and heartfelt responses to listener questions. Loads of music, humour, skits, imagination and more – George Hrab is the consumate skeptical entertainer. A great skeptic, and a great musician, you cannot help but love George! Check out the Promo here.
6. Wise Counsel
My degree is in Psychology so naturally I am interested in the subject. I have grand ambitions to be a therapist one day, maybe when I grow up, but until them I feast on the meat that is Wise Counsel. Like his other Psychology podcast Shrink Rap Radio – see below – the content is sometimes a little too woo for my skeptical tastes but there is a lot of great stuff accumulated in the range here and we are all mature enough to not throw the baby out with the bathwater now aren’t we. This podcast features content aimed more at professional Psychologists rather than the general public.
The quintessential skeptics podcast – if you are not a regular listener, you are missing out on a great podcast. Stephen Novella is a shining star in the modern Skeptical movement and this podcast is chock full of great content and skeptical banter.
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is produced by SGU Productions, LLC – dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and the public understanding of science through online and other media. The first episode of the SGU podcast went online on May 4th, 2005. It soon became a popular science/skeptical podcast, and remains one of the most popular science podcasts on iTunes.
Oh Radiolab, Radiolab, how I love thee! Just imagine the best audio production value known to Dinosaurdom, awesome stories about amazing and interesting stuff. Stories told with heart and depth, and just out of this world audio stimulation. Being a rather sentimental fellow at the best of times, I have literally had to pull over and bawl my eyes out to some of these, they are magical. Goat on a Cow is one of my all time favourites.
Each week Inquiring Minds brings you a new, in-depth exploration of the places where science, politics, and society collide.
We’re committed to the idea that making an effort to understand the world around you though science and critical thinking can benefit everyone—and lead to better decisions. We endeavor to find out what’s true, what’s left to discover, and why it all matters with weekly coverage of the latest headlines and probing discussions with leading scientists and thinkers.
Inquiring Minds is hosted by bestselling science author Chris Mooney and neuroscientist and musician Indre Viskontas. It’s produced by Adam Isaak in partnership with Climate Desk, a journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact of a changing climate.
This was my very first podcast download and it remains awesome – good skeptical content, and a great entry point into the skeptical podcast universe.
The official radio show and podcast of Skeptic Magazine and the Skeptics Society for the promotion of critical thinking, science, and the elimination of supernatural thinking.
Run by some of my skeptical mates in Johannesburg, this is a cool podcast with a geeky flavour (largely caused by Owen). In hiatus right now while two of the hosts reproduce. Check it out!
Another cool South African podcast, this time run by my good buddy Deon Barnard.
Dedicated to news and discussion of interest of Atheists, Humanists and Free Thinkers.
13. The Moth Podcast
I devour this podcast all the time. If you are into wonderful story telling, all presented without notes, usually before a live audience, then this is superb. There is a wide ranging universe of interesting content in this podcast, and if you are interested in the lives of humans as constructed in narrative then you will be fascinated to no end. Make sure you catch them on a regular basis, they seem to only have 5 or so downloadeable at a time, and them they get chopped from the feed, so if you don’t get em while they are hot then you might miss a gem of a story. I have not found an archive of previous episodes.
The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.
Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.
Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience.
Moth stories dissolve socio-economic barriers, expose vulnerabilities, and quietly suggest ways to overcome challenges and see with new eyes.
A great Psychology interview podcast – if you are into Psychology and want a semi non technical presentation, in other words for a general audience rather than a professional audience then check this podcast out.
15. Point of Inquiry
Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry’s flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you’re not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics.
Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins.
Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.
16. Astronomy Cast
A cool podcast dedicated to all things Astronomical.