10 To Start: Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe
Many skeptical podcasts have been around for several years and feature hundreds of episodes. We understand that it can be hard jumping into a show with such a history, so we have created 10 To Start, a running series in which we pick 10 past episodes we feel would give the newcomer a good footing and understanding of the show.
Since it’s launch on May 4, 2005 the Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe has not only been one of the most popular skeptical podcasts but also one of the most popular general science podcasts on iTunes. The show is very accessible to the skeptical newcomer, while still teaching new ideas and giving fresh insight on the latest news for even the most expert of skeptics.
Explained later on one of the anniversary shows, the original hosts (The three Novellas, Perry DeAngelis, and Evan Bernstein) read an intro to podcasting book that said to record your first four shows and throw out the first three. And while we will never hear those early trial runs the best place to start is always at the beginning.
Episodes #33 & #36
Rebecca Watson first appeared on SGU being interviewed about her blog, Skepchick. Shortly thereafter she became a regular “skeptical rogue” (what Steven Novella calls his co-hosts) on the show. Rebecca brought a younger / hipper as well as a female viewpoint to the show that definitely added to the shows appeal.
Episodes #109 & 110
On August 19, 2007, co-host Perry DeAngelis died after a long battle with a number of chronic diseases. These episodes include clips from past episodes picked by his co-hosts and the listeners. They highlighted Perry’s life as an amazing person with great insight and humor.
Who doesn’t love the Mythbusters? Listening to Adam Savage being interviewed on this episode you figure out that the stuff that makes the Mythbusters so great is the critical thinking and exploration of the scientific model… and that there is a name for it: Skepticism. Probably one of the most accessible episodes for the newly skeptic.
This episode opens with a great explanation of the research fraud perpetrated by Andrew Wakefield, a bit on investigating the infamous Amish fireplace, and moves into an interview with Jon Ronson right as the movie based on his book, “The Men Who Stare At Goats” was in production (the book is much better than the movie).
The show opens with a little foreshadowing as the group discusses their disgust at Dr. Oz. The interview subject was with Simon Singh, who had just been sued by The British Chiropractic Association for libel.
Simon Singh appeared once again, fresh off his victory over the libel lawsuit by The British Chiropractic Association for libel. Here he was able to discuss more about what was going on during the trial, as well as talk about the immense support he received from the skeptical community.
This episode was taped shortly after Dr. Novella appeared on the Dr. Oz show. Here he gives his response, which he was not allowed to say on the show, and offered an open invitation to Dr. Oz to appear on the Skeptic’s Guide, an offer that has not yet been responded to.
After listening to these ten episodes we feel you can follow along weekly with the Skeptics’ Guide without feeling like you don’t know who everyone is or what they are talking about. They also highlight some pivotal moments in recent skeptical history.
What episodes did we overlook or are your favorites?