Podcast

This is the podcast version of the Skeptics in the Pub Online live-streamed talks. We take the audio and give it to you in a nice easy podcast feed for you to listen at your pleasure. All of the talks are still available on our YouTube channel if you want to see any visuals/slides/etc. We release the live shows as we do them on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month and on weeks when there isn't a live show, we release an episode from the archive.

Rethinking sex, brain and gender: Beyond the binary – Dr Daphna Joel

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Rethinking sex, brain and gender: Beyond the binary - Dr Daphna Joel
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Are the brains of women and men the same or different? Or maybe it’s the wrong question? Does the binary division extend beyond the genitalia into the human brain and mind? And why do we care? I devoted the past decade to answering these questions. With my lab members, we analyzed the structure of over 20,000 human brains, and the psychological characteristics of over 10,000 people. In this talk I’ll present the results of these analyzes and my conclusion – sex-related variables (e.g., hormones) affect brain structure and function, but these effects do not add-up consistently in individuals to create ‘male’ and ‘female’ brains or ‘natures’. Instead, each brain is comprised of a unique mosaic of both female-typical and male-typical features. Similarly, each individual possesses a unique mix of both feminine and masculine psychological traits. The brain and gender mosaic defies the mainstream binary understanding of gender and has practical implications for the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. I invite you to a fascinating look at the science of gender, sex and the brain, and how freeing ourselves from the gender binary can help us all reach our full human potential.

Daphna Joel is a professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, at the School of Psychological Sciences and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel-Aviv University. She studies questions related to brain, sex and gender. In her research, Joel uses various analytical methods to analyze diverse datasets, from large collections of brain scans to information obtained with self-report questionnaires. In a series of papers, she has described and tested the ‘mosaic’ hypothesis. Other studies focused on the perception of gender identity and its relation to sexuality. Ongoing studies attempt to characterize the relations between sex and brain structure and function. She is also the author of Gender Mosaic: Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain (2019, Little Brown, NY; Octopus, London).

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: 100 Seconds To Midnight: Skepticism and Existential Threats in the Age of Fake News – Andrew Torrez

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: 100 Seconds To Midnight: Skepticism and Existential Threats in the Age of Fake News – Andrew Torrez
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In an age where fake news and viral videos have gone international, attorney Andrew Torrez helps break down where and why the law still matters. You’ll learn how sharpening the tools in your skeptical toolbox is more important than ever to help us navigate potentially existential threats to human life and flourishing.

P. Andrew Torrez has been practicing law in Maryland and Washington, D.C. since 1997, when he graduated from Harvard Law School with honors. After litigating some of the largest commercial matters in the United States, Mr. Torrez started his own firm in 2015 to serve entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses. In 2016, he co-founded the popular podcast “Opening Arguments,” which breaks down and explains prominent legal stories in the news.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

Growing Up Human: The Evolution of Childhood – Brenna Hassett

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Growing Up Human: The Evolution of Childhood – Brenna Hassett
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Brenna Hassett explores how evolutionary history has shaped a weird and wonderful phenomenon that everyone on the planet experiences – childhood.

Paleoanthropological science has revealed that we have one particular thing that sets us apart as a species: our uniquely long childhoods. This book looks at how we have diverged from our primate roots to stay ‘forever young’ – or at least what seems like forever – and how the evolution of childhood is a critical part of the human story.

Brenna Hassett PhD is a biological anthropologist and archaeologist whose career, first at the Natural History Museum London and now at University College London, has taken her around the globe, researching the past using the clues left behind in human remains. Her research focuses on the evidence of health and growth locked into teeth, and she uses dental anthropological techniques to investigate how children grew (or didn’t) across the world and across time.

Her first book with Bloomsbury – Built on Bones: 15,000 Years of Urban Life and Death – was well received by critics at the LA Times, the Guardian, and The Times, which named it one of the top 10 science books of 2018.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: How to argue with a racist – Dr Adam Rutherford

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: How to argue with a racist – Dr Adam Rutherford
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Science writer and broadcaster Dr Adam Rutherford will talk about his new book, How to argue with a racist: History, Science, Race and Reality, a vital manifesto for a twenty-first century understanding of human evolution and variation, and a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify bigotry.

In his characteristically robust style, Adam will discuss how the appeal to science to strengthen racist ideologies is on the rise – and increasingly part of the public discourse on politics, migration, education, sport and intelligence for scientists and non-scientists alike. Although this is potentially treacherous terrain, he will argue that, if understood correctly, science and history can be powerful allies against racism, granting the clearest view of how people actually are, rather than how we judge them to be.

Dr Adam Rutherford studied genetics at University College London. During his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness.

He has written and presented many award-winning series and programmes for the BBC, including the flagship weekly BBC Radio 4 programme Inside Science and The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry with Dr Hannah Fry.

He is the author of Creation, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Prize, A Brief History Of Everyone Who Ever Lived, The Book Of Humans and, now, How To Argue With A Racist.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

Bottles, boobs & bunkum: busting common infant feeding myths – Dr Erin Williams

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Bottles, boobs & bunkum: busting common infant feeding myths – Dr Erin Williams
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Will breastfeeding save the planet? Are parents being hoodwinked by Big Formula? Join us on an infant feeding journey to determine fact from fiction around feeding our wee ones.

Dr Erin Williams is a Reproductive Biologist at the University of Edinburgh and co-Founder of independent infant feeding charity, Feed. She started life as that annoying child who constantly asked her Mammy ‘but how?’ and, thus far, hasn’t yet stopped.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: Mormonism and Eugenics: An Experiment in Racial and Religious Purity – Bryce Blankenagel

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: Mormonism and Eugenics: An Experiment in Racial and Religious Purity – Bryce Blankenagel
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) was founded in 1830 by New Englander Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon, the foundational scripture authored by Smith, claims to be a history of Christian Israelites who settled the American continents from 2500 BCE – 420 CE. Within a decade of creation, Mormonism established extensive missionary efforts in Europe, eventually forming the Perpetual Immigration Fund, a program for funnelling European converts to the faith to America en masse. After Smith’s assassination, one successor named Brigham Young organized a mass exodus to Mexico where the Mormons settled, running from United States law enforcement. This area became the “State of Deseret” until the Compromise of 1850 created Utah Territory. This Mormon settlement grew as tens of thousands of European converts immigrated into the territory over decades and Native American tribes were forced onto reservations and often outright murdered. As a result of these demographic trends, today’s Utah population is ~89% white compared with the national average of ~60% white and is one of the most religiously homogenous states in the nation. Utah Mormonism is the result of a large-scale eugenics experiment within recent history.

Bryce Blankenagel hosts Naked Mormonism and Glass Box podcasts as a full-time Mormon history researcher. He has presented and published on “Life of Frederick G. Williams,” “Mormon Satan, Brother of Jesus,” “By His Own Hand, the Best-Worst Mormon Scripture,” “Sidney Rigdon, Forgotten Hero of Mormonism,” and “Revelation Through Hallucination: A Treatise on the Smith-Entheogen Theory,” and produced the “Proper Channels” documentary. He has been an invited guest speaker on dozens of podcasts totalling hundreds of thousands of listeners telling the outside world how interesting Mormon history is. He has attended or presented at Sunstone, ReasonCon, John Whitmer Historical Association, and QED as an independent researcher and is a current member of the John Whitmer Historical Association article awards committee.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: What the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Can Teach Skeptics About White Supremacy – Kavin Senapathy

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: What the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Can Teach Skeptics About White Supremacy – Kavin Senapathy
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Perhaps now more than ever, the skeptics’ movement can’t afford to ignore racism and race pseudoscience. Kavin Senapathy learned this firsthand during her stint with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and its parent organization the Center for Inquiry (CFI) speaking at its conferences, writing a column, and hosting the Point of Inquiry podcast. As one of the most visible skeptical organizations in the world, CSI owes a heightened duty to uphold skeptical ideals. Kavin will cover race, and, more broadly, diversity, equity, and inclusion as it pertains to the skeptics’ community, with examples from her time working with CFI. Grab your beverage of choice and join Kavin as she takes you through crucial lessons for all skeptics and skeptical organizations— yes, even you, the one who doesn’t get involved in politics.

Kavin Senapathy is a writer, journalist, and speaker covering science, health, food, and parenting at outlets like SELF Magazine, Slate, The Daily Beast, Forbes, SciShow, Undark Magazine, and more. She’s also co-founder and contributing editor at SciMoms.com. She’s based in the midwestern United States (ope!) where she is currently quarantine co-parenting a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, a puggle, and an Italian Greyhuahua. Find Kavin on Twitter @ksenapathy. Read Kavin’s article on this topic here: https://undark.org/2020/02/20/center-for-inquiry-race-pseudoscience/

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

The Sunny Sides and Dark Sides of Being a Skeptic – Claire Klingenberg

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
The Sunny Sides and Dark Sides of Being a Skeptic - Claire Klingenberg
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The talk will be split into two parts

Part 1
Using Paranormal Phenomena to Explain the Workings of ScienceHoroscopes, ghosts, dowsing, psychics, tarot readers, the research of paranormal ability is so last century… for skeptics.


To the people to whom we try to communicate science, these topics have a kernel of truth. No one wakes up one day believing the Earth is flat or that BigPharma is putting chips in vaccines. The building of irrational beliefs and anti-science beliefs is a process.


We, as skeptics, have to deal with many more pressing issues, such as climate change, the need for nuclear power, and the safety of new vaccines. Can you explain that anthropomorphic climate change is happening, and we know it based on the scientific consensus when the person you speak to doesn’t understand the concept? Can you explain how we know that new vaccines are effective and safe to someone who’s never heard of double-blinded studies?


That’s where the skeptic-starter-kit topics come into play. They are a great way of grabbing attention and creating rapport with the person with whom you are speaking. The mistakes made while researching these paranormal topics are lovely teaching tools to explain crucial ways how and why science works and is done these days.

Part 2
TW: Due to recent events, Claire will also be speaking about the various types of hate we, as skeptics, face, including threats of bodily harm and death threats.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

RETRO: How science denialism is fuelling the covid-19 crisis in Brazil – Dr -Natália Pasternak

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
RETRO: How science denialism is fuelling the covid-19 crisis in Brazil – Dr -Natália Pasternak
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Brazil has surpassed the UK in the number of confirmed cases and deaths of Covid19. Still, the federal government refuses to acknowledge reality and relies on magical thinking and denialism, promoting miracle cures, withholding information, spreading lies and inciting riots.

Join Natalia Pasternak for a look at the Brazilian response to the pandemic, and what happens when a government embraces pseudoscience in the face of an international health crisis.

Natalia Pasternak is a biologist, with a PhD and post-doctorate in Microbiology, in the field of Molecular Genetics of Bacteria at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the former director in Brazil of the international festival of scientific communication “Pint of Science”, invited columnist for the Brazilian national newspaper “O Globo”, Brazilian “Health” magazine, and for the UK Skeptic magazine. She is currently a research fellow at the University of São Paulo, publisher of Question of Science magazine and president of Question of Science Institute, the first Brazilian Institute for the promotion of skepticism and rational thinking.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.

Failure & Redemption: How Science Saves Science – Dr Megan Crawford

Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Skeptics in the Pub Online Podcast
Failure & Redemption: How Science Saves Science – Dr Megan Crawford
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In the pursuit of knowledge, efforts in science have brought about some of the most disastrous, shocking, and even hilarious results. But how do we know!? Because… SCIENCE!
Megan Crawford, PhD, will take on the role as Resident Scientist Shocker and present how it’s possible that the very system responsible for humanity’s biggest failures, shockingest shockers, and cheekiest surprises, is oddly still the best system for exposing these very conundrums.

Megan Crawford is a Lecturer in Data Science and Director of the Futures & Analytics Research (FAR) Hub at Edinburgh Napier University. She earned her PhD at Strathclyde University, a MSc in Behavioural and Economic Sciences from Warwick University, and BAs in Cognitive Psychology and Philosophy from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The music used in this episode is by Thula Borah and is used with permission.