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Token Skeptic Podcast

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Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a fortnightly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop.

Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a fortnightly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop.
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Why do we believe weird things? What does feminine intuition really mean? How do you become an effective activist for science and reason? Are you ready for a fortnightly show that poses these questions and more? Tune into the Token Skeptic for a slightly more skeptical look at stories in the news, urban legends, good science, pseudoscience, and what makes popular culture pop.




Token Skeptic 235 - On Zealot: A Book About Cults

Why would anyone join a cult? Maybe they're unhappy with their current religion, or they want to change the world, or they're disappointed with their lives and want to find something bigger or holier that makes sense of this confusing, chaotic and dangerous world. Or maybe they just want to give themselves the best possible chance of having sex with aliens? Either way, this is the topic of a fascinating new book by author Jo Thornley, who also has a popular podcast called Zealot (featuring...


Token Skeptic 234 - On Animals, Language, Koko and Wish Fulfilment

The idea that animals have the potential to talk is an alluring one; from the mathematical stunts of Clever Hans, to research on parrots, dolphins and chimps - just look at viral BBC footage of a gopher yelling "Alan". It's interesting, exciting and even cute - but is it really true that animals have language? After the recent passing of Koko the Gorilla, I spoke to Daniel Midgley about the hopes we have about being the next Dr Dolittle, and just how realistic those hopes are. Daniel is a...


Token Skeptic 233 - On Complementary Medicine Laws In Australia and Choice Campaign

Hundreds of bizarre health claims such as "tonifies kidney essence" and "opens body orifices" could appear on complementary medicine labels under new laws being pushed by the Australian federal government. Consumer advocacy group Choice is urging the Australian public to tell Senators to knock back these laws so that Australians looking for vitamins and supplements can separate fact from fiction. Their campaign points out that "Proposed laws could see dangerous and potentially misleading...


Token Skeptic 232 - On Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder

Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder is a science book with a difference, written by Alom Shaha, illustrated by Emily Robertson and published by Scribble Kids Books. Alom was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London; as a parent, teacher, science writer, and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life trying to share his passion for science and education with the public. Alom has produced, directed, and appeared in a number of television programmes for broadcasters such as the BBC, and...


Token Skeptic 231 - On The Woman Who Fooled The World

Belle Gibson convinced the world she had healed herself from terminal brain cancer with a healthy diet. She built a global business based upon her claims. There was just one problem: she'd never had cancer. In 2015, journalists uncovered the truth: this hero of the wellness world, with over 200,000 followers, international book deals, and a best-selling smartphone app, was a fraud Written by the same multi-award-winning journalists who uncovered the details of Gibson’s lies, The Woman Who...


Token Skeptic 230 - How To Be Reasonable

How To Be Reasonable (By Someone Who Tried Everything Else) is a primer on critical thinking and an introduction to scientific skepticism that will empower you to see the world a little bit more clearly. The world is a strange, scary and beautiful place. and author and artist Rebecca Fox suggests that being reasonable helps you to wonder at the strange, avoid the scary and celebrate the beauty. I interviewed Rebecca about How To Be Reasonable – you can find the book on Amazon and check out...


Token Skeptic 229 - Internet Tests, Manus Island And Podcast Trends

Free WIFI - two words that many people love to hear. But how many people read the terms and conditions before they connect to it? Accessing wireless points that you don’t know where it originates from can be risky and harmful to your confidential information. Edith Cowan University researchers did some testing by setting up some rather interesting WIFI networks around Perth… and Dr Krishnun Sansurooah joined me to tell us how it went. *********** About a month ago, the Manus Island Regional...


Token Skeptic 228 - Australia Enters The Space Race (?) - Interview With Paul Willis

The recent news that Australia is getting its own Space Agency is one sure to affect the entire nation - but should we be so eager so fast? The Federal Government has announced its plans to cash in on a $420 billion aeronautical industry and create thousands of new jobs, which coincided with the 69th International Astronautical Congress which is being held in Adelaide this week. Science Communicator Dr. Paul Willis of Media Engagement Service spoke to me about the developments on The Mag for...


Token Skeptic 227 - On Wellmania: Misadventures in the Search for Wellness by Brigid Delaney

Cold-pressed juices, quitting sugar, Paleo, hot yoga, mindfulness … if you embrace these things you will be happy, you will be well – just ask Instagram. Wellness has become a global mega-industry. But does any of this stuff actually work? Feeling exhausted, anxious and out of shape, journalist Brigid Delaney decides to find out – using herself as the guinea pig. Starting with a brutal 101-day fast, Brigid tests things that are meant to make us clean, lean and serene. Travelling the world,...


Token Skeptic 226 - On My Dad Wrote a Porno - Interview With Jamie Morton

It started around a kitchen table, three friends reading out the erotic work of a retired dad – and now it’s a podcasting sensation. Jamie Morton of "My Dad Wrote A Porno" podcast never expected that “Belinda Blinked” (written by his dad, known only as "Rocky Flintstone") - would eventually lead to a live touring show, that is touring Australia (and heads to Perth’s Astor Theatre on the 24th August). With over 50 million downloads, there’s bound to be a few fans of the pots and pans industry...


Token Skeptic 225 - March For Science - Perth WA

The March For Science is an international phenomenon - a stand for solidarity, for education, for inclusivity and for diversity in the field and for the importance of science to be understood and promoted by not just scientists, but policy makers and the public. Here are some vox pops and speeches from the rally that was held at the Perth March for Science on the 22nd April, 2017, at Forrest Chase, Perth, Western Australia. Many thanks to all the organisers and the participants. MC for the...


Token Skeptic Special Episode – The Perth Writers Festival Interviews

The Perth Writers Festival comes to town and it was a great chance to interview a range of talented authors taking part in the festivities. My interviews are with: Ben Rawlence - his book City of Thorns is about Northern Kenya - the home of the world’s largest refugee camp, with half a million people. Opening Night speaker at the Perth International Arts Festival. Candice Fox - her first novel, Hades, won the Ned Kelly Award for best debut in 2014 from the Australian Crime Writers...


Token Skeptic 224 - On How Safe are Herbal Medicines - Interview With Dr Garth Maker

How safe are herbal medicines? In 2011, just over a billion dollars was spent on alternative medicines in Australia, many of which come with unproven efficacy claims. After reports on mainstream media in Australia about the efficacy of alternative medicine, cancer 'cures' and the like, there's a call for increased scrutiny about what's being offered to the public in the name of 'health supplements'. Murdoch University Biochemistry Lecturer Dr Garth Maker is seeking to shed some light on the...


Token Skeptic 223 - Override: My Quest to go Beyond Brain Training and Take Control of my Mind

Can you really rewire an adult brain? In theory the answer is 'yes', but there's a problem: no one seems to know exactly how to do it! In her new book "Override: My Quest to go Beyond Brain Training and Take Control of my Mind", science journalist Caroline Williams went off on a world-wide mission to find the answer. Visiting top neuroscientists in their labs, she volunteers herself as a guinea pig in studies, challenging researchers to make real changes to her — functioning, but imperfect —...


Token Skeptic 222 – On Homeopathy: The Undiluted Facts

Merry Christmas! One of the great things about the holiday break is the opportunity to get some reading done – and Edzard Ernst has a new book out this year. This book traces the genesis, principles and practice of homeopathy, and discusses the reasons for its enduring popularity. Ironically, while modern medicine has changed beyond recognition, homeopathy, with its roots in alchemy and metaphysics, continues to be practiced precisely as it was in Hahnemann’s day. Homeopathy – The Undiluted...


Token Skeptic Special Episode - DAAS My Part In Their Downfall - On The Road With The Doug Anthony Allstars

I have a new memoir, where part-way it says the following: "Here's what I hate about memoirs, the penchant on the author's part to dwell on the minutia of every aspect of their being." This isn't that kind of memoir - it's more like an account of being a part of numerous comedy tours run by a trio of Australian Hunter S. Thompsons, where Ralph Steadman has finally got a chance to get a word in edgewise. It's by Paul Livingston, a book called D.A.A.S: Their Part In My Downfall - On The Road...


Token Skeptic Special Episode - Cosmic Shambles Live

This is going to be one interesting tour... Essentially, the fact that every show is different (apart from host and the following guests you can see pictured above) means that you're not entirely sure what you're going to get. Maybe Sydney will have flying. Melbourne could involve cake-throwing. I'm seriously planning for Perth to involve a fiesta on the high street. They had The Cure turn up at one of their London gigs, so you never know what local talent they may be able to find. At any...


Token Skeptic 221 - On No Alternative To Cancer Interview with Dr Paul Willis

Every year, thousands of Australians are suffering and dying prematurely because of alternative cancer treatments, according to a special investigation by Dr Paul Willis, director of The Royal Institution of Australia. The video (part of a series) is called No Alternative To Cancer, on the Australia Science TV site. The report details the distressingly high number of cancer sufferers who choose to forego conventional treatment altogether in search of an alternative cure. Kylie Sturgess spoke...


InternationalPodcastDay Token Skeptic Special Episode - 2016

Today is a day to celebrate the podcast – for it is International Podcast Day! As a keen podcaster myself, I have put together a montage of my more recent interviews with podcasters. Big thanks to the hosts of #OzPod2016 for the great conference in Sydney on the 30th September. Featured Interviews: Tripod – Since their earliest shows Tripod have made a consistent habit of juggling comedy, music and narrative in endless exhilarating combinations, consistently evading neat definitions whilst...


Token Skeptic 220 - On Fair Game: The Untold Story of Scientology In Australia

As astonishing as it is compelling - Steve Cannane's extraordinary insight into Scientology in Australia is investigative journalism at its very best. From Rugby League players trying to improve their game, to Hollywood superstars and the depressed sons of media moguls, Scientology has recruited its share of famous Australians. Less known is that Australia was the first place to ban Scientology, or that Scientology spies helped expose the Chelmsford Deep Sleep Scandal. Numerous Australians...