Brian Dunning, host of the Skeptoid podcast, joins us to discuss critical thinking and its application in everything from alien abductions to medicine in the movies, plus Dave and John apply a little critical thinking of their own.

The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy is hosted by John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley.

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Read on for this episode's fabulous SHOW NOTES! (Note: Show note time signatures may me slightly off, as the show was re-edited prior to this rebroadcast-it's the director's cut! This episode originally aired on February 1, 2010, on


0:00 Introduction

0:38 Dave and John introduce the show

Interview: Brian Dunning of Skeptoid
01:13 About Brian Dunning and the Skeptoid podcast

02:20 Interview begins

02:35 About Brian—the journey from comp-sci to podcasting

04:50 Becoming a skeptic, and being a skeptic alone

07:31 Researching the unknown

09:10 2012! We're all going to die! Or not.

11:21 Crystal skulls

12:49 The Amityville Horror

15:25 On finding the seed of truth

16:25 The Reptoids that rule you

20:04 The dire threat your iPod poses to an aircraft

20:43 The Pulp Fiction scene that haunts us all

21:30 Nostradamus deserves your respect, just not for the reasons you may think

23:58 Brian lets us in on The Secret

25:18 On teaching critical thinking

26:55 Brian's educational video, Here Be Dragons

27:43 The current state of Brian's upcoming television series The Skeptologists

30:09 How to support The Skeptologists

31:39 End of interview

Dave and John talk about credulity, Big Foot, and really stupid aliens

31:47 Dave talks about being naturally credulous and the value of skeptical podcasts

33:41 Baby's First Skeptical Experience: the pros and cons of Santa Claus

36:35 Dave's experience of being 'taught' about the Loch Ness Monster, and John talks about the sense of wonder that encourages credulity

39:57 Alien abduction and the X-Files

42:53 Why Scooby Doo may be the best example of skepticism in fiction

44:43 The growing popularity of science-based shows like Mythbusters

45:35 Collanders as a defense against... well, anything

47:37 Christopher Buckley's Little Green Men

48:47 The great schism in the world of Bigfootology

51:13 More on the Amityville house

52:28 The proud tradition of really stupid aliens and other myths in media

58:00 as a skeptical resource, and the impact of the internet on critical thinking

01:04:00 Show wrap-up

Thanks for listening!

John Joseph Adams is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the bestselling editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, andWastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. His most recent books are The Living Dead 2 and The Way of the Wizard, and he is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds and The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. Barnes & named him "the reigning king of the anthology world," and his books have been named to numerous best of the year lists. In addition to his anthology work, he worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,and is currently the editor of Lightspeed Magazine and Fantasy Magazine.

David Barr Kirtley has published fiction in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, Lightspeed,Intergalactic Medicine Show, On Spec, and Cicada, and in anthologies such as New Voices in Science Fiction,Fantasy: The Best of the Year, and The Dragon Done It. Recently he's contributed stories to several of John's anthologies, including The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, and The Way of the Wizard. He's attended numerous writing workshops, including Clarion, Odyssey, Viable Paradise, James Gunn's Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and Orson Scott Card's Writers Bootcamp, and he holds an MFA in screenwriting and fiction from the University of Southern California. He also teaches regularly at Alpha, a Pittsburgh-area science fiction workshop for young writers. He lives in New York.

Snownotes compiled by former podtern Christie Yant

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