UPDATE in October 2013: Work is underway to update this census, please go to this newer post.
Last May I attempted to measure the amount of skeptic podcasting being produced. We learned a number of interesting things in that post, one of which was that there are over two hours of new skeptic podcast material being produced every day.
It is almost a year later, and we are coming up on the end of the seventh year of skeptical podcasting. It seems appropriate to revisit the census and see where the current numbers are. Unfortunately, there’s no one place to go to find all the skeptical podcasts. Last year I had to create my list by hand, and I definitely missed several.
This year I have that list to start with, plus some known announcements of new podcasts. But I’m sure I must have missed a few. Check out the list in the rest of this post and let me know which ones I’m missing.
Hey, you forgot my favorite atheist podcast!
I must explain that I have arbitrarily decided to exclude purely atheist podcasts from this list. No judgment is implied. I just had to keep the project down to a reasonable size. Plus I’m more familiar with the science-based podcasts (what I call “skeptic” podcasts). I define these as podcasts which:
- Discuss testable claims from pseudo-science and the paranormal often
- Emphasize critical thinking, cognitive biases, logical fallacies & other skeptic concepts
- Regularly feature known skeptic personalities as hosts or guests
Many do touch on atheism issues, some quite extensively. But unless they also do a fair amount of the above things as well, I’m leaving them out. And so, the podcasts that focus purely on issues of religion, church/state separation, philosophy, anti-atheist prejudice and so on have been omitted. Pure science podcasts, that never touch on critical thinking, pseudoscience or the paranormal are also excluded as well.
If someone out there wants to duplicate my technique to create an all-atheist podcast census, I’ll be glad to share my scripts and techniques, watch for links when I post my results in a few weeks.
Please review and help
Below are two lists. One is active podcasts, the second lists the ones that seem to have stopped producing new episodes. In many cases the defunct podcasts are still available to download. (Also, I’m interested in historical growth estimates so it is useful to include them for that purpose).
Here’s what I have so far for active podcasts. The date is for the first episode. Most are produced in the United States, excepted as noted otherwise in the last column. The podcasts listed in bold were not included in my survey last year.
Here are the podcasts that seem to be finished. Please correct me if I’ve prematurely put one in this set, or if there are podcasts above that should be moved into this list.
|Actually Speaking||Dec 1, 2009||Apr 21, 2011|
|The Amateur Scientist Podcast||Sept 1, 2007||Dec 24, 2011|
|The Amazing Show starring James Randi||Sep 24, 2007||Dec 11, 2008|
|Beer, Bullshit & Brains||Jan 27, 2009||Sep 8, 2010|
|Cold Beer for the Skeptic’s Mind||Dec 2, 2010||Sep 16, 2011|
|CORIcast||Sep 3, 2009||Nov 18, 2011|
|Digital Bits Skeptic||2008? earlier?||Feb 10, 2011|
|Double Meat Podcast||Jan 11, 2010||Apr 24, 2011|
|Evolution 101||Feb 4, 2006||Jan 24, 2007|
|The Ghost Field Guide||Dec 3, 2010||Jan 18, 2011||UK|
|Good Skeptic, Bad Skeptic||Jan 16, 2010||Jan 16, 2010||UK|
|Hunting Humbug 101||Oct 7, 2008||Jun 6, 2010||Australia|
|Incrédulos (Unbelievers)||Aug 8, 2009||Aug 17, 2010||Spain|
|The Infidel Guy Show||Jan 1, 1999||Apr 29, 2010|
|Inside Belief||Jun 25, 2011||Sep 5, 2011||Canada|
|Irregular Climate||May 27, 2010||July 9, 2011||Australia|
|Logically Critical||May 28, 2006||Oct 28, 2007|
|I Misteri di Massimo Polidoro||Jan 2006||Sept 2009||Italy|
|Nonsense Podcast||Apr 14, 2009||Feb 26, 2010||Australia|
|Parenting Within Reason||Feb 28, 2010||June 11, 2011|
|A Ration of Reason||Sep 27, 2010||Aug 21, 2011|
|Rational Capital||Oct 3, 2010||Apr 25, 2011||Australia|
|Righteous Indignation||May 31, 2009||March 26, 2012||UK|
|Science Talk||Jan 10, 2011||Oct 25, 2011|
|Skepchick Podcast||Dec 23, 2008||Dec 23, 2010|
|Skeptech||Apr 27, 2008||Nov 26, 2009|
|Skeptical Viewer||Mar 3, 2008||Nov 16, 2010|
|SkepticPod||Feb 22, 2010||Aug 19, 2011||UK|
|Super Woo Fighting Duo||Oct 29, 2010||Feb 12, 2011||UK|
|The (Skeptic) Tank||Sep 15, 2005||Dec 4, 2007||Australia|
|Three Thinkers||May 31, 2010||May 29, 2011||Australia|
Please respond in the comments. I’m interested in skeptic podcasts I’ve missed, of course, but also corrections to the data you see here or perhaps objections to which ones I’ve included based on my stated criteria. (I freely admit my criteria are arbitrary, so I’m open to discussion).
Oh, and as I post this, the answer to the title question is 100! There are 79 active and 21 defunct skeptic podcasts. Congratulations to Chris Barry who correctly guessed this last night!
You win nothing, unfortunately.
Thank you to the awesome catalog site Skeptics on the .Net as well as Luis García Castro, who helped me immensely already.
Update 1: Added Legion of Reason, count is now 101.
Update 2: Added Desert Air and Inside Belief, count is now 103: 81 active, 22 inactive.
Update 3: Added Why You’re Wrong, count is now 104: 82 active, 22 inactive.
Update 4: Added BeastCAST, count is now 105: 83 active, 22 inactive.
Update 5: Added Scepticisme Scientifique, count is now 106: 84 active, 22 inactive.
Update 6: Added Evolution 110, count is now 107: 84 active, 23 inactive.
Update 7: Added Caustic Soda, count is now 108: 85 active, 23 inactive.
Update 8: Added The Ghost Field Guide, count is now 109: 85 active, 24 inactive.
Update 9: Added The Critical Thinker Podcast, count is now 110: 86 active, 24 inactive.
Update 10: Added Mile High Sanity Project, count is now 111: 87 active, 24 inactive.
Update 11: Moved Amateur Scientist to dead list. Count is now 111: 86 active, 25 inactive.
Update 12 (April 18): Added Irregular Climate, Bogosity, Kritisch Denken, Parenting Within Reason. Count is now 115: 88 active, 27 inactive.
Update 13 (April 19): Added Weird Things. Count is now 116: 89 active, 27 inactive.
Update 14 (April 20): Added Life, the Universe & Everything Else. Count is now 117: 90 active, 27 inactive.
Update 15 (April 24): Added Massimo Polidoro & Evolving Scientist podcasts. Count is now 119: 91 active, 28 inactive.
Update 16 (April 27): Added Skeptoskop, Tank/Skeptic Tank. Count is now 121: 92 active, 29 inactive.
Update 17 (April 30): Added Three Thinkers. Count is now 122: 92 active, 30 inactive.
Update 18 (May 6): Added Dr. Karl on triplej, Dr. Karl & the Naked Scientist. Count is now 124: 94 active, 30 inactive.
Update 19 (May 12): Moved Righteous Indignation to dead list. Count is now 124: 93 active, 31 inactive.
Update 20 (June 15): Added Kvack! and Pseudocast. Count is now 126: 95 active, 31 inactive.
Over on Facebook someone has already pointed out one I missed: Legion of Reason in Calgary. I’ll add it in later today.
I added Legion of Reason.
I looked over my podcast list and you have everything I subscribe to, except I have “inside Belief” which only had two episodes and now is defunk. They interviewed Anita Iokenen and a psychic healer and that was it. Bart Farcus out of Canada.
Desert Air from Arizona, but I suppose that is more atheist than skeptic.
Would Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s podcast count? Can’t think of the name of it at the moment, as well as the SETI one, I think its called Are We Alone?
Rational Alchemy podcast should be put on the inactive list. We have recorded 6 episodes but none have been uploaded with the new crew. The last released was with Jeff Wagg in late last year.
I thought about including Tyson’s Star Talk Radio, but I couldn’t find any instance of him really spending any time on skeptic stuff. Seth Shostak, on the other hand, does an entire episode of skeptic stuff about every fourth episode or so on Big Picture Science.
I’ll check out Inside Belief and Desert Air, thanks!
Ya missed this one: http://www.whyyourewrongpodcast.com/
Thanks, Jon, I’ve added it.
I like BionicDance at the You Tube, although she’s not technically a podcaster.
I plan to follow this survey up with a YouTube/video survey too.
Hey, hopefully we apply:
From Buffalo, NY
Skeptic guests include Sanal Edamaruku, PZ Myers, Seth Shostak, Gregory Paul, Ophelia Benson, Dave Silverman, Emily Lakdawalla, Joe Nickell, Rachael Dunlop, and Greta Christina.
Added it, thanks!
You’re missing my podcast “Scepticisme scientifique – Le balado de la Science et de la Raison”. It’s a podcast in French about scientific skepticism. Still alive and well as of today.
Here’s the iTunes link:
Keep up the good work,
Oh Jean-Michel I feel so bad! We cross paths on Twitter nearly every day, and somehow I overlooked your podcast. I have fixed this terrible wrong.
Evolution 101 is definitely skeptical. Zach regularly talks about creationist pseudo-science and defeating it with critical thinking.
That would go in the defunct pile, right? The feed I found ran from February 2006 to January 2007, about 42 episodes. Is that the one you’re thinking of?
I added it. DrZach.net forwards to his Facebook page now, but the FeedBurner feed for the podcast is still out there.
I think The Caustic Soda Podcast should be on this list.
You’re right, I had it on my notes to add and totally goofed up. They even mentioned me in an episode, you can find a link back to them if you search this blog. I’ll fix that.
Reasonable Doubts is “Your skeptical guide to religion”. Its mission is “to investigate the claims of religion from a fair-minded yet critical perspective.” Let me explain with a quick Venn diagram:
( Skepticism ( [Reasonable Doubts] ) Atheism )
They discuss various religions using their own teachings, locating their logical inconsistencies. Therefore I think they meet your criteria for inclusion on this list.
Hmmm, I guess I’m going to have to listen to an episode or two, because just scanning their feed on FTB I only see one episode (the one with Barbara Ehrenreich) that I wouldn’t say fell in my “atheist podcast” bucket. I’ll give it a listen later and consider.
I suggest that you pay particular attention to their “counter-apologetics”. I think that’s when they most apply structured, logical, critical thinking.
Sure, I’ll definitely give it a listen. Can you recommend a particular episode or episodes for that?
Depends on how deep down the rabbit hole you want to go. Episodes 97 and 98 include “Presuppositional counter-apologetics”, which provide a rigorous response to “presuppositionalist” arguments for religion. IIRC, most of the time the presuppositional arguments are tautologies or null statements. However, these are relatively esoteric topics and may be difficult to follow. Episode 96 has a much more approachable counter-apologetic segment that debunks the “King James only” bible movement.
Found a couple I have in my list that aren’t on here yet.
There’s a 3rd “Reality Check”, this one from WPRR in Michigan. http://www.publicrealityradio.org/programs/realitycheck
And “The Critical Thinker Podcast” http://www.criticalthinkeracademy.com/criticalthinkerpodcast/
It updates irregularly, and seems to be on hiatus for now, not sure which list you’d put it in.
Oh interesting, definitely adding Critical Thinker Podcast.
Not so sure about that Reality Check, I just looked through the episode list and it seems like progressive politics with a dose of atheism. (Which is fine, but not part of my remit here). Am I misjudging?
I thought of it as a bit of an edge-case, which is why I mentioned it, but that’s a fair characterization.
Another one? ugh
Can’t people do a quick google or iTunes search first?
You could add the Weird Things podcast with Brian Brushwood, Andrew Mayne, and Justan Robert Young…
D’oh! Should have read the comments before posting my own. Seconded!
It is one of my favorites… I have actually had to pull off the road because I was laughing so hard…
A newish Denver-based podcast: http://www.milehighsanityproject.com/
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Bogosity definitely does the first two; I’d love to do the third in the future when I’ve grown large enough to have the audience for it: http://podcast.bogosity.tv
Another Belgian podcast (I see that “Scepticisme scientifique” already made it into the list):
Kritisch Denken Podcast
1st episode on 21/02/2009 [In Dutch]
Thanks! I’m adding both Bogosity and Kritisch Denken, they will show up shortly. Perfect timing, I was planning to remind everyone of this on Twitter today.
How about Weird Things Podcast?: http://weirdthings.com/category/podcasts/
Andrew Mayne, Brian Brushwood, and Justin Robert Young talk about science, pseudoscience, fiction, and anything weird in a completely inappropriate and hilarious manner. Love these guys!
Also, Parenting Within Reason was once upon a time called Podcast Beyond Belief as well. So a lot of episodes may still be searchable under that name.
We were just discussing podcasts at the CVille Skeptics meeting. I’ll be sure to share the list over there!
And Lo, the People Have Spoken. Adding Weird Things.
This is a great list. I have some new podcasts to try out! Thought, “Reality” podcast playlist is up to 20 now. Also, Rational Alchemy and For Good Reason have not had episodes in months. are they “finished” too?
Life, the Universe & Everything Else podcast produced here in Winnipeg, Canada by the Winnipeg Skeptics (http://winnipegskeptics.com/tag/life-the-universe-everything-else/)
Thanks for that mention Tim, I’ll update the Spanish podcasts list from time to time
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Rational Alchemy has not had a new episode since Jan 2011 (16 Months ago)
I have created an OPML file of the active podcasts. All but 2 I could find in iTunes US. Let me know if you want me the file to help people with subscribing.
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Here is the only sceptic podcast from Slovakia. extra new and fresh “Pseudocast”
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Hi Tim, thanks for having The Pseudo Scientists on the list. One slight correction though – the show started in December of 2008, not April 2010.
Tim, Luis just reminded me of this list. I’m going to be using it for outreach for all the non-English podcasts. Just wanted you to know that this is a very important list and hopefully you will keep it updated with all our help.
BTW you can move Rational Alchemy to the “finished” list. :(
I didn’t see You Are Not So Smart in the list – http://youarenotsosmart.com/podcast/