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3 Skeptical Podcasts Based in the UK

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published September 28th 2017
Learn, ponder, giggle
If you're looking for something to listen to while out for a walk, on a long commute or doing the dishes, and you'd like to learn something in the process, these 3 Skeptical podcasts from the UK might be just thing.

Skeptics with a K

skeptics with a k, michael marshall, mike hall
The Hosts of Skeptics with a K, MiMike Hall, and Alice Howarth, at the 2015 QED conference in Manchester.

Skeptics with a K is the official podcast of the Merseyside Skeptic Society, a group who aim to develop and support the sceptic community in Merseyside. Each episode is hosted by Mike Hall, Michael Marshall and Alice Howarth. They discuss issues of science and pseudoscience in the UK and internationally. They cover topics like cancer research, pseudoscientific products, homoeopathy and the placebo effect, as well as a fair bit of friendly chit-chat about the hosts' personal lives and favourite types of biscuit. The show is casual and fun, but also genuinely educational, with tips on how to spot a news story that is actually just a press release, and how to evaluate health claims. Just be prepared for a lot of bad puns along the way.

The first episode aired in 2009. The hosts have appeared as guests on other podcasts such as The Skeptic Zone, The Pod Delusion and Cognitive Dissonance.

Be Reasonable

Be Reasonable is hosted by Michael Marshall of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. It began in 2013 and has aired one episode a month (with a few gaps where Marshall took time out for other projects) ever since. Each episode Marsh invites a guest with a view outside of the mainstream, for example, UFO researchers, cryptozoologists, flat earthers, 911 truthers, people selling purported natural cancer cures etc.

Marshall lets the guests explain themselves, in their own words, and always remains polite and good natured, while encouraging his guests to consider how their claims might be falsified. It is sometimes oddly painful to listen to and at other times utterly fascinating. Marshall is impressively patient and calm in the face of the most outrageous claims. The closest I have heard Marsh come to sounding like he was perhaps going to lose his temper was in talking to a self-described "meninist" Mike Buchanan, founder of the UK's only explicitly anti-feminist political party, Justice for Men and Boys. That episode raised my blood pressure a little as well, but it was heartening to see Men's Rights Activists in company with UFOlogists and Bigfoot hunters.

Skeptics with a K and Be Reasonable are free to download via iTunes or Stitcher. If you're feeling generous, you can support the Merseyside Skeptics Society via Patreon.


brian dunning, skeptoid, skeptic podcast
Brian Dunning, host of Skeptoid.

Hosted by Brian Dunning, Skeptoid first aired in 2006. Each episode is a short audio essay that focuses on a particular topic, such as crop circles, negative calorie foods, oil pulling, or network marketing. The episodes also include listener feedback and occasional corrections. In 2010 Skeptoid won the Parsec Award for "Best Fact Behind the Fiction" podcast. Skeptoid is non-profit and listener supported.
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