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Skeptical Bootstrap

Guest what? I met some new people at the last @VirtualDS chat! Yeah, I know you’re all getting used to this by now, but for me, this never gets old. Anyway, I was asked by one of these new people what I thought would be great resources for a beginning skeptic. So I thought and I thought and I came up with not that much, so I lobbed the question into the twitterverse and came up with this following short list. I’m sure I’ve missed something, but I wanted just a short and meaningful list just for someone who was starting out.

Websites:

Books:

Skepticism and Belief:

A related topic that comes up very often with new skeptics, and seems to be showing up in discussion quite a bit lately is the relationship between skepticism and atheism.

“Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe” episode #246 has a good discussion of the skepticism/atheism question.
(If you don’t know this podcast you should really check it out)
http://www.theskepticsguide.org/archive/podcastinfo.aspx?mid=1&pid=246

Skepticality (podcast) episode #57 – On being a Skeptic of Faith, Dr. Hal Bidlack, Ph.D.
http://traffic.libsyn.com/skepticality/057_skepticality.mp3

Science and Religion – Again – Steven Novella (from Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe)
http://skepticblog.org/2010/04/05/science-and-religion-again/#more-7514

Further Thoughts on Atheism – Daniel Loxton
http://skepticblog.org/2010/03/05/further-thoughts-on-atheism/

Do you have a resource, book, podcast, website, or something that would a good start for a new skeptic? Post it in the comments.

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Categories: Skepticism
  1. podblack
    April 5, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I have a list on my site?
    http://podblack.com/essays – several fairly-basic overviews on many topics.
    On skepticism and women – http://podblack.com/essays/sex-and-superstition
    The Token Skeptic podcast has an ongoing investigation on women and belief too.
    The interview I did about deist skeptics and the Curiouser and Curiouser – http://www.csicop.org/sb/show/deist_skeptic_not_a_contradiction

  2. April 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I’d also like to mention Dr. Randy Olson’s Book “Don’t Be Such a Scientist.” I haven’t read it yet, but I did listen to him on Skepticality a while ago. It’s advice from a scientist, turned film maker, on how to translate scientific data, theories, and facts into material that’s digestible by the popular media. The gist is, there’s a difference between being right and being effective.

    Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/y9vdn64
    Skepticality Episode: http://tinyurl.com/yc48e5b

  3. April 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Also, on the topic of religion/morality, I’ve found these two books eye opening:

    Dark Nature : A Natural History of Evil (On Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/yb6nsnr)

    This book explain natural observations of good vs evil in the Animal Kingdom and the seemingly subjective morality of animals and human alike. You begin to get the sense that morality may be more natural than supernatural. Incredible book.

    Origins of Virtue : Human Instincts and Evolution of Cooperation
    (On Amazon http://tinyurl.com/y9mupze)

    Dawkins said if he were to have written a follow-up to “The Selfish Gene,” this book would be it. I haven’t read “The Selfish Gene” (on the list!), but I feel this book picks up right where “Dark Nature” left off. Amazing explanation of observations of cooperation and morality in the Animal Kingdom. It’s more complete due largely in part to the cultural shift in science from when “Dark Nature” was written, to present day. It is now acceptable to explore topics like culture, art, ceremony, and morality outside of the hominid genus. There’s a lot more data for Ridley to use.

  4. April 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    How about http://www.skepticator.com/ ?

    A searchable, RSS-consumable skeptical blog aggregator, with well over 200 skeptical sources indexed so far.

    (disclosure: I built it, and I’m building improvements even as we speak)

    • April 6, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks Jason! Yes, I use skepticator (as you know). The only problem I have is trying to keep up with everything. 🙂

  5. May 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Here is a wonderful “Critical Thinking 101” page from the Cleveland Skeptics:
    http://www.clevelandskeptics.org/2008/12/here-be-dragons.html

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