Sunday 11 November 2012
At: The Counting House
Kylie Sturgess writes for a number of skeptical organizations and publications, teaches philosophy at the high school and college level, and serves on the JREF’s educational advisory panel. But all of this is in addition to her regular podcast, the Token Skeptic. (The woman is a whirlwind of skepticism.)
She recently compiled various interviews and transcriptions from her podcast, and made them available as a book: The Scope of Skepticism. For folks interested in the important conversations skeptics have among themselves, this is a good read. Featuring scientists like Bruce Hood, Caroline Watt and Pamela Gay, skeptic journalists and writers like Sharon Hill and Daniel Loxton, investigators like Ben Radford and Hayley Stevens, and celebrities such as Tim Minchin and Stephen Fry, the book compiles some of the best content from the nearly 150 video and audio programs that Sturgess has produced over the years.
The transcript of her interview with Daniel Loxton is a standout. They explore well-traveled ground for the serious skeptic: what science has to say about religion, how to inculcate the scientific spirit in youngsters, if skepticism is different from atheism. But they also manage to provide fresh insights. Loxton defends a limited stope for skepticism, and, as an example, explains why he thinks that the application of scientific skepticism to ideological claims is a “catastrophe for skepticism,” pushing back against the eagerness others show to “turn skepticism into a partisan political position or a religious affiliation . . . . [which] is a misuse of the language of skepticism and science.” I appreciated that when his science book for children came out (Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be), he unwittingly stumbled into an “ongoing turf war between different brands of atheists” — contrary to his basic intention when addressing religion in the book, which was merely to “emphasize that the skeptical project should be closely tied to science and . . . the burdens and responsibilities of science.”
Note that this is an eBook – if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still dowload it to a Kindle app on an iPad, iPhone, android phone, Mac or PC.