ISP #24 – Mind Your Own Bees-ness



Originally broadcast June 14, 2014, here’s our conversation about colony collapse disorder – what’s up with that?
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Seriously, can we just not waste time and money on stuff that isn’t possible?

This is fascinating. Steven Novella and David Gorski wrote an opinion article questioning whether it’s worthwhile to do clinical trials on medical modalities that don’t have any prior scientific plausibility, such as homeopathy and reiki. Basically, it’s an extension of their promotion of science-based medicine (which uses a Bayesian analysis of what we actually know throughout the sciences) versus evidence-based medicine (which just relies on the examination of the evidence in a specific experiment). And they’re getting flack about it – from people who thoroughly misunderstand their position.

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ISP #23 – The Satanic Panic

Here are the notes from this show, originally broadcast May 17, 2014. They’re lengthy, so I’m just going to dump them all, raw and uncut. Enjoy!

(Also, note that the Dark Dungeons movie is out now! You can get it for $5, and the bonus features for another $2.50.)

Poor ol' Satan...

Poor ol’ Satan…

Hello and welcome to the Irreverent Skeptics podcast! I’m your host, Jon Ownbey, and joining me today in the unending fight against the forces of darkness are Erno Marttila, Michael McElroy, Mike Bohler, and Dumbass!

And special guest – The Astronomer Royal of Karl Mamer’s “The Conspiracy Skeptic” Podcast and the brains and brawn of the “Exposing PseudoAstronomy” podcast, Stuart Robbins!

Today, we’re going to talk about the Satanic Panic – that period during the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s when the devil was always lurking just around the corner. If the Religious Right is to be believed (and if not them, who can you trust?), diabolical influences were everywhere in pop culture – from music and movies to games and toys. Where did it all start? What were some of their wildest claims? Is it still going on today? Let’s dip our toes into the lake of fire, pinch our noses to keep out the smell of burning brimstone, and take a journey through hell to find out the truth.

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ISP #22 – Zombie Apocalypse – Stayin’ Alive!



On this episode, the whole gang gets together to trade brain recipes! Or not. Listen and see.

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Your legal reading for the day

On Wednesday, January 7, a US Second Circuit Court decision affirmed that New York students have to be vaccinated within two weeks of entering public school.

The plaintiffs “argued that the statutory vaccination requirement, which is subject to medical and religious exemptions, violates their substantive due process rights, the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Ninth Amendment, and both state and municipal law.”

One of the plaintiffs, Dina Check, testified that she is Catholic and stated, “How I treat my daughter’s health and her well-being is strictly by the word of God.” I don’t know a single Catholic who would say this; Catholics typically aren’t anti-medicine (with a few notable exceptions, like contraception). She even said this herself – she “testified that she did not know of any tenets of Catholicism that prohibited vaccinations.” She claimed that her child had had adverse reactions to vaccinations before, and that she asked God for guidance and protection. (The Almighty was unavailable for comment.)

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ISP #20.1 – Brainstorm Podcast Fundraiser Promo

Hi, folks. We want to give a shout-out to the folks over at the Brainstorm Podcast, who have been running a fundraiser recently to support mental health services in Canada.

In basically every single part of the developed world, mental health care is still far worse than it could be. A significant portion of the population of Canada is affected by this, including both the sufferers of mental illnesses and their families and friends. So Cory and his fellow co-hosts wanted to bring some attention, and a little cash, to the issue.

If you want to help out, go to You can pick up a sweet Brainstorm Podcast tee shirt, complete with the electrified brain logo and the slogan “woo free since 2013” on the front, and the logo of the Canadian Mental Health Association on the back. They’re pretty sweet. I’ve already snagged one for myself.

The profits from the sales of the shirts will be used as a donation to the CMHA. For the low low price of $22.50 – American, by the way; none of this Canadian play money bullshit – you can get yourself or a loved one a shirt that shows everyone that you’re both smart enough to listen to good podcasts and compassionate enough to care about mental health. They’re sized from small to 3XL, so they’ll even fit your gross, sweaty body.

On November 22, Kevin Huber from the Regina Branch of the CMHA will join Cory in the Brainstorm studio to talk about the state of mental health care in Canada. The guys will also be joined by Chris Real, a local musician who suffers from depression, regular panel member Mike, and guest Heidi Smithson who has an education in psychology and will bring her expertise to bear.

The campaign ends November 17, so hurry out and get your shirt before it’s too late. As of this posting, they’ve sold 23 shirts toward their goal of 50. Cory has 3 free shirts left to give away to anyone who shares a link to the Teespring page with their friends – all you have to do is send a screenshot of where you shared it to!

Don’t forget to check out the Brainstorm Podcast on the web at, on Twitter as @Brainstormpod, at, or on iTunes or Stitcher.

ISP #20 – Feedback Mini-sode

On September 17, 2014, Jon and McElroy sat down over drinks to talk about some of the feedback we’ve received. We promise we didn’t write it all ourselves!

P.S. – if your name is Wade Kaardal or Brian Koppi, we owe you a prize for sending in feedback. Send your contact info to and we’ll hook you up!

ISP #19 – Potluck Skepticism

As mentioned in the last post, this show actually came before episode 18. But that doesn’t matter. Time is all wibbly-wobbly anyway.

In this episode:

  • McElroy reviews “God’s Not Dead” (here’s the Reasonable Doubts episode about it, too)
  • Erno talks about woo he discovered walking around his town in Finland
  • Bohler talks about the stuff he’s been researching, especially the history of civilization and how quacks cherry-pick evidence
  • We discuss the Burzynski Clinic and its record of failure and pseudoscience

No show notes this time – we were just winging it!



Irreverent Skeptics Podcast Episode 18 – Science, Bitches!!

We’re switching the order of things up a bit. On April 19 and April 26, 2014, we did two ‘potpourri’ episodes, where we all came up with our own topics to talk about centered around a vague general subject. In the first episode… which was actually the second episode… after a quick discussion of how the internet might be able to give you PTSD, we talked about science stories we found fascinating. McElroy talked about the Higgs boson, and how it gives things mass. Bohler talked about South American civilizations and why the Ancient Aliens people are assholes. Jon talked about the concept of emergence, and how it has broad applications in many fields. And then… McElroy pretended to be a presuppositionalist apologist, and pissed Jon off immensely. Check out the full show notes!

Two notes: Yes, sadly, the Colton Burpo twitter feed turned out to be a parody. And no, the next won’t be about scary ways to die… the next show will actually be the April 19 show. You have one more episode in the meantime before we scare you to death!



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