Live Skeptoid Presentations
Brian Dunning, producer and host of the Skeptoid podcast, is available to speak at your event or organization on a variety of topics pertaining to critical thinking.
Skeptoid is a top science podcast on iTunes, and is enjoyed by 159,000 weekly listeners (as of Feb 28, 2015).
All material is appropriate for any age group from junior high school on. I will come and speak for any group, no matter who you are. Usually I present at university clubs and organizations with science or critical thinking themes, or local and civic clubs.
Brian Dunning also offers talks for professional organizations, showing how all-too-rare critical thinking in business can improve your bottom line.
Contact groups on your campus that might sponsor the event: various clubs, the student association, the events office, or any other campus office that organizes events for students. Tell them you'd like to have me come and talk, and point them to this page for more information.
Please choose from one of the topics below. Or, if you prefer a different topic (anything from the list of episodes), I look at it as a great opportunity to build my repertoire of Powerpoints, so please feel free to request it.
"Your talk on Saturday was a big success. Everyone enjoyed the talk, and your skill as a speaker was greatly appreciated."
"Brian's presentation was engaging, insightful, and clear. His friendly interactive Q&A with the students made this a unique and memorable addition to the classroom. Brian provides an intelligent and entertaining way to inoculate young minds against the perils of pseudoscience and quackery with a healthy dose of skepticism and critical thinking. Invite him into your classroom. You won't regret it!"
"It's no small irony writing a testimonial for a talk by Brian Dunning, the first man who'd warn you against accepting opinions as evidence. Anyone present at his recent talk on health scams at our college, however, can verify that it was a rousing success. And if you still don't believe me, you can collect the data for yourself by inviting Brian to give the talk at your gathering. I'm sure you'll end up with the same results we did: a significant increase in critical thinking."
- 45 minutes - Pseudohistory Hurts! In this hour we'll take a dozen cases of false pseudohistory that are commonly believed or promoted through popular media, and study why they are harmful to society. More importantly, we'll discover the true benefits and lessons that come from knowing what really happened.
- 45 minutes - Your Brain Sucks! Live demonstrations and audience participation are guaranteed to make every brain in the room fail. The human brain is terrible at collecting data, and yet so many of us make important decisions based on personal experiences. This will convince you that your personal experiences are an awful way to learn anything.
- 45 minutes - SOUNDS FROM BEYOND! An hour packed with weird recordings and sounds from all areas of the paranormal - it's the most fun you've ever had learning critical thinking! Ghost sounds, backwards recordings, radio broadcasts from outer space! Hear the weirdness, and learn the fascinating truth behind each one. Sorry, not available as a remote presentation - available in person only and a full A/V setup is required.
- 45 minutes - Solving The Missing Cosmonauts. One of the most popular Skeptoid episodes, Search for the Missing Cosmonauts, only went so far: it showed that a series of recordings made during the Cold War did not, in fact, prove that Soviet cosmonauts died in secret flights that never made it into the history books. In this talk, we'll dig deeper, and maybe find out what those recordings really were... Sorry, not available as a remote presentation - available in person only and a full A/V setup is required.
- 45 minutes - Health Scams Are Your Friend: How You Can Use Them to Promote Skepticism. Health scams are your friend. At least, they can be, if you're trying to spread the message of critical thinking to those who need it most. Medical quackery is being sold everywhere you look, and there are really only a few messages used to sell it. These core principles, when delineated in clear terms, are obviously wrong; and by instructing those you care about to recognize them, you can do far more good than you could with a message of conventional, negative skepticism.
- 45 minutes - Miracle or Science? An insider's look at four religious miracles that are far more interesting when we discover what actually took place.Simple debunking is just as useless as uncritical belief; the real excitement comes from learning the history and the context.
- 30 minutes - The Virgin of Guadalupe: A Positive Take. The Virgin of Guadalupe is the most sacred object in Mexico, a supposedly miraculous image imprinted on a cactus fiber cloak. Some call it the New World's version of the Shroud of Turin. Most react in one of two ways: To acknowledge it as a true miracle, or to dismiss it as just another religious hoax. But are either of these reactions appropriate? Is either constructive? As it turns out, a truly skeptical investigation uncovers fascinating information that can unite and illuminate both believers and skeptics with the real value of true history.
Fees & Costs
There is usually a speaking fee, as this is my profession. Email me at brian [at] skeptoid.com to find out what the fee would be for your event. You will also need to cover all travel, lodging, and meal expenses. I'm located in southern California near Orange County Airport (SNA).
It is possible to do a remote video appearance via Skype or iChat, assuming you have the needed hardware on your end. This option eliminates all travel costs.
Two screens are needed, one for video and one for Powerpoint. Two-way video is required. At a minimum, this can be accomplished with two computers — one for video chat, and a second one with someone clicking through the slides when I prompt them. (It can all be done on one Mac computer running iChat with remote presentation.) You'll probably need a microphone so I can hear questions. It's a bit awkward, but it does work.
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