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A Little Curiosity

Donate If you haven't yet found your curiosity in the first 500 episodes of Skeptoid, find it here.  

by Brian Dunning

Filed under Logic & Persuasion

Skeptoid Podcast #500
January 5, 2016
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A Little Curiosity

This is the 500th episode of Skeptoid. That's a lot of stories; a lot of history and culture and science. We've made many visits to every continent on the globe, and stopped in on every century and every millennium since our species was launched. We've met every kind of person there is, and even gone into space looking for more. Nine years ago there were a hundred of you as my traveling companions on these weekly adventures, and then there were a thousand, and ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. For each of 500 weeks we've found something new to be curious about together.

Download the song here:
"A Little Curiosity"
Susan Egan Vocals by Susan Egan
Lee Sanders Music by Lee Sanders
Brian Dunning Lyrics by Brian Dunning

We've solved ancient mysteries like the stone spheres of Costa Rica, the Ark of the Covenant, and the lost colony of Roanoke; we've learned what what lay behind paranormal tales like the black eyed kids, the Sedona Vortex, Borley Rectory, and the crystal skulls; we debunked conspiracy theories like the deaths of Princess Diana and JFK, the Zionist conspiracy, and the attack on the twin towers; and we discovered the genesis of urban legends like the Black Knight satellite, Polybius: the video game of death, mystery spots, and King Tut's curse.

A lot of the inspiration I've found has come from those who asked the same questions before me. Who can forget the famous:

Truzzi's Principle: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.


Hitchen's Razor: What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

And whenever I think I know the solution, I try to always remember:

Nickell's Doctrine: The person who thinks he can’t be fooled has just fooled himself.

I realized I'd fooled myself a hundred times, a thousand times. That was when I decided I wanted a really solid general science literacy. Having that exposes a whole new dimension to every story, every claim, every pop-culture fad, every myth. That's how we're able to answer questions like whether cell phones are killing us all, or whether Project Lucifer was ever a viable theory for destroying the planet Jupiter.

Every time I learned about something new, and found an answer I never would have tried before, I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store. I am often reminded of Marie Curie who famously said:

Curie's Canon: A scientist in her laboratory is not only a technician: she is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress her like a fairy tale.

What makes a rocket ship fly?
How far are those lights in the sky?
Isn't there some way that I
Could go up there too?

Shermer's Essential: Before we say something is out of this world, let’s first make sure that it is not in this world.

Occam's Razor: The explanation with the fewest new assumptions is usually the correct one.

Things I can touch must be real
But what about feelings I feel?
So many mysteries conceal
Secrets I want to know.

Hyman's Categorical Imperative: Do not try to explain something until you are sure there is something to be explained.

Ebert's Maxim: Clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: curious and teachable.

A new idea, a new technique
Threaten to turn me into a geek
Love the old stories so full of mystique
Tempting me to learn.

Feynman's Axiom: There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made.

Bergson's Fundamental: The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

Open up, let me in, let me see
The wonders you're hiding from me
I've got a little curiosity and possibly
You've got some too.

Churchill's Certitude: The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

I've got a little curiosity and possibly
You've got some too.

I hope you've found your curiosity somewhere in these 500 episodes; I certainly did. Stay curious, stay teachable, and stay skeptical.

I hope you'll stick around for the next 500 shows. Let's do this thing.

By Brian Dunning

Please contact us with any corrections or feedback.


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Cite this article:
Dunning, B. "A Little Curiosity." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, 5 Jan 2016. Web. 20 Jun 2024. <>



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