Friday, 15 July 2011

Science, Reason and Critical Thinking Time Lords

When I was a child, my favourite TV programme, at least until the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy came along, was Doctor Who.

Anyone of a similar vintage to me will, no doubt, have the same bias for the crazy-eyed, mad-haired, yo-yo-fiddling, jelly baby offering, elongated scarf-touting fourth doctor portrayed by Tom Baker.

I was reminded of this fact back in April this year when Marsh, Nicola and Mike Hall from the Merseyside Skeptics Society stayed at my house for a few days. I spent some enjoyable time reminiscing about past doctors with Mike, the skeptic communities’ resident expert on the itinerant Time Lord.

All this however seems fairly irrelevant to the remit of this blog. Which in case you’ve forgotten, is to promote the scientific method and critical thinking whilst tweaking the nose of irrational beliefs based on traditions grounded in supernatural, paranormal or pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.

However, I suspect that the Venn diagram of Skeptics and Doctor Who Fans might look a little like this:


Following Mike’s visit back in April I have acquired myself a complete back catalogue of the Tom Baker Doctor Who years which I am currently using to revisit my childhood. As I’m working may through the episodes, I can’t help but notice numerous references and examples of the good doctor promoting the scientific method and critical thinking whilst tweaking the nose of irrational beliefs based on traditions grounded in supernatural, paranormal or pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.

I’m unsure if the connection with science, reason and critical thinking was something that just passed me by on my first childhood encounter of the doctor, or whether some of these ideas unconsciously helped form my current way of thinking.

Either way, I consider the link between Doctor Who and skepticism valid enough to warrant a blog post or two. To this end I have spent a few weeks cobbling together an ambitious Doctor Who infographic, which is now just about finished. It may be a slight departure from my normal fare, but I’m hoping it may reach some of the people in the right hand part of my Venn diagram.

I shall be publishing it here d'rectly.
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