Great critical thinkers on YouTube

Nobody can force you to use your brain, but some will at least make you feel bad, if you don’t.

Yannik Schmidt
Dec 19, 2020 · 2 min read
photo by freestocks, licensed CC0

My recent article about VPN shilling on YouTube, has really made me think about which creators I actually still enjoy.

So, in case you can’t stand watching another, meaningless, infotainment video, which the YouTube algorithm suggested to you or which you got click-baited into (“What if we put a nuke on the moon “— no I’m not going to link it, I don’t want it to get any more views.) Here are some great, zero click-bait channels, which really dig into topics, with widespread scientific illiteracy.

1. Peter “potholer54" Hadfield

Peter Hadfield, is a long time journalist, who posted entirely undercover as Potholer54 for many years, before revealing his identity to his audience. He creates videos about falsehoods spread about climate change, health, geology and many other topics. He is also a frequent critic of scientific illiteracy in the media and politics.

2. Three Arrows

Three Arrows, also known as Dan Arrows on Twitter is a historical/political YouTuber. He’s great for pointing out the flaws in easy and simplistic answers to societal problems in the context of philosophy and history.

3. Jonas Čeika

Jonas Čeika provides great discussion and insights in the views of different philosophical schools and how they explained pop-culture phenomena and influenced them at the same time. Unfortunately he’s a somewhat infrequent uploader.

4. Thunderf00t

Phil Mason’s, channel Thunderf00t, goes back to the very beginnings of YouTube, over the course of his 15 years on the platform, he has served hard truths to countless groups of people. In his videos he talks about a variety of topics centered around fighting pseudo scientific misinformation, fraud Kickstarters and Creationism.

5. Common Sense Skeptic

A relatively new channel, the Common Sense Skeptic primarily talks about the misinformation spread by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. He explains in great detail, some of the other factually wrong statements of Musk’s regarding “Space Ship” or “Neuralink”, which were so readily soaked up by many in the popular science media.

6. PBS Space Time

Of course this one isn’t exactly a critical thinking or debunking channel like the others above, but I couldn’t bring myself to exclude it in this context. PBS Space Time looks at various concepts in astronomy and physics in general. However, easily it’s best content, is its discussions of recent scientific papers, which are a great way to catch up with the current happenings in physics academia — well, at least if you already have a semi-solid understanding of physics.

Feel free to share you thought and tell me if there are other great actually skeptical YouTubers worth watching!

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Read about the things you want to read about, not the things you got baited into.

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