Better Know a Notable Skeptic: 10 Questions for Derek Colanduno

With the success of the “better know a skeptic” series of articles, I decided to extend a little bit to “notable skeptics.” 

If there is someone you would like to see included, let me know via the forums.


Derek Colanduno is one of the host of Skepticality, the official podcast of Skeptic Magazine.  Derek grew up in Las Vegas. That explains just about everything. Too close to Area 51 and nothing he could do about it.

Raised by his New Jersey parents to question the world around him, Derek has been seeking truth in every day things, for as long as he can remember.

Derek has contributed to several other podcasts including The Pickle Round-Up for and AMP’d the weekly music review show for the Association of Independent Music Podcasters.  Derek is a Director for the Podcasting and Skeptic fan tracks at Dragon*Con.


1) Briefly describe yourself.  What do you do for a living, etc.
I am a Software Engineer working for a large Water/Waste Engineering Firm down here in the Atlanta, GA area.

2) Why are you a “skeptic”?  Was there a “wow” moment?

In my case, I blame my father. He was one of those guys who questioned everything. I grew up in house where we didn’t practice any religion, even though both sides of my family were very religious, my parents were not at all. I didn’t know I was a ‘skeptic’ until I picked up a copy of Skeptic Magazine with Carl Sagan on the cover, just because I loved his work. In the front cover of every issue of Skeptic there is a big essay on ‘What is a Skeptic’. That is pretty much when I knew.

3) What are your hobbies/interests?

Most of my ‘fun’ hobbies are either computer programming, or video game related. My interests have always been in reading about Science, and also about religion, I have read about 6 or 7 different versions of the bible, I love how different they really are. As well I have read many other books about religions not of the western ‘Christian’ sub-set. Sadly, I am a bit on the boring side when it comes to my choice of reading. It is all non-fiction. I am a reality junkie at heart.

4) What are you passionate about at the moment?

This is a hard one, since it really does change sometimes based on what madness strikes the world at any moment. I really wish the world would stop sometimes so we could have time to deal with our passions to better, more satisfying conclusion. But, for some crazy reason, my current passion revolves around making sure that the internet doesn’t become overly tied to the political whims of leaders. Also, the fact that here in the USA, we created the internet, gave it to the world, and are now almost bottom the heap as far as speed and coverage around our country goes. I find that to be almost embarrassing to such a huge degree, I am surprised that more people don’t care. The internet is the coolest thing that has come around the history of the human chapter of history, and here in the USA, we treat it as some form of ‘add on’ sometimes. At least from a policy standpoint.

5) Do you have a hero?  Why him/her?
I try to think of one all the time, but I just can’t. There are people who are VERY important to me, historical and current, but not sure I’d call them ‘heroes’ as much as massively respectable. In all cases they are people who have spent their time and efforts on making the world a better place, by using logic and understanding of the real world over the trite and horrible actions of violence, killing, and crime.

6) If you could have dinner with 5 people, dead or alive,  who would they be and why?
Thomas Jefferson – I want to discuss with him his drive to re-define the bible in his version of the biblical stories.
Benjamin Franklin – To discuss his ideas on the future of science, especially from the point in history he lived in.
Carl Sagan – Just to shake his hand, and thank him for struggling through the politics of his day, and making science accessible to everyone.
Stephen Hawking – Who wouldn’t want to sit down with him and just talk about the wonders of the universe and his thoughts?
Barack Obama – To, possibly, have some form of effect on science policy, even though so far… It seems to be going well.

7) Do you have a favourite: album, musician, sports team, movie, TV show, book? (Feel free to list one, some, or all.)
My favorite book is Demon Haunted World, it was my introduction to something that really opened my mind to a ‘skeptical’ method of thinking, even though I didn’t know it was called that at the time I read it.

I don’t really watch or follow sports. My current favorite TV show is Bones, mainly due to the lead female character is a very good representation of a skeptic, and that is a rare thing on mainstream network TV.

8) What grinds your gears?
I assume ‘grinds my gears’ means what makes me mad enough to ‘get into action’. If that is the case, then it would be people who keep attempting to turn my country into the next version of a Middle East Country, but instead of Arabs, they want us to be some supreme ‘Christian Nation’. That is possibly the WORST thing that could ever happen to the well being of the country, and possibly the world.

9) Tell me something I don’t know about you.
I don’t know what you KNOW about me. Maybe you might not know that I am a HUGE Billy Joel fan, mainly his work before and after that stint in the 80’s when he was writing stuff like Uptown Girl, (I HATE that song), but the first song I really loved as a kid was a 45 my Aunt got me of “Only The Good Die Young”. Most of the music I like is more of a story telling type, and a lot of his music is like that. Also, I love piano music, especially when it is used in some form of rock type way. I also love Tori Amos for the same reason.

10) Why are we here?
We are here because of our biological drive to spawn and further our genetic linage. Our parents mated, and we are a by-product of that event. 🙂

22. April 2009 by Pat
Categories: Organization, Profiles | Comments Off on Better Know a Notable Skeptic: 10 Questions for Derek Colanduno