Brian Dunning

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Brian Dunning runs the Skeptoid podcast and contributes to SkepticBlog. Skeptoid debunks a wide range of topics related to pseudoscientific and paranormal claims in a ten to fifteen minute length format.

Dunning has also produced a half-hour film called Here be Dragons, which is intended as a primer for skeptical thinking and is a great resource for the uninitiated. He's also been trying to get a TV series called The Skeptologists off the ground for the last three years, but no one really knows what happened to it or if it will actually get picked up. However, Michael Shermer, Phil Plait, Steven Novella, and a few other skeptics did sign up for the project.

Inverse stopped clock[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Inverse stopped clock

DDT controversy[edit]

Dunning caused drama within the skeptical community when he accidentally recycled some bullshit cooked up by notorious shill Steve Milloy in the Skeptoid episode on DDT.[1] He made a number of factual errors regarding Rachel Carson's research, eggshell thinning, and DDT's role in fighting malaria. Tim Lambert of Deltoid claimed that he had attempted to contact Dunning about the episode, but could not reach him. Lambert then posted a two-part refutation of the Skeptoid episode.[2][3] Orac of Respectful Insolence,[4] Bug Girl of Skepchick,[5][3] and a number of other skeptical blogs and fora piled on. Some of the comment threads got a bit foaming-at-the-mouth, denouncing Dunning as a crypto-libertarian inserting wingnuttery into his show. Dunning responded by denying any political affiliation, saying that no one had contacted him before the take-downs of his episode popped up in the skeptical blogosphere, and dismissed most of the criticisms of his piece.[6]

eBay suit and conviction[edit]

In 2008, eBay sued Dunning, his brother Todd, and Shawn Hogan for running a cookie stuffingWikipedia scheme. In 2010, Dunning was indicted on five counts of wire fraud.[7][8] He pled guilty to one of the charges on April 17, 2013, and was sentenced to 15 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release on August 5, 2014.[9] Dunning began his sentence on September 2, 2014.


In June 2015, he was released to a halfway house, where he restarted his work running the Skeptoid Media non-profit and podcast (which, in the interim, had been hosted by other members of staff). He has also since made a statement on his personal website both about the case[10] and about the blogposts made about him and Skeptoid Media[11] during the trial.

DragonCon 2016 has indicated that Dunning will be attending as an attending professional,[12] alongside other popular skeptics, probably as part of the Skeptrack panels.

See Also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Skeptoid's DDT episode (note that according to some commentators, the episode and/or the transcript has been edited after the initial publication)
  2. Skeptoid fact check part 1 and 2, Tim Lambert, Deltoid
  3. 3.0 3.1 Note that both Lambert and Bug Girl (an entomologist) have been combating DDT misinformation for quite some time by then, so their interest in the topic didn't come out of the blue. Their relevant blog categories are here and here.
  4. Skeptoid disappoints about DDT and the environment, Orac, Respectful Insolence
  5. Brian Dunning's DDT Fail, Bug Girl, Skepchick (the same post is mirrored on her blog)
  6. Skeptoid’s Massive DDT Fail, Skepticblog
  7. Affiliates Indicted for Cookie Stuffing, ReveNews
  8. A Partial Explanation - Dunning's public response to the lawsuit (taken down at the end of the case)
  9. [1]