Ahoy hoy, my name’s Jayson Daniel Cooke. Despite swiftly surpassing 32 years of age (which I’m assured is the new 25 by sincere seeming students) I still have the energy to parent two beautiful girls, 1 temporarily smaller yet equally beautiful baby boy and a less beautiful but significantly furrier cat, all of whom I share with my ever patient partner.
Described as 1/2 comedian (stand-up, sketch and impro), 1/2 broadcaster, writer, content creator & journalist; I’m currently working towards a Masters degree in Arts and Media at Griffith University.
Having only recently completed a Bachelor of Communication with a double major in Journalism and Public Relations, the employment market and my thirst for knowledge meant it wasn’t quite time to discard the 2-minute-noodles of yester-year and step out from the shadows of Griffith University’s delightful Gold Coast campus into the glaring reality of the ‘real world’.
When not on campus or at the child-care centre I still call home, I take Improvisation classes with Brisbane’s amazing Impro Mafia.
I’m determined to use the skills I’ve developed in many, many, many years of study for entertaining and informative ‘good’ rather than the more financially tempting ‘evil’, although all offers of evil will be considered.
Along the way to finally finding my tertiary niche, I completed a good portion of a Bachelor of Behavioral Science, enough to know what you’re thinking, several classes in Health Science, as well as some great philosophy and ethics classes. The common theme in all of these was the use of research and critical thinking to sift through data and/or B.S. to uncover the core elements of each topic, something I revel in across all my pursuits.
It was this enjoyment of investigation and critical thinking that led to the creation of the Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers which I was a founding member of and had been tenacious enough to have held the role of President of from 2007 to 2011.
My efforts with what became known as the GUSF led to nomination for and later being awarded the runner-up Australian Skeptics Prize for Critical Thinking in 2007 and a (some) expenses paid trip to prestigious Wagga Wagga, New South Wales to give a talk at the first ever Colloquium of Australian Skeptics in 2008.
Since then I’ve become something of a go-to-guy for weird
stuff, having encountered/exposed/confronted climate change deniers, historical revisionists (holocaust deniers), young earth creationists & intelligent design advocates (evolution deniers), ‘faith healers’ who for a fee take advantage of the sick and disabled, U.F.O proponents, white supremacists, vaccine deniers, and a shocking variety of fraudulent and/or misleading health related products and practitioners.
These experiences (and the above list is farrrr from complete) have led to my being interviewed on local ABC Coast FM, 4zzz, and the Token Skeptic podcast, being a guest on ABC Brisbane’s Evenings with Katrina Davidson, featuring on ABC Southern Queensland with Robert Blackmore, and along with Dr Martin Bridgstock, being featured articles in the Courier Mail. I’ve had work published in Skeptic magazine, in particular relating to attempts by Creation Ministries International to hold a full day of presentations under the banner of a Queensland University, presentations that were swiftly cancelled following my investigation.
I have written on topics as diverse as same-sex adoption in NSW, the role of public relations in journalism, local measles outbreaks, the dangers of trial-by-media, the dangerous claims of a local chiropractor and the preventable death of 9 and half month old Gloria Thomas from eczema, treated solely with homeopathic ‘treatments’.
The last story stayed with me and was a strong motivator for my taking the dual role of organiser and media liaison for the 2011 Queensland “10:23 Homeopathy, there’s nothing in it“, awareness campaign. Participants in 70 cities, across 30 countries distributed information regarding the complete lack of quality evidence that homeopathic remedies are any more effective than a placebo, all the while consuming literally hundreds of homeopathic sleeping pills without so much as yawning.
My passion for following the evidence of any claim, relying on scientific methodology & critical thinking, has greatly enhanced my studies in communication and ensuing careers both in journalism and entertainment, as well as understanding of the public relations industry.
I’m proud of the fact I managed to balance the multiple aspects of my career with tertiary studies and hectic family life, and can’t wait to see where this path takes me.
Jayson D Cooke