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Ben Radford

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Benjamin Radford, M.Ed., is a scientific paranormal investigator, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, and author or co-author of seven books and over a thousand articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and science literacy. His newest book is Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment. Radford is also a columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com.

Crop Circles: A Not-So-Convincing Case

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

Skeptical Inquiree
Crop Circles: A Not-So-Convincing Case

Unlike other mysterious phenomena such as psychic powers, ghosts, or Bigfoot, there is no doubt that crop circles are real. The real question is what creates them.

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Discovery’s Mountain of Mystery Mongering: The Mass Murdering Yeti

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

Special Report

Frog Falls and Fallacies

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 18, 2014
Frog Falls and Fallacies
I wrote a piece about the classic Fortean phenomenon of frogs falling from the sky, and I here address two rebuttals--one old and one new.

The “I Am…” Meme: Co-Opting Identities for Social Change

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 3, 2014
The “I Am…” Meme: Co-Opting Identities for Social Change
It has become fashionable in recent years for social justice protestors to choose a person who symbolizes a tragic event and then declare to the world that they are that person. It certainly sends a clear message of solidarity, but but it raises thorny questions about the ethics of speaking on behalf of others.

Tim Farley Ignites Skepticism at Dragon*Con

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 20, 2014
Tim Farley has an idea for a new format for skeptical outreach in bite-sized bits.

Scientific Paranormal Investigation Equipment

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 26, 2014
Scientific Paranormal Investigation Equipment
I'm often asked what tools and equipment I use to investigate the world's mysteries, ranging from ghosts to miracles to crop circles. Here's a peek into my bag of tricks!

‘Miss Representation’ and The Importance of Good Statistics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 17, 2014
‘Miss Representation’ and The Importance of Good Statistics
In my many years of fact-checking news media reports I'm continually baffled by the defensive stance that people often take when you fact-check their statistics. In fact I'm against misinformation and bad statistics--whatever the source, and especially when being offered in service of causes I support.

Review of Jesse Ventura’s “American Conspiracies”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2014
Review of Jesse Ventura’s “American Conspiracies”
One verifiable fact I learned in the first few pages of Jesse Ventura's book American Conspiracies is that Ventura believes he's a hardcore, no-bullshit truth teller. He's bravely willing to stand up and tell it like it is, to cut through the lies, myths, and misinformation surrounding some of America's most cherished myths.

The Myth of “The Media”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 15, 2014
The Myth of “The Media”
Blaming “the media” is not only vague writing and lazy thinking, but it is also ineffective. Here's why.

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Did Television Introduce Anorexia to Fiji?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Did Elves Delay Road Construction in Iceland?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Lessons from The Central Park Five

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.4, Winter 2013–2014

Briefs Briefs

Truth and Myth Behind “Magic in the Moonlight”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 25, 2014
Truth and Myth Behind “Magic in the Moonlight”
 A look at some of the real-life events and characters that inspired the new Woody Allen film Magic in the Moonlight.

Acupuncturists Respond to Critics With Quiver of Fallacies

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 2, 2014
I recently wrote a piece titled "Acupuncture Can Spread Tuberculosis, Researchers Warn," which prompted many angry supporters of acupuncture to respond. Here's what they said. 

Evolution of the Conspiracy Theorist

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 13, 2014
The conspiracy theorist is, of course, not a new breed of human. All the basic psychological building blocks of conspiracy thinking are inherent in the human psyche, including distrust of authority, wanting "inside information," and real or imagined persecution-and, to be fair, often a dearth of critical thinking skills such as the ability (or desire) to separate anonymous rumor from established fact.

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The Mystery of the Texas Chupacabra

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (and Crow)

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Book Review

A review of Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 23.2, Summer 2013

Briefs Briefs

Amazing Spider-Man 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 10, 2014
Amazing Spider-Man 2
Like many teenage boys I was a fan of comic books, and my favorite superhero was Spider-Man... Sadly the film version leaves much to be desired. 

The Pseudoscience of Baby Gender Prediction

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 29, 2014
It's springtime and thoughts turn to romance and babies... And along with those thoughts are various superstitions about predicting the gender of those babies.

Haunted Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: ‘Oculus’  Film Review

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 14, 2014
Haunted Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: ‘Oculus’  Film Review
There is a long history of folklore and legends about magical mirrors, ranging from the Bloody Mary urban legends to the sycophantic mirror in Snow White to the centuries-old practice of covering mirrors in the room of a dying person lest either Death or the Devil be seen in them. The new horror film Oculus tells the story of a cursed mirror.

Charles Darwin, Skeptic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 31, 2014
Charles Darwin was much more than just a scientist and author; he was also a devoted family man and an explorer. Steeped in the ways of science, he was also a skeptic who demanded good evidence for extraordinary claims.

“Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 14, 2014
I recently got the following email with the subject line, "Question of Astral Projection of Non-Believer." 

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BMI Skeptics

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

Can Hair Turn White Overnight?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 3, 2014
For centuries, it has been widely believed that fright can turn hair white. They say that the hair of condemned prisoners (such as Thomas More and Marie Antoinette) turned white the night before their executions. They say that many people who have terrifying experiences with ghosts find that their hair has turned white as... snow. Of course, "they" say a lot of things.

The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 26, 2014
The Anatomy of False Accusations: A Skeptical Case Study
False accusations are of particular interest to skeptics because skepticism has often been at the forefront of giving voice to the wrongly accused. Here's a recent case study. 

The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 11, 2014

In some countries selling one’s organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. Part 2.  

The Ethics of Free-Market Kidneys, Part 1

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 4, 2014
In some countries selling one's organs is perfectly legal. In the United States, it is against the law, although many people have suggested that legalizing the trade would save lives and offer real social benefits. Others find it an ethically dubious proposition. A look at the ethics behind organ sales. 

Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 21, 2014
Conspiracy-Minded Response to a Skeptical Crop Circle Explanation
Earlier this month I wrote a piece about a mysterious 310-foot-diameter crop circle that appeared in a farmer's barley field in California. In response I got an interesting, conspiracy-laden two-page reply from a crop circle believer....

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