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Ben Radford

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Benjamin Radford 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 six books and over a thousand articles on skepticism, critical thinking, and science literacy. His newest book is The Martians Have Landed: A History of Media Panics and Hoaxes. Radford is also a columnist for Discovery News and LiveScience.com.

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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Paranormal Qualifications

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

Lessons From The Central Park Five: The Tragedy of False Accusations

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 2, 2014
Lessons From The Central Park Five: The Tragedy of False Accusations
In the newest installment of my occasional series Skeptical Cinema, I examine the recent documentary about false accusations and a miscarriage of justice in an infamous Central Park assault.

‘American Hustle’ Takes Dig at 1970s Cancer Alarmism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2013
‘American Hustle’ Takes Dig at 1970s Cancer Alarmism
The new Oscar-bait film American Hustle, about two con artists (played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who get caught up in a corruption scandal in the 1970, contains an explicit, skeptical reference to a health scare fad.

Colin Wilson: A Case Study in Mystery Mongering

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 13, 2013
Colin Wilson: A Case Study in Mystery Mongering
 A brief look at the late Colin Wilson's work illustrates how misinformation about paranormal topics is perpetuated, and skeptical information is systematically ignored.

Gardasil, Katie, Merck, and I

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 10, 2013
While Couric sifts through what remains of her journalistic credibility, I thought I'd share my brief HPV vaccine story. 

Skeptical Cinema: ‘Bug’ and folie a deux

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 3, 2013
Skeptical Cinema: ‘Bug’ and folie a deux
In most investigations two eyewitnesses are better than one. The 2006 horror film 'Bug' shows whay this is not always true. 

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Did Psychic Visions Locate Missing California Boy?

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

The Mystery and Investigation of the Moving Statue

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 22, 2013
 An ancient statue caught on camera turning in its locked display case in June 2013 unnerved many people, and it has been definitively debunked. More interesting, though, are the reactions to the solution. 

Secular Sacred Sites and Ghost Hunting

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 12, 2013
There is a natural and understandable human reverence for sacred and secular-sacred sites, but it can also lead away from critical thinking and skepticism. 

Thor: The Dark World

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 8, 2013
Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is a beautiful mess, a visually stunning film badly in need of a rewrite.

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Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Article

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Psychic Failure and the Boston Marathon Bombing

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

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The Biography of America’s Lake Monster

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Book Review

A review of The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster by Robert E. Bartholomew

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