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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.

Richard Feynman’s Lessons From a NASA Rocket Explosion-And Then Another

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 29, 2015
Richard Feynman’s Lessons From a NASA Rocket Explosion-And Then Another

Yet another space-bound rocket exploded over the weekend on its way to the Space Station, causing many to wonder what the problem is; Richard Feynman has the answer. 

Fortean Frog Falls: Facts and Fallacies

Skeptical Briefs Volume 24.4, Winter 2014/2015

Fortean Frog Falls: Facts and Fallacies

The most likely explanation for how small frogs get up into the sky in the first place is meteorological: a whirlwind, tornado, or other natural phenomenon.

A “Commandery” Ghost Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 19, 2015
A “Commandery” Ghost Story
In which I use the principle of Occam's Razor to deduce the identity of a mysterious ghost photo taken at a war museum

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A Skeptic’s Guide to Ethical and Effective Curse Removal

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.4, July/August 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Asmodeus, Stanley Fish, and the Fiction of Privacy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 4, 2015
Asmodeus, Stanley Fish, and the Fiction of Privacy
The subject of spying is so controversial because it violates, or seems to violate, the public's basic right to privacy. But the word privacy is often used glibly, with little discussion or understanding of what it is, why it's valuable, and what the consequences are for willingly giving up privacy. I argue that privacy is largely a fiction and a distinctly modern invention whose status as a sacrosanct pillar of human rights is suspect at best.

Mad Max: Fury Road review

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2015
Mad Max: Fury Road review
There were lots of reasons to think that Mad Max: Fury Road would never be made, starting with the fact that the last film featuring the character came out 30 years ago...

Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 24, 2015
Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him
Superstar TV personality Dr. Oz, after nearly a year of being criticized for promoting unproven "miracle" products and medical misinformation on his popular daytime TV show, has fired back at his critics.

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Texas Monsters and the Chupacabra

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.3, May/June 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Filmmaker Mike Celestino on Edgy Comedy and Pop Culture Skeptics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 13, 2015
Filmmaker Mike Celestino on Edgy Comedy and Pop Culture Skeptics
Los Angeles-based filmmaker Michael ("Mike") Celestino is a skeptic, film buff, and comedy fan. The bespectacled and slight bemused writer/director agreed to answer some questions about his recent projects, including his planned documentary "The Scully."

The Post Hoc Fallacy: Vaccine Fears and Roosevelt-Menacing Indians

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 6, 2015
I recently read Candice Miller's book The River of Doubt, about Theodore Roosevelt's 1914 exploration of an unknown river in the Brazilian Amazon. It's a fascinating story of adventure, misadventure, murder, and more. In the book I also found an excellent real-life example of one of my favorite logical fallacies: post hoc ergo propter hoc, also called faulty causation.

Playing Witch Doctor: Hidden Ethics in Skeptical Ghost Investigation

Skeptical Briefs Volume 24.3, Fall 2014

The drive from my apartment to the haunted house was about twenty minutes, but I found myself wishing it would take longer. I wanted more time to get a handle on what I was going to say, how I was going to tell the family that their house was not haunted by a demon or angry ghost.

A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation With a TV Producer

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 16, 2015
From the archives: A few years ago I posted this column about my experience with a TV producer and it turned out to be one of my more popular pieces, resonating with many skeptics and the public. It's just as relevant today...

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 4, 2015
Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview
Ian Harris is a LA-based comic who has performed at the Center For Inquiry and at CSI conferences, blending comedy and skepticism. He can also choke you unconscious. 

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The Skepticism of Clara Peller

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.2, March/April 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

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Skeptical Psychology between Two Covers

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.2, March/April 2015

Review

Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Beliefs & Experience by Christopher C. French and Anna Stone.

Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 24, 2015
Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’
Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information, such as the PBS series "Nova," turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 2 of 2. 

Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 18, 2015
Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’
Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 1 of 2. 

Sweet Science of Seduction or Scam? Evaluating eHarmony

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Article
Sweet Science of Seduction or Scam? Evaluating eHarmony

The popular online dating site eHarmony claims that its matching methods are both successful and scientific. But a closer look at the evidence suggests otherwise.

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Vegetable Oil or Snake Oil? The Pseudoscience of ‘Oil Pulling’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Reading, Writing, Math, and Panic in the Schools

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.6, November/December 2014

Review

A review of Mass Hysteria in Schools: A Worldwide History Since 1566 by Robert Bartholomew with Bob Rickard

14 Smart Questions for Caricaturist Celestia Ward

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 13, 2015
14 Smart Questions for Caricaturist Celestia Ward

In 2014 I attended a caricature conference in Reno, Nevada. Among a ballroom full of ridiculously talented artists from around the world I happened to meet Celestia Ward, a caricaturist who’s also a skeptic. Naturally, I had questions for her. 

Censorship and Free Speech: Did Sony Really Cancel The Interview?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 7, 2015
Censorship and Free Speech: Did Sony Really Cancel The Interview?

With the horrific massacre at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo yesterday—apparently by Muslim fundamentalists upset by the magazine’s satires of Mohammed—the subject of censorship and freedom of speech is everywhere. This is the second time in two months that free speech has been threatened by terrorism. Or is it?  

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The Cockington Church Ghost Photo

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 39.1, January/February 2015

Skeptical Inquiree

Into the Woods: Chaos, Folklore, and Misogyny

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 26, 2014
Into the Woods: Chaos, Folklore, and Misogyny
The new Disney film Into the Woods is a misigynistic, spectacular misfire. 

Dear Madelyn

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 23, 2014
Dear Madelyn
When the public, and especially schoolkids, contact me for help and information about skeptical topics, I try to respond. Here's why. 

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

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 38.5, September/October 2014

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

A much-hyped two-hour Discovery Channel “documentary” delved into a decades-old pseudo-mystery known as the Dyatlov Pass incident in which nine Russian skiers died under unclear circumstances in the Ural Mountains.

Little Lies and Big Truths

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
December 4, 2014
Little Lies and Big Truths
A widely-circulated map about Ebola in Africa was less than accurate, and that's a problem.

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.

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.

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