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Benjamin 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, co-author, contributor, or editor of twenty 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.

Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 22, 2016
Unco Junto:  The Nature and Appeal of Authenticity

Much of Donald Trump’s appeal is based upon his percieved authenticity, as it is for many actors, writers, musicians, and performers. We all play different roles for different people, so what is “authenticity,” why is it prized, and is it even possible? 

A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 14, 2016
A Skeptical Look at ‘Doctor Strange’

‘Doctor Strange’ is a good superhero film, but I winced a bit when Strange, the symbolic man of medicine, rationality, and science, is beguiled by his new master.

On Trump

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
November 9, 2016
On Trump

A few notes and corrections about Trump’s election, in the hopes I may offer some insight, if not reassurance.

5 Halloween Scares and Legends: Facts vs. Fiction

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 28, 2016
5 Halloween Scares and Legends: Facts vs. Fiction

Halloween is just around the corner, and amid the make-believe witches, ghouls, and goblins, there are supposedly real-life villains who hope to harm on children October 31. But are they real or myth? Here are five scary myths and legends about the spookiest holiday

 

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A Glimpse Backward—and Forward—at Skepticism’s Big Tent

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Feature

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‘M’ Is for Mysterious Marks

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.6, November/December 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

‘Batman’ Vs. Creepy Clown Panics: What Drives Copycats?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 20, 2016
‘Batman’ Vs. Creepy Clown Panics: What Drives Copycats?

Why would people dress up as clowns to scare people, and falsely report having seen a stalker clown when they didn’t?

Why Trump’s Voter Fraud Conspiracy Matters

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
October 12, 2016
Why Trump’s Voter Fraud Conspiracy Matters

Trump has trafficked in many conspiracy theories for years, but this latest is different. Here’s why.

Alabama School Panic: Is ‘Clown Lockdown’ the New Normal?

Special Report
September 22, 2016
Alabama School Panic: Is ‘Clown Lockdown’ the New Normal?

Any other time reports of threatening clowns would likely have been ignored or dismissed, but these copycat clown incidents come at a time when very real terroristic threats and school shootings are in the news.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 20, 2016
Privacy, Surveillance, and Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

Stone’s films convey his bluster and moral outrage, but often stop just short of really offering a sincere or nuanced discussion of his controversial topics, and ‘Snowden’ is like a civics teacher who can’t or won’t tackle alternate viewpoints or answer questions that might challenge the textbook’s conventional wisdom.

Pseudorelatos sobre el chupacabras

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.1, January/February 2016

Online Extra
Pseudorelatos sobre el chupacabras

La mayoría de la gente da por sentado que el chupacabras, como sus hermanos Piegrande y Nessie, apareció hace décadas o siglos. Sin embargo, el origen de este misterioso vampiro bestial se remonta a un testigo portorriqueño que vio la película Species en 1995, en la que aparecía un monstruo casi idéntico.

Pastor’s Anthem Enforcement Threat Goes Viral-But Is It Real?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 15, 2016
Pastor’s Anthem Enforcement Threat Goes Viral-But Is It Real?

An Alabama pastor allegedly told a high school football game crowd that people who don’t stand for the national anthem should be killed, according to news reports. But there’s more to the story.

Unco Junto: Offense by Proxy and the Moral Right to Indignation

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
September 8, 2016
Unco Junto: Offense by Proxy and the Moral Right to Indignation

It’s one thing to be offended as the target of an objectionable action or insult, but what about being offended on behalf of others?

Head-Desking HeadOn!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 31, 2016
Head-Desking HeadOn!

A closer look at HeadOn, a waxy homeopathic paste claimed in commercials to relieve headaches.

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Playing to an Empty Room: Ghost Hunting and ‘Singapore Theory’

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.5, September/October 2016

Skeptical Inquiree

“Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 12, 2016
“Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?”



The other day I saw an alarming headline: “Hillary’s White House Dreams Shattered?” Aghast that Clinton’s campaign was in such serious jeopardy, and I began reading the piece, by K. O’Donnell of the Health Sciences Institute. It did strike me as odd that someone from a health sciences institute would be reporting on politics, but nonetheless, the details that O’Donnell offered were alarming. 

Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?

Skeptical Briefs Volume 26.1, Spring 2016

My inclusion of Joseph Smith as a failed doomsday prophet was not intended to disparage the Mormon faith but instead a historical fact based on Smith’s own writings.

The Great New Mexico Elk Murder Conspiracy

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.4, Winter 2015/16

The Great New Mexico Elk Murder Conspiracy

Livestock deaths, by themselves, are not unusual—there are many things that can fell large animals in our desert climes, including predators, poachers, a natural or man-made toxin, disease, drought, heat, starvation, and even lightning.

Unco Junto-  Art’s Obligation to Truth: The Case of ‘Wild Thing’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 8, 2016
Unco Junto-   Art’s Obligation to Truth: The Case of ‘Wild Thing’

A controversial poem about a controversial racial attack in New York City turned out to be wrong. Does art (or poetry specifically) have an obligation to truth? 

Jason Bourne Is Back

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 29, 2016
Jason Bourne Is Back

Jason Bourne reunites Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass about a decade after their film The Bourne Supremacy. By this time they’re both old pros, which is both good and bad: good because the learning curve is behind them and bad because they seem on autopilot for Jason Bourne, and the end result isn’t so much bad as it is stale.

Three Dowsing Questions Answered

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 25, 2016
Three Dowsing Questions Answered

A brief and skeptical look at dowsing, including why an oil company wasted $7 billion in a fruitless search for oil when a dowser could presumably have located it (or not) for a few thousand dollars. 

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Egging the Equator

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 40.4, July/August 2016

Skeptical Inquiree
Egging the Equator

So it was that I spent several long minutes trying to balance the same egg on the same stake and nail.

Unco Junto: Should Skeptics Be Paid for TV Work?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 6, 2016

I’ve been doing investigations and appearing on TV shows for well over a decade, but an unresolved issue plagues skepticism: Should experts should ask (or demand) to be paid for appearing on TV shows beyond expenses? It’s a bit of a tricky issue. I and four contributors discuss the topic.

Levitation Claims: An Interview with Michael Grosso

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 29, 2016
Levitation Claims: An Interview with Michael Grosso

Can people levitate? Michael Grosso, author of The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation, thinks so. I’m… skeptical. 

A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 21, 2016
A Skeptical Look at “The Conjuring 2”

A skeptical look at the new horror film “The Conjuring 2,” ripped from the “real life” case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

Skeptical Briefs Volume 25.3, Fall 2015

Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

A standup comic doing explicitly skeptical material on a regular basis as part of his act is unusual.

Unco Junto: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 2, 2016
Unco Junto: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

This month’s question: Is There a Right to Anonymity, or an Obligation to Preserve It?

Reply to a Cell Phone Story Complaint

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 27, 2016
Reply to a Cell Phone Story Complaint

I recently got an e-mail from a Skeptical Inquirer reader who wrote to complain about a short item I’d written on cell phone dangers. 

Catching Up With Itinerant Feminist Organizer Shelby Knox

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 18, 2016
Catching Up With Itinerant Feminist Organizer Shelby Knox

A decade after I first interviewed feminist, education activist, and documentary subject Shelby Knox about her work I caught up with her for an update on her life and work.

Amy Schumer, the “Trainwreck” Shooting, and the Benefits of Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 12, 2016
Amy Schumer, the “Trainwreck” Shooting, and the Benefits of Skepticism

Amy Schumer blames herself for inspiring a shooting at her film Trainwreck, but there’s no reason she should. 

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