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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.

BMI and the Argument from Antiquity Fallacy

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 26, 2013

Is pointing out that a medical procedure has been used by doctors for 150 years an example of a logical fallacy? Maybe, or maybe not…

Why Parents Don’t Vaccinate Their Children—And What We Can Do

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
August 2, 2013

There are several reasons why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children, though most of them come down to misinformation from anti-vaccine advocates. With the recent addition of Jenny McCarthy to the popular ABC television show The View, many people are wondering what effect, if any, this will have on vaccination rates. However there are some strategies than can fight the misinformation.

 

Sandy Hook School Shooting: The Adam Lanza Death Certificate Conspiracy

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.3, May/June 2013

Skeptical Inquiree
Sandy Hook School Shooting: The Adam Lanza Death Certificate Conspiracy

"Is there any chance you could put my mind at ease and explain why the Social Security Death Index would list [Sandy Hook shooter] Adam Lanza as having died on December 13, 2012, the day before the Sandy Hook shooting?"

The New ‘Best Case’ For Psychics: Did ‘Intuitive Visions’ Locate Missing Boy?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
July 14, 2013
The remarkable case of a missing California boy whose body was apparently located by a psychic is making headlines across the country as the 'best case' for psychics. But is it? 

How I Covered the Bangladesh Toilet Ghost Hysteria Story

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 26, 2013
I'm sometimes asked how my articles and columns come about; here's one recent example, about a ghost-haunted toilet in a South Asian factory.

Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

Online Extras
June 20, 2013
Investigating Plagiarism in New Age Books

I recently uncovered rampant plagiarism in a HarperCollins title The Element Encyclopedia of Vampires: An A–Z of the Undead, “written” (more accurately “cut-and-pasted-from-the-Internet”) by Theresa Cheung.

Tracking the Chupacabra: The Wikipedia Page!

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 20, 2013
Tracking the Chupacabra: The Wikipedia Page!
My book solving the chupacabra mystery now has its own Wikipedia page!

Participating in a Brazilian Panel on Science Journalism and Skepticism

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
June 5, 2013
Participating in a Brazilian Panel on Science Journalism and Skepticism
Last July I was invited to São Paulo, Brazil, to speak on a panel about skepticism and the state of science journalism sponsored by Folha do Sao Paulo, the city's largest newspaper.

Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau Recycles ‘The Secret’

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 30, 2013
Kevin Trudeau, convicted felon and infomercial king, has made millions claiming to reveal important medical and dietary information kept secret by a conspiracy between the medical establishment and big drug companies. His most recent venture rips off the New Age best-seller The Secret.

Love Labyrinths

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 22, 2013
Love Labyrinths
A friend of mine is getting married next weekend and she wants to have the ceremony in a labyrinth. She asked me to write a short piece about a love labyrinth...

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Lessons from a Denver Fly

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.2, March/April 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

My Prediction of the Cleveland Abduction Situation, and the Tragic Failure of Psychics

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 9, 2013

In 2009 I predicted the recent Cleveland abduction situation, or one very much like it. 

Skeptical Commentary Following Tragedy: Exploitation or Education?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
May 8, 2013
Recent tragedies such as the Boston marathon bombing and the horrific case of three women rescued in Cleveland brought skeptical commentary highlighting the failure of psychics. However some people feel that skeptics should not comment on such events because it smacks of exploitation.

The Biography of America’s Lake Monster

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 25, 2013
The Biography of America’s Lake Monster
A review of The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America's Loch Ness Monster, by Bob Bartholomew. 

Trance: Trainwreck from a Trainspotting Director

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 14, 2013
Trance: Trainwreck from a Trainspotting Director

Trance is not inherently a bad movie; it’s just one of those movies where the longer it went on, the less I cared who lived, who died, or whether anyone found that damned painting. 

 

 

The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story   Part 2 of 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
April 2, 2013
What should the scope of skepticism be? There are countless causes I support, including environmentalism, feminism, animal protection, social justice, exposing hypocrisy, science communication, media literacy, and others. But I rarely tackle these issues under the banner of skepticism. Here's why.

The Scope of Skeptical Activism: A Personal Story Part 1 of 2

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 13, 2013
I'm best known for my skeptical investigations and research into paranormal subjects. It's not surprising that people tend to focus on that, since those are weird, sensational claims, but that's only a small part of my work. Here's a look at the broader scope of skeptical activism from my personal perspective.

Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 8, 2013
Film review: Oz the Great and Powerful
At a reported cost of $200 million to make, Oz the Great and Powerful is a much better exercise in direction and production design than screenwriting. 

Noah Nez, The Native Skeptic

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
March 5, 2013
Noah Nez, The Native Skeptic
I first heard about the Native Skeptic from Desiree Schell, the host of the Skeptically Speaking podcast. She mentioned a writer named Noah Nez who blogged about skepticism within the Native American community. He's been a columnist for the Skeptical Briefs ever since. 

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The Mysterious Bee Deaths

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 37.1, January/February 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

Being ‘Over It’-And the Lack of Charity

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 19, 2013
On being "Over It," and the lack of charity in discourse. 

‘Over It’ Follow-Up: Why Would Anyone Criticize an Anti-Rape Poem?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 18, 2013
Feminist activist Eve Ensler wrote a poem saying that she was "over rape" as part of an effort to stop physical and sexual abuse of women. I agreed with much of it, and wrote my own poem based on hers. We have both recently been criticized for it. 

Over It.

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 15, 2013
On Valentine's Day, feminist activist Eve Ensler asked women around the world to dance in an effort to stop sexual and physical violence against women in an event she called One Billion Rising. How big is the problem, and will it do any good? 

The Wisdom of Not Understanding

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.3, Fall 2012

The Wisdom of Not Understanding

When people don’t understand something they are told, there are three possibilities or root causes.

Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
February 1, 2013
Did Joseph Smith Predict Doomsday?
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, said in 1835 that he had spoken to God recently, and during their conversation he learned that Jesus would return within the next 56 years, after which the End Times would begin promptly. Many Mormons have taken exception to this claim; who's right? 

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Briefs Briefs

Skeptical Briefs Volume 22.3, Fall 2012

Briefs Briefs

Near-Death Experience Expert Arrested in Daughter’s Torture / Conspiracy Theorists See UFO over Antarctica / NOAA Denies Existence of Mermaids

The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (And Crow)

January 18, 2013
The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (And Crow)

A review of Science & Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics, by Chris Carter.

Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 15, 2013
Tripping on the Trebuchet: An Interview with George Hrab

 Not long ago, when George Hrab's latest CD Trebuchet came out, I sat down (not actually, literally, or even metaphorically) and asked him about his music and skeptical influences. And, really, things I probably shouldn't have asked, but there you go. And here you go. 

Trigger Warnings: Public Service or Fallacious Fad?

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 6, 2013

Proponents and critics of "trigger warnings" (warnings placed before discussions and descriptions of potentially traumatic events in articles and blogs) have argued that the warnings are either important, useless, a cynical attempt to get readers, infantilizing, considerate, ridiculous, and everything in between. There seems to be little real research into the validity and utility of trigger warnings; for those who wish to take an analytical look at the topic, here's a place to start. 

Questioning a Local Landmark

Free Thinking (centerforinquiry.net)
January 2, 2013
Questioning a Local Landmark
In my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the top tourist attractions is the Sandia Peak Tramway, "the world's longest." But is it? 

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