Acclaimed Harvard psychologist and best-selling author Steven Pinker was interviewed by Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney in a rare live edition of Point of Inquiry, the flagship podcast of our Center for Inquiry. Here is the majority of that interview.
The ‘Psychology Is Science, Not Witchcraft’ Campaign
News and Comment
Do You Believe That? Poll Zeroes in on Conspiracy Beliefs/Goat Sacrificed for Chicago Cubs Curse/Sylvia Browne Blunders Again, Telling Mother of Kidnap Victim Amanda Barry She Was Dead/British Businessman Sentenced in Bogus ‘Bomb Detector’ Scam
Bringing Bayes into Predictions
A review of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—but Some Don’t by Nate Silver
Exposing Pseudoastronomy with Stuart Robbins
Nurturing Non-Science: Startling Concepts in the Education of Physicians
Climate Change Denial in the Classroom
No News Is Good News, but Bad News Is Deadly
A review of The Martians Have Landed!: A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes by Robert E. Bartholomew and Benjamin Radford
The Elberfeld Horses
Understanding Believers’ Cognitive Dissonance
Closing the Book on ‘Open-Mindedness’
May 9, 2013
I became the “skeptic” member of the local Bigfoot group almost by chance. I owe the offer to join to the reality TV show “Finding Bigfoot” (they never actually do). The show, featuring perennial Bigfoot personality Matt Moneymaker, has a skeptic, Ranae Holland.
May 6, 2013
Every day in Indonesia you will hear or see psychics, paranormalists, parapsychologists, and pseudoscientists spreading, scaring, and scamming the nation with irrational beliefs and pseudoscience through the media. You will be able to see them planting thoughts into peoples’ heads so that they can offer solutions and take people's money.
Cognitive science research on belief in the 2012 “apocalypse” demonstrates that dissociative processes contribute directly to this belief through reduction of the “feature-intensive” cognitive processing that would engender appropriate skepticism.
Appeals to righteous indignation or sanctity—which attempt to shield ideas from contemplation, discussion, investigation, or criticism—are common, impede rational discourse, and should be recognized as logical fallacies.
Mystics, Mycobacterium, and the Gospel of Matthew
The Math Behind the Myths
Paul Kurtz and the Virtue of Skepticism
The Return of Repressed-Memory Satanic Ritual Stories
A review of Twenty-Two Faces by Judy Byington.
End of the World Looms According to Maya’s Calendar
January 17, 2013
When I became a senior in high school, I finally recognized that no one had launched a repeal of the LSEA and no one was going to. For my high school senior project, I decided I had to stand up and take on creationism in Louisiana. I partnered with Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who has now sponsored two bills to repeal the LSEA.
There we sat, listening, scanning, searching, and adjusting. While Alec worked with the equipment, I kept a watchful eye for anyone who might interfere. The time dragged. Now the service inside the auditorium was about to start; we had searched for more than an hour, and we still hadn't found what we were looking for.
A Golden Age of Harmony? Misrepresenting Science and History in the 1001 Inventions Exhibit
The Higgs Boson and the Future of Physics
Four Realms of Inquiry
A review of Handling Truth by William Gardner.
Can Carry-On Explosives Bring Down an Airliner?
Nighthawks State of Mind
Confirmation Bias and Art