We present a condensed version of an earlier interview about Ann Druyan’s experience with the first and the new Cosmos series by Josh Zepps for our Center for Inquiry’s Point of Inquiry podcast.
Although unfamiliar to many skeptics, rhetorical analysis can provide a useful complement to the traditional critical thinking approaches that comprise the “skeptic’s toolbox.”
A brief guide to a popular alternative system of remedies based on a nineteenth-century concept that has no scientific validity.
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.
In October 2013, led by a professional guide, I visited Mount Rainier and its vicinity, the locale of numerous alleged sightings, track discoveries, and photographs of the elusive creature.
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.
You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself by David McRaney
Encounter in Rendlesham Forest: The Inside Story of the World’s Best-Documented UFO Incident by Nick Pope
God Bless America! Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States by Karen Stollznow
The widespread assertion that the world would be better off without religion is a reasonable hypothesis. Yet data suggest that skeptics should attach no more than a modest level of probability to it.
The medical ethics principle of autonomy justifies letting competent adults reject lifesaving medical care for themselves because of their religious beliefs, but it does not extend to rejecting medical care for children.
The modern practice of witch hunting in India includes violence and beliefs that have led to the torture and murder of alleged witches. State governments and rationalist groups are trying to address the problem but face big obstacles.
If religious believers had a better understanding of scientific methodology and nonbelievers had a better understanding of its parallels with religion, they could have more meaningful discussions with each other.
It is for a literary endeavor, perhaps no less valuable than his scientific work, that Dr. Paul Offit is the 2013 recipient of the Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking.
Here we look at a few of the unusual incidents that some have called “miraculous,” although none has been accepted as such by the Catholic Church.
Like many public controversies, the debate can be better informed by scientific evidence; however, there is no legitimate scientific controversy over the safety of GMOs.
In continuing our discussion on “mystery” paintings from the past: a special place is held by paintings that are said to hold hidden meanings—especially when they do.
Mount Rainier isn’t just where seminal UFO figure Kenneth Arnold saw “flying saucers” in 1947; the majestic mountain actually plays a more direct role in saucerology.
A study of federal funding advancing naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and energy healing as acceptable medical protocols finds troubling misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Bill Nye gives his own first-person view of this much-watched and much-discussed debate, the circumstances surrounding it, his preparations and strategy, and the reasons he decided to take part.
The rational part of my mind recognized almost immediately thereafter that the identification I had come up with was nonsensical. But was it?
Sparking an international media frenzy, a house in Gary, Indiana, was—according to two unnamed “clairvoyants”—besieged by over 200 demons.
Fear is a powerful emotion with clear protective functions. However, fear is not always adaptive.
A review of Intelligently Designed: How Creationists Built the Campaign against Evolution, by Edward Caudill.
A review of The Believer’s Brain, by Kenneth M. Heilman and Russell S. Donda
A review of Inside the Real Area 51: The Secret History of Wright Patterson, by Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt.
The Houston doctor Stanislaw Burzynski has been using an unproven cancer cure, “antineoplastons,” for decades, but despite its lack of proven anticancer activity, he has still not been shut down. Here is a primer for skeptics on his career and claims.
A group of skeptical activists has been aggressively investigating and challenging the false claims of the Burzynski clinic and its dubious cancer treatments, presenting reliable information about them online. They even raised funds for a legitimate research hospital.
Skeptics, Humanists Come Together in Tacoma in First Joint Conference: Skepticism, Humanism, or Both?
Back from the CFI Summit, I am completely impressed. Not only was there no obvious twerking, but there was no drama, and in our tight little community of scientific skeptics that is a wonderful thing.
Here are the remarks by CFI President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay at the CFI Summit in Tacoma presenting the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Eugenie C. Scott.
The 2013 scary movie The Conjuring was very loosely based on the story of Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five daughters who moved into a “haunted” Rhode Island farmhouse in January 1971. There, hysteria soon reigned, the flames of which were fanned by the infamous paranormal “investigators” Ed and Lorraine Warren.
A review of Think: Why You Should Question Everything, by Guy P. Harrison.
A review of The Turbulent Universe by Paul Kurtz
A review of Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future by Donald R. Prothero
A review of Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter
A Review of Studies on the Moon and Human Behavior and Lunar Beliefs
The works published under the name Harun Yahya promote “Islamic creationism.” A closer look at their internal logic reveals that their appeal lies in their capacity to mimic science.
Dean Radin’s new book claims that the scientific evidence for supernormal human abilities is now overwhelming. Radin relies upon meta-analyses and misrepresentations of published results to produce outlandish confidence numbers that work against the very belief he is trying to foster.
Demonology is one of the most misused terms in English, particularly by those relating the phrase to the occult. But what is it?
My experience suggests a contrarian view on the climate change debate that may be worth sharing with my fellow skeptics, including those of you skeptical of climate science.
Sweden is the home of a large and vibrant skeptics group and was the able host of the 2013 European Skeptics Congress, August 23–25, in Stockholm.
Called “America’s best-known poltergeist case,” Tennessee’s sensational “Bell Witch” affair of ca. 1817–1821 has gone unexplained, it is said, for two centuries.
The demarcation problem is a serious one because science has extraordinary social cachet and commands huge sums of public financing, as well as because pseudoscience maims and even kills people.
The evil eye is a lucrative business for many psychics and charlatans. However, the risks run by those who decide to rely on these frauds are often much worse than just a bloodletting to their pocketbooks.
A review of Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine by Mario Bunge
A review of Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett
A review of Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind by Brian Clegg
A review of The Alien Abduction Files by Kathleen Marden and Denise Stone
A review of The Unexplained Files on The Science Channel
Neuroscience and its new brain imaging tools are great achievements of modern science. But they are vulnerable to being oversold by the media, some overzealous scientists, and neuroentrepreneurs.
Our difficulty accepting evolution isn’t just because some religions oppose it or that it is complicated—it isn’t. The problem may be a result of how our minds work.
What did he see? The missing piece of the puzzle in a strange ‘UFO’ case involving the crash of a young pilot off Australia has been identified.
The story of the Jersey Devil has become layered with myths and variations, obscuring the original events that gave rise to it. Not surprising considering the story comes from colonial-era political intrigue, Quaker religious infighting, and a future Founding Father.
I want to give some brief historical perspective about the skeptical movement, take a look at some new trends, and revisit a theme I’ve emphasized before, reminding ourselves why we do this: the higher values of skeptical inquiry.
While the evidence they provide is scientifically debated, some tools such as audio recorders have become popular mainstays of the paranormal investigator.
I knew that it was possible to create all manner of digital UFOs in photographs. What I did not realize was just how easy it has become.