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Skeptical Inquirer — News & Comment

Three Days of Science and Skepticism in Stockholm

Three Days of Science and Skepticism in Stockholm

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

News & Comment

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.

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News and Comment

by Kendrick Frazier / Benjamin Radford
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

News & 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

Failure to Replicate Results of Bem Parapsychology Experiments Published by Same Journal

Failure to Replicate Results of Bem Parapsychology Experiments Published by Same Journal

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 37.2, March/April 2013

News & Comment

Experiments attempting to replicate Bem’s results were quickly conducted at various universities, but none were accepted for publication by Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Now the journal has had an apparent change of heart.

CSI’s Balles Prize Goes to Richard Wiseman for Paranormality

CSI’s Balles Prize Goes to Richard Wiseman for Paranormality

by Barry Karr
Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

News & Comment

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) will award its 2011 Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Think­ing to psychologist Richard Wiseman for his book Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There.

Sixth World Skeptics Congress–Berlin 2012

Sixth World Skeptics Congress–Berlin 2012

by Kylie Sturgess
Volume 36.5, September/October 2012

News & Comment

The conference, held in Berlin from May 18–20, 2012, was a lively mixed gathering of people with a great number of countries represented both on the stage and in the audience.

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Cryptozoology Museum Opens in Maine

by Ben Radford
Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

Fans of Bigfoot, Ogopopo, the chupacabra, and other "mystery creatures" will finally have a place to see their favorite beasts—albeit in absentia.

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Latest Texas ‘Chupacabra’ Exhibited in Creationist Museum

by Ben Radford
Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

In August 2009 a man in the small town of Blanco, Texas, heard something attacking chickens in his cousin's barn.

Norm Levitt: An Obituary

by Jay M. Pasachoff
Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

Norman Levitt, a major figure in combating pseudoscience and pseudoknowledge, died at the age of 66 on October 24.

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Notes on the News: Deception, Notoriety, and Credulity in Our Infotainment Age

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 34.1, January / February 2010

News & Comment

The media frenzy about a homemade balloon launch supposedly carrying a Fort Collins, Colorado, family's six-year old son into the sky and the resulting...

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CSI Launches New Web Site

by Timothy Binga
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) is proud to announce a new design and enhancements to its Web site, www.csicop.org.

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Dinosaur Adventure Land Facing Possible IRS Seizure

by Greg Martinez
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

Flamboyant creationist Kent Hovind's seventeen-year dispute with the Internal Revenue Service is finally reaching its end...

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John A. Keel, Mothman Writer, Paranormalist Trickster (1930-2009)

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

Noted paranormalist author John Alva Keel, best known to the public for his Mothman writings, died of a heart condition...

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Moon Hoax Resolved: New Lunar Orbiter Images Show Moon Landers, Astronauts’ Tracks

by David Morrison
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

Did NASA fake the landings on the Moon? This has been one of the most consistent (and outrageous) conspiracy myths of our day.

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Nigerian Scam Mastermind Sentenced in Australia

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

We've all seen the e-mails from Nigeria insisting wealth can be ours if we help the writer get his money out of the country.

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Pew/AAAS Poll: Public Likes Science but Still Disagrees with Scientists on Controversial Issues

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

The public continues to like science and value scientists, but a new poll shows considerable gaps between how scientists...

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Psychic Exploits Horrific Abduction Case

by Ben Radford
Volume 33.6, November / December 2009

News & Comment

In 1991, a young girl named Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped on her way to school. No one knew the girl's fate for eighteen years...

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Leadership Changes at the Center for Inquiry

by The Editors
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

Changes in the leadership at the Center for Inquiry, including the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, were announced at the end...

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New Champ Lake Monster Video Surfaces

by Ben Radford
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

In May, new video footage of Champ, the monster said to inhabit Vermont's Lake Champlain, was release on YouTube...

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The Questionable Research of Hans Holzer, Dean of Ghost Hunters (1920-2009)

by Joe Nickell
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

During the second half of the twentieth "Dr." Hans Holzer, a self-styled parapsychologist who died April 2, 2009, at the age...

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Skeptic’s Web Site Becomes Advertising for Psychic Business

by Ryan Shaffer
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

In October, a Hollywood-based Web site selling psychic consultations and other products acquired a notable skeptic's Web site...

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Third Annual IIG Awards: Mythbusters and Nickell Honored, Ben Stein Lampooned.

by Owen Hammer
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

On May 18, 2009, the Independent Investigations Group--the premier paranormal investigations teram on the West Coast...

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What’s New? Observations on Science and Fringe Science from Bob Park

by Robert L. Park
Volume 33.5, September / October 2009

News & Comment

Recap of recent news items by the author.

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Borneo’s River Monster Photo: Living Legend or Hoax?

by Ben Radford
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

In February, two photographs of a huge snake-like creature allegedly taken in Borneo made international news.

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Crystal Balls in Chains

by Donna Danford
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

Fortune teller Janet Adams preyed on the fears of an elderly San Mateo, California woman to the tune of more than $80,000.

CSI’s Balles Prize Goes to Physicist/Author Leonard Mlodinow

by Barry Karr
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

CSI has awarded its Annual Prize to Mlodinow for his book The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives.

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CSI Solves New Jersey UFO Mystery

by Ben Radford
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

Strange, bright red lights appeared over Morris County, New Jersey, on January 5, 2009. They were first noticed in the night...

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John Maddox, Longtime Nature Editor and CSI Fellow, Dies

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

John Maddox, a pivotal figure in the world scientific community as twice editor of the esteemed scientific journal...

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Michael Dennet, Skeptic and Bigfoot Investigator, Dies

by The Editors
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

Michael Dennett, who headed the Seattle area skeptics group Society for Sensible Explanations, died May 2, 2009.

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Nonreligious Portion of U.S. Population Growing, Survey Finds

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

What many secularists have long been contending--that their numbers are growing, and have consistently been underestimated...

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On the Moon

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

There is nothing like new facts to add some excitement to supposedly established theories.

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A Tribute to Jerry Andrus—Magician, Creator of Master Illusions

by Ray Hyman
Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

News & Comment

Jerry Andrus--master magician and creator of innovative illusions--died peacefully August 26, 2007.

Autism-Vaccine Link Researcher Andrew Wakefield Accused of Faking His Data

by Steven Novella
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Andrew Wakefield, the researcher who in 1998 sparked the public controversy over whether the MMR vaccine is linked to autism...

CFI/Los Angeles Celebrates Darwin’s 200th Birthday with Readings, Plays, Lecture

by Jim Underdown and Bob Ladendorf
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

More than 300 Southern Californians celebrated the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin at CFI Los Angeles...

A Modern Witch Craze in Papua New Guinea

by Karen Stollznow
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Newspapers internationally reported a recent spate of witchcraft-related murders in rural Papua New Guinea.

More Studies Reject Vaccine-Autism Link

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

As if more scientific support was needed, a new review of the evidence has again shown no link between vaccines and autism.

Remembering Henry Gordon, Magician, Skeptic, Debunker

by Justin Trottier
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Kemo Kimo Merinickel Pumpernickel. Henry Gordon invented this phrase to use as an incantation in his magic...

Report Knocks Baylor Claim about American Religiosity

by The Editors
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

The Council for Secular Humanism made some headlines in February with a report released to the national media...

Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice

Science and Pseudoscience in Adult Nutrition Research and Practice

by Reynold Spector
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Human nutrition research and practice is plagued by pseudoscience and unsupported opinions.

Scientists Hail Gallo’s ‘Unsung’ Role in Nobel HIV/AIDS Discovery

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

When the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to two French virologists for discovering and identifying the HIV virus...

Selective Memory at Work When Patients ‘Predict’ Own Death

by Terence Hines
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Can patients predict their own deaths using some fancy type of "insight" that is more accurate than the expertise of physicians?

Spanish Skeptics Magazine Pensar Suspends Publication

by The Editors
Volume 33.3, May / June 2009

News & Comment

Pensar, the Spanish-language skeptics magazine launched in 2004, has suspended publication as of 2009.

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Dutch, Belgian Creationist Groups Unite to Bring Anti-Evolution Message to Six Million

by Stefaan Blancke
Volume 33.2, March / April 2009

News & Comment

The upcoming year-long celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday (February 12, 2009) is causing a lot of excitement...

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Judge Jones and the Science/Religion Debate at Ohio State

by Kenneth Nichols
Volume 33.2, March / April 2009

News & Comment

In the course of her teaching career, Susan Fisher has had to cope with a serious problem that often hindered her ability to...

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Six Common Medical Myths that Gain Wide Attention

by The Editors
Volume 33.2, March / April 2009

News & Comment

In a study published in the December 2008 issue of the British Medical Journal two health researchers at...

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UFOs by the Numbers

by The Editors
Volume 33.2, March / April 2009

News & Comment

Opinion polls about UFOs are always dissatisfying to science-oriented people because they usually ask about belief rather...

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Discovery of HIV Nets 2008 Nobel Prize for Two French Virologists

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

The discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been honored with a share of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology...

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FTC Warns Against Bogus Cancer Cures, Charges Five Companies

by The Editors
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

The Federal Trade Commission has charged five companies with making false and misleading claims for cancer cures and said...

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Kansas Gym Ghost Video Mystery Solved

by Ben Radford
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

On September 12, 2008, a surveillance video captured what many believed to be a ghost. The video was taken at Anytime Fitness...

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Sid the Science Kid: Meet Bill Nye for the Preschool Set

by Julia Lavarnway
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

Geared toward preschoolers, PBS Kids's new animated show, Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid debuted in September...

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Skeptics Create Creepy Café

by Jim Underdown
Volume 33.1, January / February 2009

News & Comment

One shouldn't be surprised to heat at a pre-Halloween gathering in Hollywood California, several people testifying about...

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Asteroids Named for Skeptics, Authors, Science Educators

by Jeff Medkeff
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

Asteroids named for P.Z. Myers, Philip Plait, Michael Stackpole and Rebecca Watson.

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Firebombings Target University Animal Researchers

by The Editors
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

Fire bombings against biomedical researchers were called acts of domestic terrorism and attributed to animal rights extremists.

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Georgia Bigfoot Hoax Draws Global Attention

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

In early August, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer claimed to have found in the woods of Georgia something never known to exist.

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Jon Beckjord, Advocate of a Paranormal Bigfoot (1939-2008)

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

Jon Erik Beckjord, well known as a paranormal investigator focusing on Bigfoot, died July 22 from prostate cancer.

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Mickelson, McKellar Tout Science, Math, and Being Smart

by Edzard Ernst
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

Kudos to two prominent celebrities who are championing science and math education and the virtues of being smart.

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Nocturnal Lights and Sounds Baffle Maryland Town…for Awhile

by Bill Vanderlinde
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

For more than two years, residents of Pikesville, Maryland, have been startled awake by bright flashes and loud explosions.

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Purdue Panel Finds Scientific Misconduct in Researcher’s Bubble Fusion Reports

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

A Purdue University panel has found a researcher guilty of scientific misconduct in a case of bubble, or desktop, fusion.

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Where’s the Responsibility? UK Broadcasting Code Prevents Re-Airing Psychic’s Failure

by Ryan Shaffer
Volume 32.6, November / December 2008

News & Comment

In all of these television shows, not once has any psychic ability been demonstrated in a double-blind test.

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The Amazing Randi Strikes Again

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

The Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas was the site of the sixth Amaz!ng Meeting, James Randi's more-or-less annual...

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CSI’s Robert P. Balles Award Goes to New York Times Science Writer Natalie Angier

by Nathan Bupp
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

CSI presents its third Balles award to Angier for The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

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Finally, Sylvia Browne’s Final Tour

by Karen Stollznow
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

Visitors to Salt Lake City usually make the pilgrimage to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...

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Hoax Led to Polygamist Sect Raid

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

False reports can have serious consequences. Time and resources spent on hoaxers and liars are diverted from real crime victims.

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No Safe Level? Science and Seconhand Smoke

by David Appell
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

Are the dangers of secondhand smoke being exaggerated by anti-smoking groups?

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Psychic’s False Sex Abuse Claim Threatens Family

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.5, September / October 2008

News & Comment

Psychics are wrong about things all the time; that's no news to our regular readers...

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AGU Reverses Position on Climate Change

by The Editors
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

The American Geophysical Union, the world's largest scientific organization of Earth and space scientists, has revised its...

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Controversy Erupts Over Errors, Bias in Textbook Examined by CFI

by Henry Huber
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

In 2006, New Jersey public high school junior Matthew LaClair made headlines after secretly tape-recording...

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Court Dismisses Cha Suit, Vindicates Flamm on Questioned Prayer/Fertility Study

by The Editors
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

A victory for science and freedom of speech has come in a court ruling upholding physician Bruce Flamm's investigations...

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Court Dismisses Cha Suit, Vindicates Flamm on Questioned Prayer/Fertility Study

by The Editors
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

A victory for science and freedom of speech has come in a court ruling upholding physician Bruce Flamm's investigations...

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Paul Kurtz calls Expelled Film ‘Anti-Science Propaganda’

by Nathan Bupp
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

Paul Kurtz, founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Center for Inquiry, has called...

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A Physicist’s Spirited Defense of String Theory and Science

by Justin Trottier
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

In an era when the public understanding and appreciation of science continues to fall in reciprocal fashion to the rising...

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The Spate of Bogus Research Papers from Korean Scientists

by Frank Reiser
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

Eureka moments in biology are rare. Teasing demonstrable facts from the complexity of life can be an arduous process of...

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Stamps of Approval for Four U.S. Scientists; Carl Sagan Next?

by The Editors
Volume 32.4, July / August 2008

News & Comment

In March, the U.S. Postal Service issued a new series of American Scientists commemorative stamps. The four first-class...

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Anonymous vs. Scientology

by Karen Stollznow
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

In the last few months, a series of anti-Scientology protests have taken place worldwide. In an unpredictable sequence...

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Brain Neuroimaging Experiments find ‘Evidence against Existence of Psi’ ... or Do They?

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

Can imaging of the brain help resolve the debate over whether psi exists or not? Two researchers at Harvard University...

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Coffee—with Strings

by William Orem
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

I ran into a former coworker in the streets of Boston recently and stole a minute with her in the ubiquitous coffee klatch...

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Darwin Day 2008: CFI/Los Angeles Stages Rare Reading of Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds

by Bob Ladendorf
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

With an enthusiastic standing-room only crowd of 180 attending, critically acclaimed actors brought to life four historical...

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Electric Asteroid Zaps Earth

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

The "Electric Universe" is codswollop, with or without gods hurling thunderbolts.

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How to Study Reincarnation: Guidelines for Research

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

Is there a way to empirically study claims of reincarnation to satisfy scientific standards?

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Just Like Jedi Knights (If Only)

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

You can be the most powerful Jedi knight in the universe, but if I keep my toe down, you are nothing more than a useless C3PO.

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NASA’s Mysterious ‘Man on Mars’ Photo

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

The idea that there may be life on Mars has been around for centuries, but the theory got a boost from photos taken by...

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Scientists say Nullo Modo (No Way) to Pope

by Frank Reiser
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

When Marcello Cini, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Rome La Sapienza, heard that Pope Benedict XVI was...

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Sir Edmund Hillary, Explorer, Skeptic (1919-2008)

by Joe Nickell
Volume 32.3, May / June 2008

News & Comment

The conqueror of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, who died January 11, 2008, was a man of many famous exploits.

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Altercation with a (Criss) Angel

by Jim Underdown
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

When NBC's new show Phenomenon began taping a mile from the Center for Inquiry/Los Angeles, our home grown...

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Bad Journalism Misleads Public about Psychics

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Ada Wason and Mary Ellen Walters vanished, seemingly into thin air. The pair left their Warren County, Ohio, retirement home...

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Born Again, Inc.: Senate Investigating Six Prophets for Profit

by Donna Danford
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Tithe-happy evangelists and their luxurious lifestyles are once again facing scrutiny.

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CFI Attacks Dismissal of Texas Educator for Her Pro-Evolution Actions

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Scholars at CFI were dismayed that the Texas Education Agency forced an educator our of her job because she spoke in favor of...

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The Comic Pratfalls of Richard Roberts

by Martin Gardner
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

In November 2007, Oral Roberts's singing son Richard, age fifty-nine, resigned as president of Tulsa's Oral Roberts University.

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Declaration Defends Europe’s Genetically Modified Maize

by Michel Naud
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

In Europe, only one genetically modified plant variety is cultivated: the insect-resistant Bt GM maize.

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Natalee Holloway Disappearance Unsolved; Case Closed

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Despite the efforts of searchers and psychics, police on Aruba closed the case on missing teenager Natalee Holloway.

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New National Academy Book Defends Evolution

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

In January, the National Academy of Sciences issued a new, spirited defense of evolution in the form of an updated...

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Quoteworthy

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Recent quotes and observations

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Science Leaders, CFI Call for Science Debate among Presidential Candidates

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

In December 2007, a coalition of scientists and science communicators began calling for a U.S. presidential debate devoted to...

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Tunguska Asteroid Size Downgraded by New Computer Simulations

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

The explosion that caused such incredible forest devastation at Tunguska a century ago in Siberia may have been caused by...

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Two Meanings of ‘Faith’ Confuse Even Scientists

by Robert L. Park
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

On the topic of laser physics, I would happily defer to Townes, but this is a matter of the English Language.

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Update News Notes

by The Editors
Volume 32.2, March / April 2008

News & Comment

Here are updates from the news related to the topics of some recent articles in the Skeptical Inquirer.

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Council of Europe Approves Resolution against Creationism

by Martin Mahner
Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

News & Comment

On October 4, 2007, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly approved a resolution recommending...

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Difficulty in Debunking Myths Rooted in the Way the Mind Works

by Shankar Vedantam
Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

News & Comment

This phenomenon may help explain why large numbers of Americans incorrectly think that Saddam Hussein was directly involved...

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Haunting Evidence Follow-Up: TV Psychic Detectives Fail Again

by Ben Radford
Volume 32.1, January / February 2008

News & Comment

How many of the ... cases featured in the first season of Haunting Evidence did the team solve? Not a single one.

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Out of Body and in the Lab: New Experiments Stimulate Seeing Self Elsewhere

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

News & Comment

Two sets of studies published independently in the same issue of the journal Science demonstrate how...

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Paul MacCready (1923-2007)

by The Editors
Volume 31.6, November / December 2007

News & Comment

Paul MacCready was a visionary aeronautical engineer trained at Caltech, the father of human-powered flight, winner of...