Stories That Should Be Handled with Care: The Subjects of Pseudoscience
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
Editor’s Note: This article includes two excerpts from chapter 5 (titled “The Subjects of Pseudoscience”) of Kenrick Frazier’s fantastic new book Shadows of Science (2024). The first excerpt is the beginning of the chapter, and the second excerpt is the last three paragraphs of the chapter. We are grateful to Ruth Frazier and Prometheus Books ..read more
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Prophet of Oppenheimer’s Atomic Bomb
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
Did a hillbilly prophet foretell the development of the atomic bomb? John Hendrix lived twenty miles from Knoxville, Tennessee, and the nearest established communities were Scarboro and Robertsville, both of which were small. He did not become a prophet until he was nearly fifty years old, at the turn of the twentieth century, when he ..read more
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Fitspiration, Pseudo-Healthcare Professions, and the First Amendment
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
There have been a handful of recent court cases against people operating in healthcare despite dubious qualifications and defending themselves by asserting their right to free speech. The case of Heather Kokesch Del Castillo, who was a self-identified nutritionist and health coach in Florida, was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court (Saunders 2022). Florida protects ..read more
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Why Weird Stuff Matters: Chris French on The Science of Weird Shit
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
Chris French, professor emeritus of psychology at Goldsmiths College, is a leading authority on, well, weird shit. His previous books on anomalistic psychology were written for an academic audience, and now he has a new book for the masses titled The Science of Weird Shit: Why Our Minds Conjure the Paranormal. I’ve been influenced and ..read more
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Threats to Science in Ukraine
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
Against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the scientific community grapples with unprecedented challenges. Many researchers face displacement and resource constraints. Yet amid adversity, there is an opportunity for Ukraine to transform its scientific infrastructure, potentially positioning itself as a key player in technological innovation. Recognizing the historical echoes of intellectual exodus underscores ..read more
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A Skeptical Hero’s Origin Story
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
As a journalist for the Daily Planet, Clark Kent fought for truth. Using journalism to protect the people, he shined light into the darkest shadows. He even transformed into Superman when super powers were required. And like all great heroes, Superman has a fascinating origin story, harkening back to his birth on a dying planet ..read more
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Skeptical Heroes Unite: CSICon 2023
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
The first CSICon I attended was in Nashville in 2012, and my goal was to meet my skeptical hero, Scott Lilienfeld. The next year I brought my son to CSICon in Seattle with the goal of meeting our shared hero, Bill Nye. In 2018, I spoke for the first time as part of CSICon’s Sunday ..read more
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The Highs and Lows of Skeptical Education
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
As a psychologist and former college professor, I’m always drawn to the CSICon talks about teaching, because so many of the skills needed to combat the onslaught of crazy stuff in the world do not come naturally. You have to learn them. Education is the key to separating the wheat from the chaff—or the woo ..read more
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What I Learned: Disgust, Misinformation, and the Lemon Test
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
CSICon 2023 has come and gone, and I’m still buzzing from all the excitement. This was my sixth conference attendance, and once again it delivered an amazing speaker lineup, presentations full of exciting information and funny jokes (yes, skeptics can be funny), and a reunion of our extended family. I’ve had the opportunity to write ..read more
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The Third Time Was Filled with Charm
Skeptical Inquirer
by jlavarnway
1M ago
CSICon 2023 was the third CSICon I have attended, and once again I enjoyed meeting new and old friends. As a retired educator, I was happy to see how much discussion there was about promoting scientific skepticism in the classroom and in the community via social media, libraries, and community centers.   Dave Farina: The ..read more
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