Contributions

Fads and Fallacies
July 21, 2020


As part of a reference question I received during the recent pandemic, I looked back at the beginnings of the modern skeptical movement and was reminded of the writings of Martin Gardner. Those of you familiar with us know that Gardner had a very large influence on what became the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) …

Unretouched Ingersoll Memorial Photograph
July 15, 2020


We recently returned (in a limited fashion) to the offices here in Amherst, New York. While researching the accumulated information and media requests, I found this wonderful photo related to Robert G. Ingersoll. The image shows the Ingersoll family and friends with a wreath placed at the base of the Ingersoll Memorial in Ingersoll Park, …

Some Notes on ‘Silliness’
April 20, 2020


With the COVID-19 outbreak and its requisite closures, I have had time to do some catching up on the blogs, articles, etc., that always seem to be put off when there are other things to be done. While catching up, I noted that some recent writings have once again raised the issue of “silliness” and …

Dean Koontz Predicts Coronavirus in 1981, or Did He?
March 30, 2020


Dean Koontz in his book The Eyes of Darkness wrote about a virus called “Wuhan-400” (in the 1989 rewrite, the virus name was changed from its original Gorki-400) that was created as a biological weapon. Many are sharing this “prediction” through social media today, and there are some interesting parallels to these stories. Did Koontz …

Lydia Maria Child Sentiments
March 26, 2020


Hanging in my office at the Center for Inquiry is a pair of sentiments from Lydia Maria Child. Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802–October 20, 1880) is considered one of the most influential woman writers of the nineteenth century. You probably know one of her poems, yet very few remember her today. Child converted to …

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
February 6, 2020


CFI Libraries has many different formats of information in its hallowed halls of knowledge. Of course, there are books, archives, microfilm, databases, and periodicals. Periodicals, in library lingo, consist of journals, serials, magazines, and the like. But one type of periodical we hardly talk about is our newsletters. The newsletters here at the Center for …

Research for the Freethought Trail
January 16, 2020


Lately, I have been doing a considerable amount of research for one of our projects, the Freethought Trail website (https://freethought-trail.org/). The current research has been for the development of further coverage for the centenary of the Nineteenth Amendment enacting woman’s suffrage in 2020. The website will be adding informational pages about each New York State …

Elbert Hubbard on Robert Green Ingersoll
December 19, 2019


Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) published many books, periodicals, and other series through the Roycrofters in East Aurora, New York. Without going into much detail, Hubbard brought the Arts and Crafts Movement to the United States around 1895 with the founding of his artisan community. The Roycrofters had a very distinctive style and were known for their …

Yes Virginia, We Still Have A Library …
December 9, 2019


One program of the Center for Inquiry (CFI) you may or may not be aware of is the Center for Inquiry Libraries (http://www.cfilibraries.org/). While being around (formally) since 1995 and having world-class collections in skepticism, humanism, freethought, atheism, the occult, and the paranormal, the Libraries are more of a “behind the scenes” program at CFI. …

Gardner and Randi Signed Picture
July 10, 2017


Recently, Douglas Kinney, one of our regular donors of books and other library materials, came by our headquarters in Amherst, New York. As usual, he dropped off some books for our libraries. Additionally, he donated this rare photograph.