Contributions

Prepare to be Disappointed
October 28, 2019


Nick Little, CFI’s legal director who heads a legal department with a budget of $0 trillion, writes ominously about the delight taken by some evangelicals over Pastor Greg Locke’s video in which he burns Andrew Seidel’s book The Founding Myth, putting the phenomena of book burning in a grim historical context: It is impossible to …

We’re Creating a Micro-Trauma
October 25, 2019


The FDA is getting increasingly twitchy about homeopathy. Yesterday it released a statement on new steps its taking to, in their words, “protect Americans from potentially harmful products that are labeled as homeopathic”: The draft guidance details a risk-based enforcement policy prioritizing certain categories of homeopathic products that could pose a higher risk to public …

That’s a Pretty Big “If”
October 24, 2019


It’s over, folks. Edward Snowden checked, and no, the government is not aware of, nor is it covering up, evidence of extraterrestrial life or alien contact with Earth. Also just in: In case you were wondering: Yes, man really did land on the moon. Climate change is real. Chemtrails are not a thing. Sounds like …

My Psychic Scam Letter to CSICon: Presenting the Balles Prize for Critical Thinking
October 23, 2019


On Friday night at CSICon 2019 in Las Vegas, I presented the Balles Prize in Critical Thinking to reporters Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken for their book A Deal with the Devil, which was about the infamous “Maria Duval scam,” in which a fake psychic scammed people out of millions of dollars through very personal-seeming …

This Duck Stuff
October 23, 2019


Homeopathy’s place in the health-care retail space is the subject of a big piece at Vox by Stephie Grob Plante, and our lawsuits against Walmart and CVS, as well as our recent survey on consumer attitudes toward homeopathy (finally!), are featured: Consumers are beginning to feel “scammed and cheated,” the nonprofit Center for Inquiry argued, …

Bringing Riders to Tears
October 22, 2019


I’m so tired. CSICon 2019 has come and gone, and it was a really great and fulfilling event. But since I have to be all type-y type-y write-y write-y the whole time, my neocortex is all dried up. But hey, go read the product of my currently-flaking gray matter with my real-time-ish articles on the …

Julia Sweeney Opens Up at CSICon
October 19, 2019


The last presentation of Saturday at CSICon 2019 came in the form of a monologue from the delightful Julia Sweeney, the beloved actor and comedian who recently joined the board of the Center for Inquiry. It was only the first half or so of the complete production, time limitations being what they are, but it …

The Belief Barrier: Moving an Immovable Object at CSICon
October 19, 2019


After his presentation at CSICon 2019, the great actor John de Lancie referred to Q, the cosmic superbeing he played in the Star Trek franchise, as “a god with clay feet,” an entity of incredible power but lacking the character to use it in any meaningful way.  It’s a telling observation on de Lancie’s part, as I …

Skeptics of CSICon: A Tight and Clever Pack
October 19, 2019


Many skeptics know what it is to feel alone. If you’re the only parent in your social circle who accepts the science of vaccines, or you’re an atheist in a deeply religious family, or you’re the bubble-burster to refuses to concede that your friend spoke to their dead relative through a psychic medium, a skeptic …

Flaws, Courage, and Conviction at CSICon
October 19, 2019


If nothing else, to be a skeptic is to be willing to accept the universe as it is. That’s not the same as being apathetic or content with the status quo, but it does mean that we have to start with the facts as they are, not as we would have them be. So if …