Do 60% of People Misgender Trans People to Insult Them?
March 21, 2019 ·


Recent news reports claimed that most people intentionally disrespect transgendered individuals by calling them by something other than their preferred gender pronoun. For example one piece began: “Three in five people internationally report that they would intentionally misgender a transgender person, according to a recent survey. Ipsos found that only two out of five people …

‘HS Teacher Tells Students to Vote Republican’: Case Study of a Social Media Outrage Cycle
March 1, 2019 ·


Last month an indignant Florida mother named Barbara took to Twitter seeking advice for a problem: “I’m really PISSED; my daughter who is in the 12th grade recently registered to vote through her high school. Her teacher told the class that they all must register as Republicans or else they would not be allowed to …

The Prodigy: A Skeptical Film Review
February 18, 2019


The new horror film The Prodigy is about an evil child, and therefore follows a fairly predictable formula. The kid starts as a bundle of joy, then bad things happen but no one wants to believe the child did them, then the terror escalates as a parent or caregiver discovers a horrifying secret that leads …

Co-Opting Black History Month with Conspiracy
February 8, 2019


Several friends of mine recently posted a meme on social media that read, “Did you know the real LONE RANGER was a BLACK MAN name BASS REEVES and yes he did live among the INDIANS, The Lone Ranger ‘could not be cast in that era as a black man, so he was made into a …

‘Monster Freed After Lawyer Offers Ridiculous Defense!’: Post Hoc Fallacies in Legal Outcomes
February 1, 2019 · 1 


In an article by Bil Browning for LGBTQNation headlined “Texas Man Gets Probation after Using ‘Gay Panic’ Defense to Explain Killing his Neighbor” noted that “James Miller of Austin, Texas was found not guilty of manslaughter and murder by a jury after killing his neighbor, Daniel Spencer. After Miller used the ‘gay panic’ defense, claiming …

The Tragedy of Jazmine Barnes: Phantom Serial Killers and Eyewitness Errors
January 23, 2019


On December 30, 2018, a seven-year-old Houston girl named Jazmine Barnes was killed when a gunman drove up next to the vehicle she was in and opened fire on its occupants. Her mother, LaPorsha Washington, was wounded; Jazmine was struck in the head and died on the way to the hospital. As the New Year’s …

Another Abducted Girl, Another Psychic Fail
January 16, 2019


Psychics and fortunetellers are often seen as relatively harmless, dispensing shopworn advice about tall handsome strangers, a brighter future, and reassurances that departed loved ones are indeed watching over us. For $100 or less we can gain a temporary feeling of control over our destinies, armed with the foreknowledge (foreguessing?) of what will (might?) happen. …

Holocaust Denial Headlines: Hatred, Ignorance, or Innumeracy?
January 7, 2019


In the wake of racial incidents such as the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018, it’s natural for the public and pundits to wonder just how common anti-Semitism is. Deadly attacks on Jewish houses of worship are thankfully rare, but what about anti-Jewish belief among the general public? One often-used metric is public …

Canadian Psychics Arrested While Journalist Fail
December 21, 2018


In October 2018 Dorie Stevenson of Milton, Ontario, who goes by the name Madeena, was arrested by police and formally charged with witchcraft. Stevenson was not arrested for practicing magic per se; charges were laid under Section 365 of Canada’s Criminal Code, “Witchcraft—Fortune Telling,” as a form of fraud: “Every one who pretends to practise …

Mystery of the Borderline Bar Silent Shooting
December 20, 2018


On November 7, 2018, a shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, by former Marine Ian David Long left nearly a dozen people dead, including the shooter.  One victim, Sgt. Ron Helus, it was revealed recently, was killed not by Long but instead “friendly fire” from another police officer’s gun in …