Covert Anti-Vaccination in ‘Children’s Health Defense’
September 24, 2020


This is the ninth in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  News and social media are awash with information about …

George Cherrie and the Venezuelan Dancing Devil
September 17, 2020

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One of the most celebrated American naturalist/explorers was George K. Cherrie (1865–1948), who in his 1930 book Dark Trails: Adventures of a Naturalist (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) wrote about his adventures, primarily in Central and South America. Cherrie engaged in many expeditions, perhaps most famously accompanying Theodore Roosevelt on his nearly-disastrous 1913–1914 jungle descent of Brazil’s …

When Anti-Vaccination Fears Come From Inside the House
September 11, 2020


This is the eighth in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Check back often for updates and new information.  While some may think that protests about vaccinations are a …

Zip Tie Abduction Rumors Spread, Lead to Panic and Arrests
August 31, 2020


False rumors of roving bands of abductors using plastic zip ties to identify their victims have been circulating on social media since around 2018 and recently surged in popularity. The warnings, often appearing on Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor, and WhatsApp, warn people about plastic zip ties being found on their vehicles, doorknobs, fences, mailboxes, and elsewhere.  …

Conspiracies Grow as COVID Spreads
August 21, 2020


Conspiracies are common, especially during times of stress and social upheaval. So far in 2020, America has seen a confluence of stressors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and race riots across the country. As of this writing, there’s no clear end in sight for either.  There are many facets to the problem, and one of the …

Another Week, (Yet) Another Trump Conspiracy
August 11, 2020


President Trump has long been known to peddle unfounded conspiracies, and has done so for years.  Most recently Trump has revived years-old, long-debunked claims about widespread voter fraud, especially by mail. There is no evidence at all that voter fraud is significant, much less rampant, but nevertheless Trump succeeds in sowing uncertainty about the validity …

Texas Hospital Finds ‘Covid Party’ – Or Legend
July 11, 2020


As if on cue! Following my recent CFI article “The Truth About Covid Parties” and Squaring the Strange podcast episode on ‘covid parties,’ titled “Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s Covid 1999” there’s a news article suggesting they’ve been confirmed! A July 10 WOAI/KABB news story from San Antonio, Texas headlined “‘I thought this was …

The Truth About Covid Parties
July 7, 2020


This is the seventh in a series of original articles on the Covid-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  Recent rumors and news reports have circulated claiming that …

‘This Is America’ and the Ambiguity of Memes
July 2, 2020


Misleading memes are a dime a dozen, to use a phrase originating in the 1800s (though today they’re not only free but available by the tens of thousands). People who spend time on social media interact with them constantly, usually in the context of reading, endorsing, and sharing them. Less often they’re refuted or mocked, …

Christopher Dorner, Eyewitness Testimony, and Mental Illness
June 18, 2020


Spree killer and ex-police officer Christopher Dorner was recently mentioned in a standup comedy piece by Dave Chapelle. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Dorner killed four people and wounded three others in mid-February 2013, his victims including police and civilians in the Los Angeles area. The manhunt for Dorner over the course …