Kevin Folta: Share the Truth, Defend the Truth-Tellers
October 27, 2017


First thing, quick housekeeping note: Because I’m trying to churn out these posts in as timely a manner as possible, such that smoke rises from the unthinkably rapid collisions of my fingertips on my laptop’s keys, I’ve made an executive decision to use the lunch and dinner talks as a chance to get a break …

Britt Hermes and the Naturopath’s Path Out
October 27, 2017


“I believed I was a real doctor.” So said Britt Hermes, a former naturopathic doctor who later came to recognize naturopathic medicine as a fraud, and now dedicates her efforts toward exposing its nonsense. But before we even get to the case Hermes makes against naturopathy today, one has to grapple with the fact that …

David Gorski: Quackery, Limitless in Abundance
October 27, 2017


What on earth is going on in academic medicine? From David Gorski’s presentation today, I learned that an association of schools with fake-medicine facilities exists, the Academic Consortium of Integrative Medicine, has over 70 member academic medical centers, which is up from only eight in 1999. What? Gorski recounted a long list of deeply troubing …

The Guerrilla Skeptics Got Your Back
October 27, 2017


Rise up, skeptics! Fight for our cause! Not with arms, but with brains and fingers. That sounds weird, but go with me. One powerful way to battle bad information is to go to one of the great repositories of knowledge on Planet Earth, and clean it the hell up. That’s where Susan Gerbic and the …

Maria Konnikova and the Luck Delusion
October 27, 2017


Later this evening, I’m going to be handing the far-too-heavy and frankly-dangerous Balles Prize in Critical Thinking to Maria Konnikova, the New Yorker writer and author of books including The Confidence Game and an upcoming book on poker. (She tells me not to worry about the weight of the award, she does yoga.) I mention …

You Can’t Help But Be Wrong: Richard Wiseman on Creating Curiosity
October 27, 2017


Almost as a direct contrast to Lawrence Krauss’s presentation last night in which we were reminded to look to see what is actually there, Richard Wiseman showed us how we can’t help but see things that aren’t. To make an example of all of us, he asked us to choose one card out of a …

George Hrab Will Do God’s Work at CSICon
October 27, 2017


No, really! Opening Friday’s events at CSICon 2017, comedian and musician George Hrab debuted a brand new song, never before performed in public (so he says), “Thoughts and Prayers,” offered as the cure-all for the intractable existential crises that consume our civilization. All one must do in the aftermath of horrendous tragedy is offer thoughts …

Photos: CSICon 2017, Day 1
October 27, 2017


Good morning, readers and attendees. Before we get to the day’s events, here are some photos from the Skeptic’s Toolbox workshop and other conference prep that went on yesterday before I arrived from the far reaches of New England. Here’s your guide to crediting photos for this year’s CFI Live at CSICon: If it’s a …

Lawrence Krauss on Seeing What’s Really There
October 26, 2017


Lawrence Krauss gave us the first formal presentation of CSICon 2017, and it really did set just the right tone and frame a good mindset for this whole weekend. He opened with a quote from J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine, “The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there.” And this is certainly …

A Skeptics’ Conference in a Time of Unreason: Welcome to CSICon 2017
October 26, 2017


After a very, very long day of crossing timezones on what was just about the most uncomfortable flight of my life (really, guy in front of me, you have to lean all the way back? For the whole six hours?) I made it to the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas for CSICon 2017 just in …