Statement on the Death of James Randi
October 21, 2020 by

We at the Center for Inquiry are heartbroken over the death of James Randi, who died on October 20 at the age of 92. Randi helped found the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the organization that would one day become the Center for Inquiry, in 1976, alongside legends such as …

You have been listening to the wrong Indian Gurus so far
October 19, 2020 by

A message from Vinod Bhardwaj, inventor, entrepreneur, and board member of the Center for Inquiry. Register now to watch a live discussion between Richard Dawkins and Javed Akhtar, a real indian guru who “speaks sense nonstop”.  Javed Akhtar the poet, lyricist, and legendary screenwriter of the Indian film industry, will formally receive the Richard Dawkins Award for …

‘SF Weekly’ ‘Helps’ Readers Tell Real from Fake Psychics
October 1, 2020 by

Skeptics are known for warning the public about the perils of psychics (ranging from exploitation to fraud), but it may surprise to know that “real” psychics sometimes join in as well, offering advice about how to avoid those “fake psychics.” Sometimes they do it directly in books or during interviews; other times they do it …

George Cherrie and the Venezuelan Dancing Devil
September 17, 2020 by

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 …

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

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 by

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 …

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

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, …

Can I Oppose Waterboarding If I’ve Never Been Waterboarded?
June 30, 2020 by

I have never been waterboarded; yet, despite my undeniable lack of direct experience, I oppose it as a form of torture. The same can be said for Barack Obama, who issued an executive order banning waterboarding along with other coercive interrogation practices. The same can be said for the overwhelming majority of those who oppose …

A New Urgency for ‘Cosmos’: Ann Druyan’s Possible Worlds in ‘Skeptical Inquirer’
June 17, 2020 by

The third season of the landmark television series Cosmos is set to debut this fall, an ode to “the twin engines of skepticism and wonder” that comes not a moment too soon. The soul of Cosmos: Possible Worlds is cocreator, writer, and director Ann Druyan, who brings her wisdom and insight to the latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer. “I was …

John de Lancie to Secular Graduates: VOTE! The World Needs You to Shape the Future
June 16, 2020 by

“Being secular is not a lapel pin. It’s a mission.” The class of 2020 is about to take its place in a turbulent world at a turning point of history, when the values of reason, science, and compassion are needed more than ever. For those graduating students who are secular—atheists, agnostics, humanists, and Nones—these trying …