Crackpots, Serial Killers and Flat Earthers
November 6, 2019 by

Things are a bit different now. Any crackpot with a 6th grader’s knowledge of computers can design and launch a website, shoot, edit and post a You Tube video that is wrong in every sense of the word, and search the world for people who share their same fetishes, dopey ideas, or sick fantasies.

TIES Update: Entertaining and Enlightening Human Errors
November 5, 2019 by

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES), a program of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, gives middle school teachers the tools they need to effectively teach evolution and answer its critics. TIES is closing out another successful year. Five new TIES workshops have been added since our last update, and in the …

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

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 by

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 …

Don’t Blame Yourself: Exposing Deflection and Shame at CSICon
October 18, 2019 by

Did you know that it’s all your fault? For women, if they’re not living their best life, it’s because they’re buying unwholesome, unnatural products. Also, any hardships their children face are because they didn’t breastfeed them enough. Oh, and climate change? That’s also your fault because you took a plane to get to CSICon. On …

Who is Doing the Pointing? CSICon Watches the Watchers
October 18, 2019 by

Who watches the watchers? The morning session for CSICon 2019 featured three speakers who all, in their own ways, asked us to consider where the information we take in is actually coming from and what it is we’re doing with that information once we’ve got it. The implications are incredibly significant.  Behavioral scientist Gordon Pennycook …

Skeptical Inquirer: In The Trenches against Fake Medicine
August 27, 2019 by

The Health Wars in a Special Expanded Issue Medical pseudoscience is rampant, promoted not only by obvious snake oil salesmen and self-help gurus promising all manner of cures from “natural” and “alternative” remedies, but even by vaunted institutions of legitimate science such as the World Health Organization and the National Geographic Society. In a special …

Science Advocates Can Take Lessons from Disney: Skeptical Inquirer on Marketing and Persuasion
July 9, 2019 by

As our society confronts challenges and threats such as climate change, the anti-vaccination movement, and the deluge of false claims from the peddlers of pseudoscience and snake oil, it’s more important than ever that the public become more aware and accepting of science. Yet science advocates and skeptics are constantly met with resistance. How can …

Misleading Memes as Cloaked Propaganda
June 21, 2019 by

Soon after a university cheating scandal recently broke, a meme declared that “White privilege is REAL,” and gave three examples presumably illustrating that premise. The first shows a photo of actress Felicity Huffman and states that “Feds will seek 4 months jail time for Felicity Huffman for bribing her daughter into college.” This is contrasted …

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

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 …