The Origin of Myths | Where Do Misconceptions and False Beliefs Come From
September 25, 2020 by

Myths in the context of this article are conceptualized as misinformation, misconceptions, false beliefs, or erroneous claims. Myths can be found in virtually every field. Sometimes myths can be relatively harmless, while other times they lead to bad decisions and negative consequences. Myths contribute to epistemic irrationality: holding beliefs that are not supported by evidence …

Fads and Fallacies
July 21, 2020 by

As part of a reference question I received during the recent pandemic, I looked back at the beginnings of the modern skeptical movement and was reminded of the writings of Martin Gardner. Those of you familiar with us know that Gardner had a very large influence on what became the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) …

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Is Bullshit the Normal Condition?
June 26, 2020 by

What does it mean to label someone a bullshitter? Does it mean they are a liar? Does it mean they are guilty of talking too much? Does it mean they have something to say about everything, even if they know little or nothing about it? The term bullshit, as used in everyday conversation, is generic …

‘Plandemic’ Asks Questions—But Won’t Answer Them
May 21, 2020 by

Earlier this month, a YouTube video for an (apparently) upcoming documentary titled Plandemic was released by Mikki Willis (credited onscreen as “father/filmaker” [sic]). The video features a lengthy interview with virologist Judy Mikovits, who offers scattershot conspiracy-laden assertions about the “truth” behind the COVID-19 pandemic, prefaced by claims of having been framed for a crime …

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COVID-19 Pseudoauthorities
May 13, 2020 by

This is the fifth in a series of original articles on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Center for Inquiry as part of its Coronavirus Resource Center, which was created to help the public address the crisis with evidence-based information. Please check back periodically for updates and new information.  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, so does …

Why Can’t We Have Nice Things? Because of You, That’s Why.
April 29, 2020 by

I should start by saying I don’t necessarily mean you, the reader. I hope, and the fact you are reading CFI stuff indicates this is likely, you don’t fall into this category. But we all know some, and probably way too many of them. There’s your uncle or cousin who causes embarrassment every year at …

Equatorial Misinformation Misadventures
February 19, 2020 by

Last month I was editing a piece by Rob Palmer (perhaps better known as “The Well-Known Skeptic”) on the subject of misinformation he encountered in the middle of the world. Or, put another way, bogus information on the equator in Ecuador (a country named after the equator). I had a particular interest in the topic, …

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.

Astrology and Racism
September 17, 2019 by

There are many scientific and skeptical objections to astrology, including the fact that the constellations have shifted since astrology was devised, that many real-world tests have failed to find statistically meaningful patterns in the lives of people born under certain zodiac signs, and that there are multiple—and in fact contradictory—versions of astrology that adherents fervently …

Why Chupacabra Reports Only Go Back to 1995
August 5, 2019 by

I recently came across a blog by a fellow cryptozoology writer, Nick Redfern, which began with a well-deserved rant about armchair debunkers. The shabby state of research into Fortean topics is widely acknowledged by skeptics—and some “believers” (for lack of a better word). In this particular case it was unnamed “debunkers” that he vented some …