Perhaps it’s the season. Perhaps it’s the start of a new year, a new decade. Whatever the reason, I find myself full of gratitude.
It sometimes may seem as if everyone has gone bonkers and that fake news, factless assertions, disinformation, and misinformation have taken over our public discourse. It’s hard to disagree. We suffer from far too much systematic disregard of facts and evidence. But what I am thankful for is that there are still huge legions of science-minded people out there who strongly resist that trend: They do good science and scholarship themselves, or they support it. They may be motivated by the curiosity that drives all science. But they know how essential are good information and skeptical, evidence-based critical thinking to our democratic processes. They crave a return to a time when reason and rationality were respected as a tool to decision-making in the public sphere.
You—our readers, subscribers, and supporters—are primary among them. You seek the scientific perspective on claims and assertions boldly advanced. You treasure skeptical inquiry. You appreciate the nuances in all honest appraisals of competing evidence. You value the efforts we all make to sift out the sense from the nonsense and present it all to you in a clear way to help us all make better judgments. I am so grateful to all of you.
I am also grateful to our authors and contributors. And to skeptics and scientific thinkers everywhere. You research, report, investigate, test, analyze, critique, explain, and educate. This is not easy, and it comes with few rewards. Our authors do whatever is necessary to ascertain the facts and to help us all understand the realities and complexities of nature and human behavior. It is a magnificent quest. It is a crucially important quest. I am so grateful to everyone who participates in it and shares the results with us. Thank you.
The authors in this issue epitomize what I say above. I have space to mention only two. Jeanne Goldberg, a retired radiologist and writer, previously wrote on our unfounded fears of radiation and the politicization of scientific issues. She returns to our pages here with a mostly sympathetic examination of millennials and post-millennials (Generation Z), considering how they might approach all the issues we are concerned about. Millennials are well-educated (women especially so) digital natives, who have been strongly affected by both the Great Recession and the forces of globalization and technology. They tend not to be joiners. They tend not to be religious. They are concerned about the environment. They generally like science. How will this all play out for our future? That’s the big question, but Goldberg sees much reason for hope.
Unfounded fad psychotherapies for young people abound. Many of them are ineffective or even untested; some are harmful. Psychology professor Stephen Hupp has published a book about these pseudosciences, and in this issue he begins a three-part series in which he shares the skeptical insights into them he and his fellow contributors have amassed. I am grateful to him for bringing into our pages all these scholars and investigators—many familiar to Skeptical Inquirer readers, some new to us—with a series of short takes on everything from craniosacral therapy to brain balancing. Just another part of our quest.