Flat-Earth School Board Presentation Intelligently Designed
The turf war over science education recently took a new turn. Marilyn Teed told the Methacton School District, outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that it was teaching what could be an outright lie: that Earth is a sphere. She then explained, in all seriousness, her case that Earth is actually flat. I’m going to defend Teed, but …
Being respectful isn’t just a nice thing to do. Skeptics are more likely to succeed if they defend science and reason in a consistently respectful manner. The 2018 Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) CSICon conference is in the books. After checking in at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport and consuming a mediocre breakfast burrito, I …
Flat-Earth Anxieties Reflect Misplaced Priorities
The potential and kinetic energy devoted to counter the flat-earth movement is wasteful and misguided. It reveals a broad naiveté about which forms of pseudoscience have real gravitas.
Psychology, Skepticism, and Confronting Racism
Racism is abhorrent. It is therefore easy for a movement such as skepticism to adopt anti-racism stances, but skepticism must avoid promoting viewpoints because they are politically popular or self-satisfying.
Is Eating Vegetables Truly Safe?
John Oliver recently criticized the anti-vaccination movement on Last Week Tonight. Oliver humorously pointed out some of the major flaws with the anti-vaccination view. Vaccines have saved millions of lives. There is a difference between correlation and causation. There is no evidence that vaccines containing thimerosal are unsafe. There is no evidence that vaccination causes …
Vaccines, Autism, and the Promotion of Irrelevant Research: A Science-Pseudoscience Analysis
Proponents of the vaccination-autism link have created a bogus scientific debate by providing lists of studies that supposedly support their claims but are actually either questionable or irrelevant. We identify this as a relatively new pseudoscience tactic: the promotion of irrelevant research.
Skepticism, at Heart, Is Not Partisan
Skeptics cannot support political claims that are simply at odds with reasonable interpretations of the existing evidence. However, they should, when speaking as skeptics, stop short of denigrating an entire political viewpoint.
Scientific Reasoning at the USAF Academy: An Examination into Titanium-Treated Necklaces
We used a classroom experiment at the United States Air Force Academy to examine whether necklaces infused with microscopic-particle titanium, such as those sold by Phiten Corporation, improve emotional well-being.