Intellectual Humility: A Guiding Principle for the Skeptical Movement?
“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” —Oliver Cromwell, to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1650 In November 2019, attendees of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s CSICon conference received the following inquiry from an anonymous CSI member in their email inboxes: I’ve been thinking …
The Nobel Disease: When Intelligence Fails to Protect against Irrationality
No scientific award is more coveted than the Nobel Prize. In the eyes of the public, this prize, especially in the three traditional science categories of chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine, is virtually synonymous with scientific brilliance. At the same time, the stories of the more than 600 Nobelists in the hard sciences pose …
Dubious Claims in Psychotherapy for Youth
Part I: Neurodevelopmental Issues Psychotherapy for young people is full of questionable ideas. This article, the first in a three-part series, addresses neurodevelopmental issues, including craniosacral therapy for intellectual disabilities, dolphin-assisted therapy for those on the autism spectrum, brain balancing for inattention, teaching based on learning styles, and dental devices for tics. There are hundreds …
Skepticism and the Persuasive Power of Conversion Stories
Those of us in the skeptical community have our work cut out for us. In the process of disseminating scientific thinking, we often challenge unsubstantiated beliefs that are held with considerable conviction. Every one of us who has tried to persuade committed believers in astrology or homeopathy that they are mistaken knows just how challenging—and …
Teaching Skepticism: How Early Can We Begin?
I trust that I need not persuade readers of Skeptical Inquirer that in today’s world of post-truth, alternative facts, and rampant pseudoscience, critical thinking—reasoning that helps to compensate for our biases—is needed now more than ever.
Superstition Masquerading as Science
“As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession”
How Can Skepticism Do Better?
We must begin to develop more effective means of disseminating the fruits of our labors to individuals who are skeptical of our skepticism.
Would the World Be Better Off Without Religion? A Skeptic’s Guide to the Debate
The widespread assertion that the world would be better off without religion is a reasonable hypothesis. Yet data suggest that skeptics should attach no more than a modest level of probability to it.
Losing Our Minds in the Age of Brain Science
Neuroscience and its new brain imaging tools are great achievements of modern science. But they are vulnerable to being oversold by the media, some overzealous scientists, and neuroentrepreneurs.