Skeptical Inquirer

Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American general-audience magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) with the subtitle: The Magazine for Science and Reason. In 2016 it celebrated its fortieth anniversary. For most of its existence, the Skeptical Inquirer (SI) was published by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, widely known by its acronym CSICOP. In 2006 the CSICOP Executive Council shortened CSICOP's name to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and broadened its mission statement.

Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer
Editor-in-chiefKendrick Frazier
FrequencyBi-monthly
Circulation24,672[1]
Publisher
Year founded1976
CountryUnited States
Based inAmherst, New York
LanguageEnglish
Websitewww.csicop.org/si/
ISSN0194-6730

Mission statement

The formal mission statement, approved in 2006 and still current, states:

"The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry promotes science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason in examining important issues. It encourages the critical investigation of controversial or extraordinary claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community, the media, and the public."[2]

A shorter version of the mission statement appears in every issue: “... promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”[3] A previous mission statement referred to “investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims,” but the 2006 change recognized and ratified a wider purview for SI that includes new science-related issues at the intersection of science and the public while not ignoring core topics. A history of the first two decades is available in The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal published in 1998 by S.I. editor Kendrick Frazier.[2][4]

History

The magazine was originally titled The Zetetic (from the Greek meaning skeptical seeker or inquiring skeptic)[5] and was originally edited by Marcello Truzzi.[6] The first issue was dated Fall/Winter 1976.[5] Soon after its inception a schism developed between the editor Truzzi and the rest of CSICOP. One side was more "firmly opposed to nonsense, more willing to go on the offensive and to attack supernatural claims" and the other side wanted science and pseudoscience to exist "happily together". Truzzi left to start The Zetetic Scholar and CSICOP changed the magazine's name to Skeptical Inquirer.[7] In 1977 Kendrick Frazier was appointed editor. He had previously been editor of Science News for six years.[5]

Kurtz noted that there had been “tremendous public fascination with the paranormal” and it was “heavily promoted and sensationalized by an irresponsible media.” He stressed that “Our interest was not simply in the paranormal curiosity shop but to increase an understanding of how science works.”[5][8][9]

Historian Daniel Loxton speculates on the answer to the question that if CSICOP was not the first skeptical publication, why is it considered to be the "'birth of modern skepticism' (at least for the English-speaking world)"? Loxton writes that it was because CSICOP organized "this scholarship collectively [and] comprised a distinct field of study." The organization was the first to establish "best practices... specialist experts... buildings... periodicals and professional writers and researchers."[10]

In the 1978 Spring and Summer edition, it was announced that the very next issue (Vol III, No 1) publication would move from semi-annual to quarterly.[11]

From 1976 to 1995 the magazine had a digest-sized format. It was agreed to change to the larger more traditional sized pages and in 1995 it was decided that in order to become more timely with its topics it would be published bi-monthly instead of quarterly. The U.K. magazine The Skeptic was first published in close association with SI. In 2014 the British version was handed back to the U.K. Skeptics.[5]

Thirtieth anniversary 2006

For the thirtieth anniversary of the Skeptical Inquirer in 2006, CSICOP founder Paul Kurtz listed four long-standing policies:

  1. to criticize claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience
  2. to replicate the methods of scientific inquiry and the nature of the scientific outlook
  3. to seek a balanced view of science in the mass media
  4. to teach critical thinking in the schools.[5]

According to Kurtz, in the first twenty years, the magazine attempted to focus on the paranormal. Solving mysteries that were outside the range of normal: frogs dropping from the sky, UFO abductions, cattle mutilations and more. Readers expected the magazine to have explanations. Kurtz states that these were exciting years, especially working with magicians who would often replicate the paranormal claim. The magazine often received criticism from the paranormal community, that they were being made fun of. Skeptical Inquirer according to Kurtz kept the focus on investigations, gathering together a network of people who excelled in research of the paranormal. Kurtz felt that interest in the paranormal was beginning to fail, one piece of evidence he used for this was that so few paranormal books were on the New York Times Bestseller list that had been there years before. He suggested that SI should expand into areas that have controversy, appeal to the public, and where SI could pull from its network of people to investigate. Subjects he selected for consideration were stem cell research, cyberterrorism "biogenetic engineering, religion, economics, ethics, and politics". Some of these subjects Kurtz was happy to point out that Frazier was already exploring. Kurtz concluded his overview of the past thirty years by thanking subscribers for their financial support, the Internet had caused subscriptions of print magazines to drop, and only by expanding outreach has SI been able to survive.[5]

The enduring contribution of the Skeptical Inquirer in its first three decades, I submit, has been its persistent efforts to raise the level of the public understanding of science. – Paul Kurtz[5]

Fortieth anniversary 2016

In a review of forty years of organized skepticism published in 2015, Frazier wrote, “. . . we have done our best to keep aglow the light of reason and rationality and to cultivate scientific thinking in the wider public. We have critically examined thousands of individual claims and assertions, and published the results for the world to see. We have explored virtually every issue important to skeptics. We have encouraged greater skepticism in the news media and served them as a source of reliable scientific information. We have done our best to make others aware of the dangers to a democracy of all confusions between reality and fantasy, sense and nonsense, and real science and its pretenders and adversaries.“[12]

Goals

Kendrick Frazier, who has edited Skeptical Inquirer since August 1977, has described the magazine as “an unusual hybrid: part semipopular magazine and part scientific and scholarly journal.” He said, “I think it’s fair to say that we not only help to cross disciplinary barriers within scientific fields but bridge the gaps between the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ sciences, between science and the humanities, between academics and nonacademics, and between science and the general public.”[13]

Frazier has also frequently spoken of the broader goals and higher values of skeptical inquiry that he says the Skeptical Inquirer tries to exemplify: “We skeptics do it all, investigating the smallest strange mysteries while also explaining the powerful tools of science and reason and applying them to thinking about the broadest issues of concern and confusion in today’s complex societies.“[9]

Daniel Loxton writing in 2013 about the mission and goals of the skeptical movement quoted an editor of the Swedish skeptic magazine Folkvett who felt that SI was a magazine written by '"old white men, for old white men"'. He criticized the idea that people wanted to read about the paranormal, Uri Geller and crystal skulls not being relevant any longer. Paul Kurtz in 2009 seemed to share this sentiment and stated that the organization would still research some paranormal subjects as they have expertise in this area, but they would begin to investigate other areas, S.I. '“has reached an historic juncture: the recognition that there is a critical need to change our direction."' While editor Frazier did expand the scope of the magazine to include topics less paranormal and more that were an attack on science and critical thinking such as climate change denialism, conspiracy theories and the influence of the alt-med movement, Frazier also added that "paranormal beliefs are still widespread" and quoted surveys that state that the public given a list of ten general paranormal topics will select four as a topic they believe in. While the general skeptic community believes that we should not waste more time debunking the paranormal, topics long ago discredited, Frazier says "millions of Americans accept them today."[14]

Writing for Scientific American Douglas Hofstadter states that the purpose of Skeptical Inquirer magazine is to "combat nonsense... nonsensical claims are routinely smashed to smithereens." He writes that articles are written for everyone that can read English, no special knowledge or expertise is needed, the only requirement is "curiosity about truth".[7]

Board, contributors and staff

Skeptical Inquirer production staff 2
Skeptical Inquirer production staff in 2016. From left: Julia Lavarnway, Chris Fix, Paul Loynes, Nicole Scott

Scientists, scholars, investigators, and other experts worldwide contribute feature articles, columns, reviews, and commentaries to the magazine. CSI currently has about a hundred distinguished Fellows.[15] Notable Fellows of the past, include Isaac Asimov, Martin Gardner, Stephen Jay Gould, Carl Sagan, and Nobel laureates Francis Crick and Glenn T. Seaborg.[16] Current fellows include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Jill Tarter, James Randi, Bill Nye, Eugenie Scott, Daniel Dennett, Richard Wiseman, E.O. Wilson, Elizabeth Loftus and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg.

CSI Executive Council-Reason for Change
The Executive Council of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) answering members questions during the Center for Inquiry (CFI) "Reason for Change" conference, Amherst, New York, June 2015

The CSI Executive Council serves as the editorial board of the Skeptical Inquirer. Members as of April 2016 were: Kendrick Frazier, James Alcock, Harriet Hall, Ray Hyman, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Elizabeth Loftus, Steven Novella, Amardeo Sarma, Eugenie Scott, Karen Stollznow, Dave Thomas, and Leonard Tramiel. In addition to these Executive Council members, CSI's senior research fellow and SI “Investigative Files” columnist Joe Nickell also serves on the SI editorial board. CSI Executive Director Barry Karr is an ex officio member.[17]

As of April 2016 Consulting editors are Susan Blackmore, Kenneth Feder, Barry Karr, Richard Wiseman, Ed Krupp and Jay Pasachoff. Contributing editors are D.J. Grothe, Harriet Hall, Kenneth Krause, David Morrison, James Oberg, Massimo Pigliucci, Robert Sheaffer and Dave Thomas.

  • Editor, Kendrick Frazier
  • Deputy Editor, Ben Radford
  • Managing Editor, Julia Lavarnway
  • Assistant editor, Nicole Scott
  • Art director, Christopher Fix
  • Production, Paul E. Loynes
  • Webmaster, Matthew Licata
  • Publisher's representative, Barry Karr

Columns and columnists

  • Notes of a Fringe-Watcher (originally titled, Notes of a Psi-Watcher) – Martin Gardner 1983-2010
  • Investigative FilesJoe Nickell 1995–present
  • Psychic VibrationsRobert Sheaffer 1977– 2017
  • Notes of a Strange WorldMassimo Polidoro 2002–present
  • Thinking About ScienceMassimo Pigliucci 2002 – 2015
  • Skeptical InquireeBen Radford 2006–present
  • Science Watch – Kenneth Krause 2010–present
  • The Science of MedicineSteven Novella 2010
  • The Science of Science Communication – Matthew Nisbet 2016–present
  • Behavior & Belief – Stuart Vyse 2016–present
  • The Last Laugh - Ian Patrick Harris 2017 - present[18]
  • Reality Is the Best Medicine - Harriet Hall 2018 (began with issue 42.5)[19]

Influence

Several notable skeptics have described the influence the magazine had on them during the early stages of their development as scientific skeptics. In 1995, Perry DeAngelis and Steven Novella were friends that played Dungeons and Dragons together until DeAngelis noticed a Skeptical Inquirer magazine on the table in Novella's condo. DeAngelis who was also an avid reader of the magazine, pointed out the back page to Novella and said "What is missing?" DeAngelis stated that what was missing was a Connecticut skeptic group, he said "we should do this" to which Novella agreed. They started the New England Skeptical Society and eventually the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe (SGU) podcast.[20]

Skeptic Susan Gerbic writes that finding a Skeptical Inquirer magazine one day in the library started her on the path of critical thinking. 'I wish I could remember which articles were in it, but I’m sure I was intrigued by the cover art... it was probably in the very early 1980s. It was like a light bulb went off. It was like walking down a hallway and opening doors into subjects I didn’t know existed. Some topics made me say to myself, “People believe in that crazy thing?” and other topics made me say, “Wait, that isn’t real?”'[21]

Writing for Scientific American, Douglas Hofstadter asks the question, why would Skeptical Inquirer succeed when the only people who read it are people who do not believe in the paranormal? The answer, he says, lies in the back of the magazine in the "Letters to the Editor" section. "Many people write in to say how vital the magazine has been to them, their friends and their students. High school teachers are among the most frequent writers of thank-you notes to the magazine's editors, but I have also seen enthusiastic letters from members of the clergy, radio talk-show hosts and people in many other professions."[7]

Daniel Loxton in his essay "Ode to Joy" about discovering Skeptical Inquirer magazine as a freshman at his University writes...

But the true treasure, the lamp at the end of the cave, the thing that helped set the course of my life, was hidden away in the periodical collection: a complete set of the Skeptical Inquirer, going back to its launch in 1976. I couldn’t believe such a wealth of skeptical research existed! I worked my way through the stack systematically, hungrily.... I’ve been thinking of that experience a lot recently. These last weeks have been a rough ride for many skeptics, as longstanding debates about the scope and tone of skepticism have collided with the decentralized, organic nature of skepticism 2.0. I care a lot about those issues, advocating often for a back to basics approach to skepticism—a traditional, science-based skepticism that solves mysteries and educates the public. So, I thought: why not really go back to the beginning? Why not go back to my own roots as a skeptic, reading those old back issues—and back further, to the roots of the skeptical project? The Achilles heel of skepticism 2.0 may be that new skeptics are unfamiliar with the literature. And so, these last few days I’ve been losing myself in Skeptical Inquirer issues from 1977 and 1978. I’m falling in love all over again. The directness of those early voices is inspiring: here were investigable mysteries, and by god, skeptics were going to solve them. And they did. I’m learning a great deal by looking back once again at how they worked, about how things have changed and about how they haven’t... We’ve come a long way since 1976—further since the days of Houdini—but we’ve got things to learn from those who set us on this path. Let’s have another look at what those things are.[22]

Levy and Olynyk art project

Inspired by the four decades of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the exhibition Some Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers by artists Ellen Levy and Patricia Olynyk, was featured at the Baruch College Mishkin Gallery in February 2016. Reviewer Eileen G'Sell writes that they "plumb the depths of the murky ontological sea that is empirical belief."[23] Reviewer states that the work represents, "this built-in confrontation between fact and fiction was the basis of the Skeptical Inquirer itself and its playful willingness to consider the most unlikely phenomena.[24]

Special editions and anthologies

Over the years a number of anthologies of Skeptical Inquirer articles have been published by permission or arrangement with CSI. Five general anthologies of SI articles have been published by Prometheus Books

  • K. Frazier, ed. Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience (Prometheus Books, 2009).
  • K. Frazier, ed. Encounters with the Paranormal: Science, Knowledge, and Belief (Prometheus Books, 1998)
  • K. Frazier, ed. The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal (Prometheus Books, 1991.
  • K. Frazier, ed. Science Confronts the Paranormal (Prometheus Books, 1986)
  • K. Frazier, ed. Paranormal Borderlands of Science (Prometheus Books, 1981)

In addition, Prometheus also published this special-themed SI anthology

  • K. Frazier, B.Karr, and J.Nickell, eds. The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Coverups (Prometheus Books, 1997).

In addition to these, CSICOP (or CSI) has also published a number of small anthologies of short SI articles, often used for subscription promotion purposes and not always widely available.

  • The Outer Edge (ed. By J.Nickell, B.Karr, and T.Genoni, 1996;)
  • Bizarre Cases [no editor listed, 2000)

In 2011, Robert Sheaffer collected and republished the first two decades (1977–1997) of his Psychic Vibrations columns from the Skeptical Inquirer in a self-published book titled Psychic Vibrations: Skeptical Giggles from The Skeptical Inquirer. Illustrations by Rob Pudim (also from SI).

Martin Gardner republished most if not all of his Skeptical Inquirer “Notes of a Fringe-Watcher” columns in six of his books. With many he added informative “Afterwords” or “Postscripts.” In most of these books the first half consisted of his most recent SI columns; the second half, his reviews and writings for other periodicals.

  • The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, Prometheus Books, 1991.
  • On the Wild Side, Prometheus Books, 1992.
  • Weird Water & Fuzzy Logic: More Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, Prometheus, 1996.
  • Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? W.W. Norton, 2000.
  • Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries? W.W. Norton, 2003.
  • The Jinn from Hyperspace. Prometheus, 2008

A DVD-ROM was released in 2006 containing Volumes 1 through 29 of SI which covers the dates Fall/Winter 1976 – November/December 2005.[25]

More information

In addition to the columns and articles, the magazine includes reviews of paranormal and skeptic books of note written by staff or guest writers. A "Letter to the Editor" section is also included. The magazine inside covers note current CSI fellows, Scientific and Technical Consultants as well as Affiliated Organizations. Also listed are CFI locations worldwide. The final page features a Skeptical Anniversaries section written by Tim Farley and a Carbon Dating cartoon strip written and drawn by Kyle Sanders from CarbonComic.com.

The Skeptical Inquirer website features more online columns and content, and an app supports online subscription or individual digital issues.[25]

Gallery

Aust Skeptic Con 2014 Frazier1

Australian Skeptics Convention – Sydney 2014 – Ken Frazier

Bookstore with Skeptical Inquirer

2014 magazine rack with SI

Ken Frazier in office 2018 (1)

Ken Frazier in office 2018

Barry Karr reading Skeptical Inquirer

Barry Karr reading issue of SI at Amherst headquarters 2014

Skeptical Inquirer in Paris

SI in Paris

See also

References

  1. ^ "Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation". Skeptical Inquirer. 39 (6): 12. November–December 2015. ISSN 0194-6730. Date of filing: September 16, 2015. (Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685) Title: Skeptical Inquirer. Frequency: Bimonthly. Publisher: Center for Inquiry, Inc., Amherst NY. Editor: Kendrick Frazier. Deputy Editor: Benjamin T. Radford. Owner: Center for Inquiry, Inc. Average number of (print) copies of each issue during the preceding 12 months: . . . Total (print) distribution: 24,133. Copies not distributed: 10,162. Average number of electronic copies of each issue during the preceding 12 months: 539. Total print distribution + paid electronic copies: 24,672.
  2. ^ a b "About CSI". CSI. CFI. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  3. ^ Frazier, Kendrick. "It's CSI Now, Not CSICOP". CFI. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  4. ^ Frazier, Kendrick. "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)". CSI. CFI. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Paul Kurtz (September 2006). "Science and the Public: Summing Up Thirty Years of the Skeptical Inquirer". Skeptical Inquirer. 30 (5): 13–19.
  6. ^ Paul Kurtz (29 October 2010). Exuberant Skepticism. Prometheus Books. p. 218. ISBN 9781615929702. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Hofstadter, Douglas (February 1, 1982). "About two kinds of Inquiry: "National Enquirer" and "The Skeptical Inquirer"". Scientific American. 246 (2): 18–26. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  8. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (November 2013). "Why We Do This: Revisiting the higher values of skeptical inquiry". Skeptical Inquirer. 6 (37): 11–13.
  9. ^ a b Frazier, Kendrick. "Why We Do This: Revisiting the Higher Values of Skeptical Inquiry". Skeptical Inquirer. CSICOP. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  10. ^ Loxton, Daniel. "Modern skepticism's unique mandate". Skeptic Blog. The Skeptic Society. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  11. ^ "The Skeptical Inquirer to Be Quarterly". Skeptical Inquirer. II (2): 132. 1978.
  12. ^ Frazier, Kendrick. "Organized Skepticism: Four Decades ... and Today". Skeptical Inquirer. CSICOP. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  13. ^ Frazier, Kendrick (1988). "Notes and Comments on a Year of Expansion and Growth". Skeptical Inquirer: 228.
  14. ^ Loxton, Daniel. "Where do we go from here?" (PDF). Skepti Blog. The Skeptic Society. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  15. ^ "CSI Fellows and Staff". CSICOP. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  16. ^ "The Pantheon of Skeptics". CSICOP. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Inside front cover and masthead page". Skeptical Inquirer. April 2016.
  18. ^ Harris, Ian (2018). "The Take a Wish Foundation". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (3): 66.
  19. ^ "The Care and Feeding of the Vagina". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (5): 28. 2018.
  20. ^ Bernstein, Evan. "Remembering Perry DeAngelis Today". The Rogues Gallery. The Rogues Gallery. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  21. ^ Gerbic, Susan. "A Skeptic's Woe over Margaret Cho". Skeptical Inquirer. CSICOP. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  22. ^ Loxton, Daniel. "Ode to Joy". Skeptiblog. The Skeptic Society. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  23. ^ G'Sell, Eileen (2016-03-19). "Sumptuous Skeptics: Ellen K. Levy and Patricia Olynyk Stage Creative Inquisition". Arte Fuse. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  24. ^ Corwin, William. "Truth in the Visual Arts Skepticism in the Work of Ellen K. Levy and Patricia Olynyk". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  25. ^ a b "CSI Online Store". Skeptical Inquirer. CSICOP. Retrieved 30 March 2016.

External links

Barry Beyerstein

Barry L Beyerstein (May 19, 1947 – June 25, 2007) was a scientific skeptic and professor of psychology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Beyerstein's research explored brain mechanisms of perception and consciousness, the effects of drugs on the brain and mind, sense of smell and its lesser-known contributions to human cognition and emotion. He was founder and chair of the BC Skeptics Society. A Fellow and member of the Executive Council of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Associate editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine Journal as well as a contributor to Skeptical Inquirer. Beyerstein was one of the original faculty of CSICOP's Skeptic's Toolbox.

Beyerstein was a co-founder of the Canadians for Rational Health Policy and a member of the Advisory Board of the Drug Policy Foundation of Washington D.C. He was a founding board member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and contributed to the International Journal of Drug Policy. According to long-time friend James Alcock, Beyerstein once addressed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health during discussions leading up to the passage of the Controlled Substances Act". Along with his brother Dale, Barry was active "in the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association".

CBS News Sunday Morning

CBS News Sunday Morning is an American newsmagazine television program that has aired on CBS since January 28, 1979. Created by Robert Northshield and original host Charles Kuralt, the 90-minute program currently airs Sundays from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Eastern, Pacific Time from 7:00 to 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. in all other time zones (live in the Eastern and Central time zones, and on tape delay elsewhere). Since October 9, 2016, the show has been hosted by Jane Pauley, who also posts news segments, after the retirement of long-term host Charles Osgood. Osgood was the host for twenty-two years (and is the program's longest-serving host), taking over from Kuralt on April 10, 1994.

CSICon

CSICon or CSIConference is an annual skeptical conference typically held in the United States. CSICon is hosted by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), which is a program of the Center for Inquiry (CFI). CSI publishes Skeptical Inquirer, subtitled The Magazine for Science and Reason.

Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), formerly known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), is a program within the transnational American non-profit educational organization Center for Inquiry (CFI), which seeks to "promote scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims." Paul Kurtz proposed the establishment of CSICOP in 1976 as an independent non-profit organization (before merging with CFI as one of its programs in 2015), to counter what he regarded as an uncritical acceptance of, and support for, paranormal claims by both the media and society in general. Its philosophical position is one of scientific skepticism. CSI's fellows have included notable scientists, Nobel laureates, philosophers, psychologists, educators and authors. It is headquartered in Amherst, New York.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). It is best known through Gary Craig's EFT Handbook, published in the late 1990s, and related books and workshops by a variety of teachers. EFT and similar techniques are often discussed under the umbrella term "energy psychology".

Advocates claim that the technique may be used to treat a wide variety of physical and psychological disorders, and as a simple form of self-administered therapy. The Skeptical Inquirer describes the foundations of EFT as "a hodgepodge of concepts derived from a variety of sources, [primarily] the ancient Chinese philosophy of chi, which is thought to be the 'life force' that flows throughout the body." The existence of this life force is "not empirically supported".EFT has no benefit as a therapy beyond the placebo effect or any known-effective psychological techniques that may be provided in addition to the purported "energy" technique. It is generally characterized as pseudoscience and it has not garnered significant support in clinical psychology.

Exeter incident

The Exeter incident was a highly publicized UFO sighting that occurred on September 3, 1965, approximately 5 miles (8 km) south of Exeter, New Hampshire, in the neighboring town of Kensington. Although several separate sightings had been made by numerous witnesses in the weeks leading up to September 3, the specific incident, eventually to become by far the most famous, involved a local teenager and two police officers. The November/December 2011 edition of Skeptical Inquirer offers an explanation of the incident, based on details reported by the eyewitnesses.

Ghost hunting

Ghost hunting is the process of investigating locations that are reported to be haunted by ghosts. Typically, a ghost-hunting team will attempt to collect evidence supporting the existence of paranormal activity. Ghost hunters use a variety of electronic devices, including EMF meters, digital thermometers, both handheld and static digital video cameras, including thermographic and night vision cameras, as well as digital audio recorders. Other more traditional techniques are also used, such as conducting interviews and researching the history of allegedly haunted sites. Ghost hunters may also refer to themselves as "paranormal investigators."Ghost hunting has been heavily criticized for its dismissal of the scientific method. No scientific study has ever been able to confirm the existence of ghosts. The practice is considered a pseudoscience by the vast majority of educators, academics, science writers, and skeptics. Science historian Brian Regal described ghost hunting as "an unorganized exercise in futility".

Harriet Hall

Harriet A. Hall (born July 2, 1945) is a U.S. retired family physician, former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and skeptic who writes about alternative medicine and quackery for Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer.

Isagenix

Isagenix International LLC is a privately held multi-level marketing (MLM) company that sells dietary supplements and personal care products. The company, based in Gilbert, Arizona, was founded in 2002 by John Anderson, Jim Coover, and Kathy Coover. As of 2013 the company reported having over 200,000 active MLM distributors. In 2017, the company reported revenues of $958 million. According to Isagenix, the company employed 850 people as of 2017.Physician Harriet Hall, writing in the Skeptical Inquirer in 2011, said that many of the claims made about the products are false. The Australian consumer organization CHOICE reported that Isagenix’s claims about its "nutritional cleansing" product are scientifically unsupported; that its weight loss products are similar in content to much cheaper store-bought alternatives; and that its MLM distributors provided unauthorized medical advice.

James Alcock

James E. Alcock (born 24 December 1942) is a Canadian educator. He has been a Professor of Psychology at York University (Canada) since 1973. Alcock is a noted critic of parapsychology and is a Fellow and Member of the Executive Council for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a member of the Editorial Board of The Skeptical Inquirer, and a frequent contributor to the magazine. He has also been a columnist for Humanist Perspectives Magazine. In 1999, a panel of skeptics named him among the two dozen most outstanding skeptics of the 20th century. In May 2004, CSICOP awarded Alcock CSI's highest honor, the In Praise of Reason Award. Alcock is also an amateur magician and is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Karen Stollznow

Karen Stollznow (born 12 August 1976) is an Australian-American writer, linguist, and skeptic. Her books include The Language of Discrimination, God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States, Haunting America, Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, Hits and Mrs, and Would You Believe It?: Mysterious Tales From People You'd Least Expect. She also writes short stories, and is a host on the podcast Monster Talk.

Kendrick Frazier

Kendrick Crosby Frazier (born March 19, 1942) is a science writer and longtime editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is also a former editor of Science News, author or editor of ten books, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is a fellow and a member of the executive council of Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), an international organization which promotes scientific inquiry.He has written extensively about a variety of science topics including astronomy, space exploration, the earth and planetary sciences, archaeology, technology, the history and philosophy of science, public issues of science, and the critical examination of pseudoscience and fringe-science.

List of scientific skeptics

This is a list of notable people that promote or practice scientific skepticism. In general, they favor science and are opposed to pseudoscience and quackery. They are generally skeptical of parapsychology, the paranormal, and alternative medicine.

James Alcock, psychologist. Author of several skeptical books and articles.

Isaac Asimov, biochemist, author. Wrote or edited over 500 popular science, other nonfiction, and science fiction books, including the Foundation series. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Robert A. Baker, psychologist, author. Wrote books on ghosts, alien abductions and false memory syndrome.

Banachek, mentalist. participant in Project Alpha. Real name Steve Shaw

Stephen Barrett, psychiatrist. Cofounder of the National Council Against Health Fraud, critic of alternative medicine. Founder of the Quackwatch website.

Barry Beyerstein, psychologist. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Susan Blackmore, parapsychologist. Author, lecturer, and broadcaster.

Maarten Boudry, philosopher and author.

Derren Brown, mentalist, critic of alleged psychics and spiritual mediums.

Robert Todd Carroll, philosopher. Author of The Skeptic's Dictionary book and website.

Milbourne Christopher, magician. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Derek Colanduno and Robynn McCarthy, co-hosts of the podcast Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine.

David Colquhoun, pharmacologist and author of the website Improbable Science.

Brian Cox, physicist

Narendra Dabholkar, author and the founder-president of Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti.

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author known for promoting the gene-centric view of evolution (in his book The Selfish Gene), coining of the term meme, and atheist activism.

Perry DeAngelis, co-founder and former executive director of the New England Skeptical Society, co-founder and former co-host of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast.

Daniel Dennett, philosopher. Author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.

Jared Diamond, scientist, author and member of the editorial board of Skeptic.

Ann Druyan, popular science author and current head of the Planetary Society. Widow of the astronomer Carl Sagan.

Brian Dunning, writer and producer with focus on science and skepticism, host of Skeptoid podcast, as well as a Skeptoid spin-off video series, inFact, and producer of educational films on the subject of critical thinking.

Mark Edward, formerly worked as a psychic, currently exposes psychics and is the author of a tell-all book on that subject, member of editorial board of The Skeptics Society, invented the term Guerrilla Skepticism.

Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist known for his work in quantum mechanics.

Kendrick Frazier, Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Martin Gardner, author, recreational mathematician. Writer of the long-running 'Mathematical Games' column in Scientific American, and a longstanding columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Pamela L. Gay, astronomer, co-host of Astronomy Cast, assistant research professor in the STEM center at SIUE and project director for CosmoQuest.

Susan Gerbic, the founder of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia which has the mission of improving the skeptical content of Wikipedia.

Ben Goldacre, physician, journalist. Author of the "Bad Science" column in The Guardian (UK newspaper).

David Gorski, surgical oncologist. A.k.a. Orac of Respectful Insolence. Critic of complimentary and alternative medicine.

Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, historian of science, Harvard University.

Natalie Grams, German physician, writer, scientific skeptic, former homeopath, author of Homeopathy Reconsidered — What Really Helps Patients (in German)

Harriet A. Hall, physician, former US Air Force flight surgeon. Critic of alternative medicine and quackery.

Sven Ove Hansson, philosopher. Founding Chairperson of the Swedish Skeptics (Vetenskap och Folkbildning) and Editor of the organisation's journal Folkvett.

Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author.

Sharon A. Hill, founder of Doubtful News, a news site that links synopses and commentary to original news sources, and provides information to critically assess claims made in the media. She is also producer and host of the 15 Credibility Street podcast.

Christopher Hitchens, journalist and author.

Douglas Hofstadter, physicist, artificial intelligence researcher. Author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid and Scientific American column "Metamagical Themas".

Harry Houdini, magician. Critic of Modern Spiritualism who exposed fraudulent psychics and mediums and publicized their methods.

George Hrab American skeptical musician, podcaster, speaker and emcee at The Amaz!ng Meeting

Ray Hyman, psychologist, critic of parapsychology. Longstanding contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Jamie Hyneman, co-creator of the TV show MythBusters.

Leo Igwe, Nigerian human rights advocate.

Edward Jenner, English physician and scientist who pioneered smallpox vaccine.

Penn Jillette magician, half of Penn & Teller duo. Co-creator and co-host of the television series Bullshit!

Teller, magician, other half of Penn & Teller duo. Co-creator and co-host of the television series Bullshit!

Barry Karr, Executive Director for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Philip J. Klass, aerospace journalist. Known for his investigations of UFOs. Longstanding contributor to the Skeptical Inquirer. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Paul Kurtz, philosopher, author. Founder of CSICOP (now CSI), Publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Michael Leunig, cartoonist.

Ash Lieb, artist, comedian and writer.

Scott Lilienfeld, professor of psychology, author, Consulting Editor for Skeptical Inquirer and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Fellow

Pat Linse, illustrator. Cofounder of the Skeptics Society, Copublisher and Art Director of Skeptic magazine. Creator of Junior Skeptic magazine.

Daniel Loxton, illustrator, writer. Editor of Junior Skeptic magazine (bound into Skeptic magazine).

Tim Minchin, comedian, musician, actor. Has many songs illustrating his skepticism, most notably, Storm.

Rob Nanninga, writer and editor of Skepter.

Joe Nickell, investigator of the paranormal, author. Columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer.

Steven Novella, neurologist. Founder of the New England Skeptical Society and host of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast.

James Oberg, aerospace journalist. Critic of UFOs and claims of a moon landing hoax.

Robert L. Park, physicist, and author of Voodoo Science.

Massimo Pigliucci, professor of philosophy at City University of New York and co-host of the skeptical podcast, Rationally Speaking.

Steven Pinker, Canadian experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, popular science author, Harvard College Professor and advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Philip Plait, astronomer, author. Founder of the Bad Astronomy website.

Massimo Polidoro, writer, journalist. Student of James Randi, Co-Founder and Executive Director of CICAP, Research Fellow of CSICOP (now CSI).

Basava Premanand publisher of the Indian Skeptic magazine and chairman of the Indian CSICOP.

Benjamin Radford, Managing Editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, co-host of Squaring the Strange podcast.

James Randi, magician. Founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Notable for offering a million dollar cash reward for verifiable demonstration under laboratory conditions of any paranormal ability or event. Conceived and directed Project Alpha. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Pascual Romero, co-host of the Squaring the Strange podcast, providing evidence-based analysis and commentary on a variety of paranormal topics.

Emily Rosa, Guinness World Record youngest medical researcher; at age 11, published her study in the Journal of the American Medical Association on therapeutic touch, showing practitioners couldn't feel the "human energy field" when not looking.

Carl Sagan, astronomer, popular science author, and media personality. Advocate for SETI, founder of the Planetary Society, host of the TV series Cosmos and author of The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Cara Santa Maria, a science communicator, journalist, producer, television host, and podcaster. She currently is a co-host on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast, and hosts her own podcast Talk Nerdy.

Adam Savage, co-creator of the TV series MythBusters.

Eugenie Scott, anthropologist. Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), critic of creationism and intelligent design.

Robert Sheaffer, author. UFO investigator, columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer.

Michael Shermer, historian, popular science author, founder of the Skeptics Society. Copublisher and Editor of Skeptic magazine. Also current writer for the Scientific American column "Skeptic".

Simon Singh, popular British science author.

Julia Sweeney, actress, comedian, author and performer of Letting Go of God.

Jamy Ian Swiss, magician, co-founder of the National Capital Area Skeptics; co-founder of the New York City Skeptics; contributor to Skeptic magazine; co-producer and on-stage host of Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism. on board of San Diego Association for Rational Inquiry (aka San Diego Skeptics).

Marcello Truzzi, sociologist. First editor of the Skeptical Inquirer. Critic of organized skepticism. Founding member of CSICOP (now CSI).

Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchick blog.

Richard Wiseman, psychologist.

Paul Zenon, magician and comedian.

Philip J. Klass

Philip Julian Klass (November 8, 1919 – August 9, 2005) was an American journalist, and UFO researcher, known for his skepticism regarding UFOs. In the ufological and skeptical communities, Klass inspires polarized appraisals. He has been called the "Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy". Klass demonstrated "the crusader's zeal for what seems 'right,' regardless of whether it brings popular acclaim," a trait he claimed his father instilled in him. "I've found," said Klass, "that roughly 97, 98 percent of the people who report seeing UFOs are fundamentally intelligent, honest people who have seen something — usually at night, in darkness — that is unfamiliar, that they cannot explain." The rest, he said, were frauds.Longtime ufologist James W. Moseley illustrated the ambivalence many UFO researchers feel about Klass. On the one hand, Moseley argued that Klass was sincere in his motives and that his work ultimately benefited the field of Ufology. In his memoirs, Moseley contended that, when pressed, most leading ufologists would admit that Klass knew the subject and the people involved and was welcomed, or at least pleasantly tolerated, at UFO meetings. However, Moseley also wrote that he and Klass "have had and continue to have intense doctrinal and factual disagreements, and there are things about Phil's 'style', like his attack on James E. McDonald, that I do not admire or agree with." In a 1999 interview, fellow debunker Gary Posner wrote that despite some recent health problems, the 80-year-old "Klass's mind — and pen — remain razor sharp, to the delight of his grateful followers and to the constant vexation (or worse) of his legions of detractors."

Ray Hyman

Ray Hyman (born June 23, 1928) is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and a noted critic of parapsychology. Hyman, along with James Randi, Martin Gardner and Paul Kurtz, is one of the founders of the modern skeptical movement. He is the founder and leader of the Skeptic's Toolbox. Hyman serves on the Executive Council for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

Robert Sheaffer

Robert Sheaffer (born 1949) is an American freelance writer and skeptic. He is a paranormal investigator of unidentified flying objects, having researched many sightings and written critiques of the hypothesis that UFOs are alien spacecraft. In addition to UFOs, his writings cover topics such as Christianity, academic feminism, the scientific theory of evolution, and creationism. He is the author of six books.

Sheaffer wrote for Skeptical Inquirer (where he contributed the regular "Psychic Vibrations" column), 1977– 2017. Fate Magazine, and Spaceflight. He was a founding member (with Philip J. Klass and James Oberg) of the UFO Subcommittee of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and is a fellow of that organization. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and a member of Mensa.

Susan Gerbic

Susan Marie Gerbic (born August 8, 1962) is an American skeptical activist living in Salinas, California. Gerbic is the co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics, founder of Skeptic Action, founder and leader of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW) project, a recurring contributor to the Skepticality podcast, a regular contributor to Skeptical Inquirer, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Gerbic has focused much of her skeptical activism on people claiming to be "clairvoyant mediums", such as Sylvia Brown and Tyler Henry, whom she calls "Grief Vampires".

True-believer syndrome

True-believer syndrome is an informal or rhetorical term used by M. Lamar Keene in his 1976 book The Psychic Mafia. Keene used the term to refer to people who continued to believe in a paranormal event or phenomenon even after it had been proven to have been staged. Keene considered it to be a cognitive disorder, and regarded it as being a key factor in the success of many psychic mediums.The term "true believer" was used earlier by Eric Hoffer in his 1951 book The True Believer to describe the psychological roots of fanatical groups.

Young Australian Skeptics

The Young Australian Skeptics (YAS) is an Australian skeptical organisation whose primary focus is its collaborative blog, which attempts to address topics central to science, critical thinking and scientific skepticism. The group has published a Skeptical Blog Anthology Book reviewed in Scientific American, and has been represented in national broadcast media in Australia and North America, skeptically addressing conspiracy theories, as well as discussing topics specific to young members of the skeptical movement.

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