I’ve long advocated the construction of customized online tools (websites, apps and more) to advance the cause of skepticism. In the last two years I’ve noticed a distinct trend where these tools are in being built in increasing numbers—but not just by skeptics! One major source of these tools might surprise you: the newspaper industry.api, crowd-sourcing, debunking, internet, media-driven hoaxes, news media, social media
The end of the year is a time for looking back, and that includes remembering who we have lost. For the last few years I’ve tried to do this for the skeptical community via blog posts and my segment on the Skepticality podcast. I also produce a visual presentation that is seen each year at The Amazing Meeting (TAM) in Las Vegas—this year’s was designed by Cheryl Hebert and INSIGHT blog editor Daniel Loxton.
Whenever I compile these lists, I try to include not only famous skeptics but also rank and file skeptics who have made contributions. I also attempt to include pseudoscientists and paranormalists of note, as well as others who have played a role in important incidents relevant to skepticism. Here are a few of the most notable, followed by a list of all the names I was able to find. (Please point out any omissions in the comments).Gerald Larue, obituary, Victor Stenger
“Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out” is a popular skeptic maxim because it summarizes key elements of skepticism in a pithy, humorous way. But who is the original source for this advice? Some attribute it to Carl Sagan, whose birthday is being celebrated this week as Carl Sagan Day in several locations. It turns out the phrase may in fact have a birthday this week—but that birthday has nothing to do with Sagan!
Tidbits from history like this are one of my skeptical interests. I indulge this interest by collecting dates for such things and posting them daily on social media. (You can find where to read them at the Skeptic History page on my blog). I’ve collected these dates over several years from all sorts of sources. As I find them, I add each one to my file for the next time that date rolls around.
Sometimes you can find anniversary dates for surprising things. For instance, did you know that the word “bunkum” (original root of the term “debunk”) is actually derived from a specific incident in the U.S. Congress?Arthur Hays Sulzberger, bunkum, Carl Sagan, debunk, debunking, Harry Anderson, James Oberg, Max Radin, open mind, Richard Dawkins, Virginia Gildersleeve, Walter Kotschnig, William Allan Neilson
UK-based Sally Morgan, known by her moniker “Psychic Sally,” has become embroiled this week in another dispute with skeptics. Earlier today an undercover video was released showing rather disturbing threats being made against a skeptic from people who apparently work for the psychic performer.
— “Right, so I’m gonna hit you in a minute, I’m gonna knock you out.”
— “I don’t want any trouble.”
The video is below, but first some background is in order. A skeptic named Mark Tilbrook has been handing out leaflets outside Ms. Morgan’s appearances as a form of skeptical activism since earlier this year. These leaflets offer some questions for attendees to consider to make “sure you are not tricked or misled into something that may not be real” along with some hyperlinks to skeptical resources online.
Ms. Morgan’s team took a dim view of this campaigning and have threatened Mr. Tilbrook with legal action, according to his account in The Guardian on Tuesday. He subsequently reached out to the Good Thinking Society, a skeptical UK non-profit run by Simon Singh for help. They are offering him legal assistance, but are also taking Tilbrook’s campaign to the next level, which I will also detail below.activism, Good Thinking Society, James Randi, Peter Popoff, psychic phenomena, Sally Morgan, Simon Singh, talking to the dead