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SkepticBlog

SkepticBlog is a collaboration among some of the most recognized names in promoting science, critical thinking, and skepticism. It also features the cast and producers of The Skeptologists, a pilot skeptical reality show.

Below are the first paragraphs of each author’s introductory post. Authors will contribute weekly to the blog, so content will always be fresh, informative and educational! You can read the entire post below by following the links to SkepticBlog.

The Skeptologists

the cast of The Skeptologists (left to right): Michael Shermer, Mark Edward, Phil Plait, Brian Dunning, Steven Novella, Yau-Man Chan & Kirsten Sanford

Introducing SkepticBlog

by Steven Novella, Oct 24 2008

Steven Novella

The internet, and now Web 2.0, has transformed the skeptical community. For one, it has made it into much more of an actual community (albeit largely a virtual one). Blogs, podcasts, email newsletters, Youtube videos, and websites have brought a new generation of skeptics into skepticism.

It has also fostered a collaboration among existing skeptics that simply did not exist before. Prior to Web 2.0 my skeptical activism was largely confined to a small local group, a print newsletter, and the very occasional national meeting. There were three national groups all doing their own thing, and about 60 local groups toiling away in relative isolation. (continue reading…)

The Welfare Queens of Wall Street

by Michael Shermer, Oct 24 2008

Michael Shermer

Like millions of Americans who invested their retirement accounts in the stock market, I was relieved that the mere suggestion of a governmental bailout of $85 billion for the insurance giant AIG reversed the market arrow up for two days. Relief turned to despair the next two trading sessions, however, until Washington bureaucrats promised another $700 billion for the financial industry in general, leading to another couple of happy trading days and sleep-filled nights. When the plan was scuttled the market crashed again, until it was finally passed, at which point I thought we were headed for greener pastures. Alas, it’s been red-filled days on the iPhone stock ticker ever since. (And all of this market anguish and elation happened before Congress approved the allocation of even a single dollar. That’s the mind of the market for you — it is as much psychology as economics.) (continue reading…)

UFOs abduct astronomers’ good names

by Phil Plait, Oct 24 2008

Phil Plait

A. J. Gevaerd, the editor of "Brazilian UFO Magazine" is what I would charitably call a crank. He once interviewed a guy in his magazine who claimed that Jesus is tied up in the UFO phenomenon — of course! — along with other things that would make my head all asplodey to write about. (continue reading…)

Tying Up Skepticism with a Pretty Ribbon

by Brian Dunning, Oct 24 2008

Brian Dunning

I would like to have a drink with the master purveyor of harmful pseudoscience, author and direct marketer Kevin Trudeau.

It’s all well and good for us to sit back and snicker at Kevin Trudeau for being a scumbag and selling snake oil, but it’s also true that he’s kicking our ass. Absolutely kicking our ass. He makes millions of dollars selling useless products, and the skeptical community makes virtually nothing offering only scientific fact. As a consequence, Kevin Trudeau has more marketing dollars and spreads his message much wider than we could ever hope to. (continue reading…)

Soundbites for Science (or, Why I’m afraid of the Internet)

by Kirsten Sanford, Oct 24 2008

Kirsten Sanford

Last week I was invited to be a guest food science expert on a new daily talk program on a major television network (which for contract purposes must remain unnamed until such time as the program airs). The job itself was easy enough: five minutes of answering physiological questions about food and performing some quick experiments. Of course, I over-prepared, and spent several days reading everything I could get my hands on regarding the smattering of topics. (continue reading…)

Psychic Retirement Party?

by Mark Edward, Oct 24 2008

Mark Edward

I just received an email touting Sylvia Browne’s “Farewell Tour,” with tickets from $65–85. The blurb on her website reads:

After decades of traveling to hundreds of cities around the world to meet new fans like you and share her wisdom and insights about past lives, spirit guides, future predictions, spirituality, and handling life’s biggest challenges — Sylvia has come to the end of this chapter in her life. Before she embarks on a new journey of reducing her traveling time, spending more personal time with her loved ones, and more quality time writing her books, Sylvia would like to invite you to join her on her 2008 Farewell Tour.

Could this be a harbinger of things to come? (continue reading…)

Skepticism — A Cultural Perspective

by Yau-Man Chan, Oct 24 2008

Yau-man Chan

If you have been around any science and engineering departments of any of the well-regarded universities and research institutions in the U.S., you will find that Chinese as an ethnic group are very well represented among the faculty and research staff. Yet, anyone with even the most superficial interaction with the Chinese community will come away with the observation that despite prominence in the science and engineering fields, theirs is still a community infatuated with superstition, and perhaps even delight in celebrating pseudoscience as part of their cultural identity. (continue reading…)

Where does one start?

by Ryan Johnson, Oct 24 2008

Ryan Johnson

My life as a skeptic was always there I guess. It wasn’t until I was listening to podcasts while traveling back and forth between my hometown of Santa Maria and Hollywood during the second season of the TV series, American Dragster, that I direct, I realized what being skeptical really was. (continue reading…)

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