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Balles Critical Thinking Prize Awarded to Authors of UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens

With their book UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens, Donald R. Prothero and Tim Callahan not only refute false claims and misguided beliefs about supposed encounters with the extraterrestrial and paranormal, but more importantly they also arm readers with the tools they will need to fairly evaluate any extraordinary claim they come across. It is for this achievement—an accessible, enriching, and genuinely fun introduction to scientific skepticism—that Prothero and Callahan are awarded the 2017 Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.

UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens collects several notable instances of alleged alien contact, evidence of extraterrestrial spacecraft, and the shadowy means by which these events have been covered up. Prothero, a geologist and paleontologist, and Callahan, an artist and animator, unpack the elements of each case. With an approach that is conversational and sympathetic to the believer, the authors show why the evidence is never sufficiently extraordinary to justify the extraordinary claim.

“Critical thinking and science have proven to be the most consistent and effective methods of distinguishing reality from illusion,” write the authors, who go on to show how several factors, including our often-deceptive senses and a sensationalistic culture, make us so susceptible to believe in that which is demonstrably false.

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Skeptical Inquirer
July/August 2018
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