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The Spectrum of Skepticism

The concerns of scientific skeptics cover an astonishingly wide range of issues, with an equal variety of emphases and approaches. The articles in this issue typify that.

Jeanne Goldberg’s cover article, “The Politicization of Scientific Issues,” is as timely as today’s headlines, but she approaches the subject with deep philosophical and historical context. In her first essay for SI, she takes us back to Lucretius, who insightfully championed a naturalistic, scientific worldview; to Galileo’s disgust at critics not looking through his telescope to see for themselves the wonders of the solar system; to our Enlightenment-era “citizen-scientist” Founding Fathers, who treasured both philosophy and science; to subseq uent nineteenth-century trends of religiosity and anti-authoritarianism in America’s westward expansion; to America’s continuing strands of anti-intellectualism that Richard Hofstadter described more than half a century ago; to today’s War on Science (not just a telling phrase but the title of Shawn Otto’s voluminous and insightful 2016 book on the topic).

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Politicization of Scientific Issues: Looking through Galileo’s Lens or through the Imaginary Looking Glass Bigfoot as Big Myth: Seven Phases of Mythmaking The Fallacy Fork Why It’s Time to Get Rid of Fallacy Theory The Fakery of Electrodermal Screening