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In Troubled Times, This Is What We Do

KENDRICK FRAZIER

I have often written in the Skeptical Inquirer about how what we do is a communal activity. There is a dynamic interaction between our authors/investigators who prepare our articles, reports, critiques, and reviews and our intelligent and curious readers, supporters, and conference attendees who provide moral (and financial!) support, information, ideas, and informed feedback. This is one of the decidedly cool things about the skeptical community. Everyone can contribute in some way.

And what is it we all do? Well, to quote the short version of the mission statement of SI and our Committee for Skeptical Inquiry that appears in every SI: We promote “scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That’s all! Yes, that mission is rather broad. And that is exactly what we try to do. We bring all the tools of evidence-based critical inquiry to popular questions and urgent issues that fascinate, mystify, confuse, and befuddle people. We seek scientifically validated information about issues and assertions and then provide a clear evaluation of those claims.

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Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer March/April 2018
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Other Articles in this Issue


Editor’s Letter
When CSICOP and the Skeptical Inquirer were founded, in 1976,
NEWS AND COMMENT
A staple of science fiction has always been aliens from
In December 2017, The New York Times reported on the
It resembles a scene from a James Bond film. Between
A committee of twenty Cuban scientists tasked with examining the
Six new fellows have been elected to the Committee for
It’s finally happened. Homeopathic remedies are going to come under
Julie Payette is far from your usual bureaucratic official. Even
New Mexico has a vibrant scientific co mmunity, with two
CONFERENCE REPORT
A Festival of Scientific Skepticism or a Theme Park for Science and Reason? CSICon Las Vegas 2017 Had It All
Center for Inquiry (CFI) Communications Director Paul Fidalgo covered CSICon 2017 “live” for CFI Live in a series of brief reports on CFI’s website. Here are a few selections. (For others, go to centerforinquiry.live/2017.)
INVESTIGATIVE FILES
David Dominé is author of a series of three books
THE SCIENCE OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION
Harnessing the Power of Opinion-Leaders across Communities
BEHAVIOR & BELIEF
Let us stipulate that there is no magic. Sleight-of-hand, deception,
SKEPTICAL INQUIREE
Q: “I enjoyed your recent investigation into the 2016 Mall
FEATURES
The decades-long academic assault on science has bewildered the American public about the role and function of science, promoted anti-intellectualism, and politically empowered purveyors of supernaturalism and paranormal beliefs
There are several flagrant examples of hype from cancer and cardiac therapy. The drugs Avastin and Opdivo, which have serious problems, have been greatly overhyped. Statins, which are effective in saving lives from heart attacks and stroke, have been subjected to negative hype meant to discourage their use
Here’s a geologist’s critical analysis of false perceptions held by many creationists about the origin of the Grand Canyon and the age of the Earth
Rather than creating a glorious new literature of positive art, Colin Wilson delivered an odd mix of dodgy philosophy, pulp novels, and paranormal studies—the latter often downright silly
REVIEWS
For most of human history, people have assumed that some
When odd birds sing their strange songs, does it change
NEW AND NOTABLE
Listing does not preclude future review
You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
In Jeffrey Debies-Carl’s conspiracy legends article in the November/December 2017
THE LAST LAUGH
I’m not sure I get the point of the story