Skeptic personalities

Rationalist anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar assassinated in India

Terrible news out of India. Anti-superstition leader Narendra Dabholkar shot dead; Prithviraj Chavan announces Rs10 lakh reward for info on killers – Pune – DNA. Anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar, who was at the forefront of a campaign to persuade Maharashtra government to pass an anti-superstition and black magic bill, was shot dead by two unidentified…

Memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus receives prestigious award

The journal American Psychologist (July-August 2013 issue) awards Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in the Science of Psychology to Dr. Elizabeth Loftus of U.C. Irvine. “Elizabeth F. Loftus has made extraordinary contributions to our understanding of memory during the past 40 years that are remarkable for their creativity and impact. She has been a pioneering…

BBC Newsnight’s anti-trolling fail (Update: Reporter gone)

Sometimes stuff occurs on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and various online places that we might miss if we aren’t paying attention. But, since we cover questionable claims here, we decided to document this horrendous job of reported done by BBC Newsnight about online trolling that featured a script called the Block Bot. Here is the backstory…

Newspaper does a totally unbalanced piece on Warren and The Conjuring

Poorly done story hypes the haunting and ignores the issues with the Warrens “true stories”. The ‘true’ story behind ‘The Conjuring’ | Daily Record | dailyrecord.com. ‘The Conjuring’ scared up a surprising $41.5 million over the weekend with a haunted farmhouse tale said to be “based on the true story” of ghost hunters Ed and…

Congratulations and other worthwhile remains of the day

I’ve been catching up on some good reads and links while keeping an eye on new news. Check out what I collected for you today. “I’m a Creationist,” Says Former Times Tech Writer, Heffernan | Religion Dispatches. In which Orac does Stanislaw Burzynski propagandist Eric Merola a favor… – Respectful Insolence. Aggressive snake slithers down…

Local news would rather bank on truth of demonic tale but quotes Skeptic

Thumbs down to the Pocono Record (PA) for dissing a skeptical take in the headline about a demonic story. The article itself is pretty fair so I question the editor. Paranormal skeptic rains on Stroudsburg’s devil tale | PoconoRecord.com. For several days in February 1983, Don Decker was possessed by a demonic force that caused…

Those “wonder”ful popular scientists. Praise them?

There is a bit of a dustup over a Guardian post, popular scientists, “wonder”, and stereotypes. Here we go… In an opinion piece, Eliane Glaser isn’t happy with scientists on TV, specifically, the words and ideas they use. Prof Brian Cox: physicist or priest? | Eliane Glaser | Comment is free | The Guardian. She…

James Randi responds to Storr’s ‘Social Darwinism’ quote

Will Storr has a new book out about belief and skepticism. In it is a controversial quote by James “The Amazing” Randi. Randi has now responded to this controversy. Here is an example of the pieces that came out berating Randi’s comments.James Randi: Let Survival of the Fittest “Act Itself Out” On Those With Low…

Criss Angel magic show just got real

Criss Angel’s TV series has an intriguing advisor? Magician Criss Angel to Star in Spike TV Docuseries – Hollywood Reporter. The network is teaming with Criss Angel for an 11-episode series featuring new illusions and what it dubs are “apparent supernatural abilities.” Over the hourlong episodes, Angel will attempt new “demonstrations” never attempted by any…

Editorial – Looking for the best answer: Sorry it burst your paranormal balloon

Lately, there is a thing going around web sites that promote fringe ideas. They enjoy bashing James “The Amazing” Randi, one of the world’s most prominent skeptics and unveiler of charlatans. I suppose it’s not new, but I see it a lot lately. There have even been several attempts to personally discredit him. Many commenters try to…

Kickstart An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story

A new Kickstarter project to fund a film about one of today’s greatest professional skeptics. An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story by Flim Flam Films — Kickstarter. An Honest Liar profiles the colorful life of famed magician turned professional skeptic James “The Amazing” Randi as he embarks on a series of public crusades to…

A career launched by UFOs – Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has died

Dr. David Clarke shares the story of the popular astronomer who orchestrated some flying saucer hoaxes in his career and believed that mysterious sightings had normal explanations. Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012): astronomer and flying-saucerer The death of Sir Patrick Moore, at the age of 89, is a sad loss to astronomy and for all those…