Brainpower in Action: CFI’s Scholars at Work

May 1, 2012

One of the things that truly distinguishes the Center for Inquiry is its commitment to genuine scholarship and research. Associated with CFI, or on the CFI staff, are brilliant scholars who produce important original works in areas such as philosophy, scientific investigation, and public policy. Here is a sampling of some of the recent accomplishments of the scholars and writers involved with CFI.

President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay, who has a PhD in philosophy and has written widely on the topic of bioethics, was invited to submit an essay on euthanasia to the International Encyclopedia of Ethics. This nine-volume work, which will be the authoritative source on ethics for many years, will be published later this year by Wiley-Blackwell. Underscoring the strong academic reputation of the Center for Inquiry, Ron is one of only two authors for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics who is not currently affiliated with a college or university.

Chris Mooney, host of CFI’s podcast Point of Inquiry, recently released to much fanfare his book The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality, in which he explores brain scans, polls, and psychological experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more things that are not true, appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts, and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.

Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, has a major book coming out soon on ghosts and hauntings. A former professional magician, Pinkerton detective, academic, and highly prolific author, Joe may be the world’s only full-time professional paranormal investigator. His new book, The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead, will undoubtedly provide the most comprehensive scientific look yet at the survival-of-death question. It examines the haunting impulse, spirit communication, and the pseudoscience of ghost hunting—just for starters. It will be released by Prometheus Books in June.

CFI Director of Education John Shook, coordinator of the Science and the Public Program, has edited two recent volumes on philosophy: The Essential William James (Prometheus, 2011) and the Dictionary of Early American Philosophers (Continuum, 2012). The forthcoming edition of the journal Education and Culture will feature John’s article “Dewey’s Ethical Justification for Public Deliberation Democracy.”

Center for Inquiry Research Fellow Benjamin Radford‘s book Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore (University of New Mexico Press, 2011) was recently nominated as a finalist for the New Mexico Book Awards and is currently a finalist for the Book of the Year Award in the social science category. His investigations and analyses recently appeared on Discovery News, MSNBC, The Christian Science Monitor, and National Public Radio.

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The Center for Inquiry, a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization based in Amherst, New York, is also home to the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.