Asmodeus, Stanley Fish, and the Fiction of Privacy

June 04, 2015

The subject of spying is so controversial because it violates, or seems to violate, the public's basic right to privacy. But the word privacy is often used glibly, with little discussion or understanding of what it is, why it's valuable, and what the consequences are for willingly giving up privacy. I argue that privacy is largely a fiction and a distinctly modern invention whose status as a sacrosanct pillar of human rights is suspect at best.

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Mad Max: Fury Road review

May 18, 2015

There were lots of reasons to think that Mad Max: Fury Road would never be made, starting with the fact that the last film featuring the character came out 30 years ago...

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Dr. Oz Accuses Critics of Trying to Silence Him

April 24, 2015

Superstar TV personality Dr. Oz, after nearly a year of being criticized for promoting unproven "miracle" products and medical misinformation on his popular daytime TV show, has fired back at his critics.

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Filmmaker Mike Celestino on Edgy Comedy and Pop Culture Skeptics

April 13, 2015

Los Angeles-based filmmaker Michael ("Mike") Celestino is a skeptic, film buff, and comedy fan. The bespectacled and slight bemused writer/director agreed to answer some questions about his recent projects, including his planned documentary "The Scully."

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The Post Hoc Fallacy: Vaccine Fears and Roosevelt-Menacing Indians

April 06, 2015

I recently read Candice Miller's book The River of Doubt, about Theodore Roosevelt's 1914 exploration of an unknown river in the Brazilian Amazon. It's a fascinating story of adventure, misadventure, murder, and more. In the book I also found an excellent real-life example of one of my favorite logical fallacies: post hoc ergo propter hoc, also called faulty causation.

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A Skeptic’s Brief Conversation With a TV Producer

March 16, 2015

From the archives: A few years ago I posted this column about my experience with a TV producer and it turned out to be one of my more popular pieces, resonating with many skeptics and the public. It's just as relevant today...

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Critical and Thinking: The Ian Harris Interview

March 04, 2015

Ian Harris is a LA-based comic who has performed at the Center For Inquiry and at CSI conferences, blending comedy and skepticism. He can also choke you unconscious. 

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Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

February 24, 2015

Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information, such as the PBS series "Nova," turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 2 of 2. 

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Anorexia Misinformation in the Media: Case Study of the PBS Show ‘Nova’

February 18, 2015

Misinformation about eating disorders is not like misinformation about a car’s gas mileage, or the weather. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with potentially lethal consequences. Sufferers and their loved ones deserve accurate information about the diseases, but trusted sources of information turn out to be not so trustworthy upon closer inspection. Part 1 of 2. 

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14 Smart Questions for Caricaturist Celestia Ward

January 13, 2015

In 2014 I attended a caricature conference in Reno, Nevada. Among a ballroom full of ridiculously talented artists from around the world I happened to meet Celestia Ward, a caricaturist who’s also a skeptic. Naturally, I had questions for her. 

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