The Prey of Cults

October 1998 by Perry DeAngelis It is estimated that between two and five million Americans are involved in cultic groups (Singer,1995).  It is hard to assess a more accurate count because, as in all things, cultic groups are deceptive about their numbers.  Deception is their hallmark, used at every level from recruitment, to thought control, […]

Responding to Behe and “Irreducible Complexity”

April 1999 by Steven Novella, MD I received the following question regarding Michael Behe book, Darwin’s Black Box: I recently read a book called “Darwin’s Black Box” by Behe. It’s thesis is that there are systems called “irreducibly complex systems” which appear to have no evolutionary advantage until all of their parts are present, and […]

Conjunction Assumption

April 2000 by Robert Novella Now that we’re well into the year 2000 and Y2K fears have subsided, I thought I could relax and forget about impending global disasters. Not so, if an increasingly vocal crop of doomsayers are correct. Apparently, a planetary alignment that will occur on May fifth will wreak havoc on the […]

Teller – Magic’s Silent Man of Mystery

April 1998 by Sheila Gibson You may know Teller as the singly-named “smaller, quieter half” of the comedy-magic team Penn and Teller. What you may not know is both he and his partner are longtime committed skeptics whose views are evident on stage and off. Both are on the masthead of Skeptic magazine and are […]

How Strong Are Your State’s Science Standards?

April 2000 by Sheila Gibson The Kansas State Board of Education (BOE) greeted the coming millennium by voting its state science curriculum into the 19th century. Virtually all references to evolution-not just in biology, but in geology and cosmology as well-were ripped out of the draft update curriculum presented to the board last May. The […]

Long Live Science and Reason

October 1999 By Sheila Gibson The following is a response to an op-ed piece written by John Mack, the infamous Harvard psychiatrist who has championed the idea that large numbers of people are being abducted from their homes by space aliens. The original article was published in the Sunday Boston Globe Focus Section on October […]

Dowsing in Connecticut

October 1996 by Perry DeAngelis In our society today, there exists a phenomenon of yesterday. The ancient “art” of dowsing still persists in this age of high technology. In Connecticut alone, there are 100 members of the American Society of Dowsers. There are more than 5000 nationally. The Gordon McClean chapter (named for a now […]

Demonic Possessions

April 1998 by Perry DeAngelis A local case of alleged demonic possession involving a 10 year old boy, is vividly illustrative of the high price we pay when credulity rules the day. With angels being discussed on the cover of Time magazine, and our television screens filled nightly with tales of the supernatural, these events […]

The Year 1000 A.D. and the Millennial Panic

July 1998 by Edward P. Wallner In his recent review of an apocalyptic novel by the fundamentalist Pat Robertson, the writer Christopher Buckley recounted in his own words the familiar story of the panic over the imminent end of the world at the close of the first millennium A.D.: “The year 999 was a boom […]

Scientific Research in a Mystical World

January 1998 by Steven Novella, MD The NIH Office of Alternative Medicine seeks to scientifically research alternative medicine modalities, such as acupuncture, but is the act of doing research enough to make alternative practices science? The true nature and essence of science is of intense interest to skeptics, as it should be to any rational […]