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From Richard Dawkins

  • Haikugal (6095 posts)
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    From Richard Dawkins

    Predicting Pseudoscience Conspiracy Theories – An Interview with Craig Foster

    Gerbic: Craig, so glad to get a chance to catch up with you. I’m very excited to talk to you because this was your very first CSICon; in fact, it was your very first skeptic conference of any kind. When we first talked, it was Friday morning and you were just a few hours into this. What brought you here and what did you expect?

    Foster: Hi Susan. It’s great to catch up with you as well.

    I took over my department’s statistics and research methods sequence almost four years ago. I thought that the course should place greater emphasis on scientific reasoning as an everyday skill. This led me into the area of pseudoscience, a topic that I found, and continue to find, fascinating. I expected that CSICon would provide a crash course in the development of scientifically unreasonable beliefs.

    To be perfectly honest, I also was intrigued to see who would attend a conference devoted to skepticism. I wasn’t judging or anything like that. I was obviously aware that I was also a member of this group. I just thought it was interesting. I am a social psychologist after all.

    Gerbic: How did that impression change over the weekend?

    Foster: CSICon as a vehicle for learning about scientific reasoning and pseudoscience exceeded my expectations. The speakers were incredible. They were clearly well-practiced in conveying important scientific issues in understandable and engaging ways.

    My impression of the people did not really change because I didn’t know what to expect. I never expected them to be so friendly. I felt comfortable introducing myself to anybody.

    This might seem odd, but I did leave CSICon with a greater appreciation for skepticism as a movement. The world would be a much better place if we could mitigate some of the implausible beliefs that are ultimately harmful. I really admire all those skeptics who try to minimize that harm by addressing misinformation.

    Consider, for example, only James Randi’s work on faith healing. How many lives has he saved by exposing the problems underlying faith healing? We’ll never know. Maybe Professor Krauss can find an alternative universe where James Randi neglects his work on faith healing to become the lead singer for Van Halen. Then we’d know.


    I thought some here might enjoy this interview from CSICon.

    zoolook67, Enthusiast like this
      Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!! Kick against the pricks!!!

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  • zoolook67 (627 posts)
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    1. Great stuff! Thanks for posting.

    Living well is the best revenge.
    • Haikugal (6095 posts)
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      2. You're welcome!


        Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!! Kick against the pricks!!!