Episode Archive for October 2008

The 12th Annual CFI Houdini Seance

October 31, 2008

Harry Houdini, the world-famous magician and skeptic, sincerely explored the religion of spiritualism and communication with the dead after his beloved mother’s death in 1913.

In this episode for Halloween 2008, Joe Nickell, the world’s leading paranormal investigator and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s senior research fellow, and D.J. Grothe (both of whom are former professional magicians) conduct the Center for Inquiry’s 12th Annual Houdini Seance, using artifacts of the magician's art to entice Houdini's spirit to appear. They recount the history of the original Houdini Seance, and explore Houdini's views on the spirit world, and to what extent he…

Todd C. Riniolo - When Good Thinking Goes Bad

October 24, 2008

Todd C. Riniolo is an associate professor of psychology at Medaille College. He has written many peer-reviewed articles in the psychological literature.

In this discussion with D.J. Grothe, Todd Riniolo discusses his book When Good Thinking Goes Bad: How Your Brain Can Have a Mind of Its Own, exploring ways that critical thinking should be applied to people's cherished and most certainly felt convictions. He discusses common cognitive, social and emotional biases people have when arriving at conclusions about the supernatural and paranormal, politics and economics, and how critical thinking is often applied inconsistently in these areas. He also focuses…

Edward Tabash - The U.S. Presidential Election and Secular Values Voters

October 17, 2008

Edward Tabash is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer in Beverly Hills, California. He has chaired the National Legal Committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State since 1995, and has argued and won before the California Supreme Court. He also sits as a part-time judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court system. He has successfully represented the scientific outlook and secular humanism in public debates against the leading Christian philosophers around the world. In addition to serving on the Board of the Center for Inquiry and chairing the Council for Secular Humanism’s First Amendment Task Force,…

Lawrence M. Krauss - The Fear of Physics

October 10, 2008

Lawrence M. Krauss is Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the new Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He is an internationally famous theoretical physicist who focuses on the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. He is the author of seven best-selling books, including the international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek and Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato…

Michael Lackey - Science, Postmodernism, and the Varieties of Black Humanism

October 03, 2008

Michael Lackey teaches courses in twentieth-century American and African American literature at the University of Minnesota, Morris. A recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, he has published articles in many journals, including Philosophy and Literature, Journal of the History of Ideas, and the Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History. University Press of Florida has recently published his book, African American Atheists and Political Liberation: A Study of the Socio-Cultural Dynamics of Faith, which was named a “Choice Outstanding Academic Title” for 2007. He is currently working on his second book, which is tentatively titled: Modernist God States: A Literary…