Society

Death and the microtubules: experiences from the BBC’s ‘The Day I Died’

From the archives, Dr Susan Blackmore shows that even experienced interviewees on near death experiences can still be hoodwinked.

Ability to detect unseen staring

Published in The Skeptic, Volume 16, Issue 3 (2003) David Marks concludes a three-part critical review of parapsychology, with this article focusing on some claims by Rupert Sheldrake.

Inspirational, motivational business speakers: coming soon to an office near you…

From the archives, Martin Parkinson predicting the rise of pseudo-inspirational business speakers like Tony Robbins

Distinguishable from intelligence? Don’t mistake technology with superiority

From the archives, Wendy Grossman disputes Michael Shermer's claim that we are obviously more intelligent than our ancestors

A Rael Expert

Volume 15 Number 2, Summer 2002

Rhyme and Reason

Steve Donnelly

To quote the broadcaster, Terry Wogan: "Is it me? or is the world just going mad?"

I am an inveterate listener to BBC Radio 4, especially the flagship Today programme. (Yes, I know Wogan's programme is on Radio 2 -- I listen to that sometimes, as well). In particular, I am always interested to hear scientific topics being addressed by John Humphrys, Sue MacGregor (now sadly retired), and the rest of the crew (despite the occasional inanity of the questions) and it is always good to hear my fellow scientists doing a good job of explaining their interests to 6 million radio listeners. And so, as the redoubtable John Humphrys introduced an item on cloning a couple of weeks ago, I was wondering which academic expert the Today programme researchers would have selected to discuss this scientifically -- and ethically -- challenging topic. Professor Steve Jones perhaps? Or that standard fallback "our science correspondant, Pallab Ghosh"? No, neither of the above -- instead the chosen expert was . . . Rael.

Who?

Rhyme and Reason: a Rael expert takes a look at the Raelian movement

From the archives, former editor Steve Donnelly takes a look at the Raelian movement's claims about human cloning, on BBC's Today programme

Philosopher’s corner: where a false claim becomes a nonsense claim

From the archives, philosopher Julian Baggini grapples with the distinction between claims that are true, false or nonsense.

Do astrologers have to believe in astrology?

From the archives, Nick Campion questions whether "belief" is even a particularly useful concept when applied to astrology

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