From Abracadabra to Zombies
The Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter
Volume 15 No. 5
New SD entry: predatory open access journals.
New reader comments: facilitated communication
Updates: Joe Mercola caught in another fraud (the "personal power plate" is another) and Kevin Folta wins the 2016 CAST Borlaug Agricultural Communications Award.
This is the 185th and final issue of The Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter. Fourteen years ago, 258 people signed up. I wonder how many of the 3,909 currently subscribed have been with us from the beginning. Anyway, I don't have the energy to put out a monthly newsletter anymore. Those of you who wish to unsubscribe need not bother.
I haven't much to offer now except a few book recommendations. Sean B. Carroll's The Serengeti Rules should be at the top of your list if you care at all about the future of our planet. Right next to Carroll's exquisite rendering of some simple logical rules that guide all ecosystems from the molecular level to the vast systems dominated by large mammals should be E. O. Wilson's Half-Earth. I wish I had the energy to explain in detail why these books are so important, but there are many reviewers you can go to for an explanation.
I'm just a few chapters into Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee, but I have no hesitation recommending this brilliant work. Again, reviews should be abundant elsewhere.
There is one book I would not recommend, however.
How can anyone oppose a group whose goal is to make the world a little less stupid? The group calls itself the DontBeStupid.club and one of methods of making the world a litle less stupid is to publish books with titles like Don't Be Stupid About Critical Thinking: DontBeStupid.club Reveals 11 Principles for Problem Solving and Good Decision Making by H. Granville James. I could find nothing on the WWW about the author and have no idea what his or her experience or qualifications are. The author does have three other Don't Be Stupid About.... books for sale on Amazon: one is about money, another is about investing, and the third is about stomach acid. It wouldn't surprise me if H. Granville James has a book in the works about not being stupid about dieting.
Anyway, I read the Amazon sample of Don't Be Stupid About Critical Thinking and was not impressed.
It would probably be more fashionble to go out with a bang rather than with a wimper, but at this time, this is as good as it is going to get. Thanks to those who stuck with me over the past fourteen years. I wish you the very best in your search for facts, truth, scientific knowledge, and a life based on reason and self-examination.
To John Renish: thanks for all the help over the past decade and more. You've been a great editor and once again I will double your salary to help you through these dark times.