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New! Boston Skeptics Slack Chat Room We're taking Boston Skeptics to the next level by introducing a Slack chat room for Boston Skeptics to keep and touch, share ideas, and be skeptical in near-real time with each other! Don't have...

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New! Boston Skeptics Slack Chat Room We're taking Boston Skeptics to the next level by introducing a Slack chat room for Boston Skeptics to keep and touch, share ideas, and be skeptical in near-real time with each other! Don't have...

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Boston Skeptics in the Theater & Pub | Bill Nye: Science... Come join the Boston Skeptics at the Brattle Theatre on December 3, where we’ll be attending a screening of a new film about Bill Nye, aptly named “Bill Nye: Science Guy.” We’ll go somewhere nearby...

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October 2017 Organizational Meeting Updates Thanks again to everyone who attended our October 2017 organizational meeting. There were a few items we had drafted and captured more ideas around that we would love to open up for comment and feedback...

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[Cross Post] DayCon 2018: “Tomorrow’s Tech, Today”

Posted on : 27-05-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post


Are you always looking for ways to keep up with the latest advancements in science and the implications of them on our society? Are you skeptical of the notion that “more progress is always better” when it comes to scientific advances? If so, then Harvard’s DayCon might be for you!

DayCon is a free, daylong science conference run/sponsored by Harvard University. Read below for more details, which we’ve cross-posted from their site.

**You must go to this Harvard website to RSVP for this event** http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/daycon/

Technology: it’s everywhere, from the medicine that keeps you healthy to the computer you’re using to read this message. Undoubtedly, it impacts every aspect of our lives and is only expected to become more ubiquitous. But is more progress always better? Join us to learn more about the excitement – and ethical debates – surrounding the major innovations of our time at DayCon 2018: Tomorrow’s Tech, Today!

DayCon is a free, daylong science conference consisting of talks and interactive demonstrations given by graduate student scientists. This year’s topics include artificial intelligence, CRISPR gene editing, engineering the microbiome, virus-based technologies, quantum computing, and more!

DayCon is generously supported by Harvard Integrated Life Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Council, and Addgene.

When: Saturday, June 2, 10 AM – 4:30 PM (complimentary lunch will be served)

Where: Northwest Building, Harvard University – 52 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

Science Trivia Night, part deux

Posted on : 22-04-2018 | By : Mary Mangan | In : Blog Post, trivia

Tags: ,


Sorry for the late notice on this–but we just came across it. There was interest in our last Trivia night and we’ve heard people want more. Drew has signed up and he’d love to have more Boston Skeptics along with his crew. He helped me with trivia strategy and scoring details that were new to me the last time Nova hosted this.

So if you want to try science trivia, this is a great chance. We especially needed some space nerds last time, we were kind of saturated with biotech and chem nerds.

To go: be sure to sign up at the Eventbrite page. But it would help us if you replied to the Meetup too so we’ll know to look for Boston Skeptics.

Reserve a spot with Nova: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nova-wonders-do-you-know-your-science-trivia-tickets-44421649349

Ping us on Meetup so we can look for you:  https://www.meetup.com/BostonSkeptics/events/250041401/

[Skeptics in the Hub] Dr. Clay Jones on Tourette Syndrome: The Science Behind It and Pseudoscience Surrounding It

Posted on : 15-04-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post


Come join us at the Humanist Hub on April 21 at 2:00 PM as Dr. Clay Jones breaks down Tourette syndrome for us: its underlying pathology, clinical presentation, and the latest science-based treatments for it. After grounding us in reality, Dr. Jones. will then dive into “alternative” (i.e. bogus) treatments for it, ranging from chiropractic to dental (yes, dental!).

All of this is just one piece of a bigger story about why claims of bogus, pseudoscientific cures for diseases and disorders can fool patients and practitioners alike. There may also be a surprise guest joining Dr. Jones in his talk – more to come about that later!

Clay Jones, M.D. is a pediatrician practicing at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, and a regular contributor to the Science-Based Medicine blog. He primarily cares for healthy newborns and hospitalized children, and devotes his full time to educating pediatric residents and medical students. Dr. Jones first became aware of and interested in the incursion of pseudoscience into his chosen profession while completing his pediatric residency at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital a decade ago. He has since focused his efforts on teaching the application of critical thinking and scientific skepticism to the practice of pediatric medicine. Dr. Jones has no conflicts of interest to disclose and no ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He can be found on Twitter as @skepticpedi and is the co-host of The Prism Podcast (@PrismPodcast) with fellow SBM contributor Grant Ritchey @SkepticalDDS.

[Cross Post] 2018 March for Science Boston: Science Strikes Back!

Posted on : 09-04-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post


The time has come again for the March for Science in Boston! This coming Saturday (April 14) at 1:00 PM, people will gather at Christopher Columbus park to celebrate science. Check out the Boston March for Science website for more details, and be sure to RSVP!

Boston Skeptics will be meeting at the Armenian Heritage Park at 12:30 PM before walking over. Hope to see you there!

[Alliance Event] March for our lives, Boston

Posted on : 17-03-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post


We are partnering with the Humanist Hub in Harvard Square to meet beforehand. That way we can go as a group–it’s hard to find everyone on the Common in the throng of people. Humanist Hub details: https://www.facebook.com/events/271574740046045/

Meet at the Hub at 11am if you want to come with us as a group.

Meet at the Crispus Attucks Memorial at 12pm if you’re coming directly.

As members of the skeptics community, we want to see legislation and public health decisions made using science-based methods and evidence. One area this hasn’t played out enough is with the causes of and solutions for gun violence. Due to the tragic mass shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida, this conversation has erupted into a national discussion. The survivors in Parkland have taken a stand to discuss this pressing problem and policy solutions for it, and this includes a March for Our Lives that they and other students across the country have established. With local allied groups, we will attend the upcoming March for Our Lives in Boston on March 24. We’re going to support calls for bolstering science-based research and policies for reducing gun violence that are based on the best evidence we can uncover, including, but not limited to, calling for the removal of restrictions on the CDC’s ability to do such research. Details to come, but please save the date if you’d like to march with us. We will meet beforehand to go over as a group, and potentially have a discussion afterwards. Start working on some sign ideas!

Save the date, full details to come.
Location: Boston Common eventually, we may meet earlier elsewhere to go over together.
Time: 11am–?

Official March info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1607397545975790/

Save the Date: March for Science 2018 will be April 14. #MarchForScience

Posted on : 30-01-2018 | By : Mary Mangan | In : Blog Post, Member Post, news

Tags: ,


Hey skeptics: Science Marches On.

The national organization sent around an announcement email yesterday, and they provided the date for this year’s March for Science: April 14 2018. Put it on your calendars now, but it’s too early to set up a formal meetup of any sort. We don’t have the details on the local organization yet.

We could also discuss if we wanted to have a more formal relationship with the organizers–helping out in some way?

March for Science (National)https://www.marchforscience.com/2018

Boston division

FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1283459638410385/
Twitter: @Mrch4ScienceBOS
Website: www.marchforscienceboston.com

[Alliance Event] Why Darwin? Stephen Matheson muses on the role of Darwin as a humanist icon

Posted on : 20-01-2018 | By : Justin | In : Blog Post


**RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/BostonSkeptics/events/247137902/

One aspect of the Boston Skeptics group that we’ve been working on is creating alliances with other local groups that have overlapping interests with the skeptics community. We recently reached out to the Humanist Hub to explore ideas and interests both groups might share. To begin exploring an alliance between us, we’d like to invite the Boston Skeptics members (new and existing!) to meet up at the Humanist Hub’s upcoming Sunday Speakers Series talk “Why Darwin?” by Stephen Matheson. Here’s the abstract for this talk: 

Charles Darwin, one of the most important scientists of the 19th century, is also a very misunderstood figure of history.“Charles Darwin is a humanist icon, or at least enough of an icon that International Darwin Day, celebrated every year on or about February 12, was first established by the American Humanist Association. We love to celebrate Darwin Day at the Hub, and this year is no exception.

But why? Why Darwin? Why not Newton or Galileo or Copernicus? Why not Curie or Lovelace or Franklin?

We will discuss these questions together: 1) Why is Darwin a humanist icon? In other words, why Darwin Day? and 2) Should Darwin be a humanist icon? In other words, should we celebrate Darwin Day? If so, how? If not, then what?”

Stephen Matheson is a biologist and a scientific editor working in Cambridge. He is also the Director of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Hub. You can learn more about the Humanist Hub team here.

This will be part of the regular Sunday events at the Humanist Hub. The Sunday Speakers Program is a weekly community meeting where the Humanist Hub gathers to reconnect with one another. The program often consists of a welcome, a song or poem, a talk by an invited speaker or a community member, questions-and-answers, and small group discussion, followed by refreshments and socializing. You can look for upcoming Humanist Hub events on their website and on their Meetup page. Note: this is not their Darwin Day event, which will occur in February.

We hope you’ll join us. And we’d like to hear what you think about alliances and ideas for other groups in the area to connect with.

Support a fellow skeptic–being sued for speaking out

Posted on : 14-01-2018 | By : Mary Mangan | In : Blog Post, Member Post, skepticism

Tags: ,


Many of you probably know Britt Marie Hermes. She was trained as a naturopath but had a Damascene conversion when she began to practice and realized what was actually going on. Her story has been told a number of times, but her own words are the most remarkable to read. You can read more about the revelations she had at Science Based Medicine in this post: ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out.

She has continued to make science-based noise about the issues of the training of naturopaths, as well as shine a spotlight on harmful treatments. In fact, she tried to warn us here in Massachusetts that we were about to be beset by that terrible naturopathic licensing that gives a veneer of legitimacy to these bad practices.

I really did think that the legislation had died a natural death at the end of the previous session in the summer. Out of nowhere the zombie had returned. She was right. But I wasn’t able to figure out how to combat it. I wrote to the Governor’s office, implored him not to sign it, but over the Christmas holidays it went under the radar and became real. Alas. We need to organize better on policy issues and learn to influence these things.

Still, I was really glad she was trying to help us. And it’s time to return the favor. Britt has been sued by one of the bad actors that she has called out. A woman who runs a cancer clinic offering baking soda treatments (!!!) seems to dislike the spotlight on these practices. She has sued Britt for defamation. You can hear from Britt here. She describes the situation and provides the background for you as well.

A legal defense fundraiser on her behalf is being held by Australian Skeptics. You can see their description of it, and you can donate to the effort: BRITT HERMES LEGAL COSTS FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN.

If you can, please consider donating to this fund. Britt’s voice is important on this issue, and we need to ensure that she is not silenced. But there’s a larger issue as well–all of us skeptics who call out bad actors are at risk from legal harassment by cranks and quacks. This happened to Steven Novella not long ago.

Cancer quackery gets on my last nerve–misleading vulnerable people in harmful ways and taking their money at this perilous time for them. Spend some of your money to stop them from getting away with it.


Edit to add: There are other folks describing more details of Britt’s story or other related issues. I’ll link them here for further context.

Orac includes a good section about other lawsuits by quacks to hit the skeptic community: Defend Britt Hermes from a naturopathic cancer quack trying to silence her through legal thuggery

Kevin Folta delivers the bat signal: Nerd Shield Activate! Defend Britt from Fake-Medicine-Industry Intimidation

Pharmacist Scott Gavura adds: Naturopathy’s fiercest and most-knowledgeable critic is being sued by a naturopath