Essays

I write for the general public on topics both professional and personal. My essays on psychology and science have appeared online at CNN, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Skeptical Inquirer, and The Huffington Post and in print in Skeptical Inquirer and Time magazine.

My personal essays have appeared online at Medium, ObserverTabletThe Good Men Project, and The Huffington Post and in print the Hartford Courant, the Boston Herald, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Providence Journal, where I was an occasional contributor from 2005-2012.

PERSONAL ESSAYS (SELECTED)

Why I Hate the Beach,” Medium, August 16, 2019.

Racism and Guns,” Medium, June 17, 2019.

The Gift of Applause,” Medium, April 12, 2018.

Miss Jean Louise, Stand Up,” The Coffeelicious, January 26, 2018.

Strange Days,” Medium, October 3, 2017.

How We Talk to Each Other,” Medium, February 22, 2017.

Listen to the Weirdos on the Mall,” Medium, June 9, 2016.

Not Your Typical Disease Memoir,” Medium, May 17, 2016.

Don’t Ask, ‘How’s the Book Going?'” Medium, February 19, 2016.

How a Headache Saved My Life,” Observer, November 2, 2015.

An Introvert’s Guide to Eating and Drinking Out,” Medium, July 27, 2015.

You Fired Me,” Medium, July 6, 2015.

The Kindness of a Stranger,” Medium, June 15, 2015.

An Introvert’s Guide to the Coffeehouse Workspace,” Medium, May 29, 2015.

An Introvert’s Guide to Greeting Strangers, Vague Acquaintances, and Friends,” Medium, April 23, 2015.

Layman’s Terms,” Tablet, January 12, 2012 (Web archive).

A Mere ‘So Long, See You Tomorrow’ Might’ve Helped,” the Providence Journal, August 13, 2011. (pdf)

We Stand Up for this Child,” the Providence Journal, May 8, 2011.

He Did the Best He Could,” the Providence Journal, May 6, 2010. (pdf)

John Gardner’s Lesson About Teaching,” the Providence Journal, February 19, 2007.

The Hidden Brightness of the Dark Season,” the Providence Journal, November 27, 2006.

In Praise of Cheap and Local Eats” the Providence Journal, April 18, 2006.

The Other Sacred Places,” the Hartford Courant, August 9, 2005.(pdf)

On Selling ”Letter from Birmingham Jail,”” the Providence Journal, June 14, 2006.(pdf)

NPR Made Me Hip to My Kids,” the Providence Journal, November 28, 2003.(pdf)

PROFESSIONAL/SCIENCE ESSAYS (SELECTED)

Are Atheists Sadder But Wiser,” Skeptical Inquirer, December 10, 2019.

In Praise of the Crutch-Makers,” Skeptical Inquirer, May 8, 2019.

How to Have Your Kid Go to College—But Not Go Broke,” Time, October 8, 2018.

Do Superstitious Rituals Work?” Skeptical Inquirer, December 8, 2017.

Statistiquement significat: les critères sont-ils suffisamment exigeants?” Science et pseudo-sciences n°323 – janvier / mars 2018. [pdf]  This a French translation of my article “Moving Science’s Statistical Goalposts,” which was published the Skeptical Inquirer, both online and in the November/December, 2017 issue of the print magazine.

Before Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, There Was Dan Q. Posin,” Skeptical Inquirer, November/December, 2017.

P-Hacker Confessions: Daryl Bem and Me,” Skeptical Inquirer, June 13, 2017.

Good News for Grouches: Happiness is Overrated,” Skeptical Inquirer, March 7, 2016.

“Guns: Feeling Safe ≠ Being Safe,” Skeptical Inquirer Magazine, 40(2), March/April, 27-30.

Nudging People to Save the Planet,” Skeptical Inquirer, January 29, 2016.

Psychology’s CAM Controversy,” Skeptical Inquirer, November 23, 2015.

Welcome to the Season of Conspiracy Theories.” Skeptical Inquirer, October 8, 2015.

Neuro-Pseudoscience,” Skeptical Inquirer, July 29, 2015.

Facilitated Communication: The Fad that Will Not Die,” Skeptical Inquirer, May 11, 2015.

How Superstition Works,” The Atlantic, October 22, 2013 (excerpt of Believing in Magic).

Can Believing in Luck Actually Make You Lucky?” Huffington Post, February 2, 2013.

Why We Fear Friday the 13th,” CNN Religion blog, May 13, 2011.

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Plastic,” the Providence Journal, April 23, 2008.(pdf)

Recent Posts

QAnon & Upcoming Events

My latest article for Skeptical Inquirer, “When QAnon Prophecy Fails,” is up, and it has already been translated into Spanish as “Cuando la profecía de QAnon falla” for publication in the Buenos Aires based Pensar Magazine. The recent disappointments of QAnon followers who believed Donald Trump would return for a second term brought to mind the classic book When Prophecy Fails. which tells the story of a doomsday religious group whose members actually became more committed after the end of the world failed to materialize. I attempted to apply the lessons of cognitive dissonance described in the book to the current case of QAnon followers.

On Sunday March 14 at 5:00, I will be giving a talk sponsored by the Stonington Free Library about my most recent book Superstition: A Very Short Introduction. The book actually came out about this time last year, and there were plans for me to give a talk at the library last spring. As the year developed, I kept holding out hope that an in-person talk would be possible. Finally, the SFL staff asked me if I would be willing to do the talk over Zoom, and I agreed. I am hopeful that whenever my next book comes out, social gatherings will be possible again. To register for the talk email: karla@stoningtonfreelibrary.org.

Finally, I have been invited to participate in the Aspen Institute Global Congress on Scientific Thinking & Action in mid March. This is an invitation-only event being conducted online, but it will include an impressive collection of scientists and science journalists from all over the world. Some of the topics on the agenda are science denialism, alternative medicine, climate denialism, and vaccine hesitancy. I will be representing the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and Skeptical Inquirer magazine. I am looking forward to it.

That’s it for now. The vaccine seems to be coming a bit quicker now in the US. Because I am old, I am currently half vaccinated and looking forward to my second dose in a couple of weeks. If you have not already been vaccinated, I hope you get yours ASAP. #ThankYouScience

SV

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  2. Philadelphia Talk & Thanksgiving Leave a reply
  3. Friday the 13th & Philadelphia Critical Thinking Talk Leave a reply
  4. Halloween, British Museum Magazine, and James Randi Leave a reply
  5. The Free Market & Some Sad News Leave a reply
  6. COVID-19 and the Tyranny of Now Leave a reply
  7. Brazilian Skeptics & COVID, Superstition on BBC Radio 4, British Museum, & Spanish Translation Leave a reply
  8. Audiobook, Autism research, & the Cheltenham Science Festival Leave a reply
  9. A Virus Changes Everything Leave a reply