March 19, 2022

Dear Kendrick (Frazier of CSI):

I hereby resign from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Please inform the members of the committee of my resignation.
My reason is the publication of Mark Boslough’s recent article in Skeptical Inquirer. It violates nearly every tenet of proper skepticism as defined by CSICOP and CSI.

Sagan said that “Ad hominem arguments are irrelevant,” yet half of Boslough’s article is an ad hominem attack on a single author of the Tall el-Hammam article. Another ~20% casts aspersions on the volunteer and religious organizations that supported the research. Hyman recommends that skeptics use the principle of charity, yet Boslough falsely accuses one of the BEA authors of having a criminal record and strongly implies that as a group they may have committed scientific misconduct. He uses loaded language e.g., “photoshopping, fearmongering, masquerading, tampering, mishandling, giggle factor.” Worst of all, Boslough never evaluates the evidence for cosmic impact presented in the Tall el-Hammam article. Thus from the point of view of advancing both science and skepticism, Boslough’s article is irrelevant.

All this is discussed in detail in a preprint here.

If Skeptical Inquirer is to publish articles by members of CSI, should they not exemplify the best of scientific skepticism?


James L. Powell