To be or not to be (a skeptic)? / by Bharat Rao

Imagine being a hardened skeptic, or even better, a neuroscientist, and you decide on a whim to check out the happenings on the shadier side. Well, that is what happened to not one, but a pair of neuroscientists when they attended the Sedona Psychic Fair in Arizona. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik, authors of the successful book, Sleights of Mind, and card-carrying neuroscientists recognized for their pioneering efforts in the area of neuromagic, are no strangers to hucksters and con-men, having studied both during their book research. They belong to a long line of skeptics stretching from famous magicians like Houdini, Penn and Teller, Derren Brown and James Randi, to the more obvious suspects from the past and present like Richard Dawkins, Isaac Asimov, and Richard Feynman.

It turns out that selling miracle cures is still a thriving industry, and as long as there are customers ready to buy hope and salvation, there will be sellers to meet their demand. Read more about Scientific American’s conversation with Martinez-Conde and Macknick here.