129. Karen Stollznow On Psychic Science and Being a Skeptic

Co-host of Point of Inquiry, discusses how Skeptics approach psychic science.

Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with skeptical writer and blogger Dr. Karen Stollznow. During the interview Mr. Tsakiris and Dr. Stollznow discuss to role of science in skeptical investigations:

Alex Tsakiris: I do feel you, especially as an intellectual… and I know you’re a linguist and not trained as a parapsychologist… but you have somewhat of an obligation to build off of the original research or the best research that we have in the field. So, Gary Schwartz does medium research. Then, Julie Beischel picks up the gauntlet and is going forward in publishing work with mediums. So you can like that or you can not like it, but it really to me seems to get to the core issue which is does this kind of anomalous cognition between a “medium” and a deceased person really exist?  So, why aren’t you familiar with the research?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Well, once again, I think I’ve worked in so many different areas with so many different themes and topics within the paranormal and pseudo-science and often I’m writing an article that might be 1,000 words. I’m limited; I’ve got a word limit that I can’t go over so I need to condense anything that I write and if I’m going to a psychic fair and writing about my experiences there, I don’t need to necessarily reference the research of these people.

If I was writing about the research of these people then that would be a different matter, obviously. I’d need to keep my finger on the pulse of everything that is being done in that industry. But if I’m looking at individuals out there on the street who are practicing this and given again, it’s just one small area of what I study and research, then I’m not necessarily obliged to know what these people are doing within that context.

Dr. Karen Stollznow’s website

Play it:

Download MP3 (34:00 min.)

Read it:

Welcome to Skeptiko, where we explore controversial science with leading researchers, thinkers, and their critics. I’m your host, Alex Tsakiris.

As you know, one of the things we like to do on Skeptiko is engage the skeptical community. If you go back through the past shows you’ll see that we’ve had on many, many of the leading skeptical figures, skeptical writers, publishers of skeptical magazines, hosts of skeptical shows, and certainly people who have viewpoints that are different from the guests that we normally have on-the proponents, the researchers, the thinkers about psi and parapsychology.

It always surprises me that that willingness to look at both sides isn’t reciprocated by skeptics very much. You just won’t see that on skeptical shows. You’ll never see Dean Radin or Rupert Sheldrake or Jeff Long-I could go on and on-Roger Nelson, or any of the people that we’ve interviewed here that are scholarly, publishing in peer-reviewed papers, writing books, you’ll never see them on those skeptical shows.

That’s one of the topics I touch on in my interview today with Dr. Karen Stollznow, who is the host of one such show, Point of Inquiry. She’s very open about a certain need to preach to the choir, and while I applaud Karen’s openness, it really got me thinking, I guess.

And it got me riled up about a couple other things that seem to keep cropping up in this journey that is Skeptiko. One example of that came up when she referenced a couple of interviews and a joint investigation I did with skeptical science writer, Ben Radford.

Now, if you’ve been around the show long enough to remember the psychic detective work that I did with Ben Radford then I really want to thank you. You’re a long-time, loyal listener.

But that investigation with Ben was really somewhat of a turning point for me because I went into it thinking that if I could just get skeptics to look at the data and to hear it the same way that I’m hearing it, then we could bridge this gap. The way I tried to do that with Ben Radford was, we interviewed the same people. In one case, we interviewed these two police detectives who were involved in this case at the same time. We’re all on the phone.

So I had the detective on the phone; I had Ben on the phone; and I was on the phone. What happened, and this kind of thing seems to happen a lot is, Ben left our interview and completely mischaracterized what had happened.  In this case, what he said was that the case came down to making a choice of either believing the police or believing the psychic.

That was such an outrageous mischaracterization of what had happened, because both of these police detectives were just emphatic in saying that the psychic, Nancy Myer, was very helpful in the case, amazing in the information that she had brought forward. They were totally convinced that she had had some kind of psychic connection here.

So that gross mischaracterization on Ben’s part was really a shock to me. It really began the process for me of rethinking what this whole field of psi and parapsychology is really all about. It even caused me to re-examine the fundamental model of this show, which was always follow the data wherever it leads. If you’ve heard me over the last six months or so, where I’ve really come is to say, “It’s not about the data.” It’s about all the other stuff.

It’s about the pressure that academics feel to not be able to explore these topics. It’s about the pressure that journalists feel to not explore these topics. And it’s about the need that we all have to not challenge our belief systems, especially with data that is really uncomfortable in the way that it challenges what we think we know.

So even though I appreciate Karen’s openness and I certainly think she’s sincere, I don’t expect that an invitation to join Ben Radford and her on their podcast will ever be forthcoming. Just like I don’t think D. J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, will ever follow through on opening up the Million Dollar Challenge. Just like I don’t think Chris French at Goldsmith College will ever really investigate the Global Consciousness Project, even though he said he did and even though we interviewed one of his research associates who was supposed to have been assigned to the project.

By the way, I followed up on that project. Dr. Roger Nelson has followed up on that project. There’s just no response from them. And to close up one other loose end, I don’t think Dr. Steve Novella will ever get back to me with any of the “research he’s found that shows that NDEs are medically explainable.” It won’t happen. The reason it won’t happen is because it’s not really about the data. It’s not about the evidence. It’s not about the science. It’s about all the other stuff. I think this interview with Dr. Karen Stollznow from Point of Inquiry is a nice way to ease into that topic.

Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome Dr. Karen Stollznow, a rising star in the skeptical movement. Karen is a linguist by training and a prolific writer and blogger by choice. Karen, welcome to Skeptiko.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Thank you, Alex. You got that quote from D. J. Grothe I think, the rising star. I’ve been around for a while, actually. I’ve been doing this for 15 years.

Alex Tsakiris: There you go. But you know, you can be doing it for a while and then your star can be rising.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Absolutely. Overnight success, right? That’s not happened yet.

Alex Tsakiris: I didn’t get that from D. J. but it’s good to know that I’m channeling D. J. spontaneously like that.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Clearly.

Alex Tsakiris: If anyone who is not familiar with you, even though you’ve been around for 15 years, if they look in your bio they’ll see that you’re deep into the skeptical movement in a lot of different ways-with the Center for Inquiry, the Dr. Dr. James Randi Educational Foundation, as well as being a managing editor for a prominent skeptical magazine. What’s that all about for you, in terms of being a part of the skeptical community? What drew you into that and becoming a self-identified skeptic?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I am affiliated with a number of organizations in this country. I think when it comes to topics and things of interest I’m somewhat of a generalist, so I’m interested in a lot of different areas of skepticism. But I started with the Australian Skeptics. If you can’t tell already, I’ve got an Australian accent.

With them, basically I was interested in the paranormal, so I didn’t really know where to turn or what to do with that when I was a teenager. So I was very open-minded and I wasn’t biased one way or the other. I’m not saying that I am not now, but I just had a deep interest in the paranormal and found the Australian Skeptics and came across them and decided to do some work experience with them. So I started out that way. But I started with the Australian Skeptics doing an investigation testing a range of alternative medicines and that’s really what got me started in the movement. I don’t think I was biased either way, as a believer or as a skeptic.

Alex Tsakiris: I think you really kind of ventured into an area that I want to talk about, because we’ve been emailing back and forth a little bit trying to figure out what topic to talk about. What seemed to jump out at me is the role that science plays in the modern skeptical movement.

Let me refine that a little bit, because what you just alluded to, you said your first kind of experiential foray into the skeptical community in Australia, you said, “Hey, here’s this guy making some alternative health claims.” And you were interested in seeing whether those were real and they turned out not to be real. I’m kind of adding to your story but I think I have it. There isn’t anything there. Isn’t that an injustice that needs to be examined?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Yeah. I guess I didn’t have any preconceived ideas. I just got in contact with the Australian Skeptics and I said, “I’d like to work with you.” They said, “Well, we don’t have any jobs. We don’t really have any positions for you but we’ll keep you in mind.”

Within about five minutes I received another phone call from the person I’d just spoken with and he said, “Would you be interested in being involved in an investigation into alternative medicine? This person needs a decoy because he’s very well-known within the skepticism movement and to believers and practitioners of all kinds. He needs someone to go undercover to do his work for him.”

So he was writing a book at the time about alternative medicine and he wanted me to investigate iridology, which is the study of lines and markings and striations in the eye, and aura reading, homeopathy, and metropothy, as well. I visited a number of practitioners and they gave their diagnoses. Then I went to a traditional medical doctor and he ran a series of tests, blood tests and things like that, which disproved all of these claims of the diagnoses of the alternative medical practitioners.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. So cool. I get that. I totally get that about the skeptical movement. You know, it’s the fraud and the psychic police kind of thing and the alternative med police kind of thing. But what intrigues me and I guess frustrates me about the skeptical community is that it seems like that that doesn’t always translate well when we look at science. You said one of the topics you felt comfortable talking about was the practical application of psychics. By that I think you mean…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Psychics in practice. The psychic you go and visit who reads your tea leaves. Psychics on the street, I guess.

Alex Tsakiris: So what intrigues me about that scientifically is then, okay, we could spend a lot of time and maybe it’s valuable time well spent for people who could be defrauded by saying, “Hey, this psychic is a fake or this psychic is using unethical practices,” or whatever but that doesn’t really get at the scientific question. The scientific question is does anomalous cognition ever occur? Is there anything to this?

To me, it seems like so much of the time the skeptics and the skeptical community kind of give up on that or downplay that or don’t do a very good job in addressing those questions, as opposed to saying, “Hey, Sylvia Browne is a fake. We set her up and she did this.” Do you see where I’m going with that?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I do. I think that really, if you’re talking about grassroots skeptics and people like myself who are independent investigators, it’s not like you’re affiliated with a university that can do a formal study into this sort of thing. At times like this the best thing that you can do is to do the footwork on a micro-level to visit a psychic and to write about the individual. So I know that by no stretch of the imagination does that cover all psychics and all claims, but if you’re talking about an individual investigator then the best thing you can do is to look at individual claims.

Alex Tsakiris: But that doesn’t really add up to much scientifically. I mean, those are anecdotes essentially which the whole critical thinking, skeptical crowd big ballyhoo, “Those are anecdotes, those are anecdotes.” It seems like both of us on either side of this would be most concerned with the science and the best science and the best research that’s being done.

That’s cool that you’re just a paranormal researcher person on the street, but you’re also an intellectual. You’re a Ph.D. and have the credentials to at least interpret the research that’s being done. Again, I’m a little bit surprised when I email you and say, “Here is a long list of people who are scholarly, academic researchers who are publishing,” and you say, “Hey, that’s not really my thing. I’m more interested in the practical, feet on the street psychic who may be defrauding someone.”

Dr. Karen Stollznow: You might be confusing me for being a psychologist or for being a parapsychologist. I’m a linguist. I certainly have written about many, many areas of skepticism, of the paranormal and pseudo-science, so for me to delve deeply into absolutely every subject I’d need several lifetimes to be able to do that. I’m really doing my own thing and I don’t feel that it’s my duty personally to go and do studies over the course of weeks or months or years. I certainly don’t have the funding to be able to do that.

I think you’ve gone down this avenue before with Ben Radford and I will make the same offer. If there are best cases out there and you want me to research material in particular and to comment on it, I’m very happy to do that. But it’s just one of many areas that I treat and research. Often I’m availing myself of other people’s research but it is a collective, interdependence and I’m working with many other people to try and understand all of this phenomena.

Alex Tsakiris: Right. Well, there’s actually two points there. You know, what I did with Ben a long time ago-a sad, sad tale-but we actually did something different. We did a joint project investigating a psychic detective.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I remember that.

Alex Tsakiris: You remember that. Well, it ended very badly I think on my part because Ben completely misrepresented the very interviews that were given by the guests that were on the show, these two police detectives.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I’m not about to speak on Ben’s behalf, but it seems to me like the story’s still open.

Alex Tsakiris: Ben is-this is not a point I was going to get into but Ben is welcome at any time to come on and defend himself–or not even defend himself-or to present his side of the case. Or invite me onto MonsterTalk. Happy to do that. It’s just…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh, well, we would love to have you on MonsterTalk. There’s another excellent example of the science behind the claims of cryptozoology on every show that we’ve had bar one episode, we have spoken with scientists about their work and their investigation into Bigfoot or plesiosaurs, a wide range of crypteds. So there’s a good example of us applying the science and working with other experts but yes, we would love to have you on MonsterTalk. What would you like to talk about?

Alex Tsakiris: I’d like to talk about the psychic detective work that Ben…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Not exactly a monster, but…

Alex Tsakiris: I guess it isn’t but that would be wonderful.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: We could tweak it somehow.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. If we did nothing else out of this interview today than make that happen that would be wonderful, because I think Ben, as a journalist, really has more of an obligation than I do really to defend himself against…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh, and I don’t think he would deny that. I think he’s happy to do that and I think there are external issues that I should not treat myself today. Not here now. But I do extend the invitation to you for MonsterTalk, to be on our show, and we’ll talk about the topic of your choice.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. Great. Then let’s get back to the other point. I was not so much criticizing your desire or your willingness really, which is great, to go out in the field and do research. And I also wasn’t criticizing that you need to go do the original research.

What I was kind of pointing out and I guess this is the point that I’ll stick with until we can wrestle it to the ground is I do feel that you, especially as an intellectual, and I know you’re a linguist and not trained as a parapsychologist, but have somewhat of an obligation to build off of the original research or the best research that we have in the field. I mean, Gary Schwartz does medium research. Julie Beischel has really picked up the gauntlet there and is going forward in publishing work with mediums.

So you can like that or you can not like it or you can say it’s flawed or whatever, but it really to me seems to get to the core issue which is does this kind of anomalous cognition between a “medium” and a deceased person really exist?

Similarly, I’d point to the research on survival of consciousness, which seems to be at the core of the ghost issue. We can sit here and say, “Oh, did that ghost really happen and did we see a photograph? That person is so goofy,” and all that, but the core scientific issue is does survival of consciousness happen? What is the most likely evidence? What’s suggestive of the evidence we have?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: For one, I don’t think we’re going to reach any conclusions about those topics today. I know these are topics of focus and interest for you and certainly, if you want to do another interview with me at some time and to supply me with specific articles that you want me to read and to investigate further, I’m happy to do that within that context. But I don’t feel like I’m able to really comment on these people’s research right now without being acquainted with that.

Alex Tsakiris: I appreciate that, Karen. I guess the question then is why aren’t you familiar with it? I mean, we can say, “Hey, I have my little world here and my way of looking at it,” which I guess I do, but at the same time I’m like, why wouldn’t anyone who’s interested in this topic-and we are joined and have a shared common interest which I think some of the time gets lost in this proponent skeptic/believer thing. We are both interested in the same thing. We’re both interested in these same topics. Why aren’t you familiar with the research?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Well, once again, I think I’ve worked in so many different areas with so many different themes and topics within the paranormal and pseudo-science and often I’m writing an article that might be 1,000 words. I’m limited; I’ve got a word limit that I can’t go over so I need to condense anything that I write and if I’m going to a psychic fair and writing about my experiences there, I don’t need to necessarily reference the research of these people.

If I was writing about the research of these people then that would be a different matter, obviously. I’d need to keep my finger on the pulse of everything that is being done in that industry. But if I’m looking at individuals out there on the street who are practicing this and given again, it’s just one small area of what I study and research, then I’m not necessarily obliged to know what these people are doing within that context.

I feel like I’m going around in circles. If you want to supply me with research that you think is necessary for me in the way that I investigate, then I will check it out and see if it is valid and worthy and helpful to what I do.

Alex Tsakiris: Uh-huh (Yes) Yeah, that’s-I don’t want to…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I don’t mean to stall your conversation and your questioning at every point, but I just can’t say that particular area as being a focus for me. It seems like it’s a focus for you so are you investigating these topics from that level? Are you doing this?

Alex Tsakiris: Again, I don’t want to go in circles and frustrate both of us. But I’ll go back to the psychic fair thing. I tried to set up a demonstration a long time ago with the folks at The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, where we were going to do this. I’d be happy to do that with you and Ben on MonsterTalk. I’m still in communication with various psychics and have done different experiments. They’re hard to do. They’re hard to set up and they’re hard…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Yeah, they’re expensive and you need to work with other people to construct them. On Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, there on the East Coast they’re probably not the best people for something like this but you’ve got the Independent Investigations Group which are local to you. I think they’d be very happy to work with you to set up some tests.

Alex Tsakiris: Yeah. Well, actually where I got in going through it was that as someone who isn’t fully qualified to do research and really doesn’t have the means to publish the research, I got into it pretty far and then said, “You know, where is this really going? Isn’t my time better spent supporting the people who are qualified and who are doing research?”

I’ve interviewed, like I said, Dr. Julie Beischel from the Windbridge Institute several times and she used to be at the University of Arizona. She’s doing medium research and I think her protocols and her methods are really the gold standard for doing this kind of research. That’s not me speaking but other parapsychologists who’ve looked at her published work and said this is the way to do this stuff.

So that being said, I don’t think it’s really my-I’m not too motivated to do little one-off experiments, mainly because I’ve found in my work with Skeptiko that it isn’t really compelling evidence for people at the end of the day. There’s always a way that someone can fall back and go back to their own pre-existing beliefs and say, “Well, no matter what, I’m still not quite convinced one way or another.”

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Well, very clearly you’re passionate about this topic and I certainly think that as a way for-if you’ll excuse me using this term-but for laypeople to become involved in this research. So if you are keen on that, and you’ve got the contacts as well, then you should become involved in it.

But I feel uncomfortable discussing these people and their research. I could sit here now and ask you a series of questions about their approaches and their methodologies but it’s still secondhand and not my specific area. I’d be doing a dis-service to them and to myself.

Alex Tsakiris: Then let me suggest this, and this is just a freewheeling conversation but it’s fun to have and you’re certainly a very delightful person to talk to and very open. I really appreciate that. It’s not like we’re coming to blows or anything. But I often wonder the same thing about the shows you do.

Let’s move away from MonsterTalk for a minute and talk about Point of Inquiry, which is a fine, fine show and I’ve listened to it for a long time. I really liked when D. J. was there and I think you and Bob and…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Chris Mooney.

Alex Tsakiris: And of course, Chris, have done some nice things with the show, as well, and have taken it in some new and different directions. But when I talked to D. J. a while ago he said, “Yes, this consciousness issue does seem to be at the forefront. It is the crux on which everything turns in terms of really understanding what’s going on.” And yet there is no diversity on Point of Inquiry. I don’t see any of those guests. I see all the people from one side. I don’t see anyone from the other side of the debate. In particular, the hard researchers who are out there doing the work. So…

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh look, I’m inclined to agree with you to a point. I used to work for a show called-do you know The Skeptic Zone with Richard Saunders and his crew?

Alex Tsakiris: Richard’s been on the show. Richard’s been on this show.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: And a former incarnation of the show was The TANK Vodcast. Have you ever heard of that? It was a vodcast rather than a podcast.

Alex Tsakiris: Yeah, I think I saw one episode in a restaurant that he did.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Okay. So I was involved in that and I liked to speak with believers, for want of a better term. I don’t really like using terms like “believers” but sometimes you need these reference points. So I spoke with a friend of mine who is a Christian and who was studying for his Masters in Theology. I spoke with a number of psychics. I spoke with the Ghost Adventures fellows.

I thought that these made for very interesting interviews because I was able to impart the beliefs of these people to skeptics. I’ve always thought that it was very important for skeptics to know what believers believe and to be familiar with the claims and the beliefs and the practices.

So I received a lot of flak at the time from skeptics who were saying, “This is a skeptical vodcast or podcast and we want to hear from skeptics. We don’t want to hear from these people with their odd beliefs and practices.” I think it’s really listener-driven in many ways, so the show is about science, so we’re going to interview scientists. It’s about skepticism so we’re going to interview skeptics. It’s about Humanism so we’re going to interview Humanists, and so on.

You can say that we’re preaching to the choir and that may be true to some extent, but I certainly of late been interviewing people who don’t self-identify as skeptics as such. I just interviewed a demographer and she’s not part of the movement at all. I interviewed a lawyer and he’s not part of the movement.

So I’m trying to diversify the show. I am constrained to some extent, but I’m trying to speak with people who are not “celebrity skeptics,” I guess would be the best term-people who are well-known to the movement because therefore there’s an amount of incest involved in just speaking with the same people again and again. I’m wanting to introduce new people to the show. That’s been one of my objectives.

Alex Tsakiris: That’s great and it’s refreshingly honest to hear someone say that I really am guilty of preaching to the choir but I’m somewhat constrained.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh, I don’t look at it as something I feel guilty for. I feel like it is a part of the job. It’s sort of an obvious really element that we speak about these subjects to these people within the field. It can come across as insular.

Alex Tsakiris: Not really. I mean, I see it as-again, my little show Skeptiko is different in that it’s a personal journey more-or-less, but as it’s expanded beyond that I see it as front and center that the most important thing I can do is talk to both sides. If I’m looking at near-death experience I need to talk to skeptics like Sam Parnia and Kevin Nelson, who are directly opposed in their views to other researchers like Bruce Greyson and Jeffrey Long. It’s only in that interaction that we come to any kind of a deeper understanding. If I just talked to proponents we’d never know anything.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: I agree and I don’t think it’s a matter of me kissing ass if you’ll excuse me saying it, but I guess with my accent it doesn’t sound quite so offensive. But I feel like I play devil’s advocate and I’m asking questions from the perspective of someone who does not know. I think I’m asking basic questions and I’m trying to elicit genuine opinion and fact as well. So I would venture to say that that’s what the show is about. I don’t feel that there’s any shame in that.

Obviously, if I’m interviewing psychologists and lawyers and demographers and neuroscientists, those are not my areas so I’m learning from these people. It’s a half-hour show, too. There’s only so much you can do. But I was also thinking of you interviewing Steve Novella from Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, because he would be a great person to be able to address a lot of your particular interests.

Alex Tsakiris: He’s been on the show a couple of times.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh, excuse me.

Alex Tsakiris: That’s okay. You can’t possibly know every show we’ve done. I have enjoyed Point of Inquiry. I haven’t listened to all of your shows but I’ve listened to several of them and yeah, I think you do bring a real openness and a certain depth but with a genuine curiosity to explore what the guests really have. I’ve enjoyed what you’ve done with that.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: But I’m very interested in people’s beliefs and practices from an anthropological perspective and more. I think there’s a lot of validity to observing these things and participation to some extent and writing or describing what happens. I just think it would not be serving the objectives of the show if we had believers on-once again for want of a better term. You would be talking about their claims. There’s no way that I could justify or refute everything that they could say within the context of a half-hour show. So we’re going to experts and asking them.

Again, I’m not necessarily putting the scholars that you’re talking about in the same basket with the fortune teller down the street. I realize that these are a different sort of people, as well, with different objectives. The show really is about talking to people who want to apply critical thinking and skepticism to their outlook.

Alex Tsakiris: Right, right.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Once again, I think a lot of what you and I were talking about just in our Facebook interaction, we were talking about the scientific method and I think there’s a lot of validity to just applying critical thinking and skepticism that everything that we do. You don’t necessarily need to apply the scientific method to everything. You can’t do that on a daily basis; that’s not a common, everyday thing.

Alex Tsakiris: Karen, tell us a little bit about what’s going on for you. What’s coming up? I have to ask. It just looks like there’s a book in the works here and I don’t see any mention of it, but is that something you plan on doing in the near future?

Dr. Karen Stollznow: There are a number of things and I think I’ve been very bogged down over the years in doing a lot of volunteer work for skepticism. I worked for the Australian Skeptics for 13 years. That was just all voluntary work. I was an investigator for them and did investigations and wrote articles about that. I ended up becoming their associate editor and then editor of the magazine for a tenure.

And so I’ve really been bogged down with podcasting and writing articles and also my own academic work on the side. But there are a number of books that I’ve been working on. One is Language, Mysteries, Myths, and Magic and that is about paranormal and pseudoscientific claims associated with language and with linguistics.

I’ve also been working on some creative projects. I’ve got a book that I wrote a number of years ago called Red, White, and (True) Blue, which is a travelogue about my experiences as an Australian living in the States. It’s not as boring as it sounds.

I’m working on a number of projects at the moment. I guess it’s a matter of finding a publisher. The market isn’t terribly good so in the meantime I’ve got my two columns. There’s Bad Language for Skeptic Magazine and The Naked Skeptic for the Community for Skeptical Inquiry. And MonsterTalk and Point of Inquiry, they’re the main things that I’m doing at the moment.

Alex Tsakiris: Great. Thanks again for coming on Skeptiko and I appreciate the openness and the dialogue. Hopefully other people will find it interesting to just hear this high-level kind of view of what’s going on in the skeptical movement today.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Oh yeah. I don’t feel in any way like we wrestled any subjects or tackled anything in any great depth but I think it is good to give an overview of these things at times.

Alex Tsakiris: Thanks again to Karen Stollznow for joining me today on Skeptiko. If you’d like more information about this show or any of our previous shows, please check out the skeptiko.com website.  There you’ll find links to all of our previous shows, an email and Facebook link to me, and a link to our forum where you can engage with other listeners and discuss some of these topics. I hope you’ll join us there. You’ll certainly find me there.

That’s going to do it for today. Until next time, take care and bye for now.