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Junior Skeptic Goes Rogue

by Michael Shermer, Nov 17 2009

Welcome Daniel Loxton to the Pantheon of Skeptical Bloggers

Another person north of the border goes rogue this week, and I don’t mean Sarah Palin. I am pleased to announce that Daniel Loxton, the editor and illustrator for Junior Skeptic magazine, the artist and designer for many Skeptic magazine covers, the author of the forthcoming (in February) of the best damn evolution book for kids ever, period, will now be blogging at — joining myself, Phil Plait, Steve Novella, and the other skeptics who enlighten us each week with their timely and cogent observations on all things skeptical.

I came up with the idea for Junior Skeptic magazine in 1997, inspired by an episode of The Simpsons. The episode was entitled “The Springfield Files” — a parody of X-Files in which Homer has an alien encounter in the woods (after imbibing 10 bottles of Red Tick Beer) — and Leonard Nimoy voices the intro as he once did for his post-Spock run on the television mystery series In Search of…: “The following tale of alien encounters is true. And by true, I mean false. It’s all lies. But they’re entertaining lies, and in the end isn’t that the real truth? The answer is no.”

As the little skeptic of the show herself, Homer’s daughter Lisa quotes to him from “Junior Skeptic magazine,” which I think was inspired by Skeptic magazine itself since I’ve met Matt Groening and some of their writers are subscribers to Skeptic. Either way, though, I thought the timing was right to launch a new magazine, but since we could not afford to publish and distribute it as a separate magazine we decided to tip it into the back of every issue of Skeptic magazine, where it still resides today. The early issues were fun to do, but all of us struggled to find the right voice for Junior Skeptic magazine amidst our already too busy work schedule of just trying to get the regular magazine out in time. But then along came Daniel Loxton, who locked up the voice of Junior Skeptic magazine as his own.

Daniel is a clear and concise writer who really knows how to communicate any topic with clarity, wit, and detail to accuracy. Of the thousands of articles that I have edited over the decades, Daniel’s are among the best ever written and in need of the least amount of editing. There’s no attempt at fancy schmancy literary hocus pocus that you often find in academics who wannabe lit crit deconstructionists (what Dawkins calls “obscurantists”). Daniel cuts to the chase of a topic and weaves the facts into a compelling narrative story. You know, the kind that kids like to read…and adults: one of the most common letters we receive is from our adult readers almost (but not quite) too embarrassed to admit that they prefer reading Junior Skeptic magazine to Skeptic magazine.

So, starting next Tuesday, Daniel and I will alternate weeks posting here at Skepticblog, and I am going to start posting more regularly — probably two times a week — over at TRUE/SLANT, a relatively new site that I find especially appealing at the scope and breadth of their topics and bloggers. This will give me a chance to reach new people and bring the skeptical message to new audiences. We can’t just preach to the choir, which I fear I do too much of, and even though I occasionally blog at HuffingtonPost, there I am lost in a sea of celebrities and television hosts (you know who I mean!) and over 2,000 other bloggers, which ends up feeling like a complete waste of time.

Thus, I would encourage everyone to check out TRUE/SLANT, where you will find me posting, starting today, at:

And please say hi to Daniel and welcome him into the skeptical blogosphere, and if you have any suggestions on topics you’d like him to cover just drop your suggestions into the comments box that goes with this blog.


14 Responses to “Junior Skeptic Goes Rogue”

  1. John says:

    I’m one of those people (not quite) embarrassed to admit that I LOVE Junior Skeptic!

  2. PaleGreenPantsWithNobodyInsideThem says:

    Great…now I have someone else to obsessively follow.

  3. It could not happen to a nicer guy!

    No seriously, Daniel is almost pathologically nice. Do we know if he also paints clown pictures? Does he have a basement?

  4. We accept him!
    One of us!
    We accept him!
    One of us!
    Gooble gobble, gooble gobble!

  5. Tim says:

    Trueslant article was awesome. Rock on Shermer, rock on.

  6. Tuffgong says:

    I’ve heard some good arguments against Loxton so, stop me if you’ve heard this, but color me skeptical. We shall see what he produces as I’ve largely passed Junior Skeptic by.

  7. Beelzebud says:

    How is an article drooling all over Ayn Rand at all skeptical about anything? At least there is one thing good about it. It wasn’t posted here…

    • Max says:

      Doesn’t have to be skeptical there.
      CFI blogs cover politics, ethics, and religion, but I guess CFI competes with Michael Shermer’s Skeptics Society.

      • Beelzebud says:

        Yeah well he’s listed as “skeptic” on the site, and his first column is just a gushing love letter to Ayn Rand. Maybe his title there should be Objectivist, because the last time I checked Ayn Rand and her philosophy isn’t in any way a universal viewpoint among skeptics.

    • Tim says:

      Well the Ayn Rand article was secondary, a sort of passing plug for himself as a side note. The main purpose of this post seems to be welcoming the new guy.

      Ayn Rand was awesome though and so was Mr. Shermer’s article. Rock on Shermer, rock on.

  8. halincoh says:

    I know this has nothing to do with this post , but I just wanted to say that I just finished the SCIENCE of GOOD and EVIL and thought it to be excellent. Job well done sir!

  9. Kenn says:

    How disappointing.

    I was passed over for Pope, then president and now this.

  10. Rand says:

    Regarding Ayn Rand, when I was subscribed to THE OBJECTIVIST, I found it anything but “objective”. I’ve read 3 books by Rand and enjoyed 2, finding ATLAS SHRUGGED tedious and sententious.

    While I agree with much of Rand and Libertarianism, I’ve not found one advocate who could argue that The Clean Air Act and The G.I. Bill weren’t phenomenally successful from an economic and social vantage, and I remain a utilitarian with reasoned compassion. So I don’t think one need buy Rand whole hog as she claimed, but we would be foolish not to understand the egoistic nature of men (Rand recycled Hume really) in seeking solutions economically and socially.

  11. Cabbo says:

    Here’s a topic for you: santa!