Greetings and salutations!
Howdy, folks. I’m Caleb Lack, and I’ll be writing for the Skeptic Ink Network (SIN) under the banner of “Great Plains Skeptic.” In this post, I’ll introduce myself and the topics I’m writing on, take care of some formalities, and ask for some feedback.
First, though, I want to say that I am very excited to be here. A big thanks to John, Ed, and everyone else involved in this operation, both fellow writers and behind the scenes people (I believe the term being used is SINners, which has a nice ring to it). It’s a privilege to be put up on stage with such a talented group of individuals and I’ll do my best to keep to the high standards already established.
Now, here’s who I am, so that you can decide whether or not I’m interesting enough to follow (I am, of course, I just like to provide evidence to back up my statements). The short version is that I am a clinical psychologist, professor, author, researcher, and scientific skeptic. The long version is below.
I am a clinical psychologist licensed to practice in both Oklahoma and Arkansas, the author of more than three dozen scientific publications relating to the assessment and treatment of psychological problems such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, pseudoscience in clinical psychology, and posttraumatic stress, and an assistant professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition, I have presented nationwide and internationally at conferences on a variety of topics, including children’s reactions to natural disasters, computer-based treatment of substance abuse, innovative teaching and training methods, and more. I am on the editorial board of two scientific journals and a reviewer for both journals and granting agencies. I practice evidence-based psychology (meaning I use science to guide my clinical work), and went to graduate school for Clinical Psychology at Oklahoma State University and did my predoctoral internship in Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology at the University of Florida. I specialize in the treatment of children and adults with anxiety disorders (particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder), psychological assessment, and have extensive experience with persons with chronic tics and Tourette’s Syndrome.
As far as my skeptical credentials go, I teach a senior/graduate level course on critical thinking, science, and pseudoscience and am the founding advisor for the UCO Skeptics (an awareness-raising and activist group that focuses on bringing reason and science to the public). The course has produced both a free online textbook and a series of documentaries, both of which I’ll post about soon. I’ve been interviewed by local media on topics like ghosts, psychics, and other pseudosciences, and recently published an article in Skeptical Inquirer online. I’m pretty active in the burgeoning freethought movement here in Oklahoma (which may sound a bit counter-intuitive to some folks), and was the opening speaker for the Oklahoma Freethought Conference this past summer. I’ll also be speaking at several freethought/skepticism conferences over the next year, which I am totally pumped up about. Finally, I’m a contributor to Michael Shermer’s Skepticism 101 project, which I’ll also be talking about later.
As you’ve probably already figured out, I live in Oklahoma, about the reddest of the red states, which is in general only skeptical of liberals and scientists. This sometimes leaves me feeling like an anthropologist, observing and noting the very odd behaviors of those around me compared to my personal norms. It does, however, give me plenty of grist for the mill of writing, so it’s an okay trade-off.
As you may or may not be aware, SIN has a well articulated discussion policy in place. This isn’t a place for ad hominem attacks, it’s a place for ad argumentum attacks. I will be particularly focusing on pseudoscience in this blog, and although I could certainly say many negative things about some of it’s practitioners, I’m going to focus on the evidence (and you should too). Play nice with each other down there, but don’t get your feelings hurt if someone tears apart a poorly constructed thing you (or I) say.
Topics that we will discuss in the near future include defining science and pseudoscience, latest findings on alt-med, why you can’t trust your brain, skeptical activism, and who knows what else (well, I do, but I’m not telling). If you’ve got something you’d like to see me tackle, I’d love to hear from you either in the comments below or via email.
I think that’s about all for now, and look for my next post in a few days. Take care, all.