Mendacity of all kinds is a part of human experience, but the potential for propagating it has hugely increased—thanks to modern technology. There is talk of a crisis of truth, capped by the Trumpian meme of “fake news”. Rampant in venues outside politics, fake news spreads lies for political, economic, and ideological purposes.
There’s a species of it I call pseudo-skepticism—a form of fake news, evident in Joe Nickell’s case who writes for the so-called Skeptical Inquirer. “So-called”, I say, because the term skeptical implies doubt and open-minded inquiry; it doesn’t mean using every dirty trick of omission and distortion to arrive at a foregone conclusion.