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Daniel Loxton

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Daniel Loxton

Daniel Loxton
Daniel Loxton
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Writer, editor

Daniel Loxton (born 1975) is a Canadian writer, illustrator, and skeptic. He wrote or co-wrote several books including Tales of Prehistoric Life, a children's science trilogy, and Abominable Science!, a scientific look at cryptozoology. As editor of Junior Skeptic, Loxton writes and illustrates most issues of Junior Skeptic, a children's science section in the Skeptics Society's Skeptic magazine.[1]

Loxton has written articles for critical thinking publications including eSkeptic, Skeptic, Skeptical Briefs, and the Skeptical Inquirer as well as contributed cover art to Skeptic, Yes, and Free Inquiry. He also regularly contributes to Skepticblog, a collaboration blog promoting science, critical thinking, and skepticism.[2]

Early life

Loxton credits Barry Beyerstein for his interest in skepticism. In several interviews Loxton talks about attending a science fiction conference in British Columbia in 1991 and hearing Beyerstein speak on behalf of the BC Skeptics. "He calmly and kindly fielded questions from the audience—and I was shocked by almost everything he said. This wasn’t the usual fluff: this guy really knew what he was talking about, in a way that I had never encountered before. Even his 'I don’t know's were substantial in a way that I wasn’t used to hearing."[3][4]

Loxton worked as a professional shepherd in British Columbia on the Canadian side of the Alaska Panhandle.[5]

Career

Loxton has published articles on skeptical activism. In 2007, he wrote "Where Do We Go From Here?" about the direction of the new generation of skepticism,[6] and which helped to inspire the scientific skepticism. Then in 2009, he wrote "What Do I Do Next?" providing ideas for individual involvement in the skepticism movement,[7] which was featured on an episode of the Skepticality podcast.[8] In 2014, he wrote "Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?" which explores "the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism. Arguing that it is essential for skeptics to “appreciate that we’re caretakers for the work of those who have come before,” Loxton carries forward the discussion about the scope and limits of scientific skepticism that has been raised again in recent days".[9]

Loxton at book signing TAM 2013

Loxton is the author of Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came To Be,[10] which was nominated for the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Norma Fleck Award for Children's Non-Fiction[11] and won the Lane Anderson Award (a $10,000 prize).[12] When pitching Evolution to U.S. publishers, Loxton was told "‘Well of course I love it, but we just think it’s a little too hot,’... Which is a strange thing to say about fundamental biology.” Not so in Canada. About writing a children's book on the topic of evolution Loxton states "People forget to see kids as thinking beings, as people who have existential questions that they want answered. They just need the best information available,” he said. “Keep it simple, but make it true.”

Loxton at podium at TAM 2013 - Preserving Skeptic History

In 2011, he wrote Ankylosaur Attack (Tales of Prehistoric Life), which was nominated for a Forest of Reading Silver Birch Express award from the Ontario Library Association.[13][14] He also appeared in an interview on the JREF podcast, For Good Reason in the episode dated February 6, 2010 and on Christopher Brown's Meet the Skeptics! podcast.[4]

In 2013, he co-authored Abominable Science!, which he described on the Skepticality podcast episode 213:[15]

"Abominable Science!...discusses the origins of a number of famous cryptids, well known cryptids, including the Yeti, Bigfoot, the Nessie, Sea Serpents, and the Mokele Mbembe (a sauropod dinosaur alleged to live on in the heart of Africa). "I really take this book as a direct continuation of my life-long fascination with Cryptids, and I think that anyone who is fascinated with Cryptozoology, regardless of how plausible they find these creatures, I think should find plenty of meat in this book to enjoy. It's a hard-hitting book. True believers will find plenty to challenge them, plenty to chew on, but I think that they'll find plenty to love." "You won't be surprised to hear that we find that Cryptids are highly improbably overall, and the most famous ones, are in some cases, really can be laid to rest, the Loch Ness Monster in particular. But people will find the journey that we follow here I think more interesting than the conclusion in some cases. We're able to shed some light on, as the sub-title says, the origins of these things, get to the roots of how exactly these ideas came about and in some cases to effectively solve them either by expanding upon information that was known in the literature, but poorly explored in the past or in some cases by presenting new information altogether."
In 2015, Loxton was elected a fellow of the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry.[16]

Books

  • (translated into Slovenian, Korean, Norwegian, and, in a modified form as the separate book Evolução, Portuguese).

Podcasts

Loxton has been a frequent guest on the Skepticality podcast on a variety of topics:

  • Where Do We Go From Here? - Loxton offers his perspective on the future of skepticism as a movement. His op-ed essay [6] argues that the search for a "new skepticism" is misguided and that the early titans of skepticism had it right in the first place. Discussion with Skepticality hosts Derek & Swoopy follows.[8]
  • Skeptrack Panel Discussion – Where Do We Go? - Skepticality rounds out its 2007 Dragon*Con coverage with the Skeptrack panel inspired Loxton's op-ed essay, "Where Do We Go From Here?" [6] Loxton also joins Swoopy to share his thoughts upon hearing the panel discussion, and about skeptical trends.[17]
  • What Do I Do Next? - Loxton returns to tell Swoopy how a panel of 13 skeptics contributed to the follow-up project, What Do I Do Next?:[7] Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism.[18]
  • Skeptics Mix Tape & Jenny McCarthy - Derek & Swoopy talk with Loxton about the launch of the “Skeptics Mix Tape” project. This eclectic collection of songs of science and skepticism are available as free MP3's from Skeptic.com.[19]
  • Evolution of Jr. Skeptic - Loxton joins Skeptics Society co-founder Pat Linse to talk about their creation: a full-color children's book entitled "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be".[20]
  • Team Skeptic TAM 8 Round Table - Loxton, Blake Smith and Tim Farley discuss their impressions of the 2010 TAM 8 Las Vegas with hosts Derek and Swoopy.[21]
  • Ankylosaur of the Cosmos - Loxton discusses his then just released book Ankylosaur Attack.[22]
  • Abominable Science - Derek interviews Loxton and co-author Donald Prothero about the book, and gets their impressions from doing the research into the Cryptozoological topics contained therein.[15]
  • Goin' Prehistoric, Loxton discusses his third book in the "Tales of Prehistoric Life" series: Pterosaur Trouble[23]

He has also been a guest on the Token Skeptic podcast:

  • Episode 156: Loxton discusses his paper, Why is There a Skeptical Movement? with host Kylie Sturgess[24]
  • Episode 172: Loxton and Donald Prothero present the arguments for and against the existence of the most famous (and debated) monsters in history introducing their book Abominable Science![25]

References

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  13. ^ He was featured in an interview on The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast #194, and again in #414.
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External links

  • Junior Skeptic
  • Daniel Loxton blog
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