With the devastating loss of Skeptical Inquirer’s beloved longtime editor Kendrick Frazier, the magazine needed someone to take over the role as interim editor. Stuart Vyse stepped up in a big way. With a master’s in English and a doctorate in psychology, Vyse taught at Connecticut College for most of his career. He’s published several books, including the award-winning Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition and more recently The Uses of Delusion: Why It’s Not Always Rational to Be Rational. His words first appeared in SI in 1997 and later became a regular fixture through his “Behavior & Belief” column. A fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Vyse also serves on its Executive Council.
Vyse led the magazine through four issues, the first being a thoughtful tribute to Frazier (March/April 2023). Next, the magazine addressed “medical pseudoscience around the world” through a special issue with contributors from India, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. The cover story in his third issue tackled the “ideological subversion of science,” becoming one of the most widely read articles in the magazine’s history. The cover story of his final issue explored the broader topic of “persuasive bullshitters.” Through all these magazine issues, other articles also touched on tantalizing topics familiar to SI readers such as astrology, cryptozoology, and parapsychology.
Vyse’s legacy will continue to shape the magazine for many years to come. As interim editor, he officially accepted an additional twenty-five articles that were not published during his four-issue tenure; these articles provide the content for much of the current issue and will continue to be published throughout next year. He also shaped the process involved in putting an issue together, served on the search committee for the new editor, and provided considerable support and mentorship throughout the transition. Here are a few words from the people who worked with him the closest over the past year:
“The editions produced under Stuart’s steady and surefooted editorship were distinctive, sophisticated, absorbing, and even brave. He was willing to stand up for science even when some inconvenient truths failed to fit this year’s fashions (to borrow from Lillian Hellman). Everyone who worked with him—me included—was honored and delighted to do so. Thank you, Stuart!”
—Robyn Blumner, CFI president and CEO
“THANK YOU to Stuart for really stepping up in such a fantastic way. And thanks for how you handled the backlog, the filing system, the procedures for pushing manuscripts, the help with the search, and the way you eased the new editor into the role. You really were the perfect choice to take the reins!”
—Barry Karr, CSI executive director
“I am so incredibly grateful that Stuart took on the task of picking up the editorial pieces after Ken’s sudden death. I already knew he was a wonderful writer and a great person to work with from his contributions as an SI columnist, and my opinion of him only grew during his eight-month tenure as SI’s interim editor. He handled the extremely difficult job of leading the magazine with an eye on its future while honoring Ken’s longstanding legacy. He performed his duties with obvious care and dedication. I am so glad I will be able to continue working with him in his capacity as a columnist for SI.”
—Julia Lavarnway, SI managing editor
“Stuart has been truly incredible, and I could not have asked for anyone better to pull the loose ends together when we needed it most. He smoothly transitioned into his editor position and produced further quality issues of the magazine. A pleasure to work with, and I wish him well.”
—Alexander Nicaise, SI art director
“Stuart’s stewardship helped SI navigate some rough waters. I’m thankful he will continue his excellent SI column and hoping that he will be available now and then to offer informal suggestions and counsel on editorial matters as they come up.”
—Benjamin Radford, SI deputy editor