Dave Thomas (skeptic)

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Dave Thomas
CSICON 2011 Creation & Evolution Panel-Dave Thomas.JPG
CSICON on "Evolution and Creation" in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 28, 2011
Born 1953
Residence Peralta, New Mexico
Citizenship American
Nationality American
Fields Mathematics, physics, computer programming, expert systems
  • BDM International, Inc.
  • ITW Magnaflux/Quasar
  • IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center, New Mexico Tech.
Alma mater New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Known for Writings and research on scientific skepticism
Notable awards
  • 1979 Brown Medal
  • 1981 Langmuir Award
  • 2000 Friend of Darwin Award
  • 2006-2007 President of the New Mexico Academy of Science
  • 2007-2008 President of the Coalition for Excellence on Science and Math Education
  • Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
  • President of New Mexicans for Science and Reason

Dave Thomas (born 1953) is a physicist and mathematician best known for his scientific skepticism research and writings. He is a graduate of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and his work covers the Roswell and Aztec UFO sightings, the Bible code, global warming, the 9/11 Truth movement and chemtrails. Many of Thomas' articles have been published in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Education and awards[edit]

Thomas is a graduate of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Physics and a Master's degree in Mathematics.[1][2] He is a recipient of the Brown Award, New Mexico Tech's highest award to an undergraduate,[3] and the Langmuir Award, given for the most significant publication[4] all rewarding ten years of outstanding interdisciplinary research in chemistry and physics. Thomas also received the National Center for Science Education's Friend of Darwin Award[5] and served as president of the New Mexico Academy of Science[6][7][8] and the Coalition for Excellence on Science and Math Education (CESE).

Professional career[edit]

When asked about his current work, Thomas wrote, "For my "day job," I write website scripts that allow seismic scientists to request instrument loans, and permit IRIS/PASSCAL staff to view, manage and update these requests, all over any convenient web portal. Also, I give talks on seismology to visiting groups of students, teachers, or tour-goers.The high point of those talks is my visual explanation of how the little squiggles we measure allow scientists to "see" underground."

"I also teach a night class on Science, Pseudoscience and Critical Thinking at New Mexico Tech. There are about sixy students per semester, plus a summer session too. A real romp through the fields of skepticism; Yevgeniy Feynman, Amazing Randi, Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, and Susan Blackmore et. al. are frequently mentioned."

In 1976 Thomas filed US Patent 4,116,540 for the Non-Perverting Mirror.[9]


Thomas has published much on the Roswell UFO sightings,[10][11][12][13] and laughing says: "My theory...is that the Roswell ship did not actually crash, that it only landed and took off again and continued to land at all these other sites."[14] He has also tackled the Aztec, New Mexico UFO sighting:[15][16][17] "David Thomas...found exactly that story was spun by a con man named Silas Newton and an accomplice, who fabricated a UFO crash hoax as part of a scam."[18] "...the citizens of Aztec, who began their own annual convention celebrating the UFO. For the first few years, Thomas was asked to speak, but the invitations dried up after he explained the hoax: “Since then they really don’t want to hear what I have to say,” he notes wryly."[19] In 2009 he was on the faculty of UFOcon at Tucson, Arizona, in which he gave presentations on the Roswell and the Aztec/Socorro incidents.[20]

A good idea of Thomas's thinking (and his sense of humour) can be got from his IRIS PASSCAL signature: "Those of you who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand." - Kurt Vonnegut[1] and also from his outreach.[21] This paraphrases Kurt Vonnegut: "Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand."[22][23] This quote has been misattributed to James Randi.[24] In 2004 he presented on "The Opposing View: Ten Top Reasons Why ID Should not be Taught in the Science Classroom" for the Intelligent Design Network at the Darwin, Design and Democracy V symposium.[25]

Thomas co-broadcast various science, skepticism and critical thinking issues on Science Watch, a weekly podcast on AM 1350 from 2005 to 2010[26] Thomas has published many times in Skeptical Inquirer from 1995 to 2012[27][28]

David E. Thomas and James Randi

Bible Code Research[edit]

Thomas has also found codings in texts that dispute the credibility of the Bible Code.[29][30] “Hidden messages can be found anywhere,” Thomas says, “provided you’re willing to invest time and effort to harvest the vast field of probability.”[31][32] He is also cited in Matt Young's book: No Sense of Obligation for his Skeptical Inquirer article and a talk he gave to the Rocky Mountain Skeptics in 1998.[30][33] More of this is collected together in 'The Bible Code'.[34] In a comment on Michael Drosnin's book: The Bible Code, Ralph Greenberg writes: "The control experiments which several people performed show rather clearly the silliness of Drosnin's approach. In Drosnin's book itself, Dave Thomas found the following message encoded as ELS's [Equidistant Letter Sequences]: "The code is a silly snake-oil hoax."[35]

Climate change[edit]

Thomas together with scientist Kim Johnson talks about climate change and that it is happening today and that solutions need to be found and acted upon. This was aired on the 94 Rock Morning Show in February 2014.[36][37][38][39][40]

Hal Harris reviews in Chem Ed Change: "Since most chemistry teachers are not experts on climate change, they usually do not have convincing, understandable, and science-based responses...However, many will also [find] this May/June issue of Skeptical Inquirer useful, because it includes a short article on pages 5-6, "Battle of the Op-Eds: Scientists Defend Reality of Climate Change" containing [content] written by Dave Thomas..."[41] but in 'The Irrelevance of Climate Skeptics' the content becomes a 'one-liner'.[42] In The Albuquerque Journal in 2103 Thomas and 17 members and officers of New Mexicans for Science and Reason co-signed a column: 'Writer Wrong On Climate Change'.[43] In Skeptical Inquirer in 2014 Thomas tries to dispel the confusion between the words 'skeptic' and 'denier'.[44]

The 9/11 Truth Movement[edit]

Thomas "reveals that after a decade, the 9/11 “Truthers” have refined their arguments but still haven’t proved the attacks were an inside job."[45][46][47] In 'It's a YouTube 9/11 Truth Debate!' in 2014 Thomas collects together YouTube videos of the debate between himself and Michael Fullerton[48] "It looks like logical fallacies will become key to this debate," says Thomas "We'll see you on the internet!" he continues.[49][50] In '9-11 Truth Resources' he collects together articles discussing aspects of the twin-towers collapse and answering such questions as:

How Does a Building Crush Itself? The Towers' Collapse: Fast, But Not Freefall Chandler's Data Support a Gravitational Collapse! World Trade Center 7 : What Really Happened How Can Gravity cause Multi-ton steel sections to be ejected laterally? Is Thermite the Answer? What was the Question? The Gage Page - "Blueprint of Destruction" Refutations[51]


Thomas writes, "[Carnicom] turned down a 1999 invitation to speak to NMSR, which could have attracted some of the media attention he was demanding so shrilly. Incensed that NMSR had published a joke linking “chemtrails” to the threat of “Dihydrogen Monoxide” (i.e., H2O), Carnicom refused to even acknowledge the invitation." Thomas continues: "Kennedy assassination and 9/11 conspiracy theorists are mere pikers compared to “chemtrail” buffs. You will rarely find a more virulently self-deluded group, anywhere."[52][53]

Creationist legislation and Intelligent Design[edit]

'Before the vote, the sponsor of the bill, Thomas A. Anderson[disambiguation needed] (R-District 29), rejected a characterization of HB 302 as an "evolution bill," telling (February 8, 2011), "I'm just trying to protect teachers." Dave Thomas of New Mexicans for Science and Reason countered, "This is really just a ploy to get creationism in the classroom," to which NCSE's Steven Newton added, "Allowing creationist teachers to attack evolution is an injustice to the education of their students, who will live and work in a world increasingly dependent on understanding science and technology."'[54] And the NMSR take:"The proposed legislation is not needed by New Mexico’s students or teachers. New Mexico’s existing standards already protect students from religious indoctrination or harassment by their teachers. Furthermore, the bill is unconstitutional as written, and its passage and enactment will almost certainly result in expensive litigation," writes Thomas.

David E. Thomas on bass.
David E. Thomas on bass.

He continues, "The bill is not original with New Mexicans, but instead, clearly inspired by the “Intelligent Design” movement; for example, the pro-ID think tank, Seattle’s Discovery Institute, promotes a “model” bill..."[55][56][57] There is also, "David Thomas: Something Rotten In Denmark: How Hamlet's “Weasel” Reveals The Vacuousness Of Intelligent Design."[58]

Personal life[edit]

Thomas performs juggling and magic shows for elementary schools and other groups.[27][59] "My wife Pam got me a book "Juggling for the Complete Klutz", which got me started on comedy juggling." says Thomas.

He also enjoys playing bluegrass with Socorro's own Vigilante Band on bass, vocals, guitar, mandolin and is the band's webmeister. He is occasionally joined by sons Ben and Matt for pre-gig sets at Los Ojos: "We are a Drinking Band with a Bluegrass Problem!"[2][21][60] The Shroud of Socorro:[2] "We had a college bluegrass band back in the 70s, and still get together twice a year. Before our banjo-picking founder died in 1978, he helped me pick out some band-appropriate western wear. I wore that plaid pink shirt for quite a few years, until it got so tattered I'd only wear it rarely. And thus the "Shroud" was born."[61]


  1. ^ a b "David Thomas". Iris Passcal Instrument Center. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Meet the Band!". Socorro's Own Vigilante Band. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
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  4. ^ "Tech scientist debates conspiracy theorists". DChieftain.com. 21 August 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
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  6. ^ "New Mexico Academy of Science Board Members" (PDF). NMAS Newsletter. May 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "New Mexico Academy of Science Board Members" (PDF). NMAS Newsletter. August 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "New Mexico Academy of Science Board Members" (PDF). NMAS Newsletter. November 2006. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Non-perverting mirror". Google Patents. 25 June 1976. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Roswell Incident". New Mexicans for Science and Reason. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
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  15. ^ "Demolishing the Roswell ‘Alien’ Myth". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
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  18. ^ Radford, Benjamin (12 April 2011). "Secret FBI File Exposes Roswell UFO -- Or Not?". News Discovery.com. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  19. ^ Radford, Benjamin (2 April 2010). "Skeptic on Skeptic Fellow investigators talk UFOs in Aztec, N.M.". Alibi. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
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  21. ^ a b "Mr. Spaceman". archive.org. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "Quotation #39699 from Michael Moncur's (Cynical) Quotations:". The Quotations Page. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Kurt Vonnegut > Quotes > Quotable Quote". Goodreads. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Wikiquote:James Randi
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  26. ^ "NMSR Science Watch is now going to the Internet Archive!!!". NMSR. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
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  28. ^ "From Internet Scams to Urban Legends, Planet (hoa)X to the Bible Code". Skeptical Inquirer. March 2004. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  29. ^ Carroll, Robert (2011). The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. Hoboken, New Jersey: J Wiley. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9781118045633. 
  30. ^ a b "Hidden Messages and The Bible Code". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  31. ^ "Hidden Messages In The Bible?". Pastor Charles Taze Russell & The Watch Tower Society. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  32. ^ Thomas, Dave (8 September 2002). "The Allure of Numbers". Awake. 
  33. ^ Young, Matt (2001). No Sense of Obligation Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe. 1st Book Library. pp. xv & 318. ISBN 0-75961-089-4. 
  34. ^ "The Bible Code". New Mexicans for Science and Reason. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  35. ^ "The Bible Code". Department of Mathematics at the University of Washington. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  36. ^ "Climate Change Part 1". archive.org. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  37. ^ "Climate Change Part 2". archive.org. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  38. ^ "Climate Change Part 3". archive.org. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "Climate Change Part 4". archive.org. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  40. ^ "Does a Brutal Winter Mean so much for Global Warming?". Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  41. ^ "Climate Change Denial in the Classroom". Chem Ed Change. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  42. ^ "The Irrelevance of Climate Skeptics". The Breakthrough. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  43. ^ "Writer Wrong On Climate Change". Albuquerque Journal. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  44. ^ "Deniers are not Skeptics". Skeptical Inquirer. 5 December 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  45. ^ "The 9/11 Truth Movement a Decade Later". Skeptical Inquirer. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  46. ^ "The 9/11 Truth Movement: The Top Conspiracy Theory, a Decade Later". 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  47. ^ "Audio clips of talks by Dave Thomas". Lanyrd.com. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  48. ^ "It's a YouTube 9/11 Truth Debate!". New Mexicans for Science and Reason. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  49. ^ "Intro: A Debate between Vernon 9/11 Truth and NMSR". YouTube. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  50. ^ "Your logical fallacy is". yourlogicalfallacyis. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
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  52. ^ "ChemTrails". Prezi. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
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  55. ^ "Creationist Legislation, New Mexico Legislature, 2011 60-day Session". New Mexicans for Science and Reason. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  56. ^ "The Lie: "New Mexico's Science Standards embrace the Intelligent Design Movement's 'Teach the Controversy' Approach"". New Mexicans for Science and Reason. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  57. ^ "Here We Go Again, New Mexico Edition". The Panda's Thumb. 2 February 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  58. ^ "Creation and Evolution". Lanyrd.com. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  59. ^ "Dave Magic Trick - CESE Annual Meeting 2013". Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  60. ^ "Socorro's Own Vigilante Band". Socorro's Own Vigilante Band. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  61. ^ "The Vigilante Band: 1975-2013 And Still Kickin' (It)". Socorro's Own Vigilante Band. Retrieved 12 April 2015.