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The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism. The Library contains an ever-growing index of articles, reviews and opinion editorials culled from our extensive archives, offering an in depth look into the myriad of subjects the Skeptics Society has explored over the years. You can help us continue to expand on the Reading Room by donating to the Skeptics Society.

Cogent Criticisms
A Point-by-Point Reply to Criticisms of
the “Conceptual Penis” Hoax

Posted on Jun. 13, 2017 by James Lindsay & Peter Boghossian

James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian offer a point-by-point reply to 10 popular criticisms of their parody-style hoax paper, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” that they published in an academic journal called Cogent Social Sciences.


The Three Shades of Atheism
How Atheists Differ in Their Views on God

Posted on Jun. 09, 2017 by Brittany Page & Douglas J. Navarick

Based on a sample of hundreds of respondents to a survey distributed through social media, California State University, Fullerton psychologists Brittany Page and Douglas J. Navarick explain the differences they found in how atheists view God.


Some Thoughts on “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” Hoax

Posted on Jun. 07, 2017 by Alan Sokal

Alan Sokal reflects on the hoax perpetrated by James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian who published a nonsensical paper “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct” in the peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences.


The Exorcist: The Reincarnation of a Particular Kind of Irrationality

Posted on May. 31, 2017 by Kathleen J. Schultheis

Since the death of William Peter Blatty—the author best known for his novel turned blockbuster film The Exorcist— exorcism is, once again, showing a robust presence in contemporary life, this time among millennials. In this article, Kathy Schultheis warns that this resurgence of interest in exorcism is a sign of how far reason has fallen.


Paradoxology:
If It Doesn’t Make Sense, It Must Be True

Posted on May. 24, 2017 by Tim Callahan

Can paradoxes that seem to undermine belief in the God of Christianity actually support a belief in Him? Skeptic magazine’s religion editor, Tim Callahan, reviews Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant To Be Simple, by Krish Kandiah.


The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender Studies

Posted on May. 19, 2017 by Peter Boghossian, Ed.D. (aka Peter Boyle, Ed.D.)
and James Lindsay, Ph.D. (aka, Jamie Lindsay, Ph.D.)

“The conceptual penis as a social construct:” a Sokal-style hoax on gender studies by @peterboghossian and @GodDoesnt.


Big News on Homo naledi
More Fossils and a Surprising Young Age

Posted on May. 10, 2017 by Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D.

Dr. Nathan H. Lents catches up with Dr. Lee Berger to ask him about the astounding and far-reaching implications of confirmed rumors that a second cave had been found harboring more Homo naledi skeletal remains, and revealed that the fossils are much younger than previously thought.


In Defense of the Bell Curve:
The Reality of Race and the Importance of Human Differences

Posted on Apr. 26, 2017 by Vincent M. Sarich

As promised last week, this week, we present anthropologist Dr. Vincent M. Sarich’s defense of the bell curve. See last week’s eSkeptic for the critique of the bell curve by Diane Halpern.


What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?

Posted on Apr. 19, 2017 by Peter Boghossian

On a scale from 1–10, how confident are you in a belief that you hold? What evidence could you encounter that would undermine your confidence? What would it take to lower your confidence from 9 to 8, or even 6?


The Skewed Logic of the Bell-Shaped Curve

Posted on Apr. 18, 2017 by Diane F. Halpern

In light of recent events in which Charles Murray has been booed off stage at two academic institutions for lecturing on ideas from his book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, we think it’s worth revisiting an article from Skeptic magazine from 1995 in which cognitive psychologist Diane Halpern critiques the book.


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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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