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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.

Climate Cold Reading:
Meteorological Myths of Farmer’s Almanacs

Posted on Feb. 21, 2017 by Karen Stollznow

Dr. Karen Stollznow discusses the awkward mix of science and superstition found in almanacs.


Cosmic Consciousness and the Ptolemaic Principle

Posted on Feb. 08, 2017 by Leonard Mlodinow & Michael Shermer

Leonard Mlodinow and Michael Shermer review You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters, by Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos, 2017. (New York: Harmony Books, 288 pages)


The Rise of the Alt-Right and the Politics of Polarization in America

Posted on Feb. 01, 2017 by George Michael

Although Donald Trump’s presidential campaign mobilized the movement that has come be known as the alt-right, it was not he who created it. George Michael explores how the alt-right movement in America has gained traction in recent years, and examines whether it could change the American political landscape, now that Donald Trump is president.


Out of the Loop, Lost in the Maze:
The Stealth Determinism of Westworld

Posted on Jan. 11, 2017 by Stephen Beckner

Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoilers from season one, and speculation about future events.


Back to the Future and Forward to the Past

Posted on Dec. 28, 2016 by Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards reviews “Time Travel: A History,” by James Gleick, examining some of time travel’s logical paradoxes and violations of known laws of physics.


The Ultimate Trade Off

Posted on Nov. 30, 2016 by Michael Shermer

Michael Shermer reviews What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality, by Richard G. Bribiescas. A shortened version of this review ran in the Wall Street Journal on November 18, 2016, under the title “Why Men Die First.”


Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Posted on Nov. 23, 2016 by Michael Shermer

Download our free booklet examining whether terrorism is an “existential threat” to our way of life or even to our survival.


Flu Shots: Facts & Fallacies

Posted on Nov. 16, 2016 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

It’s flu shot season again! Of all vaccines, flu shots garner the most criticism. Harriet Hall, M.D. examines flu shot facts and fallacies, reminding us that the flu vaccine is of benefit, and the more people who get the vaccine, the greater the benefit for everyone.


Sex, Brains & Hands:
Differences in How Women and Men Think

Posted on Nov. 02, 2016 by Diane F. Halpern

Diane F. Halpern presents some of the theories and research that have explored individual differences in cognition between women and men, and discusses what we know and what we don’t know.


Meeting ET

Posted on Oct. 26, 2016 by Lawrence E. Grinter

If intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, how should we interact, and what will it mean for our civilization? Lawrence E. Grinter reviews Preparing for Contact: When Humans and Extraterrestrials Finally Meet (2014), by George Michael.


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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.

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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?

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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!

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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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