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The Reading Room

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.

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.


Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?

Posted on Oct. 12, 2016 by Carol Tavris

In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this article, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.


Mammoth Mysteries — Part I

Posted on Sep. 28, 2016 by Daniel Loxton

In the pages of Junior Skeptic — the engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers, bound within every issue of Skeptic magazine — we often look at “wild and wooly” mysteries. In Junior Skeptic #60 (2016), we mean that literally; we explore the hidden history of mammoths and mastodons! Today, we present an excerpt from the first couple pages of the Junior Skeptic #60, bound within Skeptic magazine 21.3 (2016), available now in print and digital editions.


A Betrayal of Confidence:
A Review of The Faith of Christopher Hitchens

Posted on Sep. 21, 2016 by Kathleen J. Schultheis

Kathleen J. Schultheis reviews Larry Taunton’s book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens.


Clown Panic! Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves in South Carolina

Posted on Sep. 14, 2016 by Robert Bartholomew

Unsubstantiated reports of phantom clowns in the United States can be traced back decades and are a form of social panic. In this week’s eSkeptic, sociologist and authority on culture-specific mental disorders, outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness, and moral panics—Dr. Robert Bartholomew—reminds us that they reflect age-old fears that are dressed up in new garb—literally.


The Hero on the Edge of Forever:
Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek, and the Heroic in History

Posted on Sep. 07, 2016 by Michael Shermer

September 8, 1966 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. In this essay, from 1994, upon the publication of David Alexander’s biography: Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, Shermer considers the role of the individual—the hero even—and difference that Gene Roddenberry made in history.


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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.

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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