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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.

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.

What Will Tomorrow Bring?

Posted on Aug. 31, 2016 by Bernard Leikind

Bernard Leikind reminds us how fortunate we are to stand grounded on a foundation of scientific knowledge in the face of uncertainty.

What Was Adam’s IQ?

Posted on Aug. 24, 2016 by Bernard Leikind

Bernard Leikind takes a satirical look at the question of Adam’s IQ and the idea that we only use 10% of our brains.

Facilitated Communication:
Mental Miracle or Sleight of Hand?

Posted on Aug. 17, 2016 by Gina Green

Gina Green traces the history of the Facilitated Community (FC) movement’s rapid growth and widespread adoption—a movement whose validity was accepted largely on faith, with little objective evaluation. Green discusses how scientifically controlled observations have been used to determine authorship in FC, weaving a cautionary tale about the obvious and serious legal, ethical, and practical implications of these findings.

Flood Myths and Sunken Arks:
Who needs to believe in Noah’s Ark and why?

Posted on Aug. 10, 2016 by Gerald A. Larue

Should the Noah’s Ark story be taken literally? No, said Dr. Gerald A. Larue (1916–2014), former Emeritus Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology at USC, back in 1994, when Skeptic first published this article. There never was a world-wide flood, nor was there ever a “Noah’s ark” containing all the species of the world. Here’s why.

Uncertainty in Medicine

Posted on Jul. 27, 2016 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Modern medicine deals in probabilities and informed guesses based on scientific evidence. Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) deals in certainties based on fantasy and intuition. Harriet Hall, M.D. reminds us that, although modern medicine is riddled with uncertainty, it’s still far better than any other option.


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FREE Video Series

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