Skeptic » Reading Room » Top 10 Most Shared Articles of 2013

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Top 10 Most Shared Articles of 2013


1.  The Spark and the Hype

Dr. Chris Edwards examines some of the claims made by Kristine Barnett about her autistic savant son, James, in her book entitled The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius.

2.  What Science Really Says About the Soul

The majority of Americans believe that the soul lives on after the body dies. How can we know whether consciousness can survive bodily death? In this article, Stephen Cave takes a look at the belief that souls exist, and reminds us that modern brain imaging technology provides scientific evidence to strengthen the case against such fuzzy notions.

3.  Food For Thought

Seventy percent of American calories now come from industrially processed foods, an $850 billion per year venture. In this article, Kenneth W. Krause reviews Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal by Melanie Warner.

4.  The Progressive War on Science

Are Republicans more anti-science than Democrats? In this article, Kenneth W. Krause reviews Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left.

5.  How To Be a Skeptical News Consumer

We are surrounded by information: on TV, the Internet, in magazines, books, and emails from friends, family, commercial advertisers, politicians and other advocates making extraordinary claims. In this article, Donna L. Halper discusses some examples of how society has been duped, and shares some media literacy rules (skepticism and critical thinking) that will help you evaluate and assess claims for accuracy.

6.  Evolution vs. God. Guess Who Wins.

Could it be that geneticists, biochemists, zoologists, biologists, geologists, paleontologists, ecologists, comparative anatomists, physiologists, and cosmologists are all wrong about evolution? In this article, Ingrid Hansen Smythe reviews a documentary film by Ray Comfort called Evolution vs. God: Shaking the Foundations of Faith. The film makes the audacious claim that “there is no evidence for Darwinian evolution; that it’s not scientific.” Watch the trailer and then read the review.

7.  JFK Conspiracy Theories at 50:
How the Skeptics Got it Wrong and Why it Matters

Since late 1964, when The Warren Commission announced its conclusions that Lee Harvey Oswald alone killed the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and that there was no evidence of a conspiracy, skepticism of its findings has become a persistent obsession that has lasted 50 years. In this article, David Reitzes recounts some of the most durable myths and conspiracy theories, and reminds us that the job of a skeptic is to use critical thinking to properly assess the evidence, and to use our critical faculties to distinguish verifiable evidence from idle speculation, not to merely doubt for the sake of doubting.

8.  The Reality Distortion Field: Steve Jobs’s Modus Operandi of Ignoring Reality is a Double-edged Sword

Apple Founder, Steve Jobs, had more than a knack for convincing anyone that seemingly unrealistic things were possible. In this article, Michael Shermer discusses how self-deception and a pervasive optimistic bias—Jobs’s “reality distortion field”—contributed both to his success and his demise.

9.  Why Is There A Skeptical Movement?

When did the tradition of scientific skepticism begin? How did it blossom into a modern movement? What ought the skeptical movement to become? And, perhaps most importantly, why does it exist in the first place? In this article, Daniel Loxton meticulously explores the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism.

10.  Sylvia Browne Takes The Case!

On April 21, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday, Amanda Berry was kidnapped in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2004, on an episode of the Montel Williams show, “psychic” Sylvia Browne told Amanda’s mother that Amanda was dead. Sylvia Browne’s “psychic powers” failed miserably that day. Amanda Berry is alive today, having escaped from the house where she had been held for 10 years. In this article, Ingrid Hansen Smythe reviews Sylvia Browne’s last book Past Lives of the Rich and Famous in order to glean some insight into the mind of the “great psychic.”

Get eSkeptic

Science in your inbox every Wednesday!

eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, event announcements, and more to your inbox once a week.

Sign me up!

Donate to Skeptic

Please support the work of the Skeptics Society. Make the world a more rational place and help us defend the role of science in society.

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.

Copyright © 1992–2017. All rights reserved. The Skeptics Society | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. Privacy Policy.