Recently, global headlines have resurrected the decades-old case of the Shroud of Turin in response to a group of Italian researchers who have studied its authenticity and claim that the image it bears (ostensibly of Jesus) was not faked. Though the case for fraud has indeed been strong since the 14th century, skeptics know all too well that some topics just never seem to get laid to rest. In this week’s eSkeptic, Daniel Loxton responds to the media hype.
Skeptic is a science magazine, and as such we only deal with non-scientific issues when they come into contact with science. Foremost in this category, in our culture during the past decade, is the intersection of science and religion; in fact, science and religion studies have become something of a cottage industry in academia, with conferences, journals, magazines, and books on the subject being generated at a prodigious rate. Our primary focus in this area has been on evolution and creationism, most notably Intelligent Design creationism. Related to that in vol. 12, no. 3 of Skeptic is an article reporting for the first time the results of a study on the attitudes of Orthodox Jewish college students on the theory of evolution. Although one might expect skepticism of evolution to be found in this cohort, we were surprised by just how skeptical Orthodox Jewish college students were — not just about the theory of evolution, but about most aspects of science. For details, read on … and pass along this article to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to subscribe to Skeptic and eSkeptic.
In this article, we report the results of a study examining the relationship between a nation’s religiosity and its “moral health.” The received wisdom would lead one to predict a positive correlation between national religiosity and national moral health — as one goes up the other goes up. In fact, that appears not to be the case, and the example of the United States is most striking; Americans are among the most religious people in the Western world, and yet we have among the highest rates of homicide, abortion, and teen pregnancies. To the extent that these measures are related to something that might be called “national moral health,” the intuitive thesis that links religiosity to morality would seem to be gainsaid.
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article from Skeptic magazine vol. 2, no. 2 (1993) wherein physicist Milton Rothman examines the relationship between science and religion and the extent to which a scientist should apply his belief in realism to all aspects of our knowledge of the universe.
Carbon Comic, which appears in Skeptic magazine, is created by Kyle Sanders: a pilot and founder of Little Rock, Arkansas’ Skeptics in The Pub. He is also a cartoonist who authors Carbon Dating: a skeptical comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and relationships. It can be found at carboncomic.com.
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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?
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…