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About this week’s eSkeptic

In this week’s eSkeptic, Donald R. Prothero reviews Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Lines, by Jason Rosenhouse (Oxford University Press, 2012, 256 pages, ISBN-13: 978-0199744633). This post also appeared on Skepticblog.org.

In the Belly of the Beast

by Donald R. Prothero

I’ve spent over 40 years of my life wrestling with the problem of creationism, while trying to maintain my research career, keep up with book deadlines, teach my classes, and take care of my family. As I described in my 2007 book Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, battling the evolution deniers seems to be a thankless, never-ending task because no amount of effort in science education or good science in the media seems to make any difference. Their numbers (around 40% of Americans) have remained constant in the polls over many decades, no matter what approaches are tried. This is an endless source of frustration for many of us, since creationism is like the many-headed Hydra in the labors of Hercules: every time you cut off one head, it grows back two more. Science never seems to make any progress in blunting their efforts to contaminate schools with their religious dogma. At the end of my 2007 book, I attempted to delve into the psychology and motivation of creationists, and to understand why they can deny obvious reality and tell outright lies over and over again without any guilt or self-awareness.

But I rarely spend much of my time reading their literature any more, let alone paying my hard-earned money to hear them speak. Listening to the way they lie and distort the facts, and call professional scientists evil, is too much for me to sit through without losing my cool. But Jason Rosenhouse has a much stronger stomach for their garbage than I. He attended one creation conference after another, calmly listening to their preaching and talking to the attendees while maintaining his cool. For that alone, I am in awe of him.

Rosenhouse is Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University in Virginia, having previously taught at Kansas State University, so he is close to the epicenters of much of the creationist movement in this country. As he describes, he is culturally Jewish but became an atheist, yet he has the patience of Job to sit through days and days of creationist drivel and read their atrocious books without getting angry. He is genuinely interested in understanding who they are, what motivates them, and why they can shut themselves out of so much of scientific reality and believe so much that is patently false.

Rosenhouse’s approach in this book is to recount vignettes and anecdotes of his experiences at various creationist conferences and venues, intermingled with his dispassionate and extremely lucid dissection of the logical, philosophical, and scientific issues raised by creationism. He’s a mathematician by training, so he is personally offended when he hears creationists abuse math or statistics, just as I am when they lie about paleontology and fossils. For a mathematician, his level of philosophical sophistication is very advanced. In chapter after chapter, he runs circles around many of the specious arguments that creationists and theistic evolutionists who try to squirm out of the problem with weak arguments or special pleading. It comes as no surprise that he is also a ranked chess champion as well—he sounds like someone who is brilliant, cool, analytical, and dispassionate. Through all of his sacrifices spending time listening to the creationists, he is still honestly seeking answers to who these people are and what motivates them.

It turns out that the answer in pretty clear and something we’ve known for a long time: creationists place their religious beliefs first, and anything else that science or culture tells them must conform or be twisted to fit their worldview. These beliefs include the idea that God watches over them, that there is a heaven, that humans are the purpose and goal of the universe, and that their religion provides the only source of meaning and morality in life. With such a strong belief filter in place, it’s no wonder that science is such a threat to their worldview. They reject not only the idea that humans are related to the rest of the animal kingdom, but any science (geochronology, cosmology) that places humans at the very end of billions of years of geologic history or away from the center of the universe. No wonder they reject not only the biological and paleontological evidence of our evolutionary relationships with other organisms, but also most of astronomy, geology, anthropology, and any other field that does not conform to this narrow but comforting perspective.

Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, in his 2009 book The Great Derangement, describes going undercover in an evangelical church for many months. He found that creationists live in a very cloistered cultish subculture, where they read only what their church elders tell them to read, attend many church meetings and intensive weekend retreats to receive constant reinforcement, and avoid listening to or reading any outside sources that might challenge their worldview. No wonder they never bother to learn about the actual facts of science or evolution, but instead they get a distorted view of science from their creationist leaders. And such cult-like isolation from the real world explains why no amount of presenting science to them in an appealing manner will ever reach them. As long as the conclusions of science threaten their cherished worldview, they are not going to change their minds or learn to distinguish real science from creationist bunk. Instead, as Rosenhouse details again and again, they are easily swayed by shallow intuitive arguments that sound good when you don’t think hard about them. But for a true skeptic like Rosenhouse, these arguments are very simplistic and unsatisfying, since he weighs evidence and looks at the totality of the argument from a much broader, less dogmatic perspective than do the creationists.

Among the Creationists is a very insightful book that allows the skeptic and scientist alike to better appreciate the forces that we are up against in the United States. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the creation-evolution wars as a valuable resource for dealing with the never-ending battle with the forces that deny science. END

39 Comments »

39 Comments

  1. Dr Sidethink says:

    I was an anti-Creationist Email activist in the past several decades and have posted
    thousands of responses as Dr. Sidethink and Pope Bobby II

    I concur with Donald here that Truebelievers actually perceive that Evolution is actually delusional thinking or evil.

    If someone defines inquiry as either EVIL or as Pathology, there is only Football left to talk about.

    The problem of AntiScience is widespread and Masks itself in “Enlightened”
    NewAge poppycock ideology among “Liberals” as well.

    The Broncos did not make the “Spread” and a lotta folks were angry that they didn’t
    try harder.

    Bob Pease

  2. David S says:

    I’m curious if the author conflates anti-evolution creationists and theistic evolutionists (sometimes referred to as evolutionary creationists), or if that was Prothero’s innovation. Assuming Rosenhouse did spend a significant amount of time in creationist circles, he would very quickly learn that those of us who hold to evangelical Christian views but accept the truth of evolution are about as unwelcome in creationist ranks as an evolutionist, atheist Jew. Theistic evolutionists don’t deny anything about the science; they just maintain a viewpoint very compatible with skepticism — that scientific study of natural phenomena has nothing to say either way about the existence of a “God”. Those of us who appreciate science and skepticism but also find meaning and fulfillment in religion are allies, not enemies, in the battle against anti-evolution science deniers.

    • Dr Sidethink says:

      “Those of us who appreciate science and skepticism but also find meaning and fulfillment in religion are allies, not enemies, in the battle against anti-evolution science deniers.”

      The problem that I usually encounter with this is that many folks use it
      to generate a bogus controversy that “scientists”
      regard others as fools.

      Its the same gang that defines tolerance but lack of support of their particular goofiness as pathology, Many claiming to be religious Liberals .

      RJP

    • John says:

      “…scientific study of natural phenomena has nothing to say either way about the existence of a “God”.”

      False. The scientific study of natural phenomena reveals that the likelihood that supernatural phenomena, such as gods, occur is effectively zero. To believe in supernatural phenomena, is unscientific. To then criticize young-Earth creationists as anti-science is hypocrisy and certainly doesn’t grant old-Earth creationists immunity from criticism.

      • Roy Niles says:

        At one time we humans believed that intelligence was supernatural, and some scientists still believe that only the more advanced forms of life have acquired it.
        So have we reached the limit when it comes to finding supernatural phenomena to be natural after all?

    • Frank J says:

      Thanks, from a borderline TE with no interest in organized religion. I realize that the courts must use the religion issue to control the “supply” of anti-evolution propaganda in public schools, but everywhere else, it’s much more important to control the “demand,” and we’re doing a terrible job if the polls remain constant in 30 years of tremendous increase in evidence for evolution. I am increasingly convinced that the careless, endless use of the word “creationist(s)” (and to a lesser extent, “creationism”) is holding us back. Most of the ~40% that choose the “humans created in their present form in the last 10,000 years” in that obnoxiously-worded poll have not given 5 minutes’ thought to the meaning. Other polls suggest that half would agree that the earth and other life are billions of years older. And most have not thought about common descent, especially that some prominent anti-evolution activists have conceded it despite it’s contradiction with all the common, mutually contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis. As I like to say, most who choose that answer are “thinking souls, not cells.” To use the same term for (1) the ~20% of confused nonscientists who are a minutes away from accept evolution, (2) the ~20-25% of hopeless, paranoid Biblical literalists and (3) the <1% of career anti-science activists who exploit them, is as absurd as the nonsense peddled by those activists.

  3. Roy Niles says:

    How is it that both the creationists and their adversaries agree that without a god to direct it, the world and the universe we’re found in will not be operated with any form of intelligent purpose? Yet both camps also agree that intelligence has magically appeared on earth when it comes to humans.

  4. Chris O'Brien says:

    I no longer worry about what creationists do, say, or believe. I came to understand science and reality on my own; so can they.
    To spend even one minute of concern on them is a waste of time. Their ranks have been and will remain about 40% of the American population no matter what anyone says or does.
    Teachers can teach science, but parents can undermine science with a few swift smacks to the ass or a few fearful stories about hell and damnation.
    If zero creationists become evolutionists, who cares? It changes nothing about the science, about the facts, about reality.
    So evolutionists, stop fighting, stop worrying, and do science of philosophy or music or whatever brings you pleasure. Let the Christians alone to enjoy themselves.

    • Liam McDaid says:

      …unfortunately, they won’t leave us alone as Eugenie Scott can attest. They live in a medieval world view but at the same time can’t deny the obvious power of science. So they are stuck serving two masters whether they admit it or not. The only honest people in all this are the Amish (regardless of what you think about what they do to their own), who at least stay out of the modern world and don’t interfere with what the rest of us want for ourselves and our children.

    • Eric Berendt says:

      Chris,
      You’re forgetting that they insist that our country be run by their standards. Ignore them? What happened to the Jews in Germany in the 1930’s?

  5. A.J. Rose says:

    I wonder if the called 40% is a “false negative”, that is, they answer as “creationist” knowing full well they don’t believe it. Still dangerous none the less. (note: I don’t know if this would be a “false negative” per se, but, hopefully you get my point)

    • Frank J says:

      Polls with different wording suggest that that’s the case. When “Not sure” is an option, it’s more like 30%. When it specifically addresses earth’s age in the mere 1000s it’s only ~20%. IOW most evolution-deniers are OECs, not YECs. But the increasing evasion of the “when” questions is to me much more worrisome than the fact that YECs are such a small (and probably decreasing) minority. If you add to that 40% people who say “I guess something like evolution is true but I hear it has gaps,” or “I don’t have a problem with evolution, but it’s fair to teach both sides” it’s as much as 75% that has been scammed. When these scam artists say “let the students decide,” our answer must be “they already decide, but you are hell-bent on preventing that.”

  6. Recovering Fundamentalist says:

    The name is not a joke. Like addiction, this has become a life long battle. Fighting guilt, fear, and the realization that honesty about where my faith is today could literally traumatize my family.

    The point I would like to raise is that the focus on religion, while appropriate, may not be the whole picture or the root cause of the problem. I feel that belief in anything or anyone with the assumption that it can interpreted as literal and inerrant is dangerous. This may be the crack in the door where we need to stick our foot.

    When the attack is on their faith, the assumption is made that the attack is evil, a product of Satan. If the approach focuses instead on our weakness as human beings to fully understand the “message” my personal experience suggests the fight may have a better chance of making progress.

    I do hope that progress is made.

    • plorlk says:

      I also think that there are numerous fundamentalists within the faith that are at varying stages of questioning. It takes some longer than others to change; some never will change. I don’t think anyone can be shamed or argued into change. I think it has to come from within. We must disseminate knowledge without censorship, and assist those questioning fundamentalists find their way out, when they want out.

      As a former fundamentalist christian, I started questioning in grade school but I kept silent. It took me 20 – 30 years to fully make the transition. This is part of a poem I wrote as a young adult recalling a younger self at the altar:

      PRAYER: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

      Please attend this supplicant
      who no longer can believe.
      Prayers lie lifeless about my head,
      a congregation of dessicated words,
      shorn of faith they are powerless
      to wend their way anywhere.
      An urge to kneel chokes me with fear
      that one more word will bury me
      in years of stillborn prayers.
      Leave me in peace to journey on alone.

      Amen

      I will gladly leave “Christians alone to enjoy themselves” as long as they will do the same for me and, others like me; not try to bring on a theocracy or the end times.

      • Dr Sidethink says:

        “I will gladly leave “Christians alone to enjoy themselves” as long as they will do the same for me and, others like me; not try to bring on a theocracy or the end times.”

        Theocracy is written into the Creed .

        “Cujus regni non erat finis”
        “Whose Reign will be without end”

        As an aside to demonstrate how deeply this is woven into Christian culture…

        The musical notes “do” “re” “mi” etc are the first syllables of a Catholic Hymn

        The inscription “EOIAE” at the end verses in the old Mass Book ( Missal)
        order of vowels in
        “Per Omnia Saecula Saeculorum”
        usually translated as
        “World without end”
        referring to the Reign of Christ

        Don’t forget Handel’s Messiah
        “And He shall reign forever and ever”

        As for the Rapture…
        millions of folks in USA (Mainly SBC etc,) are preparing for it any time now!!

        RJP

    • Frank J says:

      Agree 100% that attacking religion is counterproductive. Even in courts, where the Establishment clause is apparently the only tool we have, a case can be made (and ought to be made more often) that teaching anti-evolution propaganda “inhibits the free exercise of” at least as much as it “promotes” religion. While early forms of creationism were mostly just honest, misguided belief, by the 60s it had become full-blown pseudoscience, culminating in the “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when, just do everything you can to promote unreasonable doubt of evolution” that is now known as ID. When Pope John Paul II described the evidence for evolution as “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” he must have been painfully aware that anti-evolution activists do nothing but seek and fabricate “evidences” to support pre-held conclusions, and even then could not force a convergence on a single consistent origins account, let alone a testable theory to explain it.

  7. barn says:

    both sides believe in magic. One says a very long long long time ago magic happened and dead things became alive. The other side says a long time ago magic happened and dead things became a live.
    call it what you want and use as many words as you care to do it. but it boils down to – we don’t know. I am a historian, smart money bets that science is often wrong at various times of history. I have zero reason to think it is on course now anymore than it was 1000 or 2000 years ago. If fact the social and political indicators all say science has never been so politicized before in the history of mankind!
    Evolution? rejected but not because of religious reasons, it is simply a foolish idea.

    • Liam McDaid says:

      “both sides believe in magic. One says a very long long long time ago magic happened and dead things became alive. The other side says a long time ago magic happened and dead things became a live.”

      ….and all credibility is lost. You should’ve stopped typing right there. I can only hope that if you are a historian, you don’t teach anywhere.

      • barn says:

        I do teach, I write and hold court and wipe better brans than yours off the bottom of my shoe. You are going to explain the magic to me I suppose. Tell me why credibility is lost, seriously, if you not aware of how history works you might not not get it.

        • OregonSkeptic says:

          Magic is simply a word for what we don’t understand. Take a Bic lighter (science)
          back 1,000 years ago, it was magic. Take a metal sword (science) from that era
          back 20,000 years ago and that would be magic. Today we have particles appearing
          from out of nowhere, we have information travelling faster than the speed of light,
          and we have a Big Bang with absolutely no idea what existed before (a non sequitur, I know, since there was no time, hence no ‘before’ before the BB, but…).
          These are things we just don’t understand yet. Some may be beyond human
          ken. We may have to wait for more human evolution or even a new/better species to figure them out. I can live with not understanding everything. I don’t need to invent some guy with a white beard on a throne of gold up in the clouds to explain it all. The amount of magic in the world decreases as the amount of science increases. Relax, enjoy it, marvel at the unfolding of knowledge, because science works; magic doesn’t, never did and never will.

          • Harry says:

            @ barn – Unfortunately you are confusing two different things. Evelution in no way attempts to answer how life began. There are a few ideas but no theories as of yet. Evolution allows us to understand how organisms change over long periods of time and speciate. I would thinkas a professor you would make some attempt at understanding what it is you don’t believe in. I suggets you read “Why Evolution is True”. Then climb down off your smug, I’m better than every one else horse and open your mind.

  8. Jean says:

    Probably one of the best responses to and understanding of this issue is Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain, in which he argues that there is a fundamental difference in reasoning between Republicans (and Creationists) and Liberals (Scientists). Watching the debacle of the US debt crisis (which seen from offshore is appalling, ludicrous, self-destructive, and a clear example of what Mooney argues): in most countries this could not happen), I see the dynamics that Mooney discusses, but also the dynamics of the Creationism-Evolutionism dispute. I could say many things here: one side is system 1; the other system; one is emotional, the other reflectively rational; Creationists are motivated reasoners; scientists are not (usually); there are no social controls to handle the motivated reasoning of Creationists, whereas there are such in science. We are dealing not just with a cognitive, but a social conflict, and social conflicts are motivated more by interests (including perceptions) than reason. If we really want to address this, we have to address the interests and, probably as important, the reasoning and modes of reasoning (motivated vs evidential) involved in this and the many controversies plaguing the U.S (gun control, gay marriage, abortion, etc.). I am a philosopher and historian of science working in teaching both, including Critical Thinking, Applied Ethics and the Social and Historical foundations of science. One of the things I have found is that reason and the rational analysis of argument rarely persuades students, at least at my university. Many are motivated reasoners. And many are adept at using the tools of reasoning to deflect challenges. We can dismiss them, engage them in rational dispute, but we won`t chance them, because they do not accept some of the constitutive rules of argumentation — especially the falliblity principle — I could be wrong; and if I am wrong, I should change my position. If our goal is persuasion rather than rational persuasion, then moving to interest based persuasion “might” be more effective. If we simply want to castigate the other side, then we will never engage. Rational argument appeals to us but not them. So, if we want to engage them and possibly affect some change, how do we do it? For if we can’t do that, then (y)our (I am a former American, now a Canadian) society is doomed to be based on power not principles. The Enlightenment Vision is based on the idea that reason will dictate social policy, that reasoned disagreement will lead to reasonable solutions. My work on the psychology and sociology of reasoning suggests that this is not the case. And it is simply not adequate to bemoan the fact and condemn those who we see as “not reasonable”, whether they be Creationists, Republicans or Tea Partiers. Some of these can be persuaded. We have to ask ourselves, “How do we do that?” And for those who ar not persuadable, we have to address not them but their audience and ask ourselves, how do we neutralize them with their audience? We are not successful in countering the motivated reasoners who make up the core of Creationist supporters, the core Tea-Partiers, but we will never change them. How do we neutralize and possibly change the supporters? And I am not convinced it is through “rational” arguments. Those are necessary, but not sufficient. We need to find what will work and start employing those devices of rhetoric.

    • Dr Sidethink says:

      Motivated reasoners???
      Certainly motivated, but their version of Reason is goofy at best .

      My experience is that Creationists are usually of the
      “If man come from a monkey, then how come is they still monkeys?”
      ilk.

      I usually insist that the Bible may not be referred to as evidence or authority.
      This restriction usually ends the show.

      An extreme , but relevant, example is the “refutation” of the
      credibility of the Geologic column because there are places of vertical slope.
      Everyone knows that division by zero gives zero ( har!) etcetera blah…

      I rather like Gardner Ted Armstrong’s style of rhetoric

      “Are we supposed to really believe that we come from scum?
      or is it trudge through sludge??
      Or maybe a climb through a slime??? ”

      Rhetoric is EFFECTIVE use of speech to persuade.
      Sometimes reason and logic works, but hardly ever can it trump hysteria.

      My suspicion is that the base problem may be more closely related to Consumerist and Marketing Loyalty mindset.

      RJP

      • barn says:

        you need to talk to some other people

        both sides believe in magic. One says a very long long long time ago magic happened and dead things became alive. The other side says a long time ago magic happened and dead things became a live.
        you are talking politics, got news for you – liberals are not scientist, they are religious fanatics.
        you simply don’t know how it works

        • Dii says:

          Barn – science is not nor ever will be magic.

          • Dr Sidethink says:

            there is an assumption of lucidity here.

          • barn says:

            I didn’t say it was, the question is left hanging, a very very very long time ago or a long time ago, science has no answer. That is isn’t a bad thing or an admission of defeat, it is merely a fact. How does anything go from inanimate to alive? So try to stop being witty and either admit the answer isn’t known or explain how it happens then you can be right. Until then you have the same credibility as anyone else.

        • awc says:

          Oh ye of little faith barn. Blessed is the man that does not have to witness and still believes.

          Just because we were not there at the inception of life, consciousness or intelligence it does not mean it has not been pieced together via a theory. Of course there are gaps in our knowledge or understanding… science will fill the gaps. Incrementally or eureka for the past 150 years it has filled the gaps far better than the past 10000 years +/- that religions have tried through mythology.

          What was the topic again I got caught up in the thread?!?

          Oh ya, the creationist / theist mind set is that the religion is perfect and infallible. It is 100% correct at any given point in time. Although we know historically that beliefs have changed. There is plenty of evidence of this. Therefor we can assert they will continue to change. Science is the exact opposite it expects that as we understand more about a subject a theory (science for belief) will change.

    • another point of view says:

      It is obvious which side of the political spectrum you are on, but using names disparagingly is not a legitimate argument. You use Republican, Creationist and Teapartier synonymously.
      I am an Atheist, technically a Republican, I joined to try to get a candidate selected in the primaries. I believe in evolution, although not as a religion, but as a reasonable explanation. I tend to side with the Teaparty because I believe in limited government. I don’t like abortion but think the government should stay out of it unless they want to take full responsibility for the resulting child.
      I believe you need to examine where you stand and why and learn how to use reason, not prejudiced words.

      • another point of view says:

        This last comment was directed to Jean, but has been displaced quite a bit.

      • Ray Sutera says:

        An atheist Republican, eh? I knew there were a few claiming to be such, but you must be even more rare than black Republicans. You must be very lonely.

        Try getting elected in any Republican primary.

  9. Dr Sidethink says:

    Looks like Barn is trying to say that science tries to declare “Trooth”
    All science offers is Degrees of Credibility.
    My best shot is
    “I don’t know what’s “TROO” but I can offer you odds that are very favorable
    about he outcome of experiments.

    This argument needs to be continued in a discussion of Logical Positivism.

    Speaking ex Cathedral ,
    We declare that CTHULHU quickened dead matter a Long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long long
    time ago so his minions could have yummies .

    check out the etymology of the word
    “Dominion”
    Dough plus Minion.

    The Popester is tiring of this and admits de feet.

    Pope Bobby II
    69th Clench of the Stark Fist of Removal
    Reformed Church of the Subgenius

  10. OregonSkeptic says:

    Admitting that something isn’t known IS right; that’s good science.
    Praying to that lack of knowledge is insane.

  11. barn says:

    I think we are as near to agreement as we are going to get. The answer is not known. Pasting gobbledegook is not an answer and doesn’t help your case Doc. As for your credibility – that ship has sailed.

    • Dr Sidethink says:

      “Gobbledegook”
      is a catch phrase for lack of background.
      The Church of the Subgenius is a recognized and respected
      movement in Geekdom!!!

      Reading Lovecraft might improve background.

      BTW I have heard “Gobbledygook” applied to
      Finnegans Wake as well

      Popester

  12. OregonSkeptic says:

    Agreed: we are both ignorant. I choose not to wallow in my ignorance, but
    to each his own.

    Fare thee well. :)

    • Dr Sidethink says:

      The comment was directed to “Barn”.

      The Popester recognizes the inability of Heretics
      to distinguish between BullDada and TROOTH ,
      but grants a dispensation because of Invincible Uncoolness
      As far as “Wallowing”, I quote the sage
      Pee Wee Herman

      “I am rubber and you are glue.
      It bounces off me and schticks to you”
      Excuse me , But I gotta go..
      One of the Cardinals has asked me to not to waste time on the incognicenti.

      BYE

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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.

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Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

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.

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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.

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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 can you 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

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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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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The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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