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The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


SKEPTIC MAGAZINE 21.4

Deception in Cancer Treatment

The latest issue of Skeptic magazine (21.4) examines deceptions in cancer treatment and marketing; the mysterious “alien” Rhodope and Adygea skulls; clown panics rattling nerves; anti-aging claims; defining “spirituality;” training working memory; living in computer simulations; the legacy of the Salem Witch Trials; mammoth mysteries; and more…

Get the digital edition instantly from PocketMags.com, or via the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle Fire HD, Mac, and PC. You can also pre-order the print edition from Shop Skeptic. The print edition won’t likely hit newsstands for another week or two.

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JUNIOR SKEPTIC

Mammoth Mysteries, Part Two (issue 61)

Physically bound inside each and every issue of Skeptic magazine is Junior Skeptic: an engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers (and the young at heart).

Mammoths and mastodons were the first fossil creatures ever to be reconstructed and understood for what they were: animals that lived during a previous prehistoric age and then vanished into extinction. What did this mean for the history of life? What scientific puzzles remained to be solved? And, which mammoth myths and mysteries continue to this day? Let’s find out!

Read more about
Junior Skeptic # 61

Order Skeptic Magazine 21.3 to get Junior Skeptic # 61

CONFERENCE: JAN. 13–15, 2017

Changing The World Through Skepticism and Critical Thinking

In support of the scientific skeptic movement, LogiCal-LA creates a place for critical thinkers to meet face-to-face and to experience presentations from nationally recognized speakers who will share their knowledge and insights with us. Come join us as we build a nationwide community at Los Angeles’ only annual conference for skeptics.

Besides having some of the best speakers in the nation coming to speak on a variety of topics, LogiCal-LA will present an exciting mix of events during the weekend: Friday night anti-superstition party, Saturday night comedy show, Sunday assembly meeting, Sunday afternoon geological field trip, Sunday afternoon movie with the director and executive producer, and finally, to end the weekend, a Sunday night secular concert. We hope you can attend this unique and enlightening conference!

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SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN “SKEPTIC” COLUMN FOR DECEMBER 2016
Born This Way: A New Battle Over Sexual Orientation

Q: When did you choose to become straight?

A: Say what?

Scientific American (cover)

By demographic distribution (about 95 percent of the population identifies as heterosexual), the majority of you reading this column are straight. You no more chose this sexual orientation than gays or lesbians choose theirs. Yet a new study published in the fall issue of the nonpeer-reviewed journal The New Atlantis by Johns Hopkins University’s Lawrence S. Mayer and Paul R. McHugh on “Sexuality and Gender” claims that “our scientific knowledge in this area remains unsettled,” that there is no “scientific evidence for the view that sexual orientation is a fixed and innate biological property,” and that no one is “born that way.” This sounds so 1990s, the last time the gender wars heated up. What’s going on here?

One clue comes from the journal’s co-publisher, the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), “dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy.” Already we’re off the science page. EPPC scholars, its Web page continues, “have consistently sought to defend and promote our nation’s founding principles—respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, individual freedom and responsibility, justice, the rule of law, and limited government.” […]

Continue reading the column

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The historic 60-inch telescope at the Mt. Wilson Observatory

Click image to enlarge. The historic 60-inch telescope at the Mt. Wilson Observatory. We will be using this, or perhaps the even larger 100-inch telescope. (Photo by Heven729 (own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

It is time again to support your Skeptics Society. Your donations matter! Thanks to your support, 2016 has been another great year for science, skepticism, and critical thinking. We are looking forward to 2017 and are pleased to report that we have had many successes this year, which you can read about in a 4-page update from Michael Shermer, the Skeptics Society’s Executive Director.

For donations of $500 or more, you are invited to join Michael Shermer at an epic Star Party at the historic Mt. Wilson Observatory where Edwin Hubble discovered the expanding universe (situated in the San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Los Angeles). Date to be determined, likely to be in the March–May 2017 time frame for optimal weather and viewing. For reservations call our office at 1-626-794-3119. Good cause, good fun. Join us!

Ways to Make Your Tax-Deductible Donations

Your donations help your Skeptics Society—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization—to promote science and critical thinking. You can make a tax-deductible donation online using your credit card, or by downloading a printable donation card to make your donation by cheque in the mail. You may also make a donation by calling 1-626-794-3119. All donations are tax deductible.

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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.

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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