The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal The Cosmos

For those who could not make it to Pasadena, California for the Science Salon with cosmologist and theoretical astrophysicist from Yale University, Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, we have made a video recording of the event available to you. Order the book from Amazon, and watch the Science Salon recording for free.

Learn more about Science Salon

Confessions of a Skeptical Marketer


Every job has its moral dilemmas. There’s the bus driver who must drop passengers in questionable neighborhoods. The theater cashier who isn’t allowed to say, “You really want to see that stinker?” The fast food server who must suppress an urge to chastise a customer who has no better taste than to order a hotdog with ketchup.

At the more serious end of the continuum are people like the former Born Again Christian minister I met a few TAMs ago. Former, because, upon his embracing skepticism, conscience compelled him to give up his ministerial career. With it he gave up his livelihood, prestige, an adoring congregation, and a good many friends. As for the years and money he’d invested in chasing down an advanced theological degree? “Oh well,” he said.

So I can hardly complain. As a self-employed advertising and marketing practitioner, I have the luxury of deciding what work I will and will not accept. And because I work with multiple clients, declining or resigning one here or there hurts but won’t put me out of business.

Not that exercising that luxury is easy. Selection bias shmelection bias: I am certain that some supernatural force gets a kick out of sending slimy but temptingly profitable opportunities my way when I’m most desperate for cash.

Take, for instance, the time Greg called on the heels of my having lost a substantial client, or, to put it another way, when I was trying to calculate how long I could go without eating in order to make the next house payment. “I’ve been retained to shoot a commercial,” he said, “and I need you to write it.”

Already counting my chickens, I said, “Absolutely. What’s the product?”

“It’s all natural,” he gushed, unaware that he had just raised Red Flag Number 1. “A mineral,” he went on, raising Flag 2. “You put it in your fridge and your food lasts longer.” Flag 3.

I asked, “Does it work?” […]

Continue reading the Insight

Achievement Unloched — Morar Ness

Writer and researcher Mike Dash (Spring Heeled Jack) returns to talk about the less famous Scottish lake monster alleged to live in Loch Morar. While not as widely known as Nessie, Morag (as she is known) has her own fascinating history.

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App and enjoy the science show about monsters on your handheld devices! Available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Subscribe to MonsterTalk for free on iTunes. Follow the RSS feed.


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, or via the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire HD, Mac, and PC. Or, order the print edition from Shop Skeptic. Try the latest issue in digital format free for 30 days!

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Your annual 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 make a recurring donation via PayPal, 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.

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.

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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 PDF Download

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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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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