The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


How Richard Dawkins Became a Card-Carrying Skeptic

As we announced a couple weeks ago in eSkeptic, we asked several friends to tell us about those “aha!” moments that led to their becoming skeptical thinkers. As promised, we have begun releasing their incredible stories on YouTube. Enjoy!

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins shared with us an early memory of playing hide-and-seek with an African man who claimed to have “magicked himself invisible.” Dawkins is the author of many books, including: The God Delusion, The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The Ancestor’s Tale, An Appetite for Wonder, The Magic of Reality, The Greatest Show on Earth, and A Devil’s Chaplain.


Tell us your story and become a card-carrying skeptic! Thank you for being a part of our first 25 years. We look forward to seeing you over the next 25. —SKEPTIC

Become a Card-Carrying Skeptic

In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris examines whether the Implicit Association Test (IAT) can really capture unconscious prejudices and predict if people will actually behave in a biased or discriminatory way. This column appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 22.2 (2017).

Are You An Unconscious Racist?

by Carol Tavris

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a racist?

  • A person who thinks their “race” or ethnic group is better than everyone else’s by virtue of genetic superiority, religion, customs, food, way of life, or beliefs.
  • A person who fails to hire an applicant with the best qualifications if that person is from a different ethnic or religious group from the employer’s.
  • A person who is part of an institution that requires him or her to systematically target and discriminate against African Americans or other minorities.
  • A person of any race, ethnicity, or religion who feels more comfortable with others who are like themselves.


  • A person whose score on the Implicit Association Test (IAT) reveals that he or she is unconsciously biased against black people.

Some of the above? All of the above?

Michael Shermer Examines the Implicit Association Test

Throughout the first decade of this century, surveys repeatedly found that prejudiced attitudes—notably the once-common beliefs that blacks were inferior to whites, women inferior to men, gay men and lesbians inferior to straights—had declined sharply, especially among young people. Surveys, of course, supposedly assess what you think. But what if they assess what you think others think you should think? What if they simply reflect your awareness that it isn’t cool to reveal your actual negative feelings about another group? Self-report data is inherently plagued with this problem. Thus, most social psychologists who study prejudice and discrimination focus on what people do, not what they say they might do. For example, when researchers have sent identical résumés to potential employers, varying only a name that indicates gender, or implies race (a black-sounding name or membership in an African American organization), or mentions religious affiliation, many employers have revealed a bias in whom they choose to call for an interview[…]

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One of the best geology tours we’ve ever offered: an epic 19-day tour of the Emerald Isle!

Ireland’s famed scenic landscape owes its breathtaking terrain to a dramatic 1.75 billion year history of continental collisions, volcanoes, and glacial assault. Join the Skeptics Society for a 19-day immersive tour of the deep history of the Emerald Isle, while experiencing the music, hospitality, and verdant beauty that make Ireland one of the world’s top travel destinations.

For complete details about accommodation, airfare, and tour pricing, please download the detailed information and registration form or click the green button below to read the itinerary, and see photos of some of the amazing sites we will see.

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Witches, Pleas

In episode 139 of MonsterTalk, we begin our multi-episode coverage of “magic” by taking a look at the witch in Western European culture with the editor of The Skeptic, Deborah Hyde (@Jourdemayne). In a wide-ranging conversation we talk about the alleged powers of witches, the difference between the more benign figure of the Cunning Woman and the culturally monstrous figure of the witch as viewed during Witch Crazes and Witch Hunts.

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

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