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The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


SKEPTIC 24.2

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In this issue: The SkepDoc: Laser Therapy: Hope or Hype and Hokum? • The Gadfly: The Sisyphean Challenges of Skepticism or, Start by Disbelieving • Pterosaur Thunderbird: The Origin of a Fake Native American Legend with an Antievolution Agenda • Conversations with My Dead Mother: Why We See Signs and Omens in Everyday Events • Is Cousin Marriage Dangerous? • Therapeutic Touch Redux: Twenty Years After the “Emily Event” Energy Therapies Live on Through Bad Science • What Can Science Learn from Religion? Steven Pinker on Religious Beliefs and Rituals • Becoming Fantastic: Why People Embellish Already Accomplished Lives with Incredible Tales of UFOs and Other Phenomena • 1984 in 2019: The New Privacy Threat from China’s Social Credit Surveillance System • Michael Shermer v. Brian Huffling: Is the Reality of Evil Good Evidence Against the Christian God? • Graham Hancock’s America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization reviewed by Jason Colavito • Junior Skeptic # 71 — The Colossal Case of the Cardiff Giant: One of America’s Greatest Hoaxes.

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JUNIOR SKEPTIC # 71

The Colossal Case of the Cardiff Giant: One of America’s Greatest Hoaxes

This is a story of gigantic proportions! Once upon a time, America buzzed with claims that the remains of a giant had been dug up from a field in New York state. It was over ten feet tall and made entirely of stone. Amazed onlookers said this was the fossilized body of a colossal human being. Could this be true? Was America once home to a lost race of giants? Or was this a whopper too big to swallow? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic # 71

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Junior Skeptic — an engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers (and the young at heart) — is physically bound inside each and every issue of Skeptic magazine. A dozen back issues are also available as single downloadable PDFs at an amazing price!

SCIENCE SALON # 70

Dr. Brian Keating — Losing the Nobel Prize

Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor (book cover)
A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor

In this wide-ranging conversation Science Salon host Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with cosmologist and inventor of the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiment Dr. Brian Keating about the following topics:

  • how he almost won the Nobel Prize for his research that confirmed the inflationary model of the Big Bang
  • the problems with the Nobel Prize as it is currently structured, such as its limitation to only three people (when modern experiments are typically directed by a great many more); that it can’t be awarded posthumously (thereby neglecting people like Amos Tversky, who did as much work as his Nobel Prize-winning collaborator Daniel Kahneman); its neglect of many women scientists as deserving of the prize as their male counterparts, and especially how it distorts incentives to collaborate in science
  • his upbringing and what inspired him to probe the deepest questions about the nature of the cosmos and reality
  • what it’s like conducting research in the harsh conditions at the South Pole
  • what banged in the Big Bang and what there was before the Big Bang
  • the possibility (or not) of a multiverse model and a cyclical model of universes outside of, or before, our universe
  • the relationship between science and religion and why they need not always be in conflict
  • his Prager U video on why believing in the multiverse takes as much faith as believing in God.

Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud.

This Science Salon was recorded on May 21, 2019. We apologize for the very poor audio-video quality of this recording.

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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.

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.

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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?

FREE PDF Download

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…

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!

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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.

FREE PDF Download

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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