The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


About the Authors

Ani Aharonian

ANI AHARONIAN is a cognitive psychologist and PhD student at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she has focused on cognition and the intersection of law and psychology, specifically eyewitness identifications and testimony, memory, and learning. She currently works as an institutional researcher at Santa Monica College where she helps support and promote evidence-based approaches to planning and assessment. Her research interests in education include student engagement and non-cognitive predictors of student success. READ ANI’S POSTS

Barbara Drescher (credit: David Eadington)

Credit: David Eadington

BARBARA DRESCHER taught quantitative and cognitive psychology, primarily at California State University, Northridge for a decade. Barbara was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Phi Kappa Phi Scholar. Her research has been recognized with several awards and the findings discussed in Psychology Today. She has developed material and text for teaching statistics, research methods, general and cognitive psychology, and critical thinking, material recognized for excellence by Psi Chi and the Council for the Teaching of Undergraduate Psychology. More recently, Barbara developed educational materials for the James Randi Educational Foundation. She currently leads workshops, writes, speaks, and advises for several nonprofit efforts. Barbara also promotes science education and skepticism at and contributes to a number of skeptical projects including Virtual Skeptics and The Odds Must Be Crazy. READ BARBARA’S POSTS

Tim Farley

TIM FARLEY is a computer security analyst in Atlanta, Georgia as well as a writer, podcaster and lecturer. He is known for his website What’s the Harm?, which catalogs the real-world consequences of irrational beliefs. He also writes on technology issues for skeptics at his Skeptical Software Tools blog, where he advocates for skeptic online best practices and explores crowdsourcing as a skeptical technique. Other projects of his include daily Skeptic History facts (seen on social media and elsewhere) and the Skepticism Conventions Guide, a calendar of multi-speaker skeptic conventions, workshops and symposia worldwide. In computer security, he has helped create industry leading security software, and has trained others in reverse engineering and ethical hacking. His work has resulted in three U.S. Patents. His writing appears in several publications and books and he regularly contributes to the Skepticality podcast and the Virtual Skeptics webcast. READ TIM’S POSTS

Jim Lippard

JIM LIPPARD is a long-time skeptic who works in the information security field. He founded the Phoenix Skeptics in 1985, was the first webmaster of the Skeptics Society, and has contributed to Skeptic, Creation/Evolution, Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Philo, Skeptical Briefs, The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, the Talk.Origins Archive, Joe Nickell’s book Psychic Sleuths, and Gordon Stein’s Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. He has an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Arizona. He is interested in the history and philosophy of science, social epistemology, the philosophy of expertise, and the human and social dimensions of science and technology. READ JIM’S POSTS

Daniel Loxton

DANIEL LOXTON is the Editor of INSIGHT at and of Junior Skeptic, the 10-page kids’ science section bound within Skeptic magazine. He is the coauthor with Donald Prothero of Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids (Columbia University Press, 2013). He is the author and primary illustrator (with Jim WW Smith) of the paleofiction children’s book Tales of Prehistoric Life trilogy from Kids Can Press: Ankylosaur Attack (2011), Pterosaur Trouble (2013), and Plesiosaur Peril (2014). Daniel’s kids’ science book Evolution: How We And All Living Things Came to Be (2010, Kids Can Press) was the 2010 winner of the national Lane Anderson Award recognizing the best Canadian science book for young readers. Daniel has been an avid follower of the paranormal literature since childhood, and of the skeptical literature since his youth. In a previous career, Daniel was a silvicultural shepherd, working mostly along the BC side of the Alaska panhandle.

Robynn McCarthy

ROBYNN MCCARTHY grew up in the rainy Pacific Northwest questioning the existence of Santa Claus and searching for proof of Bigfoot. By 2005, her organically acquired skepticism eventually led her to write, edit and produce Skepticality, a pioneering podcast that promotes science and critical thinking, with her co-host, Derek Colanduno. As part of her continued goal to introduce skeptical topics to new audiences, in 2006 Robynn helped create Skeptrack, four days of critical thinking talks, performances, and meet ups at DragonCon, a cultural convention attended by well over fifty thousand people annually. Both Skepticality, now the Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine, and Skeptrack continue to deliver award-winning content from notable and obscure skeptics and scientists to millions of listeners and thousands of attendees, each year. Currently, Robynn resides in Roswell, Georgia and is a student at Kennesaw State University majoring in nursing and psychology, two disciplines in which she feels Humanism, and a baloney detection kit will serve her well. READ ROBYNN’S POSTS

Mike McRae

MIKE MCRAE is an Australian science writer and teacher. He has worked for the CSIRO’s education group and developed resources for the Australian government, promoting critical thinking and science education through educational publications. His 2011 book Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs and Bad Ideas explored humanity’s development to think scientifically—and pseudoscientifically—about the universe. READ MIKE’S POSTS

Donald Prothero

DR. DONALD PROTHERO taught college geology and paleontology for 35 years, at Caltech, Columbia, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He earned his B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, College Award) from University of California Riverside in 1976, and his M.A. (1978), M.Phil. (1979), and Ph.D. (1982) in geological sciences from Columbia University. He is the author of over 35 books (including 5 leading geology textbooks, and several trade books), and over 300 scientific papers, mostly on the evolution of fossil mammals (especially rhinos, camels, and horses) and on using the earth’s magnetic field changes to date fossil-bearing strata. He served as President of Pacific Section SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) in 2012, and served for five years as Program Chair of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Charles Schuchert Award for outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. In 2013, he received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing the geosciences. READ DONALD’S POSTS

Eve Siebert

DR. EVE SIEBERT taught college writing and literature for many years. She has a Ph.D. in English literature from Saint Louis University. Her primary area of study is Old and Middle English literature, with secondary concentrations in Old Norse and Shakespeare. Her dissertation focused on a group of medieval English poems in which a disembodied, damned soul rails at its dead body, complaining about its bad behavior in life and gloating over its impending putrefaction in the grave. She blogs at, contributes to the Skepticality podcast and is a panelist on the Virtual Skeptics webcast. READ EVE’S POSTS

Michael Shermer (credit: Jeremy Danger)

Credit: Jeremy Danger

DR. MICHAEL SHERMER is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University, and the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, Why Darwin Matters, The Mind of the Market, How We Believe, and The Science of Good and Evil. His new book is The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. READ MICHAEL’S POSTS

Blake Smith (credit: Randall Granier)

Credit: Randall Granier

BLAKE SMITH is the producer and host of MonsterTalk, an official podcast of Skeptic magazine. He’s had a lifelong interest in science and the paranormal and enjoys researching the strange and unusual. By day he’s a computer consultant and by night he hunts monsters. He is married and has children. Puns are intentional; don’t bother alerting the management.

Laurie Tarr

LAURIE MILLER TARR is a stay-at-home mom with two kids. She has a B.S. in physics from Centre College in Kentucky. She studied physics, astronomy, and geology in graduate school at Ball State University before becoming a technical writer. Along with her husband Rob, she founded the Louisville Area Skeptics in 2009. She began her foray into the world of skepticism when her high school physics teacher broke it to her that elephants travel to elephant graveyards to die only in Tarzan movies. READ LAURIE’S POSTS

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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.

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 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!

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.

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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