The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 18 Number 3
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 18, no 3 (cover)

Cover Article: JFK

JFK Conspiracy Theories at 50
How the Skeptics Got It Wrong and Why It Matters by David Reitzes
Cover illustration by Pat Linse
and Ed Pastor


’Twas Brillig…
Xenu Marches On… by James Randi
Bad Language
Kids of the Cloth: Child Preachers From Jesus to Marjoe
by Karen Stollznow
The SkepDoc
Scientology’s War on Medicine
by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Junior Skeptic


In this issue, we’ll look at the ancient legend of mermaids! For many centuries, tales have been told of fish-tailed people who live beneath the sea. Today, big-budget television specials claim that these stories are true. Could such creatures really exist? Or if these underwater beings are purely mythological, can we explain sightings of mermaids and the strange, mummified, fish-tailed bodies exhibited in museums? Let’s find out!

by Daniel Loxton. Interior art by Daniel Loxton and Jim Smith. This issue’s cover features a traditional oil on board painting by Corinne Elizabeth Garlick.


The Sovereign Citizen Scam
by Joseph Tsidulko
Tracking Science
The Origin of Scientific Thinking in Our Paleolithic Ancestors by Louis Liebenberg
Sylvia Browne Takes the Case!
by Ingrid Hansen Smythe
The Rejection of Reality
How the Denial of Science Threatens Us All by Donald Prothero
The Great Radium Craze
by Ray Sutera


Written in Our Genes…
And Our Atoms
A review of The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People, by Neil Shubin.
reviewed by Donald Prothero
Growing Up in
the Amityville Horror
A review of the flim My Amityville Horror. Directed by Eric Walter and Featuring Daniel Lutz, Laura DiDio, and Lorraine Warren.
reviewed by Trevor Fehrman
Of Martians and Media
A review of The Martians Have Landed: A History of Media-Driven Panics and Hoaxes by Robert E. Bartholomew and Benjamin Radford.
reviewed by Sharon Hill
A Case Study in
Confirmation Bias
A review of the flim Room 237, a documentary directed by Rodney Ascher, produced by Tim Kirk.
reviewed by Will Dowd
How to Think Like a Skeptic
A review of A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind by Robert Burton.
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.

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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

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.

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