The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 19 Number 2
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 19, no 2 (cover)

Special Section:
Science and Religion

The Multiverse and the Deity
by Richard Grigg
In Defense of Soft Theism
by Miklos Jako
Soul Searching: When Did We Become So Special?
An Evolutionary Problem
for Theists by Jeremie Harris


’Twas Brillig…
A Gardner Centennial by James Randi
Bad Language
Deciphering The Voynich Manuscript
by Karen Stollznow
The SkepDoc
Faith Healing Tragedies
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
The Science of Memory and the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen Case
by Carol Tavris

Junior Skeptic

Photographing Phantoms—Part One

In this issue, we’ll delve into the mystery of spirit photographs! When photography was invented, it seemed almost magical. This astonishing technology could capture a moment and keep it frozen forever. Photographs also showed people things they couldn’t see in everyday life, such as faint stars and distant lands. But could the magic of photography also reveal a hidden reality—a spirit realm of invisible ghosts?

by Daniel Loxton


ON THE COVER: Illustration by Ástor Alexander. Conspiracy theorists finger suspects on opposite ends of the spectrum, from Israel to the Saudis, and from the CIA to Putin.
Mass Hysteria at
Old Salem Village
The “Mysterious” Outbreak of Illness in Two Massachusetts Schools by Robert E. Bartholomew
Conspiracy in Boston
Disentangling Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracy Theories by George Michael
The Miracle of Large Numbers
Probabilities and the Law of Large Numbers Can Explain Seemingly Miraculous Events by Alex Boklin
AI Optimism
Reasons for Hope in the Science of Artificial Intelligence by Boak Ferris
“Look Up!”
Find Your Path: Blue Skys Ahead Humor by Kyle Sanders


The Man Who Mistook a Boat for His Monster
A review of The Man Who Filmed Nessie: Tim Dinsdale and the Enigma of Loch Ness, by Angus Dinsdale.
reviewed by Ronald Binns
Baby Morality
A review of Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, by Paul Bloom.
reviewed by Michael Shermer
Neuroscience and its Discontents
A review of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience, by Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld.
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Gimme That New-Time Religion!
A review of God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States, by Karen Stollznow.
reviewed by Donald Prothero
On the Margin
A Review of The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, by Will Storr.
reviewed by Michael Shermer
Cosmos Reboots
A review of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, a 13 episode TV series hosted by astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, with executive producers Ann Druyan and Seth MacFarlane.
reviewed by Donald Prothero

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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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