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Skeptic Magazine, Volume 19 Number 4
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 19, no 4 (cover)


The Forces of Inequality
A review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty.
reviewed by Burt Stillar
Atheist Spirituality Hits
the Big Time
A review of Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,
by Sam Harris
reviewed by Sigfried Gold

Junior Skeptic

Flat Earth?! The Convoluted Story of a Flatly Mistaken Notion

Imagine if someone were to ask you, “What shape is the Earth?” It’s likely you’d answer “round,” or describe our world as a ball (or globe or sphere) in space. I would too! But what if you met someone who insisted that the Earth is nothing like a ball, but instead is as flat as a pancake? How could they possibly defend such a peculiar notion? And are there really people who believe this?

by Daniel Loxton

Cover Articles

ON THE COVER: The Garden of Eat’n’. Illustration by Ástor Alexander.
What Science Knows (and Does Not Know) About Diet and Nutrition
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
An Evolutionary and Functional Perspective on Chronic Disease
by Kenneth W. Krause


The SkepDoc
Decoding Food Labels
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Bad Language
A Blessing in Disguise
by Karen Stollznow
The Gadfly
Does AA Work?
by Carol Tavris


“Chemtrail” Fail
Are Contrails Really Toxic Chemicals Sprayed by a Secret Conspiracy? by Donald R. Prothero
A Rare and Beautiful Thing
by Daniel Loxton
A Whole Lot of Nothing
Tales of a Cosmological Argument by Jérémie Harris
Thinking Critically About Psychology’s Classic Studies
Revisiting Studies by Milgram, Harlow, Mischel, Sherif and Others and What They Mean Today
by Carol Tavris
How to Lie with Statistics
by Gary Smith

Special Section:
Changing Minds

The Core Conflict Between Creationism and Evolution
Do Unique Definitions of “Science” and “Proof” Allow Creationists to Disregard Evidence of Evolution? by Ralph M. Barnes
Why is Critical Thinking
So Hard to Teach?
by Kevin McCaffree and
Anondah Saide
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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 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. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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 why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one 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

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They 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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