The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 20 Number 2
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 20, no 2 (cover)


ON THE COVER: Dr. Carl Hart, neuropsychopharmacologist and expert on the effects of drugs on human behavior. Photo by Eileen Barroso.
The SkepDoc
Smokey the Bear Medicine
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
How to Make Young Kids Smarter
by Carol Tavris


Flawed Geniuses in Film
Film Biographies: Stephen Hawking: The Theory of Everything, and Alan Turing: The Imitation Game
reviewed by Donald Prothero
The Use and Abuse of Mirror Neurons
A Review of The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition, by Gregory Hickok
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Wonderful Science
A Review of A Scientist in Wonderland: A Memoir of Searching for Truth and Finding Trouble, by Edzard Ernst
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.
God’s Lawyer
A Review of Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith, by Mark Lanier
reviewed by L. Kirk Hagen
Willpower and
Won’t Power
A Review of The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, by Walter Mischel
reviewed by Michael Shermer
In the Belly of the Beast
A Review of Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Lines, by Jason Rosenhouse
reviewed by Donald R. Prothero
Stranger than Fiction
A Review of of the HBO Documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
reviewed by Donald R. Prothero


Who Speaks for Earth?
The Current Controversy over METI: Messaging to Extra Terrestrial
by David Brin
Can Emotions Affect Matter?
Testing Masaru Emoto’s Hypothesis that Emotions Change Nature
by Nicolas Gauvrit and Stanislas Francfort
Heaven Only Knows
Near-Death Experiences and the Problem of Account Incongruence
by Cory Markum
Where Drug Myths Die
An Interview with Carl Hart
by Felipe Nogueira
Putin’s Rasputin
Meet Aleksandr Dugin, Mystical High Priest of Russian Fascism
by Robert Zubrin
Placebo, Are You There?
by Jean Brissonnet; translation by Harriet Hall, M.D.
What Parents Need
Not to Know
Eight Myths of Child Development
by Stephen Hupp and Jeremy Jewell
What Does “Supernatural” Mean, Anyway?
by Michael Shermer
The Diet-Heart Hypothesis
The Contested Roles of Fats and Carbohydrates in Heart Disease
by Kenneth W. Krause
A Psychologist’s Innumeracy
A Guide to Recognizing Pseudo-mathematics in the Social Sciences
by Eric C.Prichard

Junior Skeptic

Journey Inside the Fantastical Hollow Earth: Part Two

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll dig down further into wild and wonderful claims that there are secret worlds inside our planet, hidden beneath our feet. We learned last issue that the “Hollow Earth” began as a quirky but serious proposal by astronomer Edmond Halley, back in the earliest dawn of the scientific age. This idea was then promoted by eccentric thinkers such as John Cleves Symmes, who believed the interior could be entered through vast holes at the unexplored North and South Poles. But what happened when exploration and increasing scientific knowledge left these speculations behind?

by Daniel Loxton


The Problem With Facts
Why the Law of Gravity is False
by Kyle Sanders

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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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