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Skeptic Magazine, Volume 20 Number 3
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 20, no 3 (cover)


What Good Can We Do?
A Review of The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically, by Peter Singer.
reviewed by Jim Davies
Is the Universe Mathematical?
A review of Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality, by Max Tegmark.
reviewed by George Michael
The Times, They are a Changin’
A Review of Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, by Phil Zuckerman.
reviewed by Donald Prothero
Food Faiths and Diet Religions
A Review of The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat, by Alan Levinovitz.
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Scientology’s Worst Abuses Against a Journalist Revealed
A Review of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology Tried to Destroy Paulette Cooper, by Tony Ortega.
reviewed by Jim Lippard

Junior Skeptic

Bat-People On the Moon!

In this issue we’ll be talking about bat-people. And sheep. And unicorns. On the Moon! What’s that you say? The Moon obviously can’t have unicorns because it doesn’t even have air to breathe? Well, sure, that’s a good point. But what if I told you the world’s most popular newspaper once announced the discovery of these and many other fantastical lunar lifeforms? Moreover, people believed those claims. How on Earth were New York City newspaper readers taken in by a far-fetched fantasy about flying Moon-bats? Find out in this issue of Junior Skeptic!

by Daniel Loxton

Special Section: Alfred Russel Wallace

ON THE COVER: Alfred Russel Wallace and the flying tree frog named after him. Illustration by Pat Linse.
Alfred Russel Wallace—Species Seeker Extraordinaire
by Richard Conniff
The Consilient Mr. Wallace
How He and Darwin Independently Used the Same Method to Arrive at Natural Selection
by James T. Costa
Demolishing Wallace’s “White Picket Fence” Around Human Cognition
by Lee Dugatkin
Wallace, Darwin, and the Spiritualism Scandal of 1876
When a Young Scientist Prosecuted a “Psychic” Fraudster, the Co-Founders of Evolutionary Biology Took Opposing Sides
by Richard Milner
Wallace and the Flat Earthers
Charles Lyell Counseled Charles Darwin to Avoid Public Controversies, while Encouraging Alfred Wallace to Lock Horns with a Malicious Crackpot
by Richard Milner and Michael Shermer
Heretic Scientist
Why Alfred Russel Wallace Got Involved In So Many Heretical Ideas
by Michael Shermer


The Gadfly
An Internet Story
for Our Time

by Carol Tavris
The SkepDoc
Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” is Not Enough
by Harriet Hall, M.D.


The Innocent Moon
Using Math to Debunk
the Lunar Effect
by John D. Van Dyke
The Non-Fine-Tuned Universe
The Astronomical Failure of the Cosmological Argument for Theism
by Jérémie Harris
and Edouard Harris
The “God” Construct
A Testable Hypothesis for Unifying Science and Theology
by Douglas J. Navarick
Commentary on “Why is Critical Thinking so Hard to Teach?”
by John E. Buckner V & Rebecca A. Buckner

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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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