The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 20 Number 4
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 20, no 4 (cover)


Anatomy of (Mass) Murder
A review of Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary film The Look of Silence
reviewed by Stephen Beckner
Meeting ET
A review of Preparing for Contact: When Humans and Extraterrestrials Finally Meet, by George Michael. reviewed by Lawrence E. Grinter
Bottoms Up
A review of The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge, by Matt Ridley.
reviewed by Michael Shermer

Junior Skeptic

Space Brothers from Venus?

In this issue we’ll hear tales from a man who said he met flying saucer travellers—human beings from Venus and several other planets! Amateur astronomer George Adamski became famous in the 1950s for photographs of objects he said were alien spaceships. His stories only got wilder from there. He claimed he befriended saucer people, rode in their spaceships, and even attended a meeting on Saturn. His books about these adventures became a public sensation. But what was the truth behind Adamski’s storytelling? Find out in this issue of Junior Skeptic!

by Daniel Loxton


ON THE COVER: “Force of Nature—Robert Trivers”. Trivers photo by David Patton. Design by Pat Linse.
The Wild Life of an Evolutionary Biologist
Excerpted from the Memoir of One of the Greatest Scientists of the Past Century
by Robert Trivers


The Gadfly
Photographer’s Amnesia, or the Side Effects of Selfies
by Carol Tavris
The SkepDoc
Incidentalomas: Too Much Information Can Hurt You
by Harriet Hall, M.D.


Fake-Bake Fallacies
Debunking Indoor Tanning Myths by Amel Becirevic and Derek D. Reed
Skeptical Adventures of a Magician
by Doug Russell
The Passing of a Critical Thinking Giant
Richard Paul, 1937–2015
by Greg Hart
Can Science Determine Moral Values?
A Challenge from and Dialogue with Marc Hauser About The Moral Arc by Marc Hauser and Michael Shermer
The Science of Destiny What is the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
by David Zeigler
The Moving Tombstone of Aalsum
by Gert Jan van ’t Land
Brain Surgeon—or Brain Addled?
Neurosurgeon and Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson Is Skeptical of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Is this a Reflection on Education or Religion?
by Donald Prothero
The Mismeasure of Radiation
A Debunking the Myth that Low-dose Radiation May Cause Cancer; In Fact, It May Even be Beneficial by Jeffry A. Siegel and Charles W. Pennington
Debating the God Construct
A reply to Douglas Navarick’s article “The ‘God’ Construct: A Testable Hypothesis for Unifying Science and Theology” by Dave Matson
Christianity’s Negative Impact on Modern American Education
by Nicholas M. Baker

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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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