The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 21 Number 1
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 21, no 1 (cover)


The SkepDoc
Who’s Crazy Now?: DSM-5 and the Classification of Mental Disorders
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
The Delicate Dilemma of Defining Rape
by Carol Tavris


Advocatus Diaboli—the Devil’s Advocate
A review of Red Team: How To Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy, by Micah Zenko.
reviewed by David Press

Junior Skeptic

Haunted Houses

In this issue we’ll summon our courage, light a candle, and venture inside the ancient horror of haunted houses. Imagine walking dark hallways, peering into abandoned rooms. We strain to recognize unfamiliar shapes in the shadows. A cold draft stirs the cobwebs; outside, wind moans through the trees. We climb creaking stairs up into the unknown. Ahead of us, we — wait, did you hear something? Were those…footsteps? Our skin prickles with fear and tension. Breathless, trembling, we call into the darkness, “Is somebody there?”

By Daniel Loxton. This issue’s cover features a digital painting by Daniel Loxton. Reference modeling provided by Isabella Loxton. Thanks to classical folklorist Debbie Felton for research notes.


by Maria Konnikova
ON THE COVER: Photos by Ed Pastor. Photo illustration by Ed Pastor and Pat Linse.


America’s Stonehenge
Did Highly Developed Europeans Build a Sophisticated Astronomical and Religious Monument on the American East Coast MoreThan 3000 Years Ago? by Gert Jan van ’t Land
The Great ET Paradox: Why We are Likely to Find Them Before They Find Us
Is Star KIC 8462852 a Sign of an Extraterrestrial Civilization? by George Michael
Hurricane Strikes as Divine Retribution
An Empirical Test
by Robert Warren and M. J. Olejniczak
Ruins of Empires
Thomas Jefferson, Constantin-Francois Volney, and the Separation of Church and State by Thomas Christian Williams
Winning the Vaccination War in California
by Raymond Barglow and Margret Schaefer
Prophet Without Honor
Francis Galton and the Birth of Behavioral Genetics by Robert G. Goldstein, MD
When Cops Kill: An Insider’s Perspective
by Daniel DeLeon
Guns and Games
The Relationship Between Violent Video Games and Gun Crimes in America by John Glynn
More on Morals: On Science and Morality
  • Deontologists are Covert Consequentialists by Sam Harris
  • Expanding Science to Include Morals by Michael Shermer
  • Clarifying Confusions
Alligators in the Sewers!
by Robert E. Bartholomew

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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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