The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 21 Number 3
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 21, no 3 (cover)

Special Section: Is Pornography Bad For You?

How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood
by Philip Zimbardo, Gary Wilson and Nikita Coulombe
Skeptical of Porn Skeptics
A Response to Zimbardo, Wilson, and Coulombe
by Marty Klein
On the cover: Design by Ástor Alexander, with William Bull and Pat Linse.


Who Invented Science?
A Review of The Invention of Science A New History of the Scientific Revolution, by David Wootton
reviewed by Chris Edwards
Science and the Creation of the Modern Mind
A Review of The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind, by A.C. Grayling.
reviewed by Chris Edwards
Heaven Is Not For Real
A Review of The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, edited by M. Martin and K. Augustine.
reviewed by Sebastian Dieguez
When Scientific American Put Psychics to the Test
A review of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, by David Jaher.
reviewed by Michelle E. Ainsworth


The SkepDoc
Hazards of Herbal Medicine: Lessons from Aristolochia
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
What is Sexual Orientation?
by Carol Tavris


Did a Teenager Discover an Ancient Mayan City on Google Earth?
The Tale of the Ancient Maya and a Canadian Teenager
by David S. Anderson
Paleo Diets and Utopian Dreams
by Adrienne Rose Johnson
Does AA Work?
Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs, and What We Really Know About Substance Abuse Treatment by Cathy J. Bogart
The Clash of Eschatologies
The Role of End-Times Thinking in World History
by Phil Torres
Nightmares from the Id
The Neurophysiology of Anomalous Psychological Experiences
by James Allan Cheyne
Terror Attacks that Never Were
Poison Gas Attack Myths in History and Recently on Afghan School Girls
by Robert E. Bartholomew, Stephanie Lockery, and Abdul Fattah Najm

Junior Skeptic

Mammoth Mysteries! Part One

In the pages of Junior Skeptic, we often look at “wild and wooly” mysteries—but today we mean that literally. In this issue we’ll explore the hidden history of mammoths and mastodons! The elephant family tree has had many oddly shaped branches. There once existed elephants with four tusks or even tusks shaped like shovels. But fossils of mammoths and mastodons weren’t just surprising—they changed science forever! Indeed, the discovery of these great shaggy prehistoric beasts overturned our understanding of the entire world. How did that happen? Let’s find out!

By Daniel Loxton. This issue’s cover features a digital painting by Daniel Loxton.


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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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