The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Skeptic Magazine, Volume 21 Number 4
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 21, no 4 (cover)

Special Section: Classical Skepticism

The Amityville Hoax at 40
Why the Myth Endures
by Robert E. Bartholomew and Joe Nickell
Bad Anatomy: Do the Mysterious Rhodope Skull and Adygea Skulls Belong to Aliens?
by Donald R. Prothero, Alexey Bondarev, and Tim Callahan
The Nazca Geoglyphs
A Pictographic Creation Story by Darren Iammarino
Clown Panic!
Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves in South Carolina
by Robert Bartholomew


A Betrayal of Confidence
A review of The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, by Larry Taunton
reviewed by Kathleen J. Schultheis
Why Salem?
A review of three books about the Salem Witch Trials and their legacy: The Witches: Salem, 1692, by Stacy Schiff; In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, by Mary Beth Norton; America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem, by Owen Davies
reviewed by Michelle E. Ainsworth


Cover illustration by Simone Rein
The SkepDoc
Anti-Aging Claims: The Fountain of Youth is Still Only a Legend
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?
by Carol Tavris


The Case for a Galactic Defense System
by George Michael
What is Spirituality, Anyway?
Is “Spirituality” so Broadly Defined that Testing for it is Meaningless?
by David Speed
I am Not Living in a Computer Simulation, and Neither Are You
by Peter Kassan
The State of Tumortown
The Cancer-care Industry’s Marketing Is Among the Most Deceptive on the Consumer Landscape
by L. Kirk Hagen
Luck and Regression to the Mean
One of the Most Fundamental Sources of Error in Human Judgment
by Gary Smith
Political Obfuscation
Thinking Critically about Public Discourse
by Timothy J. Redmond

Junior Skeptic

Mammoth Mysteries! Part Two

Mammoths and mastodons were the first fossil creatures ever to be reconstructed and understood for what they were: animals that lived during a previous prehistoric age and then vanished into extinction. What did this mean for the history of life? What scientific puzzles remained to be solved? And, which mammoth myths and mysteries continue to this day? Let’s find out!

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