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Skeptic Magazine, Volume 23 Number 4
Table of Contents

Skeptic magazine, vol 23, no 4 (cover)
This issue will begin shipping
mid-December 2018.

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Special Section: Tactics for Discussing Contentious Issues

Personhood and Abortion Rights
How Science Might Inform this Contentious Issue
by Gary Whittenberger
How to Teach Evolution to Religious Students
by Surat Parvatam
The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution
A Study in Contrasts
by Ralph M. Barnes
Meeting Our “Enemies” Where They Are
The Advantage of Understanding Your Adversary’s Arguments
by Andrew Cooper-Sansone

Junior Skeptic

Secrets of the Ouija Board

Today we will dim the lights and gather around an object of mystery: the ouija (pronounced “wee-ja” or “wee-gee”). With a little pointer, these simple but spooky devices spell out answers that appear to come from some invisible source. Some people believe ouija boards release secrets from our subconscious minds. Others claim ouija boards harness supernatural forces to predict the future or contact spirits of the dead. Ouija boards have been used to write entire books, and praised as a source of cosmic wisdom. They have also been blamed for madness, mayhem, and murder. Some even fear that ouija boards are gateways for evil demons. Are any of these claims true? Let’s find out!

by Daniel Loxton


The SkepDoc
Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
Do You Have Traits or Are You a Type?
by Carol Tavris


The Grandest of Questions
Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
by Michael Shermer
Reports of Mysterious Attacks on U.S. Diplomats Continue
Separating Fact from Fiction
by Robert E. Bartholomew
The God Damners
The Now Not-so-New Atheism
by Michael Cohen
Quackery in America
An Inglorious and Ongoing History
by Morton Tavel, M.D.
What Is It like to Be a Human?
by Colin McGinn


A Dark World Gets Pinker
A review of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, by Steven Pinker.
reviewed by Jim Davies
The Inevitability of Intelligent Life
Reviews of The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution, by Charles S. Cockell, and The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will, by Kenneth R. Miller.
reviewed by Nathan H. Lents
Calling SCAM a Scam
A review of SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine, by Edzard Ernst.
reviewed by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Dead Weight
A review of Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life, by Nassim Nicholas.
reviewed by Chris Edwards
Who Are You?
A review of The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are, by Alan Jasonoff.
reviewed by Peter Kassan

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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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