The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Skeptic Magazine, Volume 24 Number 3
Table of Contents

Steven Pinker on the cover of Skeptic magazine, vol 24, no 3 (photo by Jeremy Danger at
This issue will begin shipping
mid-September 2019.

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The “Lost” Tribes of Israel
by Tim Callahan
The Pentagon’s UFOs
How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story
by Robert Sheaffer
The Problem with the Walking Dead
And How They Flummoxed Science for Centuries
by James Close
The Enigma of Stephen Jay Gould
The Account of Gould’s Science and Politics is Complicated
by Cody Moser
Darwinian Goggles
Why the Human Brain Did Not Evolve to Accurately Represent the True Nature of Reality
by Victor S. Johnston
Homeopathy’s New Clothes: Release Active Drugs
by Alexander Panchin
Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, and Witch Hunts
by Stewart Justman
Two Kinds of Progressive Atheism
by J. L. Schellenberg
Surfing for Truth in All the Right Places
An Empirical Test of the Backfire Effect and How the Internet Can Reduce Anti-vaccination Attitudes
by Nicolas Gauvrit and Marielle Guillaud


The SkepDoc
Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard?
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
The Gadfly
The Persistence of Memory… and of the Memory Wars
by Carol Tavris

Cover Article

Why We Are Not Living in a Post-Truth Era
An (Unnecessary) Defense of Reason and a (Necessary) Defense of Universites’ Role in Advancing it
by Steven Pinker


The Great White Decline
A review of Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities by Eric Kaufmann
reviewed by George Michael
Magic and Real Magic
Reviews of Spectacle of Illusion: Deception Magic and the Paranormal by Matthew Tompkins; The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography and the Man Who Captured Lincoln’s Ghost by Peter Manseau; and Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture by Simone Natale
reviewed by Michelle Ainsworth

Junior Skeptic

The Chilling, Changeling Chupacabra!

In this issue of Junior Skeptic we’ll investigate a mystery as gruesome as it is creepy. Hair-raising stories claim that a vampire beast stalks the shadows — stealthy, silent, and thirsty for blood. According to these tales, the chupacabra — or “goatsucker” — is rarely seen. It strikes farms in the night, feasting on blood from goats, sheep, chickens, and other helpless prey. These stories first terrified people in Puerto Rico, then spread to many other places. Some claim it is an unknown animal. Others say it is an alien predator or secret experiment gone wrong. What is the truth behind this modern vampire legend? Let’s find out!

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.

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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.

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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?

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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…

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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!

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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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