The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Skeptic Magazine, Volume 26 Number 4
Table of Contents

Skeptic Magazine 26.4 (cover)


Stupid Videos & Marketing Ploys
by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Environmental Conspiracies
Why do conspiracy theorists believe natural events are intentionally manipulated?
by Mick West
“You Can’t Say That!”
by Carol Tavris


Operation Crystal Ball
The Conjurer’s Conundrum: My Life in Magic & Skepticism
by Jamy Ian Swiss


Misunderstanding Free Will
(Which We Don’t Have)
by David Reeve & Dennis Middlebrooks

Special Investigation

Penguin Paradox
Serious Skeptical Lessons from an Apparently Silly Story
by Daniel Loxton

Cover Story

Cover & cover story illustrations by Izhar Cohen
Havana Syndrome Hysteria and the Great Wild Goose Chase
Classified documents reveal that Havana Syndrome is very likely a psychogenic illness and not a sonic attack by foreign actors
by Robert Bartholomew


Vexed by the Un‑Vaxxed
Why collective action problems like ending the pandemic are soluble if we understand the underlying motivations of vaccine hesitancy
by Michael Shermer
Misunderstanding Vaccines
by David Zeigler
Why Would God Create the Universe?
by Joseph Grcic
Distorting Darwinism
Evolution can shed light on the human condition. But skepticism is needed when bleak claims are declared from the armchair.
by Ilari Mäkelä
Electrohypersensitivity as a New Psychological Disorder
by Sébastien Point


Imperfect Journey
Review of Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity by Charles Seife
reviewed by Chris Edwards
Deception & Self Deception
Reviews of Mysteries & Secrets Revealed: From Oracles at Delphi to Spiritualism in America by Loren Pankratz and The Conjurer’s Conundrum: My Life in Magic & Skepticism by Jamy Ian Swiss
by Michelle Ainsworth
Review of The Century of Deception: The Birth of the Hoax in Eighteenth-Century England by Ian Keable by Michelle Ainsworth

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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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