The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Back Issues, volumes 19–20

Skeptic volume 20 number 4

volume 20 number 4
Robert Trivers

The Wild Life of an Evolutionary Biologist, excerpted from the Memoir of One of the Greatest Scientists of the Past Century; Neurosurgeon and Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson is Skeptical of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory. Is this a Reflection on Education or Religion?; Skeptical Adventures of a Magician; The Passing of a Critical Thinking Giant Richard Paul, 1937–2015; Can Science Determine Moral Values?; The Science of Destiny: What is the Meaning of Life, Anyway?; The Moving Tombstone of Aalsum; Debunking the Myth that Low-dose Radiation May Cause Cancer. In Fact, it May Even be Beneficial; Debating the God Construct; Christianity’s Negative Impact on Modern American Education; Incidentalomas: Too Much Information Can Hurt You; Photographer’s Amnesia, or the Side Effects of Selfies; Debunking Indoor Tanning Myths; Reviews: A review of Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary film The Look of Silence; A review of Preparing for Contact: When Humans and Extraterrestrials Finally Meet; A review of The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge; Junior Skeptic: Space Brothers from Venus?
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Skeptic volume 20 number 3

volume 20 number 3
Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace—Species Seeker Extraordinaire; The Consilient Mr. Wallace: How He and Darwin Independently Used the Same Method to Arrive at Natural Selection; Demolishing Wallace’s “White Picket Fence” Around Human Cognition: Wallace, Darwin, and the Spiritualism Scandal of 1876 When a Young Scientist Prosecuted a “Psychic” Fraudster, the Co-Founders of Evolutionary Biology Took Opposing Sides; Wallace and the Flat Earthers: Charles Lyell Counseled Charles Darwin to Avoid Public Controversies, while Encouraging Alfred Wallace to Lock Horns with a Malicious Crackpot; Reconciling the “Two Wallaces: Why Alfred Russel Wallace Got Involved In So Many Heretical Ideas; Debunking the Full Moon Effect on School Kids; The Non-Fine-Tuned Universe: The Astronomical Failure of the Cosmological Argument for Theism; The “God” Construct: A Testable Hypothesis for Unifying Science and Theology; “Why is Critical Thinking so Hard to Teach?” Internet Trolls and Civility; Anecdotal Medical Evidence; Reviews; Junior Skeptic: Bat-People On the Moon! Anatomy of a Moon Hoax
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Skeptic volume 20 number 2

volume 20 number 2
Drug Policy

Smokey the Bear Medicine; How to Make Young Kids Smarter; Who Speaks for Earth? The Current Controversy Over METI: Messaging to Extra Terrestrial Intelligence; Can Emotions Effect Matter? Testing Masaru Emoto’s Hypothesis that Emotions Change Nature; Heaven Only Knows: Near-Death Experiences and the Problem of Account Incongruence; Where Drug Myths Die: An Interview with Carl Hart; Putin’s Rasputin: Meet Aleksandr Dugin, Mystical High Priest of Russian Fascism; Placebo, Are You There?; What Parents Need Not to Know: Eight Myths of Child Development; What Does “Supernatural” Mean, Anyway?; The Diet-Heart Hypothesis: The Contested Roles of Fats and Carbohydrates in Heart Disease; A Psychologist’s Innumeracy: A Guide to Recognizing Pseudo-Mathematics in the Social Sciences; Flawed Geniuses in Film Film Biographies: Stephen Hawking: The Theory of Everything, and Alan Turing: The Imitation Game; Mirror Neurons: A Review of The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuro-science of Communication and Cognition; Wonderful Science: A Review of A Scientist in Wonderland: A Memoir of Searching for Truth and Finding Trouble; God’s Lawyer A Review of Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith; Willpower and Won’t Power: A Review of The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control; In the Belly of the Beast: A Review of Among the Creationists: Dispatches from the Anti-Evolutionist Front Lines; Stranger than Fiction: A Review of of the HBO Documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief; Junior Skeptic: The Fantastical Hollow Earth Part II; Carbon Comic: The Problem With Facts— Why the Law of Gravity is False
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Skeptic volume 20 number 1

volume 20 number 1

A Skeptic’s Guide to the War on Terror; Myths of Terrorism; Religion, Violence, and Terrorism: An Empirical Evolutionary Study; Colloidal Silver, Smurfs, and Ebola; Artificial Intelligence: Benevolent or Malevolent?; The Thinking Atheist Confesses; Proof and God; Cow Tipping’s Surprising Origins; What a Horse Can Teach Us About Self Deception; The Demon Test: Possessed of Problems; The Biological and Psychological Basis of Horror; How Con Men Used Pseudoscience to Exploit the Drought of the 1890s; Can Superpositions of Quantum Consciousness Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Nonlocal Potentiality?; Junior Skeptic: Journey Inside the Fantastical Hollow Earth; Carbon Comic: Pandemic Pandering A Special Report on Special Pleading
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Skeptic volume 19 number 4

volume 19 number 4
Diet Myths

SPECIAL ISSUE on Food and Diet Myths: Decoding Food Labels by Harriet Hall, M.D.; An Evolutionary and Functional Perspective on Chronic Disease, by Kenneth W. Krause. ARTICLES: Sneezing Customs: A Blessing in Disguise, by Karen Stollznow: Does AA Work? by Carol Tavris; “Chemtrail” Fail: Are Contrails Really Toxic Chemicals Sprayed by a Secret Conspiracy? by Donald R. Prothero; Skepticism: A Rare and Beautiful Thing, by Daniel Loxton; Whole Lot of Nothing: Tales of a Cosmological Argument, by Jérémie Harris; Thinking Critically About Psychology’s Classic Studies: Revisiting Studies by Milgram, Harlow, Mischel, Sherif and Others and What They Mean Today, by Carol Tavris; How to Lie with Statistics, by Gary Smith. SPECIAL SECTION: CHANGING MINDS: The Core Conflict Between Creationism and Evolution Do Unique Definitions of “Science” and “Proof” Allow Creationists to Disregard Evidence of Evolution? by Ralph M. Barnes; Why is Critical Thinking so Hard to Teach, by Kevin McCaffree and Anondah Saide. HUMOR: Genetic Park: Engineered Crops Run Amok on a Tycoon’s Island by Kyle Sanders. REVIEWS: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty, reviewed by Burt Stillar; Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, by Sam Harris. Junior Skeptic: Flat Earth?! The Convoluted Story of a Flatly Mistaken Notion, by Daniel Loxton.
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Skeptic volume 19 number 3

volume 19 number 3
The Multiverse

Fine-Tuning and the Multiverse, by Victor J. Stenger; Quantum Immortality —Some Physicists Think You Might Already Be Immortal; SkepDoc Harriet Hall on Sound Healing; Can Dolphins Talk?; On Miracles, by Harriet Hall; Are Blood Type and Personality Linked?; Carol Tavris on The Negative Side of Positive Thinking; The Extraordinary History of Mass Hysteria in Schools; The Shroud of Turin Can Now Be Easily Dated; Junior Skeptic: Ghost Photos Part II, by Daniel Loxton. Empirical Studies on: Are RelIgious Nations Better Off? and How Much Free Market is Too Much? Special Section On Changing Minds: How a Cartoon Kept Quacks Away from Infants; Explaining Evolution by using health issues as examples; How Intuition Can Block Scientific Understanding. Reviews: A Review of Your Inner Fish a Three-Part PBS Documentary reviewed by Donald Prothero; A review of Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, reviewed by Chris Edwards.
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Skeptic volume 19 number 2

volume 19 number 2
Boston Bombing Conspiracy Theories

The Multiverse and the Deity; In Defense of Soft Theism; Soul Searching: An Evolutionary Problem for Theists; Mass Hysteria at Old Salem Village; Conspiracy in Boston: Disentangling Boston Marathon Bombing Conspiracy Theories; The Miracle of Large Numbers Can Explain Seemingly Miraculous Events; Reasons for Hope in the Science of Artificial Intelligence; Deciphering The Voynich Manuscript; The SkepDoc on Faith Healing Tragedies; New column by Carol Tavris: The Gadfly: The Science of Memory and the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen Case; Junior Skeptic: Photographing Phantoms, Part One; Reviews: The Man Who Filmed Nessie; Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil; Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience; God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States; The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science; Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey—a 13 episode TV series hosted by astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Skeptic volume 19 number 1

volume 19 number 1
Did Jesus Exist?

Did Jesus Exist? We Examine the Best Evidence by Tim Callahan: Let’s Get Real [about Evolution], Even if it Hurts by James Randi; Face the Music by Karen Stollznow; Does Religion Make People Healthier? by Harriet Hall, M.D.; An Insider’s Look at Faith Healing by Dustin White; Except: Imagine There’s No Heaven: The Seeds of Modern Atheism and the Tragic Life of Madalyn Murray O’Hair by Mitchell Stephens; James Van Praagh and the Afterlife by I. H. Smythe; Ghostbusters Busted at Sand Creek by Gregory F. Michno; Why Whistleblowing Doesn’t Work by Frederick V. Malmstrom and David Mullin: James R. Flynn on Rising IQs, interviewed by Lee Traynor; Comic: Holistic Airlines—The Natural Way to Fly by Kyle Sanders; Junior Skeptic: Carl Sagan by Daniel Loxton; Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott and Countdown by Alan Weisman reviewed by Michael Shermer; The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking by Matthew Hutson reviewed by Kevin J McCaffree; What’s So Great about God (Formerly Godforsaken) by Dinesh D’Souza reviewed by Franz Kiekeben; Hardcore Zen Strikes Again by Brad Warner reviewed by Mike Moran
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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.

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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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