The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Back Issues, volumes 21–25

Skeptic volume 25 number 4

volume 25 number 4
QAnon & Conspiracies

QAnon and Conspiracy Theories; Why We Can’t Unsee Patterns — Real or Imagined — Once We See Them; QAnon in Conspiratorial Context; QAnon is Just a Warmed Over Witch Panic (and It’s Also Very Dangerous); Harriet Hall, M.D. on How Gwyneth Paltrow Spins Straw into Gold; The Art of the Skeptic: Finding Your Niche if You Love Both Science and Art; Fat Man and Little Boy: On the 75th Anniversary of Nuclear Weapons, a Moral Case for Their Use in Ending WWII and the Deterrence of Great Power Wars Since, and a Call to Eventually Eliminate Them; The Rise and Fall of Charles Willson Peale’s Philadelphia Museum; The Testimony of Witnesses: Raising the Dead; Do Diversity Training Programs Work? Creating a Culture of Inclusion through Scientific Reasoning; Unpacking Political Life in America: The Skeptics Society’s Social and Political Attitudes Study; How Do You Get People to Care About Truth in Politics?; Are Laws of Nature Discovered or Invented?; Junior Skeptic: The Honest Truth About Vaccines
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Skeptic volume 25 number 3

volume 25 number 3
What Science Says About Race

Did Race Evolve, or is It a Social Construct? What Does Science Say? Plus: The Pope and Mussolini; Harriet Hall, M.D. on wearing face masks; Junior Skeptic on Pandemics Throughout History; Hollow Earth; Wicked Games: Lance Armstrong and Doping; Finding Meaning and Purpose Without Religion; A Naturalist Model for Reducing Speciesism, Racism, and Bigotry; What Moby-Dick Can Teach Us About the Current Pandemic Crisis; Is Science Amoral?; Faked Death Stories and Resurrection Myths; How Religions Use the Threat of Punishment to Terrify, Manipulate, and Control Believers; Reviews of Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress, and The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies; and more…
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Skeptic volume 25 number 2

volume 25 number 2
Giving the Devil His Due: When Should Speech Be Censored?

Giving the Devil His Due, by Michael Shermer • Claims About a Government “UFO Program” — How Much is True? • Religious Intolerance, Witchcraft, Superstition, and Underdevelopment in Africa • Ark of Absurdities: Creationism Comes to Brazil • The Mystery of Göbekli Tepe: A New Chapter in History • What’s to be Gained Through Rationality? • Where and Why Science and Religion Conflict • The Conditions Under Which Common, Everyday Bullshit is Most Likely to Emerge • Ptolemy Revisited: The Return of Earth-Centered Cosmology • Reviews of: Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control; Conspiracy Theories and the People Who Believe Them; Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives—Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer
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Skeptic volume 25 number 1

volume 25 number 1
Conspiracies!

Who believes in conspiracies and why? Read real conspiracy theories and conspiracies with no theories. Also in this issue: Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories, by Michael Shermer; Apples and Oranges: The Misunderstood Art of Making Comparisons; Drone Sightings in the Midwest — But Rule Out the Mass Hysteria Explanation; What Board Games Teach Us About Capitalism and How to Modify It; Meditation as Ideology and Meditations on Meditation: A Scientific and Clinical Perspective; Biological Beauty; Integrative Cancer Care Below the Bar of Science; Can We Ever Explain It All? Eight Key Points from World History; Countless Counterfeits: A New Logically Fallacy?
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Skeptic volume 24 number 4

volume 24 number 4
Understanding Flat Earthers

Daniel Loxton examines the belief in a flat Earth and why people believe such a strange thing. Also in this issue: Understanding Flat Earthers; Shroud of Turin Update; The Girl Who Smelled Blue: The Colorful Case of Willetta Huggins; How to Navigate Contentious Conversations; How Much Longer Will Cancer Screening Myths Survive?; Nationalistic Pseudohistory in the Balkans; “Prove that I am Wrong!” What QAnon, Descartes, and Brains in Vats Have in Common; The SkepDoc on Water Fluoridation; Junior Skeptic: Victorian England’s Jurassic Park, several book review, and more…
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Skeptic volume 24 number 3

volume 24 number 3
Steven Pinker on Post-truth & Reason

Steven Pinker on “Why We Are Not Living in a Post-Truth Era: An (Unnecessary) Defense of Reason and a (Necessary) Defense of Universities’ Role in Advancing it”; The SkepDoc: Coconut Oil: Health Food or Health Hazard? by Harriet Hall, M.D.; The “Lost” Tribes of Israel; The Pentagon’s UFOs How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story; The Problem with the Walking Dead And How They Flummoxed Science for Centuries; The Enigma of Stephen Jay Gould; Why the Human Brain Did Not Evolve to Accurately Represent the True Nature of Reality; Homeopathy’s New Clothes: Release Active Drugs; Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, and Witch Hunts; Two Kinds of Progressive Atheism; Surfing for Truth in All the Right Places: An Empirical Test of the Backfire Effect and How the Internet Can Reduce Anti-vaccination Attitudes, and more...
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Skeptic volume 24 number 2

volume 24 number 2
The Existence of Evil and God

Pterosaur Thunderbird: The Origin of a Fake Native American Legend with an Anti-Evolution Agenda; Conversations with My Dead Mother Why We See Signs and Omens in Everyday Events; Is Cousin Marriage Dangerous?; Therapeutic Touch Redux Twenty Years After the Emily Event: Energy Therapies Live on Through Bad Science; What Can Science Learn from Religion? Steven Pinker on Religious Beliefs and Rituals; Becoming Fantastic: Why People Embellish Already Accomplished Lives with Incredible Tales of UFOs and Other Phenomena; 1984 in 2019: The New Privacy Threat from China’s Social Credit Surveillance System, and more…
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Skeptic volume 24 number 1

volume 24 number 1
Behe’s Last Stand

Making Gasoline from Water: John Andrews and the Invention of a Legend • Online Gaming: A Virtual Experiment in the Dark Side of Human Nature • Duped by Data Mining • How Science Will Explain and Fix Fake News • The Cult of Falun Gong: A Dance Troupe and Victimhood Raises Big Money • The Opioid Epidemic Misunderstood • Why the Human-Centered View Has Not Served us Well • Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again • Straw Man on a Slippery Slope: The Case Against the Case Against Postmodernism • A Disproof of God’s Existence, and much more…
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Skeptic volume 23 number 4

volume 23 number 4
Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Special Section on 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, and much more…
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Skeptic volume 23 number 3

volume 23 number 3
Science and Moral Values

Special Section on Jordan Peterson. Have Archetype—Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon; Thought Crimes: Jordan Peterson and the meaning of the Meaning of Life; Special Section on Science & Morality. Getting Real About Right and Wrong; No, Being Religious Will Not Save You from Suicide; Lessons from Behavioral Science in a Warzone: How Reason, Skepticism, and Compassion Can Win Hearts and Minds; Moral Philosophy and its Discontents: Can science determine moral values? An Exchange with Massimo Pigliucci, Michael Shermer, and Kevin McCaffree; Facilitated Communication Redux: Persistence of a Discredited Technique; The Mystery of Elite Religious Scientists: A Cognitively Impenetrable Illusion; Five Questions About Human Errors for Proponents of Intelligent Design; The SkepDoc: Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments; Junior Skeptic: Astral Projection
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Skeptic volume 23 number 2

volume 23 number 2
The Rise of the Nones

Imagining No Heaven — The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion; Never Doubting God — Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence; Persistence of Belief in a Purposeful Universe; Honor, Dignity, Victim — A review of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars; The SkepDoc — Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking; Is the Earth Flat? Flat Earthers Are Back — How do You Best Make the Argument for a Round Earth?; Conspiracy Theorists and the Harm They Do; Bruce Perkins and Another Terrible Tragedy of the Recovered Memory Movement; Deterrence and Its Discontents: Now That Nuclear War Seems to Be Getting More Likely Again, It’s Time to Turn a Skeptical Eye on Deterrence; Reality Need Not Diminish Our Concept of Our Place in the Cosmos; Junior Skeptic — Perpetual Motion; and more…
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Skeptic volume 23 number 1

volume 23 number 1
Evil, Theism, and Atheism

Special Section on Evil, Theism, and Atheism; “You’re an Atheist?! How Do You Find Meaning and Morality in Life if There Is No God?”; God, Heaven, and Evil: A Renewed Defense of Atheism; The Evaluation of Evil, the Measurement of Morality, and the Statistical Significance of Sin; The Concept and Mechanics of Natural Evil; Why Right and Wrong Seem Real: a Critique of Moral Realism; Tearing Down Mr. Hume’s Wall: A Response to Moral Realism Skeptics; Special Section on Sigmund Freud and his Legacy; Junior Skeptic: The Incredible Claims of Pet Psychics; and more…
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Skeptic volume 22 number 4

volume 22 number 4
Campus Craziness

No Barriers to Inquiry; I Am Not a Racist, And So Are You: An Unauthorized Peek at the Great Shaming Taking Place at an Institution of Higher Learning Near You, and Other Fireside Tales; Radically Wrong in Berkeley; When Secularism Becomes a Religion: The Alt-Left, the Alt-Right, and Moral Righteousness; When Science Becomes the Enemy; Canine Cognition: Did dogs become smarter through domestication? An interview with Dr. Brian Hare; Bird Brains: Are crows as intelligent as some scientists claim?; What Biology Can Teach Us About Crime and Justice; Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar; From Camelot to Conspiracy: Memory, Myth, and the Death of JFK; Now Playing at a Cartesian Theater Near You: Dualism Returns; The SkepDoc: Diet Sodas: Are the Dangers In the Chemicals or the Headlines?…
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Skeptic volume 22 number 3

volume 22 number 3
Lost Civilizations

Debating Science and Lost Civilizations: Michael Shermer on the Joe Rogan Experience; Conjuring Up a Lost Civilization: an Analysis of the Claims Made by Graham Hancock in Magicians of the Gods; Lost Civilizations and Imaginative Conjectures; The Real Origin of UFOs and Aliens: How the Media Shaped Our Ideas About Extraterrestrials; Publicly Funded Stem Cell Research: California’s $3-Billion Experiment in Public Science; Science, Facts, and “Provisional” Knowledge; Juicing for Health or Torture; Our Angry Era; Zombies: The Gruesome True Story of Zombies...
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Skeptic volume 22 number 2

volume 22 number 2
Artificial Intelligence Danger

Why We Should Be Concerned About Artificial Superintelligence; Is Artificial Intelligence an Existential Threat?; Artificial Intelligence: Simulation, Not Synthesis; The Rise of the Alt-Right and the Politics of Polarization in America; Delusions of the Imagination: Debunking an Early 19th Century Medical Quack Device — The “Tractor”; Area 51: What is Really Going on There?; Is Race a Useful Concept?; The Three Shades of Atheism;
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Skeptic volume 22 number 1

volume 22 number 1
Bill Nye Saves the World

Skeptic’s Science Dialogues: Bill Nye in Conversation with Michael Shermer on Climate Change, Travel to Mars, Artificial Intelligence, Nuclear Power, GMOs and more… Miracle Water: Why Zamzam Water is Not a Valid Medical Treatment; Lone Wolf Terrorism: The Convergence of Mental Illness, Marginality, and Cyber Radicalism; Torturing Data; Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism; What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?; ET v. Earth Pathogens; Trouble in the Multiverse; Science v. Subjectivity: Football Playoff Teams Selecting College Football Playoff Teams as a Case Study
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Skeptic volume 21 number 4

volume 21 number 4
Deception in Cancer Treatment

The Cancer-care Industry’s Marketing is Among the Most Deceptive on the Consumer Landscape; Special Section on classic skepticism: The Amityville Hoax at 40; Do the Rhodope and Adygea Skulls Belong to Aliens?; The Real Meaning Behind the Nazca Geoglyphs; Clown Panics: Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves; Articles: The Case for a Galactic Defense System; Is “Spirituality” Meaningless?; Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?; Luck and Regression to the Mean: One of the Most Fundamental Sources of Error in Human Judgment; Political Obfuscation: Thinking Critically about Public Discourse; Anti-Aging Claims; Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better? by Carol Tavris; Junior Skeptic: Mammoth Mysteries! Part Two.
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Skeptic volume 21 number 3

volume 21 number 3
Internet Pornography

How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood; Skeptical of Porn Skeptics; Hazards of Herbal Medicine: Lessons from Aristolochia; What is Sexual Orientation?; Did a Teenager Discover an Ancient Mayan City on Google Earth?; Paleo Diets and Utopian Dreams; Does AA Work? Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs, and What We Really Know About Substance Abuse Treatment; The Clash of Eschatologies: The Role of End-Times Thinking in World History; Nightmares from the Id: The Neurophysiology of Anomalous Psychological Experiences; Terror Attacks that Never Were; Electromagnetic Fields and Parental Panics: A Case Study in How Science Can Bring Comfort; REVIEWS: Who Invented Science?; Science and the Creation of the Modern Mind; Heaven Is Not For Real; When Scientific American Put Psychics to the Test; JUNIOR SKEPTIC: MammothMysteries! Part One. The Hidden History of Mammoths and Mastodons
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Skeptic volume 21 number 2

volume 21 number 2
Uploading Your Brain

Uploading the Mind to a Computer Mind Uploading: An Argument for the Scientific and Technical Plausibility of Preserving Thoughts Indefinitely; Uploading Your Mind Does Not Compute; Virtual Immortality: Why the Mind-Body Problem is Still a Problem; What Motivates Extremists? Once Upon a Time: Re-Thinking the Fight Against Extremists; Dealing With Islamism: Trust, Costly Signaling and Forming Moral Teams; Apocalypse Soon?: How Emerging Technologies, Population Growth, and Global Warming Will Fuel Apocalyptic Terrorism in the Future; Paleoanthropology Wars: The Discovery of Homo naledi has Generated Considerable Controversy in this Scientific Discipline; Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor; Massachusetts: Mass Hysteria Cover Up; Agony and Ecstasy: Were Saint Paul’s Christian Beliefs a Symptom of Epileptic Personality Disorder?; In Defense of Anti-Science: Why the Anti-anti-science Movement Has Gone too Far; The Decline of Intelligent Design: The 10th Anniversary of the Dover Decision and the Demise of Intelligent Design The SkepDoc: Flu Shots Facts and Fallacies; The Gadfly: How Accurate is the “Cycle of Abuse”?; “Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World”; Junior Skeptic: Man-Eating Plants: The Cannibal Tree of Madagascar.
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Skeptic volume 21 number 1

volume 21 number 1
Confidence Scams

EXCERPT: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for it Every Time; ARTICLES: America’s Stonehenge: Did Highly Developed Europeans Build a Sophisticated Astronomical and Religious Monument on the American East Coast More than 3000 Years Ago?; Is It ET?: Is Star KIC 8462852 a Sign of an Extraterrestrial Civilization?; Hurricane Strikes as Divine Retribution—An Empirical Test; Ruins of Empires: Thomas Jefferson, Constantin-Francois Volney, and the Separation of Church and State; Winning the Vaccination War in California; Prophet Without Honor: Francis Galton and the Birth of Behavioral Genetics; When Cops Kill: An Insider’s Perspective; Guns and Games: The Relationship Between Violent Video Games and Gun Crimes in America; More on Morals: On Science and Morality (1) Deontologists are Covert Consequentialists, (2) Expanding Science to Include Morals, (3) Clarifying Confusions; Alligators in the Sewers! COLUMNS: Who’s Crazy Now?: DSM-5 and the Classification of Mental Disorders; The Delicate Dilemma of Defining Rape; REVIEW: Red Team: How To Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko reviewed by David Priess; JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Haunted Houses; Earliest Ghost Stories; Ghostly Evolution
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