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The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism. The Library contains an ever-growing index of articles, reviews and opinion editorials culled from our extensive archives, offering an in depth look into the myriad of subjects the Skeptics Society has explored over the years. You can help us continue to expand on the Reading Room by donating to the Skeptics Society.

The Fabulist and the Publisher
A Journalistic and Academic Fraud Exposed

Sep 05, 2019 by Michael Shermer

John Anthony Glynn claimed to have a Ph.D. in psychology and professorships of psychology at several universities. He committed academic fraud by representing himself as a Ph.D. psychologist to several academic institutions and under those credentials committed journalistic fraud by publishing over 40 articles in 15 different outlets in 2019 alone. The extent of this calculated, systematic, and repeated deception warrants publishing our findings, the details of which follow.


Laser Therapy: Hope or Hype and Hokum?

Aug 13, 2019 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Lasers are everywhere and have many applications, from bar codes to printers, surgery to welding, entertainment to law enforcement, DVD players to pointers (great for giving lectures and for playing with cats). However, in this column from Skeptic magazine 24.2 (2019), Harriet Hall M.D. examines whether laser therapy is more hype than hope.


Guns Don’t Kill People, Beliefs Kill People

Aug 06, 2019 by Michael Shermer

In response to last week’s trifecta shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, Michael Shermer offers an analysis of the psychology of mass public shooters, or why people act on their beliefs, why almost everyone thinks their beliefs are ontologically true and morally right, and why political rhetoric matters.


Is Cousin Marriage Dangerous?

Jul 23, 2019 by Gabriel Andrade

The incest taboo is a human institution; we universally prohibit having sex with siblings, parents, or grandparents, but vary culturally regarding cousins, uncles, and others on our family tree. We disagree on how far prohibition should go, and why. Indeed, natural selection primed us for cousin marriage as it offers some evolutionary advantage. In this article, which appeared in Skeptic magazine 24.2 (2019), Gabriel Andrade asks: How truly dangerous is cousin marriage, and should it be legalized?


What is Mental Illness, Anyway?

Jul 16, 2019 by Peter Barglow, MD

Peter Barglow, MD reviews Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington.


Dead Weight

Jul 09, 2019 by Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards reviews Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.


Stranger Danger

Jul 02, 2019 by Nathan H. Lents

Entomologist and nature explorer Mark Moffett has a new book that not only advances our knowledge about human societies, but attempts to create a biological definition and understanding of the very concept of “society” itself. But how does his intriguing thesis integrate with other theories on the origin of our uniquely human sociality?


The Sisyphean Challenges of Skepticism or, Start by Disbelieving

Jun 25, 2019 by Carol Tavris

Social psychologist Carol Tavris reminds us that justice requires us to assess the evidence, and that this requirement is especially imperative when public opinion and emotion are weighted heavily in favor of one side.


The Pentagon’s UFOs
How a Multimedia Entertainment Company created a UFO news story

Jun 05, 2019 by Robert Sheaffer

Countless media outlets are proclaiming that the US Defense Department has “disclosed UFOs,” or has “acknowledged” that they exist. How much of that is true? Very little!


Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent

May 29, 2019 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Harriet Hall, M.D. expresses concerns that under the right-to-try law, patients may not fully understand the risks and the low probability of success, and drug companies may take advantage to sell their products to desperate individuals at inflated prices.


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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

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

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.

FREE PDF Download

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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