The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Inequality & Rejection: A Data-Driven Look Into Men’s Attitudes Toward Abortion

Although abortion is often framed as a women’s issue, men make up half of the electorate and are more often pro-life. In this study the Skeptic Research Center report on men’s attitudes toward abortion is considered in the larger context of the national abortion debate, which has intensified since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing women a Constitutional right to choose abortion.

Published August 9, 2022 by Kevin Mccaffree & Anondah Saide

The Gimbal Video: Genuine UFO or Camera Artifact?

In recent years the UFO phenomena has reached a new fever pitch over a handful of grainy videos and blurry photographs under the rubric of UAP, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. What are those objects in the videos and photographs? Alien spacecraft? Russian or Chinese spy drones? In this masterclass in analytical reasoning based on what little there is to assess, Mick West argues that the most famous of the UAPs, the Gimbal video, is most likely an artifact of the camera used to film it.

Published August 2, 2022 by Mick West

ESP Debate: Is Belief in ESP Irrational?

A three-part debate between Steven Pinker and Brian D. Josephson, initiated from a private email exchange in which Josephson challenged Pinker’s claims in a BBC radio program that there is no rational reason to believe in ESP. Here, Pinker first makes his case, followed by Josephson’s critique, and then Pinker’s response to that critique. As is our custom, we prefer to steel-man a position someone else holds, especially with a controversial subject like ESP, but better still is to have a proponent of it make the case for believing in it.

Published July 26, 2022 by Steven Pinker vs. Brian D. Josephson

Upending Civilization

One of the surprise bestselling books of 2022 is David Graeber’s and David Wengrow’s book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, in which they attempt to upend the standard and widely accepted model of how Hunter-Gatherer bands and tribes developed into chiefdoms and states. How accurate is their alternative history of humanity? In this review essay, Chris Edwards considers the evidence as presented in this compelling book.

Published July 19, 2022 by Chris Edwards

WiFi Woes: The Rollout of 5G Reawakens Wireless Fear

With the widespread use of cell phone towers and internet technology, concerns have arisen over health effects of wireless energy, most notably with the recent introduction of Fifth Generation (5G) wireless network technology. Public health expert Raymond Barglow reviews the epidemiological data and science behind these concerns and shows that there is, in fact, nothing to worry about.

Published July 12, 2022 by Raymond Barglow

Trans Athletes and Conflicting Rights: Male-to-Female transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from the University of Pennsylvania is crushing the female competition. Is that her right? Is it right? No. Here’s why.

Trans rights are human rights, but rights do not mean that any of us can do anything we like any time. There are restrictions on our actions, and when there are conflicting rights something must give. In this article on trans athletes, Michael Shermer explains why Male-to-Female trans athletes competing in women’s sports is unfair and a threat to the hard-earned rights of women to compete in their own athletic divisions, and why biological males that have gone through puberty cannot be considered equal to women with just a year of hormone suppression therapy.

Published July 5, 2022 by Michael Shermer

Nature’s God: Why Christians Should Accept the Theory of Evolution

If you give Christians a choice between Jesus and Darwin by telling them that the theory of evolution means you have to be an atheist, they’re going to pick Jesus every time. In this article, Larry Arnhart argues that Christians should accept the theory of evolution not only because it’s true but also that it does not mean they have to give up their religion.

Published June 16, 2022 by Larry Arnhart

A Transgender Controversy

In this important analysis of the medical issues involving trans people, Dr. Harriet Hall reviews what medical science knows about puberty blockers, vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, rapid onset gender dysphoria, detransitioners, and why “watchful waiting” is probably the best strategy at the moment given the considerable uncertainties.

Published June 9, 2022 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Wild Psychotherapy: Untested and Questionable Methods of Psychological Advice and Treatment

Scientifically trained psychologists and social scientists have long been skeptical of clinical psychotherapy techniques because they are so dependent on anecdotes instead of data. In response, clinicians with scientific training have developed data-based techniques, like Cognitive Behavior Therapy. But these new techniques have not trickled down to pop psychologists like Laura Schlessinger (Dr. Laura) and Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil), along with self-help gurus like Tony Robbins. This article critiques these pop psych nostrums.

Published June 1, 2022 by Timothy C. Thomason

Trans Matters: An Overview of the Debate, Research, and Policies

In this overview of the debate, research, and policies related to various trans matters, Lisa Selin Davis has written what is arguably the best and most balanced treatment of the culturally radioactive topic that incites passioned opinions on both sides of the political aisle. The trans movement is relatively new and science has just begun intensive study of the various issues, so opinions could change with changing evidence, but for the time being read this article for the most comprehensive analysis to date.

Published May 25, 2022 by Lisa Selin Davis

Eyewitness Testimony: How to engage with people and accounts of extraordinary claims without evoking anger

Human perception and memory are notoriously inaccurate. Preconceptions and biases shape both our perceptions of events and how we recall them later. Mick West considers how to think about eyewitness testimony so that it does not become emotional and swiftly evolve into an overly polarized argument.

Published May 18, 2022 by Mick West

America’s Coming Educational Collapse: A Classroom Teacher Explains the Problem and Offers a Solution

Everyone knows that the U.S. public education system is broken, but no one quite knows what to do about it. In this analysis the education reform researcher and advocate Chris Edwards explains the problem and considers possible solutions.

Published April 20, 2022 by Chris Edwards

A reply to Bert Hölldobler on the Matter of Edward O. Wilson, Race, Racism, and Race Science

In this letter to Bert Hölldobler, following up on his defense of his long-time colleague E. O. Wilson, who has been falsely accused of racism and knowingly promoting race science, Mel Konner, who also knew and worked with Wilson, reinforces the point that Wilson’s defense of Philippe Rushton was done out of concerns about academic freedom; in fact, Konner notes that there are other reasons for critiquing Wilson, primarily for his ultimate rejection of kin selection — one of the key tenets of evolutionary theory.

Published April 12, 2022 by Mel Konner

Apples and Oranges, Ants and Humans: The Misunderstood Art of Making Comparisons

Mark W. Moffett describes how comparing identical things is extremely boring; breakthroughs in science often come about by exploring points of similarity between things that are normally seen as very different—in his own research, and that of his mentor, Edward O. Wilson, ants and humans.

Published April 7, 2022 by Mark W. Moffett

Self-Righteous Vigilantism in Science: The Case of Edward O. Wilson

Is there vigilantism in science? Was the renowned Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson wrongly convicted of racism and promoting race science in the court of public opinion? Yes, says his long-time collaborator and world-class scientist Bert Hölldobler.

Published April 5, 2022 by Bert Hölldobler

Putin’s Rasputin: Meet Aleksandr Dugin, the Mystical High Priest of Russian Fascism Who Wants to Bring About the End of the World

Robert Zubrin takes a renewed look at his 2015 Skeptic article about the Mystical High Priest of Russian Fascism, Alexander Dugin, in light of Putin’s recent, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It will strike readers as all too prescient.

Published March 29, 2022 by Robert Zubrin

Putin’s War—Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Political scientist and war historian John Mueller argues that Putin’s war in Ukraine could have been avoided and can still be stopped through compromise since NATO was not going to accept Ukraine as a member for decades anyway, and Crimea will be returned to Ukraine about the time Texas is returned to Mexico.

Published March 8, 2022 by John Mueller

60 Minutes Whips Up “Havana Syndrome” Hysteria, Airs Sensational Segment on White House “Attacks”

“Havana Syndrome” is the latest in a long list of health scares involving the fear of new technology. The present panic involves claims of a secret weapon that uses sound or microwaves to zap people anywhere in the world. Robert Bartholomew examines some of the sensational claims made in a recent 60 Minutes episode suggesting White House attacks amid ongoing political tensions with Russia.

Published March 4, 2022 by Robert E. Bartholomew

Pandemic Politics: How 2020 Impacted Americans’ Social and Political Attitudes

Read the Skeptic Research Center’s general report, “Pandemic Politics: How 2020 Impacted Americans’ Social and Political Attitudes,” based on their nine reports from the Civil Unrest & Presidential Election Study (CUPES) released in late 2020–early 2021.

Published January 31, 2022 by Anondah Saide, Kevin Mccaffree, and Marshall McCready

Trans Reality: “I Didn’t Know There Was Another Side”

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic.

Published January 25, 2022 by Carol Tavris
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