The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

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

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

Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021): Reminiscences and a Tribute

In this tribute to Edward O. Wilson, Frank J. Sulloway recounts how the Harvard evolutionary biologist had a profound and enduring influence on his own life and academic career. Wilson, says Sulloway, was the model of a mentor who cared deeply about his students and collaborators. By sharing his infectious love of the wonders of evolutionary biology, Wilson inspired countless others with his impassioned vision about the need to safeguard biological diversity.

Published January 7, 2022 by Frank J. Sulloway

Remembering Edward O. Wilson

To honor the legendary evolutionary theorist and biologist Edward O. Wilson, who passed away on December 26 at the age of 92, his former student Mark Moffett, pays tribute to his mentor in this deeply moving memoir of his time working with the great scientist.

Published January 5, 2022 by Mark W. Moffett

Mytho-history: The “Evolution” of Adam and Eve

One of the most influential conservative Christian theologians goes all-in for evolutionary science and finds room for a Paleolithic Adam and Eve. This has left some schools of Christian orthodoxy scrambling to find a way forward. With any luck, they may start to reevaluate their opposition to evolution altogether.

Published January 3, 2022 by Nathan H. Lents

The Ionian Instauration—An Interview with E.O. Wilson on His Latest Controversial Book: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

In Memoriam: Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021) — entomologist, evolutionary theorist, and unifier of all knowledge. Read an extensive and intimate interview we published in Skeptic in 1998, Vol. 6, No. 1, conducted by our editor Frank Miele, upon the occasion at the time of the publication of Wilson’s game-changing book Consilience.

Published December 27, 2021 by Frank Miele

Havana Syndrome Hysteria and the Great Wild Goose Chase: Classified documents reveal skepticism of foreign actors & bolster the role of psychogenic illness

Have foreign agents been committing nefarious deeds, targeting dozens of American and Canadian diplomats and their families with an energy weapon, or is Havana Syndrome a social panic aided by sensational journalism, dubious science, and social media conspiracy theories? The contents of a U.S. Government investigation into “Havana Syndrome” released under the Freedom of Information Act, concluded that mass psychogenic illness likely played a major role.

Published October 8, 2021 by Robert Bartholomew
Illustration of a woman carrying a man on her back (by Pat Linse)

Inequality: Why Women? A Plausible Sociocultural Explanation for the Persistence & Universality of Gender Inequality Over Thousands of Years

Do you believe that men have greater power and privilege because they are stronger, more aggressive, and smarter than women (and don’t have babies)? Think again. Dolores Newton & Jefferson Fish present a plausible sociocultural explanation for the persistence and universality of gender inequality over thousands of years.

Published September 16, 2021 by Dolores Newton & Jefferson M. Fish
osteopath with patient

Osteopathy Then and Now

What is osteopathy? What is the difference between an MD, a DO, and an osteopath in the US? Why do students choose a DO school? Should the DO degree be abolished? Find out what Harriet Hall, M.D. says in this column from Skeptic magazine 26.1 (2021).

Published July 17, 2021 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

Mark Twain and Alternative Medicine

In this column from Skeptic magazine 26.2 (2021), Harriet Hall, M.D. recounts that Mark Twain was an enthusiastic proponent of “alternative medicine” long before the term was coined — and much of it remains the same as in his time.

Published June 29, 2021 by Harriet Hall, M.D.
Detail of cover of Irreversible Damage, by Abigail Shrier

Trans Science: A review of Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

A review by Dr. Harriet Hall of Abigail Shrier’s 2020 book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters was originally published on Science-Based Medicine’s website and later removed and put under review by SBM’s Editors “due to concerns expressed over its scientific accuracy and completeness.” Skeptic is publishing here because, if skepticism means anything, there are no sacred cows, no political sensitivities of topics to prohibit open discussion and review, no censorship of ideas that don’t toe a political line.

Published June 17, 2021 by Harriet Hall, M.D.

US Government Says UFOs are “Real”: An Analysis of the 60 Minutes Investigation

Has the US government admitted that UFOs are “real” and that the military is investigating them? Mick West presents an analysis of the 60 Minutes episode that aired May 16, 2021.

Published May 17, 2021 by Mick West
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