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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.

American Atlantis

Apr 20, 2019 by Jason Colavito

In the new book America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization, author Graham Hancock looks for traces of a lost Ice Age civilization in the Americas. Despite relying on controversial research and drawing extreme conclusions, his hunt still comes up short.


Hoaxed!

Apr 03, 2019 by Michelle E. Ainsworth

The breadth of what can be meant by the word “hoax” makes the concept — and consequences — worthy of renewed study. Michelle E. Ainsworth reviews Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont.


The Opioid Epidemic Misunderstood

Mar 27, 2019 by Raymond Barglow

Dr. Raymond Barglow discusses three mistaken approaches to the opioid epidemic in this article that appeared in Skeptic magazine 24.1 (2019).


Conversations with My Dead Mother
Why We See Signs & Omens in Everyday Events

Mar 20, 2019 by Jesse Bering

What is it about the human mind that so effortlessly translates natural events into messages from another realm — even despite our best attempts to deny that there’s any message in them at all?


Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, Witch Hunts

Mar 13, 2019 by Stewart Justman

Often someone who makes a public comment out of compliance with progressive opinion is set upon by online vigilantes, attacked personally, repents, and promises to do better next time. Using two cases as touchstones, Stewart Justman draws an analogy between the extraction of such an apology and the extraction of a false confession to a crime of violence, the critical point being that in both instances the pressured party may well begin to believe the accusations against him or her.


Behe’s Last Stand
The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again

Mar 06, 2019 by Nathan H. Lents

Intelligent Design advocate, Dr. Michael Behe, has recently written his third book attacking modern evolutionary theory called Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution. In this article from Skeptic Magazine 24.1, Professor of Biology Dr. Nathan H. Lents points out some of the many flaws in Behe’s book.


Meeting Our “Enemies” Where They Are
The Advantage of Understanding Your Adversary’s Arguments

Feb 27, 2019 by Andrew Cooper-Sansone

Most people take an attack on their beliefs as an attack on their identity. Andrew Cooper-Sansone avers that to succeed in changing minds and building a better world, we must begin by cultivating a compassionate view of our enemies’ deeply-held and identify-defining beliefs.


The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution
A Study in Contrasts

Feb 20, 2019 by Ralph M. Barnes

How do arguments for evolution used by mainstream scientists differ from arguments employed by creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design? Ralph M. Barnes sheds some light on this question in this article from Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).


Personhood & Abortion Rights
How Science Might Inform this Contentious Issue

Feb 13, 2019 by Gary Whittenberger

Although it’s been 45 years since Roe v. Wade, abortion continues to be a highly controversial and polarizing issue. In this essay, Gary Whittenberger articulates the philosophical and scientific foundation for a third option between the two extremes of pro-life and pro-choice — the pro-person position — after examining the evidence for the best possible answer to the question: “When does the human fetus acquire the capacity for consciousness?” This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).


What Can Science Learn from Religion?
Steven Pinker on Religious Beliefs & Rituals

Feb 06, 2019 by Michael Shermer

In response to a NYT op-ed by Northeastern U. Psych. Prof. David DeSteno, Michael Shermer presents Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s full reply to DeSteno’s question about what science can learn from religion through testable hypotheses about human behavior.


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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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