The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

It’s Always Sunny in Space: Why Space-Based Solar Power Is a Viable Source of Energy

Rob Mahan | August 11, 2023

Advances in civilization are driven by the availability of excess energy. As the human population has exploded over the past two centuries, the global consumption of energy has also drastically expanded. But the current economic model is unsustainable without the development of a clean, unlimited source of energy. Space-based solar power (SBSP) can directly access the power of the Sun, and has the potential to be that clean, unlimited baseload power source of energy for the entire planet.

The Gift of Bias: How My Wrongful Conviction Helped Me Become a Better Thinker

Amanda Knox | August 4, 2023

After her wrongful conviction for murder in 2007, Amanda Knox was haunted by one question: why? Why did this happen? How could the pursuit of justice have gone so far off course? Corruption and evil were not satisfactory answers for her. Instead, she found understanding through the study of motivated reasoning and cognitive bias, which led her see how well-intentioned people could have arrived at such false conclusions, and how she herself could become a better thinker.

Not So Hopeful Monsters

Douglas R. Warrick | July 28, 2023

I’m a Monster Biologist. No — that’s not a self-aggrandizing professional description. I actually think about the biology of monsters. Twenty years ago, when I first conceived of Biology 485 as a rigorous treatment of “Why Things Aren’t,” I figured that it was already nearing obsolescence. Surely the speed of information through this new-fangled Internet, […]

Standardized Admission Tests Are Not Biased. In Fact, They’re Fairer Than Other Measures

April Bleske-Rechek & Daniel Robinson | July 17, 2023

Media coverage often claims scholastic admissions tests (e.g., SAT, GRE) are inaccurate, inequitable, and ineffective because: (1) any racial/ethnic differences are caused by test bias; (2) tests don’t predict anything important; (3) tests merely reflect wealth not acquired skills or academic potential; so (4) admissions would be fairer without them. This article presents mainstream scientific evidence that each claim is false. Since admission test scores are the most resistant to bias, getting rid of them would make admissions less fair.

Visits to and From Extraterrestrials: Why They Never Occurred, and Probably Never Will

Morton Tavel | June 30, 2023

Despite much ballyhoo in the media, all efforts thus far have failed to provide substantive evidence that might link the appearance of UFOs, now called UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena), with aliens from other planets. This failure results from limitations imposed by both biology and distance. As Morton Tavel explains, when these factors are combined, they render any such contacts virtually impossible.

Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents: An Analysis of the Alternative Archaeologist Graham Hancock’s Claim That an Ancient Apocalypse Erased the Lost Civilization of Atlantis

Michael Shermer | June 16, 2023

Alternative archaeologist Graham Hancock has for 40 years been writing bestselling books about the possibility of a lost ancient civilization that existed long before the Egyptians, Hittites, and Babylonians, and now he hosts a wildly popular Netflix documentary series called Ancient Apocalypse in which he presents his theories about what destroyed this lost civilization, which he suggests is described in the legend and myth of Atlantis, in stunning cinematographic beauty. But is it true? In this analysis of the documentary…

Alternative Histories That Really Aren’t: A review of Graham Hancock’s Netflix series Ancient Apocalypse

Marc J. Defant | June 9, 2023

Who are the “magicians of the gods,” in Graham Hancock’s alternative history series Ancient Apocalype on Netflix, and where did they come from? Professor of geology, Marc Defant, applies critical thinking to Hancock’s historical and literary research to identify the erroneous conclusions in both his series and in his many books, which have been highly influential in presenting Hancock’s alternative theory of history to those less prepared to evaluate the evidence (or lack thereof).

Skeptic Interviews Alan S. Blinder

Skeptic | June 2, 2023

In this interview with Alan S. Blinder, one of the world’s most influential economists and one of the best writers in the field, the former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board draws on his deep firsthand experience to share insights on “economic matters” with readers of Skeptic.

Second Sight

Skeptic | May 26, 2023

How can people appear telepathic, and what is the history of duos demonstrating this type of mindreading as entertainment? Two-person theatrical mindreading acts have been popular in the U.S. and Europe since the mid-1800s, with even earlier roots. Regular Skeptic magazine contributor, Michelle Ainsworth, reviews A First Look at Second Sight by Bob Loomis, and Cues: Variations on the Second Sight Act by Leo Behnke.

The Rise of Lies and the Demise of Shame

Carol Tavris | May 19, 2023

We are fascinated and enraged by pathological liars like George Santos, who lie with every breath. But everybody lies, out of courtesy, self-protection, or self-advancement. Toddlers start lying as soon as they start speaking, suggesting that deception evolved right along with language as an adaptive strategy. The social danger is not that people lie, but the obliteration of the line between a lie and its consequences. Once, anyone lying as blatantly as Santos would have been shamed or laughed out…

The Economics of Life Made Simple

Mark Skousen | May 9, 2023

What is money, what is it based on without a gold standard, and can cryptocurrency ever replace it? Why are young people so attracted to democratic socialism, and is there a better alternative? Should valuable goods and services such as college education, medical services, and transportation be made available to the public for free? What is the secret to the success of capitalist nations? Do economists offer any solution to the global warming threat? “America’s Economist,” Mark Skousen, helps make…

A Critical Analysis of America’s Homeless Crisis

Ned Resnikoff | May 5, 2023

The reason why America has so much homelessness is simple: our big cities have extraordinary high housing costs, and a growing number of city dwellers can’t afford even the most basic accommodations. But if a lack of cheap housing is the cause of mass homelessness, then its solution is equally simple. Overwhelming evidence shows that building more homes will drive housing costs down to manageable levels, and getting unhoused people into housing — along with supportive services, as needed —…

The Final Take-Down of Doyle’s Defense of Libertarian Free Will

Gary J. Whittenberger | April 28, 2023

In their debate on free will, Doyle and Whittenberger present, explain, and defend contrasting, inconsistent, and in some ways contradictory models of human decision making. Whittenberger believes that the free will model is far inferior to the hard determinism model in so many ways, including conceptual clarity, the reasonableness of premises, and evidential support. Read Whittenberger’s response to Doyle.

How Science Really Works

Charles S. Reichardt |

If you search the web or look in introductory science textbooks, you will find the hypothetico-deductive (H-D) method often depicted as the scientific method. However, the H-D method is inadequate as a description of the scientific method, especially when it comes to assessing pseudoscientific or other dubious claims. An alternative to the H-D method more […]

Apocalypse! Why Graham Hancock’s Use of the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis in His Netflix Series Ancient Apocalypse Is All Wet

Mark Boslough | April 21, 2023

A major theme running throughout Ancient Apocalypse is Graham Hancock‘s persecution complex. Archaeologists are picking on him, he says, because “I am trying to overthrow the paradigm of history.” Hancock fails to understand that “just asking questions” is unlikely to create a scientific revolution. Especially when he appeals to a hypothetical comet catastrophe that violates the laws of physics, contradicts astronomical data, ignores the geological record, and defies logic. When scientists ask to see data, it’s not persecution. It’s science.

Behind the Rhetoric: The Untold Story of “Gender-Affirming” Clinics

Carol Tavris | April 17, 2023

What is gender identity? Why do some people feel an inconsistency between their natal sex and the gender they consider themselves to be, and when and why does that “dysphoria” begin? A few very young children, mostly boys, prefer the clothes, names, and activities of girls before they even have a concept of “boy” and “girl.” But do the reasons for their gender incongruence apply to the adolescents, mostly girls, who show no interest in transitioning until puberty or later?…

Psychotherapy Reconsidered

Harriet Hall, M.D. | April 14, 2023

Is psychotherapy effective? Which of the many types is best? Are certain therapies better suited to treat certain problems? How can you rationally choose a therapist? Is it better to pick a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or some other type of counselor? There is a veritable cornucopia of individuals offering advice about mental health issues, from celebrities to life coaches to pastors to concerned friends, some with formal training and some with no credentials at all. Does psychotherapy ever make patients…

From Sex To Gender: The Modern Dismissal of Biology

Robert Lynch | April 7, 2023

The assertion that human sex differences are socially constructed is part of a broad anti-science movement that has enveloped academia and distorted our basic understanding of science. Sex is not a simple matter of socialization and male and female are fundamental distinctions deeply rooted in biology. This is an article about how we went from sex to gender and how the push for a sexless society is a dangerous and utopian vision that cuts us off from our evolutionary history.

A Reply to Gary Whittenberger’s Critique of My Case for Free Will

Stuart Doyle | April 5, 2023

My recent Skeptic article, “Free Will Is Real,” has prompted a response from Gary Whittenberger, who has previously written a standalone article for Skeptic in which he takes a stance against free will.1, 2, 3 Whittenberger’s response to me consists of several distinct points. A few of them are misunderstandings of my position. And a […]

Newly Declassified Report on ‘Havana Syndrome’ Used the Wrong Criteria!

Robert E. Bartholomew | March 31, 2023

The panel which claimed “pulsed microwave radiation” likely zapped U.S. diplomats botched their investigation. The findings of a newly declassified study that concluded ‘Havana Syndrome’ was likely caused by “pulsed electromagnetic energy” and that a foreign adversary was likely to blame — botched their investigation. Mark Zaid, the man fighting for compensation for victims of […]

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