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Reading Room
Science and Pseudoscience

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science by Allison B. Kaufman and James C. Kaufman.

Reading Room
Conspiracy Theories
Who Believes Them, and Why?
How Can You Determine if They are True or False?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one? … Download the free PDF


In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reviews Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012, U.S. edition published by Random House, subtitled “Things That Gain from Disorder”). Order the hardcover book or the Kindle Edition. This review was originally published in Nature, Nov. 21, 2012.

Reading Room
34 Answers About Belief

In this YouTube series for (the website who’s slogan is “Learn Anything”) Michael Shermer answers 34 questions about belief and rationality.


On June 29, 2011, Michael Shermer published an article in eSkeptic on the number 19 and the attempted ambush interview that he turned into a lesson in patternicity (the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise) and numerology, calling for our readers to chime in with their own examples of such patternicity. In this week’s eSkeptic, we present 19 of the more intriguing, delightful, instructive, and funny responses from that blog.


In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer recounts his experience of a recent interview-turned-ambush by a film crew who claimed to be making a documentary about the arguments for and against the existence of God. The interview provides an excellent background for a lesson in what Shermer calls patternicity: our tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.


In this week’s eSkeptic, Andrew Bernardin discusses the tendency to find meaning in random patterns. in particular, he discusses sports talk notions such as the “hot hand” and being “in the zone.” Bernardin endeavors to deconstruct the zone and plunge the hot hand in a bucket of ice water. Skeptic magazine, volume 11, number 2.


In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reminds us how easy it is for our brains to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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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