Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

Magazine promoting scientific method, critical thinking and the skepticism of the paranormal and superstition.

Articles from Vol. 17, No. 4, Summer

Academic Obfuscations: The Psychological Attraction of Postmodern Nonsense
POSTMODERNISM IS AN INTELLECTUAL APPROACH used in fields such as literary theory, sociology, and architecture. Although the term describes a broad class of viewpoints, in general postmodernism rejects the ideas of absolute truth and objective reality....
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Bad Language: Deliver Us from Bob Larson
THE REVEREND BOB LARSON IS AN evangelist of the Spiritual Freedom Church, whose motto is "Do What Jesus Did" (DWJD). A one-time preacher against satanic ritual abuse and the evils of rock'n'roll, Larson is best known today as a deliverance minister....
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Bogus, Bunk, and B.S
A review of 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True by Guy P. Harrison Prometheus Books, 2012, 458 pp. $18.00 ISBN-13: 978-1616144951 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] RARELY HAS A SKEPTIC GONE TO BATTLE against nonsense with the warmth and humor...
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CAM for Cancer: Preying on Desperate People?
CANCER PATIENTS ARE A UNIQUELY VULNERABLE group. When patients are diagnosed with pneumonia or appendicitis, they expect to recover and they readily accept conventional treatment with antibiotics or surgery. They are not particularly vulnerable to...
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Dark Secrets of the Oracle Monger
HELLO! I'm Daniel, the Editor of JUNIOR SKEPTIC. In this issue, we'll look at a mystery From almost 2000 years ago! As you probably know, not every person who claims to have special powers is honest. For example, some people pretend to be able...
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Did Native Americans Discover Europe: In 60 BCE?
DID YOU KNOW THAT NATIVE AMERICANS DISCOVERED Europe in 60 BCE? No? Well, you aren't reading the right websites and alternative history books. On May 15, Cracked.com, an online humor site run by former ABC News producer Jack O'Brien, published a piece...
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Eden Sought
A review of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden by Brook Wilensky-Lanford New York: Grove Press, 2011, 320 pp. $25.00 ISBN 978-0-80211-980-3 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WHERE ON EARTH WAS THE GARDEN OF Eden? At first, Genesis 2 seems...
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Free Will and Autonomous Will: A Physicist's Perspective on How We Are Accountable for Our Actions
IN A RECENT SHORT BOOK NEURO-scientist Sam Harris pulls no punches on one of humanity's oldest philosophical problems: "Free will is an illusion." (1) We don't exist as immaterial conscious controllers, Harris claims, but are instead entirely physical...
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Glossolalia Meets Glosso-Psychology: Why Speaking in Tongues Persists in Charismatic Christian and Pentecostal Gatherings
OF RELIGIOUS PHENOMENON THAT HAVE BEEN deemed both testable and meriting examination, glossolalia ("speaking in tongues") stands out as a brash and unique example of purported religious experience. With strange utterances like "bule te skuru te sinte...
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God's Problem: An Interview with Howard Bloom, Author of the God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates
IN THE GOD PROBLEM: HOW A GODLESS COSMOS Creates, Howard Bloom has produced yet another immensely readable, highly informative, at times contrarian, and characteristically iconoclastic book. But don't let the title lead you to think it's just another...
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How the Blind Watchmaker Made Eyes
A review of Evolution's Witness: How Eyes Evolved by Ivan R. Schwab Oxford University Press, New York, 2012, 306 pp. $75.00. ISBN 978-0-19-5369748 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SINCE THE DAYS OF DARWIN, EYES AND evolution have been an irresistible...
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How to Be a Skeptical News Consumer
EVEN THE MOST SKEPTICAL AMONG us have had this happen: A friend or relative forwards an e-mail from an organization with a safe-sounding name ("The Clean Air Initiative," "The Center for Consumer Freedom"), but the e-mail is filled with scary assertions,...
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Mrs. Jesus? No Joke: A New Archaeological Find Suggests Christ Was Married, but Is It True?
DID JESUS HAVE A WIFE? A RECENT ARTICLE IN THE New York Times has reanimated the intermittent controversy over his marital status. Harvard Divinity School Professor Karen L. King announced that a papyrus fragment dating from the fourth century, written...
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Of Miracles and Magisteria
A Review of God and the Folly of Faith by Victor Stenger Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2012. pp. 408. $20.00. ISBN-10-1616145994 [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Physicist Victor Stenger is renowned in skeptical circles as a hard-core atheist. In his...
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One Nation Another Religion?
Joint review: Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans by David Niose; and Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton. Palgrave/Macmillian. 2012. pp. 256 $27.00. ISBN: 978-0-230-33895-1 [ILLUSTRATION...
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The New Science of Neuroethics
IN 1667 ONE THOMAS CORNELL WAS HANGED BECAUSE HE HAD been found guilty of murdering his mother. A little more than two hundred years later, one of his descendants, Lizzy Borden, was controversially acquitted of charges of having killed her father and...
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The Reality Distortion Field: Steve Jobs's Modus Operandi of Ignoring Reality Is a Double-Edged Sword
ROBERT FRIEDLAND WAS A LONG-HAIRED, SANDAL-wearing, spiritual-seeking proprietor of an apple farm commune and student at Reed College when he met Steve Jobs in 1972 and introduced the future Apple computer founder to a principle called the "reality...
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The SkepDoc: Barefoot in Sedona: Bogus Claims about Grounding Your Feet to Earth Promote Medical Pseudoscience
THERE IS A WEBSITE THAT REVEALS "THE world's most dangerous invention." Care to speculate what that invention might be? I might have guessed nuclear weapons. Others have incriminated guns, cigarettes, genetic engineering, religion, The Web, The Large...
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'Twas Brillig ... So Many Wonders
EVEN AS MY 10TH BOOK, A MAGICIAN IN the Laboratory undergoes proofing and illustration inserts, I must confess that I think I have yet another book in me. There are so many more wonders I've experienced about which I would like to write, for example:...
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