Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 8, No. 3, Summer

A Bang or a Whimper?
COSMOLOGY AT THE BEGINNING OF A NEW MILLENNIUM WHERE DID IT ALL COMB FROM? Religions have been invented in part to answer this question, but today we use science to discover the truth about the world. In recent times, science has discovered a great...
Borderlands
DEVIANCE, PSYCHIATRY AND CULTURAL RELATIVISM "MAN: MAKER OF TOOLS, RULES, AND MORAL JUDGMENTS."--PHILIP K. BOCK [1] ADHERING TO SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES HAS REAPED enormous rewards for humanity. This is most evident in the physical and biological...
Chaos and Complexity
SHOULD WE BE SKEPTICAL? THE BIRTH OF MODERN SCIENCE has been attributed to a variety of circumstances, events, and people, [1] but unquestionably one of the key figures in its development was Rene Descartes, the French philosopher who first articulated...
Confessions of a Disagreeable Man
A review of The Sokal Hoax: The Sham That Shook the Academy Edited by the Editors of Lingua Franca, Bison Books, University of Nebraska Press. If you give me your attention I will tell you what I am: I'm a genuine philanthropist all other kinds...
Contingencies & Counterfactuals
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN & WHAT HAD TO BE IN RAY BRADBURY'S 1952 NOVELETTE, A Sound of Thunder, the story's hero, Mr. Eckels, arranges an unlikely itinerary through a most unusual travel company, whose wall advertisement declares: TIME SAFARI,...
Darwin for Liberals
A Review of A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation by Peter Singer, Yale University Press, $9.95, hardcover, 64 pp. DARWINISM in the form of Social Darwinism has historically been considered part of the political right. Supposedly...
Fresh Fish
TRAWLING FOR THE TRUTH BEHIND THE BUMPER BATTLE KNOWN AS THE "FISH WARS" IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS THE FISH. Christian motorists felt it was good. The fish was fruitful and multiplied, and iterations developed: "Jesus' the Greek "Ichthus,"...
Gould Festschrift
FESTSCHRIFT: THE SKEPTICS SOCIETY HONORS STEPHEN JAY GOULD America's "Evolutionist Laureate' Stephen Jay Gould, was the honoree at Caltech's Beckman Auditorium on Saturday, October 7, as the Skeptics Society honored his 26 years and 300 consecutive...
How Nature Self-Organizes
Ants do it. Birds do it. Humans do it. ACTIVE WALKS IN COMPLEX SYSTEMS When ants go out to look for food, they initially do not know where the food is. But somehow they find it, carry it home, and recruit more ants from the nest to join them....
Humans, History, & Environments
AN INTERVIEW WITH JARED DIAMOND Although he had been writing popular science articles for many years, Jared Diamond first came to the attention of the general reading public when his first trade book, The Third Chimpanzee, won Britain's Science...
John Edward and the Art of Cold Reading
Observations on a Bizarre World The James Randi Educational Foundation continues to receive lots of inquiries about "psychic" John Edward, who holds forth on the SciFi Channel, pretending to speak to dead people. The general technique is known as...
Skeptic Lite
New Theory: God Did It! WASHINGTON D.C. (AP)--At a press conference today at the headquarters of the National Academy of Sciences, leading scientists from around the world released a startling statement "God did it." Making the historic announcement...
Skeptics' Forum
CAN GOVERNMENTS REALLY KEEP SECRETS? I wish to offer an affirming comment on Philip J. Kiass's astute observation in Gary Posner's marvelous interview, "ETs May Be Out There..." (Vol. 7, No. 4): "the only secrets that can be successfully kept are...
Skeptics Host Symposium on Race & Sports
On Sunday, September 17, at the California Institute of Technology, the Skeptics Society hosted a scientific symposium on race and sports, centered around Jon Entine's controversial book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid...
Talking Back[wards]
A Test of the Reverse Speech Hypothesis: Are Listeners Able to Detect the Emotional Content at Backward Speech? AT THE HEIGHT OF THE SCANDAL involving Monica Lewinsky if President Clinton had said during his Grand Jury testimony, "Kiss the lying...
The Future Is Our Foundation
Foundation For the Future Symposium Draws Together Leading Thinkers to Honor E.O. Wilson and Focus on Our Survival IN MID-AUGUST, 2000, the Foundation for the Future (FFF) brought together 70 outstanding scholars, scientists, and diplomats from...
The Truth about Good Stories
A Review of The Truth Never Stands in the Way of a Good Story, by Jan Harold Brunvand. University of Illinois Press, $22.95, hardcover. JAN HAROLD BRUNVAND is well-known as the dean of urban legends. He has written numerous books and even had a...
Three Race Horses & Four Hobby Horses
BOOKIES HAVE A SAYING, "There are three horses who have never come in win, place, or even show. Their names are Coulda, Woulda, and Shoulda." Bookies live--and sometimes die--by the accuracy or inaccuracy of their predictions. Their performance is...
Who Was Jesus?
A Review of Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, by Bart D. Ehrman, Oxford University Press, 1999.273 pp. IN THIS BOOK Professor Bart D. Ehrman has done an excellent job of stating the obvious fact that the four canonical gospels (Matthew,...
Woo Woo Science
A Review of The Living Energy Universe by Gary Schwartz and Linda Russek Hampton Roads Publishing, $21.95, hardcover 303 pp. THE Living Energy Universe is a book of bold claims. There is, we are told, scientific evidence for many things such as...