Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 8, No. 1, Winter

Americans Continue to Doubt Evolution
According to a new Yankelovich poll, commissioned by People for the American Way, an overwhelming 83% of Americans think Darwin's theory of evolution, not creationism, belongs in science class. Yet a CNNUSA Today-Gallup poll found that 68% of those...
Attention Deficit Disorder
GOOD SCIENCE OR GOOD MARKETING? IN THE 1960S, AMERICANS discovered illegal mind-altering drugs for themselves. In the 1990s, Americans discovered a legal mind-altering drug for their children. Although it is illegal drugs that draw the attention...
Blood, Sweat, and Fears
WHY SOME BLACK ATHLETES DOMINATE SOME SPORTS AND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS IN AN ESSAY ON MAN, THE 19TH CENTURY English poet and essayist Alexander Pope elucidated the pitfalls of speculating on ultimate causes derived from immediate events: In vain...
Bob Friedhoffer Madman of Magic
GALAPAGOS ISLAND SNAKE EGGS EFFECT: Make your friends jump with surprise when they open an envelope. ROUTINE: This is a make-it-yourself toy from my book Toying Around With Science that's really a wonderful practical joke. You hand an unsuspecting...
Breaking the Taboo
WHY BLACK ATHLETES DOMINATE SPORTS AND WHY WE'RE No LONGER SO AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT IT IF YOU CAN BELIEVE that individuals of recent African ancestry are not genetically advantaged over those of European and Asian ancestry in certain athletic endeavors,...
Chicken Soup for the Evolutionist's Soul
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright, Pantheon, 2000, $27.50, 435 pp., ISBN: 0-679-44252-9 HUMANS ARE pattern-seeking, storytelling animals. We look for and find patterns in our world and in our lives, then weave narratives around...
Chiropractic
CONVENTIONAL 0R ALTERNATIVE HEALING? WHAT SHOULD CHIROPRACTIC'S ROLE BE in the future of medicine? Should chiropractors position themselves as primary care physicians and take advantage of the current popularity of alternative medicine, or should...
Cult Mass Suicide/homicide: Jonesboro/hfaven's Gate Replay?
As we were going to press with this issue reports came in of an apparent mass suicide or homicide by a doomsday religious cult with hundreds dead. In the preceding weeks, cult members sold all their possessions and received a book of matches each day...
E-Scams: Too Good to Be True
They show up in your e-mail...the promise of money; material goods, or simply good luck--if you only forward that e-mail to 10 other people. Sound familiar? The chain letter has graduated, and is now an e-scam. We could have guessed it would happen....
For Entertainment Purposes Only
WHY AREN'T THERE MORE WOMEN IN SKEPTICISM? NEXT TIME YOU ATTEND a skeptics' meeting, look around. What you don't see will be as obvious as what you do see--a white, older, largely professional group, with few to no women. Sadly, this pattern...
Hocus-Pocus History
WHAT IF FDR KNEW ABOUT PEARL HARBOR? Review of Robert B. Stinnett, Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor, The Free Press, 2000, ISBN 0-684-85339-6, 374 pages, $26.00. WHEN A MAGICIAN pulls a rabbit out a purportedly empty hat, we...
How the History of Life Was Discovered Part I
IF you've ever thought about being a detective you'll love science! A lot of scientific work involves thinking like a detective: questioning, observing, hypothesizing, testing, and drawing conclusions. Charles Darwin, as you will see, was one of the...
INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL SKEPTIC SYMPOSIUM ON Race & Sports
JON ENTINE'S TABOO: WHY BLACK ATHLETES DOMINATE SPORTS AND WHY WE ARE AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT IT RACE IS TO AMERICA WHAT THE GODDESS DISCORD was to Homeric legends--invite her to the banquet and she brings trouble with her, ignore her and she visits...
Noah's Flood in the Black Sea?
The freshwater Black Sea was inundated almost overnight 7,500 years ago by a catastrophic flood of Mediterranean saltwater. This summer a team of deep-sea explorers will return to verify their findings from last summer to further test the hypothesis...
Nonzero & Nonsense
GROUP SELECTION, NONZEROSUMNESS, AND THE HUMAN GAIA HYPOTHESIS HOLY LEVIATHAN! SUPERORGANISMS, once thought to be as imaginary as dragons, may actually exist. First James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis, which portrays life on earth as a giant...
Perpetuum Mobile
THE DREAM OF INFINITE FREE ENERGY WELL, THE PACE OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE is breathtaking these days, isn't it?" Dan Rather asked rhetorically on the CBS Evening News. "Now a backyard tinkerer in Mississippi says he's built a machine, a kind of perpetual...
Recovered or False Memories?
Since SKEPTIC began in 1992 we have been following the debate about recovered memories versus false memories, with a strong slant to the probability that most so-called "recovered" memories of childhood sexual abuse, particularly those for which no...
Skeptics' Forum
THE WHOLE WORLD ISN'T CRAZY This is my first letter to any publication of any kind. I just had to say thank you for a great magazine. I have a limited education and some articles have been a challenge, but I would not have you change a thing. I...
The Changing Religious Landscape the 2000 Gallup & Barna Polls
For years SKEPTIC has tracked the ever-changing religious landscape of beliefs. Although overall rates of belief (and disbelief) remain steady, the variations within the numerous variables that go into what we know as religion and spirituality are...
The Final Taboo
RACE DIFFERENCES IN ABILITY JON ENTINE'S BOOK, TABOO, IS A DIRECT, POWERFUL, and, effective challenge to an orthodoxy that has developed over the last 50 years or so for very understandable, though not valid, reasons. This orthodoxy says, "Yes,...
The Grand Old Man of Evolution
AN INTERVIEW WITH EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST ERNST MAYR Ernst Mayr was born in Kempten, Germany, on July 5,1904, making him, at age 95, the grand old man of evolutionary biology, one of the primary architects of the modern synthesis of genetic and evolutionary...
The Heat of the Soul
THERMODYNAMICS AND THE MIND/BODY PROBLEM METAPHYSICAL DUALISM, the idea that the mind and the body are distinct entities (which may or may not interact), has been the subject of contentious debate since the ancient Greeks. But its full flowering...
Thought Field Therapy Forum Debate
THINKING THROUGH THOUGHT THERAPY As a practicing psychotherapist, I really appreciated the articles about Thought Field Therapy and EMDR (Vol. 7, No. 4). These "therapies" are promoted in otherwise reputable magazines like Family Therapy Net-worker,...
Totem and Taboo
THE MYTH OF RACE IN SPORTS IN APRIL 1989 THE AUTHOR OF TABOO produced an NBC-TV documentary titled Black Athletes--Fact and Fiction. The purpose of this program was to examine the question of whether the dominance of black athletes in high-profile...
'Twas Brillig
Observations on a Bizarre World URI GELLER & THE MOVING COMPASS TRICK IN JANUARY 2000 I appeared on ABC TV's morning talkshow The View, hosted by Barbara Walters and others. The occasion for the invitation was that they had hosted the well-known...
Virgin Ice Cream
American Atheists News, January 14, 2000. Faithful supplicants from as far away as Canada and Seattle are trekking to Houston, Texas, where believers say an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe has appeared in an ice cream stain on a sidewalk. "She knows...
Watching the Watchdogs
A review of The Watchdogs: A Close Look at Anti-Racist "Watchdog" Groups by Laird Wilcox, 1998, P.O. Box 2047, Olathe, KS: Editorial Research Service; with new Addenda, 1999, 103 pp. Softcover. $19.95. ISBN 0-993592-89-2. LAIRD WILCOX IS THE founder...