Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 14, No. 4, Winter

Adventures in Math and Marriage: Or Why Gay Does Marriage Does Not Decrease Straight Marriage
DOES THE LEGALIZATION OF GAY marriage contribute to the decline of heterosexual marriage? A good portion of our fair republic's cultural conservatives seem to believe that it does. Evangelical radio personality James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family,...
A Skeptic Visits Noah's Ark: Evolution and Creationism in England
DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF February, 2009, on the occasion of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday celebrations at various locals around England (including his birthplace city of Shrewsbury--see photo montage below), my hosts Andrew Kelly (a science writer...
Behind Benny Hinn's Healing Crusades
FAITH HEALER BENNY HINN FOLLOWS A PENTECOSTAL tradition established by Oral Roberts and Kathryn Kuhlman, which combines faith healing with wealth. Currently his ministry's yearly revenue is estimated at over $100 million and he travels the world in...
Double Blind, Satan's UFO, Failed Prophecies
How to Conduct a Double Blind Experiment At the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) we have had several requests from potential prize applicants who believe that they have the power to dowse, and who need general guidelines on how to conduct...
Fooled by Ponzi: How Bernard Madoff Made off with My Money, or Why Even an Expert on Gullibility Can Get Gulled
THERE ARE FEW AREAS OF FUNCTIONING where skepticism is more important than how one invests one's life savings. Yet intelligent and educated people, some of them naive about finance and others quite knowledgeable, have been mined by schemes that turned...
Gulf War Syndrome or Gulf Lore Mythology?
ONE-FOURTH OF THE VETERANS OF THE 1990-91 Gulf War complain of persistent memory and concentration problems, chronic headaches, widespread pain, gastrointestinal problems, and other chronic abnormalities not explained by well-established diagnoses....
How to Think about Scientific Claims: A Study of How Non-Scientists Evaluate Science Claims
THE PUBLIC IS ROUTINELY BOMBARDED with truth claims from scientists, science writers, and journalists. Most of the time, the public uncritically accepts scientific truth claims such as the existence of distant galaxies or that table salt comprises...
Klaatu Gort Redux: The Remake of a Classic Film the Day the Earth Stood Still Delivers a Modern Warning Wrapped in an Ancient Myth
KLAATU IS BACK AND BADDER than before, with Gort the robot four times the size of the original and a new message for humans to shape up and save the environment ... or else. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still closely parallels Robert Wise's...
Misleading by Petition: Just What Is the Consensus on Global Warming?
IS GLOBAL WARMING A REAL phenomenon, and if so, are humans causing or contributing to it by burning fossil fuels and will it lead to an increased frequency and/or severity of natural disasters? The American public looks to science or scientists to...
Positively Misguided: The Myths and Mistakes of the Positive Thinking Movement
MY COLLEGE FOOTBALL COACH WAS THE kind of guy Stanley Kubrik must have had in mind when he conceived the over-the-top drill sergeant for his classic Vietnam film, Full Metal Jacket. During one game midway in my sophomore year, my offensive-line cohorts...
Prophets and Losses: The Peter Popoff and Apostle Stewart Guide to Personal Riches and Spiritual Fulfillment ... Maybe
YOU'RE WAITING FOR A BUS LATE AT NIGHT, when a shady character sidles up to you and whispers, "How'd you like to be catapulted into a brand new realm of supernatural power?" He's hustling drugs, right? Crystal-meth, perhaps. "No way man, no illegal...
The Art of Cold Reading: Adapted from Ian Rowland's the Full Facts of Cold Reading
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HI! I'M IAN ROWLAND. MOST OF US KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN TO A PSYCHIC, OR THEY HAVE SEEN PSYCHICS ON TV. I'M GOING TO SHOW YOU HOW SOMEONE WHO IS NOT PSYCHIC CAN PRETEND TO BE =30 USING A SET OF PSYCHOLOGICAL STRATEGIES...
The Origin of Eden
Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" And the woman said unto the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees...
What to Eat: Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants
AS I WAS FEEDING THE DOG, IT occurred to me that dogs have a very straightforward relationship with food. Our Labrador's philosophy seems to be "eat everything you can get and as much of it as possible, whether it's food, ice cubes, pine cones, wood,...
When Faith Kills; Christian Healing V. Scientific Medicine
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. --Dennis and Lorie Nixon's dedication to their 16-year-old daughter, Shannon, on her headstone ACTUALLY, THE NIXONS OF ALTOONA, Pennsylvania...