Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 15, No. 1, Spring

Browsing for Love in All the Wrong Places: Does Research Show That Internet Matchmaking Is More Successful Than Traditional Dating?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "IT'S OKAY TO LOOK," SUGGESTS THE VOICE-OVER IN the Match.com television commercial. Even at the beginning of the Internet dating rage in 2002, singles sites accounted for the Internet's largest consumer-spending category....
Crazy Ideas 101: How to Teach Skeptical Thinking in the Classroom
I ADMIT IT. I'M AFRAID OF THE LOCH Ness monster. And perhaps you should be too. Try the following experiment: ask yourself what you think the odds are that there is, at least intermittently, some large creature in Loch Ness that is responsible for...
Criminal Injustice: The Flaws and Fallacies of the American Justice System
DESPITE OUR FALTERING NATIONAL OUTPUT IN other areas, "the United States," the New York Times notes mordantly, "leads the world in producing prisoners." At year-end 2007, about 2.3 million Americans were incarcerated in federal and state prisons and...
Darwin in the Boardroom: Evolution, Economics, and the Nature-Nurture Debate
Matt Ridley has a dangerous idea: In every age and at every time there have been people who say we need more regulation, more government. Sometimes they say we need it to protect [free] trade from corruption, to set the standards and...
Empirical Kanzi: The Ape Language Controversy Revisited
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] INNOVATIVE SCIENCE DEPENDS UPON A potentially volatile mixture of highly creative work and realistic skepticism. In a recent issue of SKEPTIC (Vol. 13, No. 4, "Aping Language:...
Greatest Story Ever Garbled: A Critique of "The Greatest Story Ever Told"-Part I of the Internet Film Zeitgeist
PERHAPS THE WORST ASPECT OF "THE Greatest Story Ever Told," Part I of Peter Joseph's Internet film, Zeitgeist, is that some of what it asserts is true. Unfortunately, this material is liberally--and sloppily--mixed with material that is only partially...
Homeopathy: Still Crazy after All These Years
HOMEOPATHY IS ONE OF THE longest running forms of pseudoscience in the modern world. Oliver Wendell Holmes recognized that it was nonsense back in 1842 when he wrote "Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions." We long ago gave up the nonsense of trying...
Hot Feet and Cool Reason-Investigating the Firewalking Phenomenon
THE HANDLING OF FIRE AND flame, and the apparent immunity to their effects, have been matters of much interest to humanity for many centuries. Countless "Human Salamanders" have astonished crowds at mediaeval fairs, and fire-eaters still attract attention...
How We Staged the Morristown UFO Hoax
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE FACE OF the Virgin Mary on your grilled cheese sandwich? How about the image of Satan in a cloud of smoke? Or Sasquatch running through the woods? What about an alien spacecraft in the sky? It is...
Orgone Energy V. the Scientific Method: How to Test a Paranormal Phenomenon
ORGONE IS A MAGICAL ENERGY force that is inside and outside our bodies, similar to the Chinese culture's "chi" or any generic "life force energy." It permeates us and everything around us. Using special devils that manipulate orgone energies can change...
"Reasons to Believe". or Not: An Analysis of the Debate between Michael Shermer and Hugh Ross/Fazale Rana, on Whether or Not Creationism Can Be a Testable Science
ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009, I ATTENDED a debate between Dr. Michael Shermer of SKEPTIC magazine and Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe, a Christian apologetics organization that attempts to reconcile the findings of science and with...
Scooby-Doo!
HELLO! I'm Daniel, the Editor of JUNIOR SKEPTIC. Welcome to our special issue celebrating the 40-year anniversary of Scooby-Doo! For generations, the Scooby gang has introduced kids to the idea of skeptical investigation. How can we learn important...
The Chess Master and the Checkers Players: The Curious Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer
A film review of the Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by David Grubin, as part of the American Experience for PBS in association with the BBC. January 26, 2009. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] DURING THE RUN LIP TO THE 2004 presidential election between...
The New Atheism and the New Anti-Atheism: The Stealth Religion of David Sloan Wilson
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS AND DANIEL Dennett must be used to having their atheism called a pseudo-religion. Usually, however, such accusations are made by religious figures who nonetheless do not seem to be willing to follow up with offers of inter-religious...
The Placebo Effect
JANE D. WAS A REGULAR VISITOR TO OUR ER, usually showing up late at night demanding an injection of the narcotic Demerol, the only thing that worked for her severe headaches. One night the staff psychiatrist had the nurse give her an injection of saline...