Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter

A Connecticut Yankee in God's Court
MARK TWAIN'S COVERT WAR WITH RELIGION THEN MARK TWAIN DIED IN 1910 he was an international celebrity and an American institution. He was cheered at home and abroad for his droll wit, frontier bluffness, and cornpone wisdom. He was America's knight...
An Amazing Life
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMES THE AMAZING" RANDI To say that James Randi needs no introduction to readers of SKEPTIC magazine is to be at once both superfluous and understated. Of course Randi needs no introduction in the sense of being known throughout...
A Perfect 10
A Review of Tales of the Rational: Skeptical Essays About Nature and Science by Massimo Pigliucci. Atlanta, Georgia: Freethought Press. 255 pages. paperback $17.00. TALES OF THE RATIONAL: Skeptical Essays About Nature and Science begins by introducing...
Bigger Than Fire?
A SCIENTIFIC EXAMINATION OF RANDELL MILLS' "HYDRINO" THEORY RANDELL MILLS AND HIS COMPANY, BlackLight Power, claim to have discovered a new, shrunken form of the hydrogen atom called the "hydrino," in which the electron is made to fall to an energy...
Chaos Forum
FRACTAL MEANINGS Kudos to SKEPTIC in general and Frank Miele and Massimo Pigliucci in particular for the excellent articles on Chaos and Complexity in Vol. 8 #3. This kind of analysis is a long awaited and very much welcome tool for those of us...
Evolution and the New Creationism
A PROPOSAL FOR COMPROMISE Intelligent design theory is wrong, but teaching it will strengthen students' understanding of science. ON MAY 10TH OF THIS YEAR, a House Judiciary Committee room in Washington, D.C., was filled with members of Congress...
From Ann Druyan and Joe Firmage
TWENTY YEARS AGO, a television series was introduced that changed our sense of humanity's place in the Universe. Carl Sagan's Cosmos was one of the most extraordinary events in the history of television. Through its awe-inspiring synthesis of scientific...
Impossible Evolution? Another Physicist Challenges Darwin
Review of Mathematics and Evolution, by Fred Hoyle, Memphis, TN: Acorn, 1999 IS EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION possible? Most biologists would consider this a rather anachronistic question, satisfactorily settled during the first few decades after...
Lessons from Kansas
ITS CITIZENS WOKE UP, FOUGHT BACK, AND WON. WILL YOU BE READY IF THE CREATIONISTS TAKE OVER YOUR SCHOOLS? IT'LL BE A LITTLE LATE, BUT KANSAS WILL enter the 21st century after all. The Kansas Board of Education (KBOE) that decided evolution and the...
Metaphors for the Masses
A review of Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century by Howard Bloom. Wiley. $27.95. 371pp. ISBN: 0-471-29584-1 IF FOSSILS ARE THE KEY TO RECOVERING A LOST PAST, then words are living fossils, revealing both...
NASA Discovers Bible's "Missing Day".Not!
Editor's note: every fall an old chestnut of an urban legend crops up about how NASA discovered the missing day from the Bible. Below is the standard account, along with a nice rebuttal from Samuel Larson, a SKEPTIC reader from Jet Propulsion Laboratory,...
No Devil in the Lettuce
A review of Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New creationism, Robert T. Pennock, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999, xxii + 429 pp. DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER BOOK trashing creationism? Yes, because this religious view itself is evolving,...
Race and Sports Forum
ENTINE RESPONDS TO CRITICS If Michael Shermer's and John Hoberman's critiques of my book (Taboo) in SKEPTIC (Vol. 8, No. 1) are fair measure, acknowledging genetically-based human differences is a difficult pill to swallow. Shermer muses about why...
Science and Religion Forum
There is a ongoing debate within the skeptical movement (and beyond) which is framed as the question of the relationship between science and religion. The Vol.8 No.2 issue of SKEPTIC was almost entirely dedicated to this question, and in this issue...
Selfish Genes Forum
WHAT SELFISH GENES REALLY MEAN As an admirer of Richard Dawkins I feel compelled to express dismay at one part of SKEPTICS' interview with Frans de Waal in Vol. 8 No. 2. First let me express my admiration of de Waal and his contributions to the...
Skeptic Magazine Publisher Michael Shermer Appears on Politically Incorrect
ON FRIDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 22,2000, I appeared on ABC's Politically Incorrect for a religiously-themed Christmas television show. Other guests included Julia Sweeney; Victoria Jackson, and Aaron Neville. I must say that after years of being hammered...
The Crackpot Index[r]
Editor's note: What makes the following so funny is the fact that it is also so accurate. We receive manuscripts (what we call "theories of everything") about once a month. At first we thought it odd they sent such material to us, considering the name...
The Design Detectives
A review of Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William A. Dembski, InterVarsity Press, 1999 312 pp. ISBN 0-8308-1581-3 and The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism by Phillip E. Johnson, InterVarsity Press,...
The Evolution Wars
Defenders of the Truth: The Battle for Science in the Sociobiology Debate and Beyond by Ullica Segerstrale, Oxford University Press, 2000, 493 pp., $35. The Monk Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics by Robin...
The Return of "Cosmos"
I have now had a chance to play all 13 hours of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan's Cosmos series, which aired as a "greatest hits" highlights reel last night on KCET, L.A.'s PBS station, as part of their fundraising drive. It was a welcome change from their...
The Search for Atlantis!
HAVE YOU HEARD THE STORY of the lost continent of Atlantis? Its people were beautiful, tall, athletic, and rich beyond compare. The buildings of its cities had walls covered with gleaming gold and roofs set with sparkling many-colored gems. Many streets...
The State of Science in America
THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION'S SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING INDICATORS 2000 THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION has released its Science and Engineering Indicators 2000 publication jam-packed with statistics on the state of science and technology in America...
The Stealth Creationists
A review of Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What We Teach About Evolution is Wrong, by Jonathan Wells, Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2000. THE "ICONS" REFERRED TO IN THE TITLE of this book are commonly taught examples of evolution,...
The Triumph of Christianity
WHY A SMALL APOCALYPTIC CULT OVERWHELMED ITS PoWERFUL ROMAN RIVALS DURING A DEBATE ON THE EXISTENCE OF GOD a number of years ago, Michael Shermer mentioned that many of the stories of miraculous healings attributed to Jesus of Nazareth were also...
Time's Arrows Point Both Ways
THE VIEW FROM NOWHEN SUPPOSE YOU ARE IN A CLOSED ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE. Somebody opens the door and all the air rushes out of the room and everyone inside explodes and dies, Of course, we have all been in dosed rooms many times and this has never...
Whence the Flood Waters?
THE RISE AND FALL (AND LIKELY RETURN) OF THE PRE-FLOOD WATER CANOPY THE WATER CANOPY THEORY has long been a mainstay of creationists. It is invoked to explain both the pre-Flood conditions described in Genesis and the scientific cause of the Flood....