Skeptic (Altadena, CA)

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

Articles from Vol. 15, No. 4, Spring

A Magician in the Classroom: Using Magic and Mentalism to Teach Skepticism
ANYONE WHO TEACHES CAN RELATE TO RUNNING into the occasional brick wall when trying to convey new ideas. To teach critical thinking and impart a skeptical outlook is difficult in and of itself. But when you are teaching where a majority of the students...
Boost My Immune System? No Thanks!
Do our IMMUNE SYSTEMS NEED HELP? Walk into any health foods store or browse the Internet and you will find a multitude of diet supplements advertised to "boost your immune system" or "support immune function." Do they work? Will they keep you healthier...
Climate Skeptics V. Climate Deniers
AMONG THE MANY BATTLEFRONTS IN the culture wars, few have raised a specter of worry among scientists more than the great big imbroglio over Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Especially in America, positions are staked and fiercely held by parties...
Do Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
NEWS REPORTS THREATEN THAT OUR CELL PHONES may cause cancer--brain cancer, eye cancer, and others. We are told that fragile children's developing brains are at risk. Concerned epidemiologists collect their data and warn that they cannot rule out the...
Not-So-Linguistic Programming
YEARS AGO AS A GRADUATE TEACHING assistant I was grading an assignment for a class in Applied Linguistics. The students had a broad range of research topics from which to choose, including NLP. Strangely, one student's submission spoke of "achieving...
Teaching by Doing: Turning a Biology Curriculum Upside Down
"'Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand!" --Ancient Chinese Proverb IMAGINE THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO. TOMMY ALWAYS wanted to be a professional tuba player. He didn't have many opportunities to...
Testing Astrological Predictions about Sex, Marriage, and Selfishness
YOUR SEX DRIVE DEPENDS ON YOUR ZODIAC SIGN. AT least that's what www.astrology-online.com claims. For example, astrology-online says that people born under the sign of Aries are "liable to have a high sex drive," those born under the sign of Leo have...
The $1 Million Dollar Challenge
IF YOU MET A MAN WHO CLAIMED HE COULD GLOW IN THE DARK, you might run screaming. If you're James Randi, you welcome him and do what you have been doing for the last 40 years--you calmly test his claim. The 82-year-old Amazing Randi has been famously...
The Disappearing Male: A Pinch of Science, a Pound of Speculation on the Alleged Disappearance of Males
A DOCUMENTARY FILM ENTITLED THE DISAPPEARING MALE was first shown on CBC in June, 2009. It can be viewed online. (1) Some of its rhetoric is reminiscent of Chicken Little. "Where have all the boys gone?" "Millions of males are disappearing." "We're...
The Longevity Myth: Are We Really Living Longer? or Is the Headway Mostly Hype?
ON ITS FACE, NOTHING WOULD SEEM TO BETTER symbolize Western progress than the impressive strides in longevity since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Certainly the healthcare industry pats itself on the back for such strides, which it wants...
The Rise of the Nones: And the Growth of Religious Indifference
Most people did not give up being committed Christians because they became convinced that religion was false, It simply ceased to be of any great importance to them; they became indifferent. --Steve Bruce, God is Dead. (1) OVER THE COURSE OF...
The Stigma of Being an Atheist: An Empirical Study on the New Atheist Movement and Its Consequences
IN 1963 THE SOCIOLOGIST ERVING GOFFMAN published a book that has become part of the canon in social psychology, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, in which he defined stigma as "an attribute that is deeply discrediting." Those who...
Top Ten Busted Myths
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Hello! I'm Daniel, the editor of JUNIOR SKEPTIC. Welcome to a whirlwind tour of busted paranormal myths! We'll review a few topics from previous issues, and take a peek at some we'll explore in greater detail in the future....
Truth vs. Truths: An Enduring Dilemma for Skeptics
IT IS IN OUR NATURE TO SEARCH FOR TRUTH, AND because we can read the preserved words of great thinkers of the ages, our personal search is not so much for truth as among truths. We pick and choose from truths condensed and refined over thousands of...
'Twas Brillig ... Those Damn Magic Sticks: The ADE 651 Bomb Detector Blows Up under Scrutiny
IT'S BAD ENOUGH THAT PSEUDOSCIENCE, flummery, and deception have become accepted by the public. What concerns me more is that government agencies are accepting this nonsense and incorporating it into their national policymaking. As U.S. forces prepare...
Worlds in Collision Redux: Velikovsky Was Wrong, but New Research Indicates That Worlds Do Occasionally Collide
A BOOK WAS PUBLISHED OVER 50 YEARS ago that claimed that many historical "mysteries" could be explained by the reckless motion and collision of planets. The author's name was Immanuel Velikovsky and his ideas turned out to reflect no reality but the...