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Skeptical Inquirer —
Scientific Methodology and Its Religious Parallels

Scientific Methodology and Its Religious Parallels

by Charles M. Wynn Sr.
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Science and Religion

If religious believers had a better understanding of scientific methodology and nonbelievers had a better understanding of its parallels with religion, they could have more meaningful discussions with each other.

The ‘Miracles’ of Father Baker

The ‘Miracles’ of Father Baker

by Joe Nickell
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Investigative Files

Here we look at a few of the unusual incidents that some have called “miraculous,” although none has been accepted as such by the Catholic Church.

No Health Risks from GMOs

No Health Risks from GMOs

by Steven Novella
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

The Science of Medicine

Like many public controversies, the debate can be better informed by scientific evidence; however, there is no legitimate scientific controversy over the safety of GMOs.

The Lure of Mysterious Paintings, Part 2

The Lure of Mysterious Paintings, Part 2

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Notes on a Strange World

In continuing our discussion on “mystery” paintings from the past: a special place is held by paintings that are said to hold hidden meanings—especially when they do.

Mount Rainier: ‘Saucer Magnet’

Mount Rainier: ‘Saucer Magnet’

by James McGaha and Joe Nickell
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Article

Mount Rainier isn’t just where seminal UFO figure Kenneth Arnold saw “flying saucers” in 1947; the majestic mountain actually plays a more direct role in saucerology.

Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine

Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine

by Eugenie V. Mielczarek and Brian D. Engler
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Article

A study of federal funding advancing naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and energy healing as acceptable medical protocols finds troubling misuse of taxpayer dollars.

CSI Announces Paul Offit As Winner of the 2013 Balles Prize

CSI Announces Paul Offit As Winner of the 2013 Balles Prize

by Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

News & Comment

It is for a literary endeavor, perhaps no less valuable than his scientific work, that Dr. Paul Offit is the 2013 recipient of the Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking.

Bill Nye’s Take on the Nye-Ham Debate

Bill Nye’s Take on the Nye-Ham Debate

by Bill Nye
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Special Report

Bill Nye gives his own first-person view of this much-watched and much-discussed debate, the circumstances surrounding it, his preparations and strategy, and the reasons he decided to take part.

Connecticut’s Hidden Animals?

Connecticut’s Hidden Animals?

by Kenneth L. Feder
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Forum

The rational part of my mind recognized almost immediately thereafter that the identification I had come up with was nonsensical. But was it?

The ‘200 Demons’ House: A Skeptical Demonologist’s Report

The ‘200 Demons’ House: A Skeptical Demonologist’s Report

by Joe Nickell
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Investigative Files

Sparking an international media frenzy, a house in Gary, Indiana, was—according to two unnamed “clairvoyants”—besieged by over 200 demons.

Health Risk from Fukushima Radiation

Health Risk from Fukushima Radiation

by Steven Novella
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

The Science of Medicine

Fear is a powerful emotion with clear protective functions. However, fear is not always adaptive.

Myths and Media in the Creationist Movement

Myths and Media in the Creationist Movement

by Glenn Branch
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Book Review

A review of Intelligently Designed: How Creationists Built the Campaign against Evolution, by Edward Caudill.

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Stop Heisenberg Abuse! Three Outrageous Misappropriations of Quantum Physics

by Dale DeBakcsy
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Article

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UFOs and Cognitive Science: A Case Study

by Matthew J. Sharps
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Article

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Was Special Creation De-Nye’d?

by Penny Higgins
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Special Report

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Quantum Mystification

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

From the Editor

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The Epistemology of Thought Experiments, Part 1

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Thinking About Science

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Earthquake Lights Shine Again!

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Psychic Vibrations

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Did Elves Delay Road Construction in Iceland?

by Ben Radford
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Saucer, Saucer, Who’s Got the Saucer?

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 38.3, May/June 2014

Book Review

A review of Inside the Real Area 51: The Secret History of Wright Patterson, by Thomas J. Carey and Donald R. Schmitt.

Stanislaw Burzynski: Four Decades of an Unproven Cancer Cure

Stanislaw Burzynski: Four Decades of an Unproven Cancer Cure

by David H. Gorski
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Article

The Houston doctor Stanislaw Burzynski has been using an unproven cancer cure, “antineoplastons,” for decades, but despite its lack of proven anticancer activity, he has still not been shut down. Here is a primer for skeptics on his career and claims.

Skeptic Activists Fighting for Burzynski’s Cancer Patients

Skeptic Activists Fighting for Burzynski’s Cancer Patients

by Robert Blaskiewicz
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Article

A group of skeptical activists has been aggressively investigating and challenging the false claims of the Burzynski clinic and its dubious cancer treatments, presenting reliable information about them online. They even raised funds for a legitimate research hospital.

CFI Summit: Highlights

CFI Summit: Highlights

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Conference Report

Skeptics, Humanists Come Together in Tacoma in First Joint Conference: Skepticism, Humanism, or Both?

CFI Summit: Impressions

CFI Summit: Impressions

by Susan Gerbic
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Conference Report

Back from the CFI Summit, I am completely impressed. Not only was there no obvious twerking, but there was no drama, and in our tight little community of scientific skeptics that is a wonderful thing.

Eugenie C. Scott Given CFI/CSI Lifetime Achievement Award

Eugenie C. Scott Given CFI/CSI Lifetime Achievement Award

by Ronald A. Lindsay
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Conference Report

Here are the remarks by CFI President and CEO Ronald A. Lindsay at the CFI Summit in Tacoma presenting the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Eugenie C. Scott.

The Conjuring: Ghosts? Poltergeist? Demons?

The Conjuring: Ghosts? Poltergeist? Demons?

by Joe Nickell
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Investigative Files

The 2013 scary movie The Conjuring was very loosely based on the story of Roger and Carolyn Perron and their five daughters who moved into a “haunted” Rhode Island farmhouse in January 1971. There, hysteria soon reigned, the flames of which were fanned by the infamous paranormal “investigators” Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Would the World Be Better Off Without Religion? A Skeptic’s Guide to the Debate

Would the World Be Better Off Without Religion? A Skeptic’s Guide to the Debate

by Scott O. Lilienfeld and Rachel Ammirati
Volume 38.4, July/August 2014

Science and Religion

A special preview from the current issue: The widespread assertion that the world would be better off without religion is a reasonable hypothesis. Yet data suggest that skeptics should attach no more than a modest level of probability to it.

How to Think about Appealing Claims

How to Think about Appealing Claims

by Kenneth L. Feder
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Book Review

A review of Think: Why You Should Question Everything, by Guy P. Harrison.

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What Is the Danger That Terrorists Will Attack the United States with a Nuclear or ‘Dirty’ Bomb?

by Richard E. Wackrow
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Article

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The Burzynski Affair: Forty Years and Counting

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

From the Editor

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The Epsitemology of Thought Experiments, Part 1

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Thinking About Science

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Between a Beer Joint and a Highway Warning Sign: The ‘Classic’ Cash-Landrum Case Unravels

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Psychic Vibrations

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The Lure of Mysterious Paintings

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Notes on a Strange World

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The Mystery of the Texas Chupacabra

by Ben Radford
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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A Philosophical Mind Considers the Universe (and Us)

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Book Review

A review of The Turbulent Universe by Paul Kurtz

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The Continuing Resistance to Acceptance of Reality

by Peter Lamal
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Book Review

A review of Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future by Donald R. Prothero

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The House of Skeptics Serves Psi (and Crow)

by Ben Radford
Volume 38.2, March/April 2014

Book Review

A review of Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics by Chris Carter

The Moon Was Full and Nothing Happened

The Moon Was Full and Nothing Happened

by I. W. Kelly, James Rotton, and Roger Culver
Volume 10.2, Winter 1985-86

Article

A Review of Studies on the Moon and Human Behavior and Lunar Beliefs

Harun Yahya’s Islamic Creationism: What It Is and Isn’t

Harun Yahya’s Islamic Creationism: What It Is and Isn’t

by Stefano Bigliardi
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Article

The works published under the name Harun Yahya promote “Islamic creationism.” A closer look at their internal logic reveals that their appeal lies in their capacity to mimic science.

When Big Evidence Isn’t: The Statistical Pitfalls of Dean Radin’s Supernormal

When Big Evidence Isn’t: The Statistical Pitfalls of Dean Radin’s Supernormal

by Dale DeBakcsy
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Article

Dean Radin’s new book claims that the scientific evidence for supernormal human abilities is now overwhelming. Radin relies upon meta-analyses and misrepresentations of published results to produce outlandish confidence numbers that work against the very belief he is trying to foster.

Demonology: A Study of What Is Not

Demonology: A Study of What Is Not

by Stanley Stepanic
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Article

Demonology is one of the most misused terms in English, particularly by those relating the phrase to the occult. But what is it?

Reduce Greenhouse Emissions and Make a Profit: My Forty-Year Focus on Climate Change

by Thomas R. Casten
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Commentary

My experience suggests a contrarian view on the climate change debate that may be worth sharing with my fellow skeptics, including those of you skeptical of climate science.

Three Days of Science and Skepticism in Stockholm

Three Days of Science and Skepticism in Stockholm

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

News & Comment

Sweden is the home of a large and vibrant skeptics group and was the able host of the 2013 European Skeptics Congress, August 23–25, in Stockholm.

The ‘Bell Witch’ Poltergeist

The ‘Bell Witch’ Poltergeist

by Joe Nickell
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Investigative Files

Called “America’s best-known poltergeist case,” Tennessee’s sensational “Bell Witch” affair of ca. 1817–1821 has gone unexplained, it is said, for two centuries.

Demarcation and Pseudoscience

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Thinking About Science

The demarcation problem is a serious one because science has extraordinary social cachet and commands huge sums of public financing, as well as because pseudoscience maims and even kills people.

Curse of the Evil Eye

Curse of the Evil Eye

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Notes on a Strange World

The evil eye is a lucrative business for many psychics and charlatans. However, the risks run by those who decide to rely on these frauds are often much worse than just a bloodletting to their pocketbooks.

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When Does a Human Life Begin?

by Elie A. Shneour
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Article

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Six Signs of Scientism: Part 2

by Susan Haack
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Article

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Problems with Modern Medicine: Too Much Emphasis on Disease, Not Enough on Managing Risk

by Maciej Zatonski
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Commentary

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Indian Skeptic Assassinated, World’s First Anti-Superstition Law Passed

by Ryan Shaffer
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Special Report

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The Sacrifice of a Skeptic

by Bhaskar Sripada
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Special Report

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Creationism Gone Global

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

From the Editor

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Australian Man Films Giant Glowing Object in the Sky and Then Deletes Comments Explaining What It Is

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Psychic Vibrations

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BMI Skeptics

by Ben Radford
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Skeptical Inquiree

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Philosophy Meets Medicine

by Harriet Hall
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Book Review

A review of Medical Philosophy: Conceptual Issues in Medicine by Mario Bunge

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Explanations and Meta-Ideas

by Paul G. Brown
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Book Review

A review of Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking by Daniel Dennett

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Extra Time or Game Over?

by Daniel Grassam
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Book Review

A review of Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind by Brian Clegg

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Delving into the Abduction Files

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Book Review

A review of The Alien Abduction Files by Kathleen Marden and Denise Stone

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The Unexplained Files—TV Mystery-Mongering

by Stephanie Kemmerer
Volume 38.1, January/February 2014

Television Review

A review of The Unexplained Files on The Science Channel

Losing Our Minds in the Age of Brain Science

Losing Our Minds in the Age of Brain Science

by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Article

Neuroscience and its new brain imaging tools are great achievements of modern science. But they are vulnerable to being oversold by the media, some overzealous scientists, and neuroentrepreneurs.

Why Being Human Makes Evolution Hard to Understand

Why Being Human Makes Evolution Hard to Understand

by Cameron M. Smith
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Article

Our difficulty accepting evolution isn’t just because some religions oppose it or that it is complicated—it isn’t. The problem may be a result of how our minds work.

The Valentich Disappearance: Another UFO Cold Case Solved

The Valentich Disappearance: Another UFO Cold Case Solved

by James McGaha and Joe Nickell
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Article

What did he see? The missing piece of the puzzle in a strange ‘UFO’ case involving the crash of a young pilot off Australia has been identified.

The Jersey Devil: The Real Story

The Jersey Devil: The Real Story

by Brian Regal
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Article

The story of the Jersey Devil has become layered with myths and variations, obscuring the original events that gave rise to it. Not surprising considering the story comes from colonial-era political intrigue, Quaker religious infighting, and a future Founding Father.

Why We Do This: Revisiting the Higher Values of Skeptical Inquiry

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Commentary

I want to give some brief historical perspective about the skeptical movement, take a look at some new trends, and revisit a theme I’ve emphasized before, reminding ourselves why we do this: the higher values of skeptical inquiry.

Where Is the Science in Electronic Voice Phenomena?

Where Is the Science in Electronic Voice Phenomena?

by Everett A. Themer
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Forum

While the evidence they provide is scientifically debated, some tools such as audio recorders have become popular mainstays of the paranormal investigator.

UFO Hoaxes? There’s an App for That!

UFO Hoaxes? There’s an App for That!

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Psychic Vibrations

I knew that it was possible to create all manner of digital UFOs in photographs. What I did not realize was just how easy it has become.

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Six Signs of Scientism: Part 1

by Susan Haack
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Article

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The Future of High Energy Physics in the United States

by Kevin T. Pitts
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Special Report

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Psychic Successes or Memory Failures?

by Theodore E. Parks
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Forum

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Cautions and Enthusiasms

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

From the Editor

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Detective: Uncovering the Mysteries of a Word

by Joe Nickell
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Investigative Files

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Truth, Part II

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Thinking About Science

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Taking Our Medicine: What Hope for Skepticism in Healthcare?

by Kenneth W. Krause
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Science Watch

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Paranormal Qualifications

by Ben Radford
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

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An Inside Look at a ‘Psychic’s’ World

by Ray Hyman
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Book Review

A review of Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium by Mark Edward.

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Scholarly Cryptozoology: Now, There’s Something You Don’t See Every Day

by Sharon Hill
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Book Review

A review of Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids by Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero.

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A Serious Look at Psychiatry’s Madness Model

by Peter Barglow
Volume 37.6, November/December 2013

Book Review

A review of Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs by Stuart A. Kirk, Tomi Gomory, and David Cohen.

Stardust, Smoke, and Mirrors: The Myth of the Mad Genius

Stardust, Smoke, and Mirrors: The Myth of the Mad Genius

by Judith Schlesinger
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article

The myth of the mad genius began with a misinterpretation of Plato’s “divine madness” and has since gathered support and credibility because of public fascination, media distortion, and enthusiastic pseudoscience.

The Psychic Defective Revisited: Years Later, Sylvia Browne’s Accuracy Remains Dismal

The Psychic Defective Revisited: Years Later, Sylvia Browne’s Accuracy Remains Dismal

by Ryan Shaffer
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article

An update of our “Psychic Defective” analysis examines developments in eleven cases Sylvia Browne made predictions about, explores a new reading, and scrutinizes her other failed predictions about the papacy and American politics.

Lost Lessons of the Strangling Angel

Lost Lessons of the Strangling Angel

by LaRae Meadows
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article

Europe’s diphtheria outbreaks in the 1940s provide a sobering context for modern anti-vaccination claims.

Has Global Warming Stopped?

Has Global Warming Stopped?

by David Morrison, John R. Mashey, and Mark Boslough
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Special Report

The latest public confusion about climate change involves an apparent slowing of the rise of global temperatures. What is the reality concerning this putative temperature ‘plateau’?

Dr. Oz’s Questionable Wizardry

Dr. Oz’s Questionable Wizardry

by Joe Schwarcz
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Forum

Miracles are pretty rare events. Except on television’s Dr. Oz Show, where they appear with astonishing frequency.

Bigfoot Lookalikes: Tracking Hairy Man-Beasts

Bigfoot Lookalikes: Tracking Hairy Man-Beasts

by Joe Nickell
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Investigative Files

Over my years as a skeptical cryptozoologist, I have looked for real, natural lookalikes to explain various reported “monsters.” Are there animals that might be mistaken for Bigfoot?

The Mysteries of Leonardo

The Mysteries of Leonardo

by Massimo Polidoro
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Notes on a Strange World

Leonardo da Vinci not only epitomizes genius and creativity, but he is also one of the most sought-after sources of mysteries, both real and invented.

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How News about ESP Research Shapes Audience Beliefs

by Paul R. Brewer
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article

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Electrocuting Parasites: Cutting Edge Pseudoscientific Technology

by Thomas Patterson
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Article

The Chelyabinsk Event of February 15, 2013

The Chelyabinsk Event of February 15, 2013

by David Morrison, Alan Harris, and Mark Boslough
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Article

On February 15, 2013, the million inhabitants of the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk experienced a half-megaton explosion from a disintegrating space rock. What happened, and how did the people of Chelyabinsk react?

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NCCAM Responds to ‘Nurturing Non-Science’ Article

by Alyssa Cotler
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Follow-up

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Authors Reply to NCCAM Response

by Eugenie V. Mielczarek and Brian D. Engler
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Follow-up

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Wildly Wrong, Psychics Shouldn’t Get a Free Pass

by Kendrick Frazier
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

From the Editor

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Truth, Part I

by Massimo Pigliucci
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Thinking About Science

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You Can’t Possibly Be Sirius!

by Robert Sheaffer
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Psychic Vibrations

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Obesity Redux: A Response to Readers

by Kenneth W. Krause
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Science Watch

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Did Psychic Visions Locate Missing California Boy?

by Ben Radford
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Skeptical Inquiree

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The Wonder of Creation Astronomy

by Pierre Stromberg
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Book Review

A review of Wonders Without Number: Created with Purpose or Conceived in Chaos? by David Rives

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A Dangerous Blending of Nazi Fact and Fiction

by Peter Huston
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Book Review

A review of The Nazi Occult by Kenneth Hite

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A Fundamental, Costly Error

by Peter Lamal
Volume 37.5, September/October 2013

Book Review

A review of The Marvelous Learning Animal: What Makes Human Nature Unique by Arthur W. Staats

Down the Garden Path: Faulty Thinking and Self-Delusion

by Harriet Hall
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Article

A Navy neurologist’s credulous venture into acupuncture advocacy serves as a useful case study. Here are twelve mistakes he made rambling down the garden path of self-delusion.

Steven Pinker on Violence

Steven Pinker on Violence

by Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Interview

Acclaimed Harvard psychologist and best-selling author Steven Pinker was interviewed by Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney in a rare live edition of Point of Inquiry, the flagship podcast of our Center for Inquiry. Here is the majority of that interview.

The Queen Mary Is Not Haunted (But I Understand Why You Think She Is)

The Queen Mary Is Not Haunted (But I Understand Why You Think She Is)

by John Champion
Volume 37.4, July/August 2013

Article

The RMS Queen Mary, a ship of enormous historical import, has been transformed into a roadside attraction whose owners profit off the allure of “ghosts.” Her glorious factual history has been brushed aside in a bid to pander to eager ghost-hunting tourists who aren’t thinking critically about the claims.