The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly, American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason.
CSI's mission statement is to "encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public." The Skeptical Inquirer is an international magazine, and is not a formal scientific journal.
The content consists of articles, columns and book reviews on that critically examine a variety of topics, such as ESP, homeopathy, astrology, SETI, the creation-evolution controversy, the historical basis of legendary persons such as King Arthur, and controversial medical diagnoses like Attention Deficit Disorder.
For the thirtieth anniversary of the Skeptical Inquirer in 2006, CSICOP founder Paul Kurtz listed four long-standing policies:
- to criticize claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience
- to replicate the methods of scientific inquiry and the nature of the scientific outlook
- to seek a balanced view of science in the mass media
- to teach critical thinking in the schools .
If an article criticizes a proponent of a paranormal claim, he is always given an opportunity to respond. . Some have taken advantage of that opportunity (Suitbert Ertel and Michel Gauquelin, for example).
Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope calls the Skeptical Inquirer "one of the nation's leading antifruitcake journals".
The magazine was originally titled The Zetetic
and was founded and originally edited by Marcello Truzzi
. The first issue was in the Fall of 1976. About a year later there was a dispute regarding the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP): Truzzi wanted to include proponents of paranormal ideas in the group and the magazine. Following a no-confidence vote against Truzzi, he resigned, and the magazine was (starting with volume 2, issue 2) retitled Skeptical Inquirer
and Kendrick Frazier
(former editor of Science News
) became the new editor.
It retained The Zetetic as a subtitle through volume four. The magazine was initially a bi-annual publication in digest size (15 cm by 23 cm). In about two years it changed to being a quarterly publication; then in 1994 it started being published bimonthly. In 1995 it became a full-sized publication (21cm by 27 cm). Since January 1996, its subtitle has been: The magazine for science and reason. In 1998 it started using '"slick" paper. As of 2006 Frazier is still the editor and Benjamin Radford is the managing editor. The magazine is headquartered in Amherst, New York.
There have been several collections of articles from the Skeptical Inquirer,
most edited by Frazier. A DVD and CD-ROM of all articles of the first twenty-nine years has been released. Books of collections of articles are:
- Paranormal Borderlands of Science (1981). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-148-7.
- Science Confronts the Paranormal (1986). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-314-5.
- The Hundredth Monkey: And Other Paradigms of the Paranormal (1991). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 0-87975-655-1
- The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal (1996). edited by Joe Nickell, Barry Karr, and Tom Genoni, CSICOP.
- The UFO Invasion: The Roswell Incident, Alien Abductions, and Government Coverups (1997). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-131-9
- Encounters With the Paranormal: Science, Knowledge, and Belief (1998). edited by Kendrick Frazier, Prometheus Books; ISBN 1-57392-203-X.
- Bizarre Cases: From the Files of The Skeptical Inquirer (2000). edited by Benjamin Radford, CSICOP
- Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis, 2007, edited by Bryan Farha, University Press of America, ISBN 978-0-7618-3772-5. Five of the eighteen chapters are reprints of Skeptical Inquirer articles.