Skeptic is a quarterly science education and science advocacy magazine published internationally by The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs. Founded by Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer, the magazine was first published in the spring of 1992, and is published through Millennium Press.
Shermer remains the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and the magazine’s Co-publisher and Art Director is Pat Linse. Other noteworthy members of its editorial board include Oxford University evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond, magician and escape artist-turned educator James “The Amazing” Randi, and actor, comedian, and Saturday Night Live alumna Julia Sweeney.
Skeptic has a circulation of 50,000 with availability by subscription or on major newsstands in the U.S. and Canada as well as Europe, Australia, and other foreign countries.
History, format and structure
The cover story of the magazine’s very first issue was a tribute to scientist
and science fiction
writer Isaac Asimov
on the cover of volume 12, #2 (2006) is depicted sitting on a park bench reading that issue.
(Asimov wrote a number of stories featuring robots and coined the term robotics
The Skeptics Society
Every issue of the magazine opens with a description of The Skeptics Society and its mission statement, which is to explore subjects such as creationism
, pyramid power
, pseudohistorical claims
(as in the examples of Holocaust denial
and extreme Afrocentrism
), the use or misuse of theory and statistics, conspiracy theories
, urban myths
, witch hunts
, mass hysterias
, and cultural influences on science, as well as controversies involving protosciences
at the leading edge of established science, and even fads
and low-carb diets
. In addition to publishing the magazine, the Society also sponsors lecture series at the California Institute of Technology
, produces and sells tapes of the lectures, as well as other books on pertinent subjects, holds field trips to investigate and research such subjects, conducts social events to promote good-will, and provides resources for the public and the media, with which they may approach controversial subjects from a skeptical viewpoint.
The first text piece in each issue is an editorial
by James Randi
, often made in reaction to stories from the mainstream news media, such as the 2005 story by the ABC newsmagazine Primetime Live
on a Brazilian faith healer
, João Teixeira
. Other times he will examine other topics that he has investigated in the past, such as alleged dowsers
like Sylvia Browne
, UFOs, etc.
The magazine also features a large correspondence section called "Forum", that includes not only letters from lay readers, but also in-depth comments and rebuttals from professionals for extended academic debate across issues from past editions.
The bulk of the magazine is devoted to a variety of topics. Its cover stories have ranged from examination of alleged UFOs in religious icons volume 10 and theories of the likelihood of artificial intelligence to tributes to luminaries such as Isaac Asimov and Ernst Mayr. Some editions feature special sections devoted to a particular topic or theme that is examined through multiple articles by different authors, such as Intelligent design, a frequently recurring topic in the magazine, given the ongoing creation vs. evolution controversy.
The magazine’s page count varies from 104 – 114 pages.
Bound into most issues is also a 10-page young readers section called Junior Skeptic. Heralded by a cover printed on glossy paper (the rest of the magazine is printed on non-glossy stock), Junior Skeptic focuses on one topic, or practical instruction that is written and illustrated in a style more appealing to children.
Daniel Loxton is the Editor of Junior Skeptic. He writes and illustrates most issues.
The first edition of Junior Skeptic appeared Skeptic in volume 6, #2 of Skeptic (2000).
- Emily Rosa vs Therapeutic Touch (volume 6, #2)
- Bigfoot (volume 6, #3)
- Aliens Among Us? (volume 6, #4)
- Fortune telling (volume 7, #1)
- Urban legends (volume 7, #2)
- Halloween (volume 7, #3)
- Television psychics (volume 7, #4)
- Charles Darwin (volume 8, #1)
- Pyramids (volume 8, #2)
- Atlantis (volume 8, #4)
- Moon landing hoax (volume 9, #1)
- Magician’s Force (Magic instruction by magician Bob Friedhoffer.) (volume 9, #2)
- (volume 9, #3)
- Sea monsters (volume 9, #4)
- Extraterrestrial life (volume 10, #1)
- Yeti (volume 10, #2)
- Bermuda Triangle (volume 10, #3)
- King Tut’s Curse (volume 10, #4)
- Loch Ness Monster (volume 11, #1)
- Sasquatch Part 1 of 2 (volume 11, #2)
- Sasquatch Part 2 of 2 (volume 11, #3)
- Madman of Magic (volume 11, #4)
- Pyramid power (volume 12, #2)
- Alien abduction Part 1 (volume 12, #3)
- Alien Abduction Part 2 (volume 12, #4)
- Evolution Part 1 (volume 13, #1)
- Evolution Part 2 (volume 13, #2)
- Ancient astronauts Part 1 (volume 13, #3)
- Ancient astronauts Part 2 (volume 13, #4)
- Dragons (volume 14, #1)
- Crystal skulls (volume 14, #2)
In 2006, an independent, apparently defunct skeptical talk program called Skepticality
was relaunched as Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine
. New episodes of the show are released on a biweekly basis. The show is produced by the original, continuing show hosts, in collaboration with staff of Skeptic
- Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis, 2007, edited by Bryan Farha, University Press of America, ISBN 978-0-7618-3772-5. Several of the chapters are reprints of Skeptic articles.