Pros:Well written and researched article. Strong defense of science and reason.
Cons:A little dry on the reading. Expensive.
The Bottom Line: Top notch skeptics magazine, applies scientific scrutiny to all sorts of paranormal phenomena and psuedo-scientific claims.
Skeptical Inquirer (SI) is a bi-monthly journal published by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). Devoted to the application of reason and scientific inquiry into the issues and concerns of the day, this magazine contains a wealth of articles that discuss these topics from a skeptical perspective, attempting to debunk superstitious claims, and pseudoscientific theories.
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More information on CSICOP can be found at their web site, www.csicop.org. This organization boasts the membership of such luminaries as Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, Bill Nye, and others. Glancing at their list of Fellows is like reading a Who’s Who list in modern science. Skeptical Inquirer’s editor is Kendrick Frazier, and the editorial board consists of leading figures in various scientific fields. Contributing writers include people like science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke.
Each issue is approximately 80 pages in length, and printed on a very good quality stock. There is very little in the way of advertising in each issue, so the reader definitely will get the most for the money spent. And speaking of money, a yearly subscription runs in the neighborhood of $35. To my knowledge, this magazine is not for sale at newsstand (unless I’m shopping in the wrong places), so a subscription is really your only way to go.
What sort of topics does Skeptical Inquirer pursue? Anything really. In one issue, an in-depth look at veterinary science and some dubious new therapies were examined. In another issue, the prophecies of Nostradamus were given scrutiny. Parapsychology, ESP, UFOs, ghosts, astrology, and many other claims are put to rigorous scientific analysis, often exposing them as hoaxes. Regular columns include a “News and Comment”, which provide comment on current events around the world. “Notes of a Fringe Watcher” devotes space to quasi-scientific New Age movements. There is an extensive section of book reviews, examining the latest literary works on topics that are relevant. Once a year, Skeptical Inquirer devotes a special issue, entitled, “Science Vs. Religion.” As you might have guessed, SI takes a look at all things pertaining to religious belief. Articles on evolution vs. creationism, The Shroud of Turin, faith healing, and many other issues related to religion, including the debate between science and religion, are covered.
I view this magazine as cross between Discover or Scientific American, and Free Inquiry. Where magazines such as Discover simply attempt to educate the reader, Skeptical Inquirer is more aggressive with its mission to seek out and debunk quasi-scientific myths. If you have an interest in scientific issues or superstitious nonsense, then I would strongly recommend this magazine. It is much more thorough its analysis, and is a lot heavier to read then more mainstream magazines. If you consider yourself a skeptic, then a subscription to this magazine is a must have. If you are one who believes in psychics and tarot cards, you might not like this magazine's attempt to debunk your beliefs.
Free Inquiry Magazine – http://www.epinions.com/content_42931818116
The Humanist - http://www.epinions.com/content_42970877572
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