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Customer Review

While it lacks the gloss and pizazz of the one other major magazine in the field (Skeptic), the Skeptical Inquirer is the far better publication of the two. It's much less of a one-man show, being guided by an organization (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal, or CSIOP) rather than a semi-charismatic leader. That's not to say it doesn't have its faults.
Like Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer is heavy on the polemical approach and light on the tolerance. There tends to be a very heavy-handy and condescending attitude towards any religious belief, with a few odd and contradictory exceptions. For example, Martin Garder is a board member and a major inspiration of CSIOP; indeed, his books on "Fads and Fallacies" are among the most often-cited works on pseudoscience. Gardener himself is a practicing Christian, as he discusses in his book "What I Believe", yet he's all too quick to comdemn religious beliefs not concordant with his own. The truely skeptical reader might wonder why Garder's beliefs get a pass, but other religions are deemed cults. Why are only some revelation acceptible?
Overall, though, The Skeptical Inquirer does tend to have a little more of a scientific slant than does The Skeptic, and one will find more scientists writing in The Skeptical Inquirer. For instance, the current issue (July/August 2003) has an article on Memory Recover authored by (among others) Elizabeth Loftus, and a reply by Stephen PInker to an earlier article.
Given the choice between the two magazines mentioned, The Skeptical Inquirer gets my nod as the preferred publication. But it should still be read with an attitude at least as skeptical as the magazine itself.
58 helpful votes
59 helpful votes
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