Well, the title about says it all. I am interested in subscribing to a magazine like the Skeptical Inquirer (one that advocates a rational approach to the world, debunks paranormal stuff, and perhaps does a bit of science popularizing), and am wondering if there are any serious competitors to SI. If you have opinions about SI itself, those are welcome too.
SI is a very good magazine. I have read it since I was little. It has its own style and is rigorous yet readable.
The is just plain Skeptic magazine too. I assume the two are unrelated but I don’t know much about that one.
I really prefer Skeptic to Skeptical Inquirer. The issues of SI that I’ve read have a very condescending tone to them. SI felt like “let’s laugh at the stupid people”, where Skeptic is more “let’s really look into why this is happening”. A few other people I’ve talked to have the same opinion towards SI, but that’s just our take on it.
Moved from IMHO to CS.
There also used to be The Zetetic or The Zetetic AScholar, founded by someone originally with SI (Marcello Truzzi?). I think it’s out of print now.
I never got the impression that SI was about “Let’s laugh at the deluded”, but I have disagreed on a few rare occasions with SI. SI and Skeptic seem to have large areas of non-overlapping interest, so they complement each other.
I dunno; do rationalists hang out in CS?
As Cal has nodded towards, there are types of article that SI will run which Skeptic is unlikely to and vice versa.
To generalise, SI follows CSICOP’s focus in restricting themselves to a relatively narrow range of topics. Broadly this is astrology, parapsychology, ufology, alternative medicine and similar subjects. They’re also particularly keen on articles about the psychology of belief and the philosophy of science. The writing style tends to be more academic than that found in Skeptic.
Skeptic, by contrast, covers a wider spectrum of subjects, not all of which would fall into everybodies definition of pseudoscience. Thus they’ll run articles on historical nonsense - like holocaust denial or Fomenko’s “New Chronology” - which the editors at SI would probably consider outside their remit (though Joe Nickell’s column often does deal with historical mysteries).
Personally, I was a longtime SI subscriber who let it lapse once Martin Gardner retired from writing his regular column. The magazine could do with more of what I suppose you might call “nuts-and-bolts” scepticism that’s interested in examining the details of specific claims and theories, rather than arguing about belief or science in general. It suffers from too many articles based on giving yet another introductory psychology class a survey to fill in, the results of which are rarely interesting.
Currently, I’ll usually buy a copy of either magazine when I see one on sale, though that’s a bit hit-and-miss here in London.
Thanks for the replies. I am curious to hear more about the differences between *Skeptical Inquirer * and Skeptic. But I might just subscribe to both for a year and see which I like better. I don’t think either is that expensive.
I read Skeptical Inquirer for a while and then realized I didn’t need these people to tell me what’s wrong with the test/ideas spouted by lunatics. On the other hand they tend to make arguments from ignorance all the time and I see them more as a religious cult of scientism than objective scientists.
I am a long time subscriber to both and enjoy them both. As bonzer said, SI tends to be more academic. A lot of the same people contribute to both of them.
Doesn’t Skeptic still run the column by Randy Cassingham which openly does exactly what you “feel” SI does? SI is more formal than Skeptic. Maybe that’s what you interpret as condescending.
I subscribe to SI, and buy Skeptic every once in a while. I don’t object to either, but prefer SI’s layout, and the more academic tone. SI challenges not just kooks, but academic believers in the paranormal. Every so often they may be insulting, but they always get called on it in the letters.
I’d recommend buying a few issues of each to see.