If you have any comments, corrections or suggestions concerning this FAQ, e-mail Skeptic X at: SkepticX@negia.net
This is the sci.skeptic FAQ. It is intended to provide a factual base for most of the commonly discussed topics on sci.skeptic. Unfortunately I don't have much time to do this in, and anyway a FAQ should be the Distilled Wisdom of the Net rather than just My Arrogant Opinion, so I invite submissions and let all the net experts out there fill in the details. Submissions from any point of view and on any sci.skeptic topic are welcomed, but please keep them short and to the point. The ideal submission is a short summary with one or two references to other literature. I have added comments in square brackets where I think more information is particularly needed, but don't let that stop you sending something else.
If you are reading this with a newsreader and want to follow up on something, please copy the question to the subject line. This is more informative than a reference to the entire FAQ.
This is in no way an "official" FAQ. I am a computer scientist by profession and deeply skeptical of paranormal claims (although I may include some pro-paranormal arguments here). If anyone else with a less skeptical point of view wants to start a FAQ list, please feel free. I certainly can't stop you.
How to Get It
This FAQ is posted once per month on the Usenet groups sci.skeptic and news.answers. Look for it around the 20th of the month.
Many FAQs, including this one, are available on the archive site rtfm.mit.edu in the directory pub/usenet/news.answers. The name under which a FAQ is archived appears in the Archive-name line at the top of the article. This FAQ is archived as skeptic-faq.
Various people have placed copies of this FAQ on their web servers, or on CD-ROMS or other places. These copies may not be up to date. Please check the date at the top of this document to see when it was last updated. Something gets changed most months. If you send a correction, please make sure you are referring to the latest version, or at least quote the version number in your message.
I AM NOT A MAILSERVER. Requests to email the FAQ will be silently ignored.
Suggestions and Updates
I am always happy to accept corrections to this FAQ.
In general it is not very useful to criticize areas of the FAQ as "not explaining it properly." If you want to see something changed then please write a submission which explains it better. Grammar and spelling corrections are always welcome though.
If you send me information related to the FAQ, please say whether I can use your words in the next edition. I have to be careful about this, lest I be accused of publishing private email.
This document is Copyright 1993 Paul Johnson. Permission is granted to you the reader to copy this document onto any medium, including but not limited to paper, electronic storage systems, and microfilm.
Seeking Information [SkepticX@negia.net]
If anyone has any good research on David John Oates' "reverse speech"
please send it to me or tell me where I can access it.
Please send in contact addresses for local and national skeptics organizations not listed in section 11.
The author of the last set of revisions before I got a hold of this FAQ (Bill Latura: BLatura@xnet.com) was looking for someone to tell him about gyroscopes and the angular momentum of the Earth. If you have any such information please send it to him. I'd also like to have it for my copy of this FAQ.
I'm always interested in reliable information about Area 51 and UFOs, but I'm also interested in the current mythology, so if you have anything for me on Area 51 and/or UFOs at all, please sent it.
Credits For Original & Original HTML Versions
Thanks to all the people who have sent me [Bill Latura: BLatura@xnet.com] submissions and comments. There isn't enough room to thank everyone individually, but some of the more major contributors are listed here:
York H. Dobyns YDobyns@phoenix.princeton.edu provided carbon 14 dating information, notes about current psi researchers and other useful comments.
Dendrochronology information came from WHHeydt@pbhya.pacbell.com.
The questions "What are UFOs?" and "Are crop circles made by flying saucers?" were answered by Chris Rutkowski Rutkows@ccu.umanitoba.ca.
Ken Shirriff Shirriff@sprite.berkeley.edu provided information on perpetual motion machines, Leidenfrost reference and the AIDS section.
Robert Sheaffer Sheaffer@netcom.com sent information about Philip Klass and UFO abductions.
The Ezekiel information comes from a posting by John Baskette JFB@draco.macsch.com.
John Boyd JBoyd@uk.ac.ed provided skeptical references on acupuncture.
Eric Raymond ESR@snark.thyrsus.com contributed information on acupuncture, the origin of life, and the CIA AIDS theory.
Kirlian photography information was paraphrased from an article by Dave
Cold reading information came from an article by Pope Charles PopeC@brewich.hou.tx.us.
Todd Stark Tark@com.dec.enet.dwovax sent information on acupuncture analgesia, and provided section 10.1: "What is False Memory Syndrome".
Geoff Lane firstname.lastname@example.org
provided the article and references on Tunguska.
The skeptic organisation list came from Holger Stegemann Holger@esfra.sub.org.
Roger Nelson RDNelson@edu.princeton.phoenix provided section 0.7: "Is there any scientific psi research?".
Information and references on 250 million year old footprints comes from a posting by Darby South of Baton Rouge, LA.
Bill Latura: BLatura@xnet.com
Skeptic X: SkepticX@arches.uga.edu
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