Skeptics Society News and Site Highlights
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eSkeptic for August 16, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic Harriet, Hall, M.D. (the SkepDoc) examines the latest flavor of integrative medicine called “functional medicine” (FM) — a Trojan horse designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice.
eSkeptic for August 9, 2017
Michael Shermer reviews Knowing the Score: What sports can teach us about philosophy (and what philosophy can teach us about sports), by King’s College philosopher David Papineau
eSkeptic for August 2, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, Tim Callahan explores the question of whether microbes from any given planet will be brutally harmful to the inhabitants of another planet who have no immunity to the alien pathogens.
eSkeptic for July 26, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, George Michael reviews Milo Yiannopoulos’s self-published book Dangerous, which has reached #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, and, at the time of this writing, is near the top of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
eSkeptic for July 19, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Michael Shermer’s article, “Scientific Naturalism: A Manifesto for Enlightenment Humanism,” from Theology and Science, 14 July, 2017.
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness
Harriet Hall, M.D. (the SkepDoc) examines the latest flavor of integrative medicine called “functional medicine” (FM) — a Trojan horse designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice.
Michael Shermer reviews Knowing the Score: What sports can teach us about philosophy (and what philosophy can teach us about sports), by King’s College philosopher David Papineau.
ET v. Earth Pathogens Will ETs Kill Us or Vice Versa?
Tim Callahan explores the question of whether microbes from any given planet will be brutally harmful to the inhabitants of another planet who have no immunity to the alien pathogens.
Provocateur: A Review of Milo Yiannopoulos’s new book Dangerous
George Michael reviews Milo Yiannopoulos’s self-published book Dangerous, which has reached #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, and, at the time of this writing, is near the top of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
I am Not Living in a Computer Simulation, and Neither Are You
Peter Kassan examines the idea that we are all just computer simulations living in a computer simulation.
An Outbreak of Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism: Why We Need Skepticism More Than Ever
Medical sociologist Dr. Robert E. Bartholomew, examines a “baffling epidemic of hallucinations” that was reported to have broken out in Oregon in October of 2016. Was it an outbreak of mass suggestion, or simply an surge of shoddy journalism?
In the tradition of the Enlightenment salons that helped drive the Age of Reason and the public interest in science, the Skeptics Society hosts an intimate Science Salon featuring an “in conversation” between Dr. Michael Shermer and a prominent scientist, scholar, or intellectual. Learn more about Science Salon.
Dr. Walter Scheidel — The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the 21st Century
Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, the Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return.
Dr. Andrew Shtulman — Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong
Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch why do we almost always get these questions wrong?
Dr. Lawrence Krauss — The Greatest Story Ever Told…So Far: Why Are We Here?
Internationally renowned theoretical physicist and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss, tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality and how we find our place within it.
INSIGHT at Skeptic.com brings together a variety of accomplished voices for a broad-ranging but focussed discussion of science and skepticism. INSIGHT will shed light, offer critical perspective, and serve as a broadly accessible, evidence-based resource on mysteries of science, paranormal claims, and the wild, woolly, wonderful weirdness of the fringe.
Confessions of a Skeptical Marketer
Guest writer Steve Cuno shares an insider's view on the ethics of advertising in a world full of false claims.
The Century-Long Fight Against American Quackery
Guest writer Robert Blaskiewicz reports on the early days of the ongoing battle to protect American patients from cynically fraudulent quack "medicine."
The Complexity of Alien Abduction and the Multidisciplinary Nature of Fringe Claims
Daniel Loxton explains that skepticism attracts mixed groups of people with complementary expertise because fringe claims require a multidisciplinary approach.
We’ve all heard the story of Chicken Little—a fanciful tale about panic and jumping to conclusions (“The sky is falling!”). But how would it feel to truly believe that the sky is out to get you? For believers in one strange conspiracy theory, it’s scary to see a blue sky crossed by wispy white contrail lines from passing jet planes. They claim some of those contrails are not clouds or exhaust from jet engines as they appear, but sinister “chemtrails.” Supposedly, an evil government conspiracy uses jet planes to secretly spread poison across skies worldwide. Is there any possibility this paranoid claim could be true? Let’s find out!
How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused
Donald R. Prothero addresses climate change denialism head on, demolishing deniers’ arguments and rebuttals, and clearly demonstrating how we know global warming is real and human caused.
New York Times bestselling author, Michael Shermer, blogs at michaelshermer.com. Quickly access his three most recent blog posts below.
Science Makes America Great
In this March for Science speech, Michael Shermer urges President Donald Trump to consider the vital role science plays in our lives.
How Might a Scientist Think about the Resurrection?
Did Jesus die and come back to life? In the parlance of current events, is this a fake news story, an alternative fact invented by the followers of Jesus, or did it really happen?
If There is No God, is Murder Wrong?
Michael Shermer strikes back against the attack on atheism made by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager, in the recent video ‘If There Is No God, Murder Isn’t Wrong’.
Inspired by Enlightenment Salons that helped drive the Age of Reason and the public interest in science, the Skeptics Society presents Science Salon — a series of intimate conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and a prominent scientist, scholar, or intellectual.
Read Skeptic Magazine on Your Favorite Device!
Read Skeptic magazine on your Apple, Android, and Kindle devices using the FREE Skeptic Magazine App. Read it on Windows devices using the PocketMags App, or read on your PC or Mac via PocketMags.com.
Skeptic Presents is a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire. With your support, we hope to produce these instructional, educational, and entertaining videos regularly throughout the year for free viewing for everyone, everywhere, to spread the message of the power of science and skepticism to make the world a saner, safer place.
Vaccines are one of science’s greatest achievements. Yet, fears and anxieties about immunization persist. In this article, Christian Orlic reviews Mark A. Largent’s new book Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America (2012, John Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-1421406077).
Skeptical Resources Freely Available to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime
The Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource Center is a comprehensive, free repository of resources for teaching students how to think skeptically. This Center contains an ever-growing selection of books, reading lists, course syllabi, in-class exercises, PowerPoint presentations, student projects, papers, and videos that you may download and use in your own classes.
Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?
We’re pleased to present Daniel Loxton’s challenging and provocative new project, “Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?”. Almost two years in the writing, these two meticulously-researched chapter-length explorations dig deeply into the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism. Arguing that it is essential for skeptics to “appreciate that we’re caretakers for the work of those who have come before,” Loxton carries forward the discussion about the scope and limits of scientific skepticism.
Skepticality— the official podcast of Skeptic magazine
Skepticality — the pioneering original skeptics podcast — is a top-rated audio talk show dedicated to skeptical topics and interviews.
MonsterTalk— presented by Skeptic magazine
MonsterTalk critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves.
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The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)
For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.
Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine
Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.
Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?
This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.
The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs
Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.
Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?
What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?
The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts
Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…
Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)
If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!
Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.