Skeptics Society News and Site Highlights
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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.
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. 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.
Dr. Carol Tavris — Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)
Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it? Social psychologist Dr. Carol Tavris, one of the most influential thinkers and writers of our time, explores in dialogue with Michael Shermer cognitive dissonance and what happens when we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people—we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth.
Gary Taubes — The Case Against Sugar
Gary Taubes delves into Americans’ history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
How Accurate is the “Cycle of Abuse”?
Are abused children doomed to repeat the crimes of their abusers? In this column, Carol Tavris examines our intuition about the “cycle of abuse.”
What is Sexual Orientation?
When it comes to understanding sexual orientation “nobody knows anything” is a pretty close assessment. In this column from Skeptic magazine 21.3, Carol Tavris explores various notions and definitions of sexual orientation.
Skeptic’s Science Dialogue with Bill Nye the Science Guy
In this Science Dialogue, Michael Shermer interviews Bill Nye the Science Guy about his new Netflix series Bill Nye Saves the World.
eSkeptic, our free email newsletter, delivers science to your inbox once a week. We never share your address and you can unsubscribe at any time.
eSkeptic for March 29, 2017
It was 20 years ago this week, March 20–26, 1997, that 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult “graduated” from this life to ascend to the UFO mothership that they believed would take them to an extraterrestrial paradise.
eSkeptic for March 22, 2017
Are abused children doomed to repeat the crimes of their abusers? In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris examines our intuition about the “cycle of abuse.”
eSkeptic for March 15, 2017
When it comes to understanding sexual orientation “nobody knows anything” is a pretty close assessment. In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris explores various notions and definitions of sexual orientation. This column was originally published in Skeptic magazine 21.3 (2016).
eSkeptic for March 8, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses the question of whether artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to human beings; MonsterTalk interviews Guy Lyon Playfair about The Enfield Poltergeist; and Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix and in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine 22.1!
eSkeptic for March 1, 2017
The media love to hype “Fountain of Youth” claims. Many diverse treatments being promoted as “anti-aging” remedies are not grounded in science, are misleading, and sometimes even illegal. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. discusses some of the those treatments.
An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection
In this special issue of Junior Skeptic we’ll learn many valuable tricks for sorting truth from nonsense. We need them! We’re bombarded by claims every day of our lives. Friends tell us stuff. Labels and advertisements make claims about products. Books and websites make claims about the world. TV and YouTube channels show us amazing sights and tell us astonishing stories. But some of the things we hear sound too good to be true. How do we tell the difference between fact and baloney? 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.
Since 1992, the Skeptics Society has sponsored the Distinguished Science Lecture Series, hosting 350 of the biggest names in science. This series of lectures has covered the most cutting edge discoveries and controversial topics in all of science, and enabled students, educators, and the general public to hear what’s new in science and skepticism. You can watch some of our most popular science lectures online, on demand, around the world, at prices we think you’ll really like!
New York Times bestselling author, Michael Shermer, blogs at michaelshermer.com. Quickly access his three most recent blog posts below.
Science for All
Science is universal, international, inclusive, nonpartisan, a-political, a-gender, a-race, and a-ideological. Don't inject identity politics.
Dying To Go To Heaven
It was 20 years ago this week, March 20-26, 1997, that 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult “graduated” from this life to ascend to the UFO mothership that they believed would take them to an extraterrestrial paradise.
4 reasons why people ignore facts and believe fake news
In this op-ed from Business Insider, Michael Shermer shares four reasons why people ignore facts and believe fake news.
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 Dr. Michael Shermer in a dialogue with 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.
Science in your inbox every Wednesday!
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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.