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.
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.
Fringe Claims: Unified by Neglect, Structural Similarity, and Direct Interconnection
Daniel Loxton considers some of the commonalities that unite the broad portfolio of fringe topics studied by scientific skepticism.
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. Benjamin Bergen — What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves (Science Salon # 7)
In this lecture based on his new book, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Benjamin Bergen, illuminates the controversial and complex nature of profanity and its relationship on our culture.
Dr. Stephon Alexander — The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe (Science Salon # 6)
Photo by Lendel Marshal In The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe, physicist and jazz saxophonist Dr. Stephon Alexander revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander’s own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and […]
Dr. Janna Levin — Gravitational Waves, Black Holes and the Nature of the Cosmos (Science Salon # 5)
In this Science Salon based on her new book, Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, astrophysicist and award-winning writer Dr. Janna Levin tells the epic story of the scientific campaign to record gravitational waves—the holy grail of modern cosmology.
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?
In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this article, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.
Mammoth Mysteries — Part I
In the pages of Junior Skeptic — the engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers, bound within every issue of Skeptic magazine — we often look at “wild and wooly” mysteries. In Junior Skeptic #60 (2016), we mean that literally; we explore the hidden history of mammoths and mastodons! Today, we present an excerpt from the first couple pages of the Junior Skeptic #60, bound within Skeptic magazine 21.3 (2016), available now in print and digital editions.
A Betrayal of Confidence: A Review of The Faith of Christopher Hitchens
Kathleen J. Schultheis reviews Larry Taunton’s book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens.
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 October 19, 2016
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present a podcast double header. Skepticality interviews Angie Feazel Mattke about medical quackery, and MonsterTalk meets Robert Price: The Lovecraft Geek.
eSkeptic for October 12, 2016
In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.
eSkeptic for October 5, 2016
A number of scientists and Silicon Valley billionaires think it’s possible to extend the human life span by a century for people alive now. In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer shares his skepticism; plus, INSIGHT guest writer, Robert Blaskiewicz, reports on the early days of the ongoing battle to protect American patients from cynically fraudulent quack “medicine.”
Mammoth Mysteries! Part One
In the pages of Junior Skeptic, we often look at “wild and wooly” mysteries—but today I mean that literally. In this issue we’ll explore the hidden history of mammoths and mastodons! The elephant family tree has had many oddly shaped branches. There once existed elephants with four tusks or even tusks shaped like shovels. But fossils of mammoths and mastodons weren’t just surprising—they changed science forever! Indeed, the discovery of these great shaggy prehistoric beasts overturned our understanding of the entire world. How did that happen? 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!
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Get the free Skeptic Magazine App and enjoy digital subscriptions and back issues on your iOS and Android devices, PC, Mac, Kindle Fire, BlackBerry PlayBook, and Windows 8 devices!
In the tradition of the Enlightenment salons that helped drive the Age of Reason and the public interest in science, the Skeptics Society is pleased to announce that once a month we will be hosting an intimate Science Salon featuring an “in conversation” between Dr. Michael Shermer and a prominent scientist, scholar, or intellectual (similar to the conversations we have hosted with Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, and others). Dr. Shermer will discuss the guest’s latest science book or research project in a dialogue format, followed by an intimate conversation with the audience that allows more interaction with the guest than a formal Q&A.
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).
Science Education is
No Guarantee of Skepticism
Despite the best efforts of skeptics and teachers to advance scientific thinking, paranormal beliefs and pseudoscientific thinking continue to be commonplace. It is a common popular stereotype that knowledge of science and belief in the paranormal are like opposite ends of a teeter totter: with one tending to rise as the other falls. However, the landscape of belief is considerably more complicated than that. Science education may not be enough when we lack the ability to critically evaluate the evidence for claims. In this article from Skeptic 9.3 we examine the relationship between science knowledge and paranormal beliefs.
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!
eSkeptic is our free email newsletter, delivered once a week. In it, you’ll receive: fascinating articles, announcements, podcasts, book reviews, and more…
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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.
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.