Skeptic » eSkeptic » April 29, 2009

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine




Special Skeptics Distinguished Lecture:
The Evolution of God

with Robert Wright, author of  Nonzero and  The Moral Animal
at Baxter Lecture Hall, Caltech (map)

Special EVENING weekday lecture:
THURSDAY, June 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Robert Wright (photo copyright 2002 by Fredrik Sweger)
book cover

In this sweeping story that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, bestselling author Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright’s findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy. He explains why spirituality has a role today, and why science, contrary to conventional wisdom, affirms the validity of the religious quest. And this previously unrecognized evolutionary logic points not toward continued religious extremism, but future harmony.

Robert Wright introduced the world to evolutionary psychology through his wildly popular bestselling book The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are. His most controversial book, Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, put forth the theory that human evolution and the history of civilization contain within them an inevitable trend toward more and more win-win nonzero game exchanges between people and groups that has led humans to dominate the planet. In his new book, The Evolution of God, Wright reveals his new theory about the power of globalization and cultural integration. DOWNLOAD lecture details

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO POST FLYER ON CAMPUS!

Do you work or go to school on a Southern California campus? VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED TO POST THE WRIGHT LECTURE FLYER ON YOUR CAMPUS!

Due to the short notice for this lecture we are unable to do a mailing. We are calling for volunteers to download the flyer for this lecture and post it on your campus so your colleagues do not miss the opportunity to attend this lecture by an outstanding author. DOWNLOAD the FLYER to POST


The Amazing Meeting 7 web banner

The Amazing Meeting 7
a conference on critical thinking

July 9–12 2009
South Point Casino
Las Vegas

From the opening reception on Thursday night, to a live testing of a Million Dollar Challenge applicant on Sunday, TAM 7 will be a non-stop tour de force of critical thought. At TAM 7 you’ll hear great talks, participate in workshops to help you sharpen your skeptical skills, and hear how other people are promoting a rational world.

Guest speakers include friends old and new: Bill Prady (keynote speaker), Executive Producer of the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory, Mythbuster Adam Savage, Joseph Albietz, Dean Cameron, “Chip” Denman, Tim Farley, D.J. Grothe, Harriet Hall, MD, aka “the SkepDoc”, Ray Hall, George Hrab, Ray Hyman, Michael Shermer, Alison Smith, Fintan Steele, Jamy Ian Swiss, Johnny Thompson and Stephen Bauer (the attorney who administered the estate of magician/inventor Jerry Andrus, who will share with us the inventions and secrets found in Andrus’ 118-year-old Victorian household).

You’ll also see the usual dynamite roster of presenters such as JREF President and Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, paranormal investigator Joe Nickell, magician and mentalist Jamy Ian Swiss, and of course James Randi himself. Hal Bidlack will MC the conference. The JREF is also partnering with Dr. Steve Novella of The New England Skeptical Society to hold the Science-Based Medicine Conference, a one-day meeting about medicine, skepticism, and the need for critical thinking in the healthcare system.

But the best thing about TAM 7? It’s the community. You’ll be with hundreds of other people who prefer the world the way it really is: free from magical thinking, paranormal hucksters, irrationality, and antiscience.

READ more & REGISTER

Richard Milner

Charles Darwin, Live and in Concert!

Our friend and fellow Darwinian Richard Milner, the singing Darwin scholar, will be performing around the country, including in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and we encourage you to not miss this terrific show that celebrates Darwin’s 200th birthday. Milner is the author of The Encyclopedia of Evolution and the forthcoming Darwin’s Universe. He was an editor of Natural History magazine where he edited the essays of Stephen Jay Gould.

VIEW complete tour details online


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new this week on MichaelShermer.com

Inside the Outliers

Are successful people primarily the beneficiaries of luck, timing and cultural legacy? What is the difference between Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber and Joe Biden? One is vice president, and the other two are not. Why? The answer depends on a host of interactive variables that must be factored into any equation of success: genes, parents, siblings, peers, mentors, practice, drive, culture, timing, legacy and luck. The rub for the scientist is determining the percentage of influence of each variable and its interactions, which requires the use of sophisticated statistical models…

CONTINUE reading the column >

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

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.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

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.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

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.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

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.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

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?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

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…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

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!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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