Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | ISSN 1556-5696

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It is Time Again to Support
Your Skeptics Society!

THE SKEPTICS SOCIETY is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization whose goal is to promote skeptical thinking (i.e. thinking like a scientist). Your generous support helps us continue our educational outreach through venues such as:

  • Our international quarterly magazine SKEPTIC
    (including Junior Skeptic inside every issue)
  • Our website, podcasts, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Our Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech
  • Media interviews on national TV, radio, and in national paper
    (opinion editorials, commentaries, and reviews)
  • University and college lectures
  • Michael Shermer’s monthly column in Scientific American
  • Skepticblog (with top skeptical writing talent), and
  • Our free, weekly email newsletter, eSkeptic.
We’re Taking Skepticism into the Classroom!

This fall semester (2011) Michael Shermer has been teaching a course for Freshmen at Chapman University entitled “Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist (Without Being a Geek).” Students are instructed to write a 700-word OpEd essay, deliver an 18-minute TED talk, and conduct an experiment testing a paranormal claim. They are reading many classic skeptical books and each week Shermer lectures on a classic skeptical topic such as: science and pseudoscience • science and religion • science and morality • evolution and creationism • the Baloney Detection Kit • how science works • Big Foot and Loch Ness, aliens and UFOs, Bermuda Triangle and Atlantis, etc.

Your Donations Will Help Put Skepticism into Schools & Teach Students How to Think, Not Just What to Think

Shermer’s “Skepticism 101” course is a pilot course for the development of a Skeptical Studies Curriculum that can be used in any classroom anywhere in the world, from middle school to high schools, and community colleges to universities. We are building a free, comprehensive online resource center dedicated to Skeptical Studies that will allow anyone, anywhere, anytime, to access for free any and all materials they might need to teach such a class of their own design, including:

  • Syllabi, reading lists, articles
  • Essays, lectures and notes, PowerPoint/Keynote presentations
  • Videos, YouTube links, educational and entertaining in-class demonstrations on how to teach skeptical principles and the psychology behind them with hands-on experiences
  • Other teaching tools that visually illustrate key points of skeptical thinking on how science works and how thinking goes wrong.

We have already begun collecting hundreds of submissions from teachers around the world as result of our initial invitation to submit skeptical course syllabi. With your help we can put Skepticism 101 resources on the web—a free, easy access location for educators wanting to introduce a particular topic to a class or to develop an entire course. To that end please take a moment to donate and support this worthy project.

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5 cryptids

Which two cryptids are likely inspired by a real animal? Download the free PDF
and find out!

Free Crytpid Cards (for considering a donation)

As our thank you to you for your generous support, we are offering a free download of 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Loxton won the prestigious Lane Anderson Award for the best Canadian science book of the year for young readers: Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be, a work that generated enormous media coverage, including the fact that the book was rejected by American publishers for being too controversial because it deals with the “E” word! As the Globe and Mail noted:

Daniel Loxton, an illustrator and writer, created a children’s book so outrageous, so outlandish, so controversial no American publisher dared touch it. It does not depict nudity. It does not contain curse words. It does not include blasphemy. The love scenes, such as they are, involve males with females. It does include a straightforward explanation for the complexity of the natural world through a simple scientific theory. The book wound up being published by Canadian-owned Kids Can Press, which also expected objections from creationists. So far, the book, an illustrated primer written for readers in Grades 3 to 7, has generated more prize nominations than controversy.

Download cryptid cards for on-screen viewing (3MB PDF at 72 dpi)
Download cryptid cards suitable for printin (50MB PDF at 300 dpi)
For contributions that fit a donation amount below,
you are eligible to receive the associated gift(s).
PATRON—$5000 or more
A private dinner with our Executive Director Michael Shermer at a restaurant of your choice, plus the three premium gifts listed below.
BENEFACTOR—$1,000 or more
Five of the “Greatest Hits” lectures from our Caltech lecture series on DVD: Mr. Deity & Friends, Michio Kaku’s The Physics of the Future, Sean Carroll’s From Particles to People, Leonard Mlodinow’s The Grand Design, and Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape, plus the two premium gifts below.
SPONSOR—$500 or more
A copy of Jared Diamond’s latest book, Natural Experiments of History, plus Daniel Loxton’s new book, Ankylosaur Attack, for kids aged 4 to 7 with stunningly realistic images of dinosaurs and deceptively simple but information- packed scientifically accurate story, plus the premium gift below.
SUPPORTER—$100 or more
An autographed copy of Michael Shermer’s new book, The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.
Make a tax-deductible donation to your Skeptics Society
What We Did With Your Donations This Past Year
  1. Michael Shermer’s new book, The Believing Brain, made it to the New York Times bestseller list thanks to the national book tour (that included an appearance on the Colbert Report). On tour, Shermer met with local skeptics groups in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Denver, San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York.
  2. The Skeptics Society hosted a Science Symposium at Caltech with over 700 people in attendance, including hundreds of high school and college students from all over the United States, and even from around the world.
  3. The Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech featured Fields Medal winner Shing-Tung Yau, cosmologist Sean Carroll, astronomer David Weintraub, string theorist Michio Kaku, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, neuroscientist Patricia Churchland, biologist Tim Flannery, geologist Don Prothero, twins expert Nancy Segal, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, psychologist Steven Pinker, Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, evolutionary theorist Robert Trivers, neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga.
  4. The Skeptics Society hosted three geology tours featuring Donald Prothero, including a remarkable cruise through the inside passage of Alaska for spectacular glacier viewing. We have more geology tours planned for 2012.
Questions?

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