Science Lecture This Sunday
Plato at the Googleplex:
Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
Dr. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Sun., June 8, 2014 at 2 pm
Baxter Lecture Hall, Caltech
Stephen Hawking said philosophy is dead. Plato would disagree, says the acclaimed philosopher and novelist Rebecca Goldstein, who provides a dazzlingly original plunge into the drama of philosophy, revealing its hidden role in today’s debates on religion, morality, politics, and science. Philosophy is not obsolete, and the ancient questions that Plato asked are still relevant in the age of cosmology and neuroscience, crowd-sourcing and cable news. Imagine that Plato came to life in the 21st century and embarked on a multicity speaking tour. How would he handle the host of a cable news program who denies there can be morality without religion? How would he mediate a debate between a Freudian psychoanalyst and a tiger mom on how to raise the perfect child? How would he answer a neuroscientist who, about to scan Plato’s brain, argues that science has definitively answered the questions of free will and moral agency? What would Plato make of Google, and of the idea that knowledge can be crowd-sourced rather than reasoned out by experts? With a philosopher’s depth and a novelist’s imagination and wit, Goldstein probes the deepest issues confronting us by allowing us to eavesdrop on Plato as he takes on the modern world. A book signing will follow the lecture.
Order Plato at the Googleplex from Amazon.
TICKETS: First come, first served at the door. Seating is limited. $10 for Skeptics Society members and the JPL/Caltech community, $15 for nonmembers. Your admission fee is a donation that pays for our lecture expenses.
Skeptic 19.2: Boston Bombing Conspiracy Theories
Available Now in Print & Digital Formats
The latest issue is available now in print and digital formats. Order a hard copy or download the digital version using the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, Android, BlackBerry PlayBook, Kindle Fire HD, Mac, PC, and Windows 8 devices. This issue won’t likely hit newsstands for another week or so and current subscribers should receive it by the end of June.
NEW ON MICHAELSHERMER.COM
Efforts have been made over the past two decades to reduce the world’s active nuclear stockpiles. Can we get to “nuclear zero”? In Michael Shermer’s June 2014 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, he asks whether deterrence prohibits the total abolishment of nuclear weapons?
MonsterTalk # 82
The Mongolian Death Worm
The Mongolian Death Worm—its name conjures up images of fantastic beasts like the sand worms in Dune or the creatures from the film Tremors, but the actual legends are even stranger. We discuss the legends and facts behind this cryptid with the official zoologist for the Center for Fortean Zoology, Richard Freeman.
NEW ON SKEPTICBLOG.ORG
The Profound Awfulness of Discovery’s
Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives
Daniel Loxton reflects on monster hoaxes—and Discovery Channel’s tarnished reputation.
A Very Happy Retirement to My Kids Can Press
Editor Valerie Wyatt
Daniel Loxton reflects on the importance of good editors in the life of a writer, and wishes a happy retirement to one of the very best.
The Best of rbutr
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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.