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eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

eSkeptic Archives for 2006

December 20th: You can make a difference
Michael Shermer reviews Sharon Weinberger’s book Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon’s Scientific Underworld.
December 13th: The Bible Against Itself
The Skeptics Society announces a new publication: The Bible Against Itself, by Randel Helms. On Skepticality this week, David Federlein interviews the MythBusters (recorded at The Amazing Meeting 4).
December 6th: Cheesecake (and Beefcake!) in Support of Critical Thinking?
On Skepticality, correspondent David Federlein interviews Skepchick founder (and head volunteer) Rebecca Watson, and Derek & Swoopy talk to Bad Astronomy’s Dr. Phil Plait about his revealing 2007 Skepdude calendar photo. Also, the 9/11 issue of Skeptic magazine hits the stands, the Why Darwin Matters lecture is now on DVD, and Roy Zimmerman sings satire at Shop Skeptic.
November 29th: Julia Sweeney, TAM5 & Michael Richards
We announce: Julia Sweeney’s new CD Letting Go of God, now available at shop skeptic; James Randi compiles a remarkable line-up of speakers for The Amazing Meeting 5; and Michael Shermer sheds some light on Kramer’s Conundrum, in an LA Times op-ed on racism.
November 22nd: Bigfoot Returns!
Michael Shermer receives a press release from Jon-Erik Beckjord, a long-time Bigfoot hunter, along with four photographs of the mysterious creature. Maybe Shermer is just a lousy pattern-seeking primate, but he just can’t see Bigfoot at all, even when he squints and uses his imagination.
November 15th: Why Christians Should Accept Evolution
Michael Shermer shares with us several letters to the editor of Scientific American commenting on his recent article entitled “Darwin on the Right” about how and why conservatives and Christians can and should accept the theory of evolution.
November 8th: Dawkins DVD; Ann Druyan interview; 6 Basic Mistakes
The Skeptics Society announces its exclusive release of Dawkins’ controversial documentary DVD The Root of All Evil? in North America; on Skepticality, Michael Shermer interviews Ann Druyan, wife and collaborator of the late Dr. Carl Sagan; and David Lidden reviews Thomas Kida’s Don’t Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking.
November 3rd: Theatre of Science in NYC; this week’s Shermer lectures
Six foot long bolts of million-volt lightning are created for the first time on a New York stage by British scientists Richard Wiseman and Simon Singh as part of their show, The Theatre of Science; Michael Shermer’s next touring schedule is announced; PLUS, Shermer shares his three-tiered model for reconciling the relationship between science and religion.
October 31st: Halloween 1926 death of Harry Houdini
On the 80th anniversary of the Halloween 1926 death of Harry Houdini, we commemorate his legacy with an all-Houdini Halloween Special bonus episode of Skepticality (featuring an interview with escape artist James “The Amazing” Randi), and, a brief selection from poet Steven Price’s critically acclaimed poetic biography of Houdini, Anatomy of Keys.
October 25th: Simon Singh on Skepticality; American Scientist interviews Shermer
Fraser Cain interviews particle physicist Simon Singh about the dodgy topic of homeopathy and Amos Esty of American Scientist interviews Michael Shermer about debating advocates of intelligent design, the importance of understanding evolution, and why Americans, in particular, are troubled by this fundamental tenet of science.
October 18th: Richard Dawkins and The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins’ upcoming Caltech lecture, The God Delusion, is featured along with an announcement about the website launch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Also, watch Michael Shermer on his East Coast Book Tour in streaming video.
October 11th: Skepticism in Comic Books!
WHAM! POW! KA-BLAM! A Skepticality double header! Derek & Swoopy interview not one, but two authors of comic books and graphic novels dealing with the themes of science and skepticism: Chris Wisnia (creator of the irrepressible Dr. DeBunko) and Jim Ottaviani (creator of graphic novels about scientists from Niels Bohr to Othniel Marsh).
October 3rd: Shermer Book Tour (pt2); Language of God
Michael Shermer speaks at various venues across the east coast and signs copies of his latest book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design; Robert K. Eberle reviews Francis S. Collins’s book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.
September 27th: Shermer Speaks with Randi on Skepticality
Skeptics Society founder Dr. Michael Shermer sits down for a special, one-hour, one-on-one interview with James “the Amazing” Randi! This remarkable conversation was recorded for Skepticality while at sea during the James Randi Educational Foundation’s recent Amazing Adventure cruise — in the midst of the eerie Bermuda Triangle!
September 21st: Godless: The Church of Liberalism
Matthew Provonsha reviews Ann Coulter’s book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, 2006, ISBN 1400054206).
September 14th: New season of Lectures at Caltech
Another fabulous season of lectures at Caltech begins. Dr. Michael Shermer kicks off the season, followed by Dr. Owen Gingerich, Dr. Richard Sloan, Dr. Sam Harris, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Dr. Bart Kosko, and Jonathan Kirsh. Also, Skepticality interviews Dr. Shermer about the new book as well as recaps the whirlwind weekend that was Dragon* Con 2006.
September 11th: 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
On the 5th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, Phil Molé takes a look at the “9/11 Truth Movement” and shares with us his experience attending a weekend conference held in Chicago, organized by 911truth.org.
September 6th: Shermer Book Tour; Environmental Wars
Michael Shermer speaks at various bookstores across the west coast and signs copies of his latest book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design; The Environmental Wars Conference 2006 is launched at Shop Skeptic.
August 30th: new book Why Darwin Matters
Dr. Michael Shermer announces his latest book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design.
August 25th: The Futile Quest for A.I.
In this penetrating skeptical critique of Artificial Intelligence, computer scientist Peter Kassan reviews the numerous reasons why this problem is harder than anyone anticipated.
August 14th: Announcing Skepticality
Michael Shermer announces Skepticality — the offical podcast of Skeptic magazine. Skepticality is a top-rated audio talk show dedicated to skeptical topics and interviews. On this premiere episode of the re-launched Skepticality, Shermer joins hosts Derek & Swoopy to celebrate our exciting new creative partnership.
August 10th: Debunking TV’s “Ghost Hunters”
Alison Smith, the founder of Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society (SAPS), an investigative team devoted to re-creating and debunking popular paranormal video footage shown on television, debunks “Ghost Hunters” — a Sci-Fi Network TV show by one of the most famous paranormal investigation groups in the world (TAPS — The Atlantic Paranormal Society). Smith is a licensed private investigator, armed security officer, and is also a psychology major at the University of Texas at Arlington.
August 3rd: Secrets of Mental Math
We announce your last chance to sign up for Shermer’s Science & Spirituality seminar at the Esalen institute, Secrets of Mental Math (formerly Mathemagics) arrives at Shop Skeptic, and Dr. Dino gets arrested for tax fraud.
July 28th: Is Lonesome George Really Lonesome?
Dr. Frank J. Sulloway explores the question of whether Lonesome George — the only known giant tortoise from the island of Pinta in the Galápagos — is the last survivor of his race.
July 21st: Strip Mall Psychics
Amanda Mitchell interviews Michael Shermer about the paranormal in “Strip Mall Psychics,” we announce Mark Edward’s new book Sense and Séance and link to Laura Marble’s review of Why People Believe Weird Things.
July 13th: Science, Spirituality & the Search for Meaning
Michael Shermer announces his workshop “Science, Spirituality & the Search for Meaning” at the Esalen Institute this August; also, James N. Gardner, the author if Biocosm, reviews Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett.
July 7th: Stephen Hawking & the Pope
Stephen Hawking says that the Pope told him not to study the beginning of the universe; David Ludden reviews The Psychology of Religious Fundamentalism by Ralph W. Hood, Jr., Peter C. Hill, and W. Paul Williamson.
June 29th: The Last Animal on Earth
Michael Shermer reviews Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon by Henry Nicholls.
June 20th: What Galileo Wrought
John C. Snider reviews Galileo’s Children: Tales of Science vs. Superstition (edited by Gardner Dozois).
June 12th: Post-Conference Report
As a follow-up to our annual conference, we link to a couple of independent blogs that have reported on and summarized the events of the weekend.
June 1st: Neuroscience & Morality
Kenneth W. Krause reviews Laurence R. Tancredi’s book, Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality.
May 25th: Facilitated Communication; Flipping on Climate Change
Dr. Lawrence Norton reviews a recent Time magazine article that touted the virtues of Facilitated Communication, and Michael Shermer shares with us the evidence for anthropogenic global warming.
May 18th: Peak Oil & the Skeptical Environmentalist
We present a link to a Reason magazine article by Ronald Bailey, called “Peak Oil Panic.” We also remind readers about a Skeptic magazine back issue in which Frank Miele debunks Bjørn Lomborg’s book, The Skeptical Environmentalist.
May 12th: Scientology & SHAM
Michael Shermer presents a Rolling Stone article on Scientology that he calls “one of the most thoughtful, reasoned, and highly-readable pieces on the Church.” Also, Shermer explores the “Sham Scam,” based on Steve Salerno’s book SHAM: The Self-Help & Actualization Movement.
May 3rd: “One of You Will Betray Me”
Tim Callahan reviews The Gospel of Judas, National Geographic Channel, Sunday, April 9, 2006; and The Gospel of Judas (National Geographic, 2006, ISBN 1426200420), by Bart Ehrman (Commentary), Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst (Eds).
April 27th: The Memory of Marilyn Monroe
Mark Bellinghaus critiques the Marilyn Monroe Exhibit (and briefly debunks the psychic James Van Praagh) that opened in Long Beach, California in November 2005.
April 20th: A Skeptic’s Defense of Supernatural Television
Jason Colavito comes to the rescue of fiction with a skeptical defense of television shows that incorporate the supernatural.
April 13th: Random Thoughts in Kentucky
Jeff Prewitt shares with us his report on the debate between William Dembski and Michael Shermer that took place on March 23rd at the Discovery Institute, University of Kentucky.
April 5th: Prayer & Healng
Michael Shermer reports on the findings of a recent scientific study that tested the efficacy of intercessory prayer.
March 30th: The Skeptic Forum
Jim Dominic, administrator of the Skeptic Forum shares with us his notes on running a skeptic discussion board.
March 24th: Science on a Sweatshirt
David Ludden reviews Moti Ben-Ari’s book Just a Theory: Exploring the Nature of Science.
March 16th: “The Environmental Wars” 2006 conference
The Skeptics Society announces its 2006 Caltech conference called, “The Environmental Wars”.
March 9th: Deities for Atheists — The Science Without a Subject
Michael Shermer reviews George Basalla’s book Civilized Life in the Universe: Scientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials.
March 2nd: Giving the Devil His Due
Michael Shermer asserts that David Irving’s three-year prison sentence for denying the Holocaust “is an assault on the civil liberties of us all.”
February 23rd: Daniel Dennett – Believing in Belief
Michael Shermer reviews Daniel C. Dennett’s book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.
February 16th: Intelligent Design and SETI
Robert Camp explores the validity of William Dembski’s argument from analogy for Intelligent Design.
February 9th: Keep Religion Out of the Science Classroom
The Skeptics Society launches its 2006 public relations campaign to stop religion from being taught in schools.
February 2nd: The Soul of Science; Darwin Day in NYC
We announce Michael Shermer’s new pocket-book The Soul of Science and Darwin Day events in New York City with Richard Milner.
January 23rd: Coast to Coast; annual conference; 9/11
Michael Shermer debates Dr. Gary Schwartz, Russell Targ, and Dean Radin; the Skeptics Society announces its 2006 annual conference; Richard Morrock reviews The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, by David Ray Griffin.
January 19th: Spring 2006 Lecture Series
Michael Shermer announces a new season of lectures and conferences sponsored by the Skeptics Society.
January 9th: The Privileged Planet
Charles G. Lambdin reviews the film “The Privileged Planet: The Search for Purpose in the Universe.”
January 5th: Einstein & the Church
William C. Waterhouse investigates a statement, attributed to Albert Einstein, ostensibly praising the Church.

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