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eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

eSkeptic Archives for 2007

December 19th: Deconstructing a Postmodernist Critique of Evolution
Dr. Norman Levitt reviews Steve Fuller’s book entitled Science vs. Religion?: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution.
December 12th: The Immortal Lily the Pink
Daniel Loxton comments on the history (and future) of patent medicine in light of 2007’s status as the 100th anniversary of active Federal regulation of food and drugs.
December 5th: You Can Prove a Negative
Steven D. Hales says “you can prove a negative” and that skeptics need not concede this point in debates.
November 28th: Newtonmas Holiday Sales Bonanza!
The Skeptics Society is having a Holiday Sales Bonanza in celebration of Newtonmas (a tradition amongst skeptics) in recognition of Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday (he’s 365 this year!) on December 25.
November 20th: The Matrix of the Brain
David Ludden reviews by Cordelia Fine‘s book entitled A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives.
November 14th: Answering Questions on UFOs and Aliens
Dr. David Morrison, a Senior Scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, answers questions about astrobiology sent to “Ask an Astrobiologist”. Read on to find out how Dr. Morrison handles queries like “where are you hiding the alien bodies?” and other such matters.
November 7th: Crystals for Skeptics!
The Skeptics Society presents Crystals for Skeptics!, a geology trip to the Oceanview Mine in Pala, California. Also, in this eSkeptic, Michael Shermer talks about God in New York.
October 31st: Is there nonhuman primate language?
Dr. Clive Wynne, a psychology professor at the University of Florida and the author of the authoritative textbook on the subject of animal cognition, revisits the debate about whether animals have language.
October 24th: How the Medical Mind Works
Harriet Hall, M.D. (Skeptic magazine’s resident expert on all matters medical) reviews Jerome Groopman’s book How Doctors Think. PLUS, Shermer appears on CNN’s Glenn Beck show to discuss 9/11 conspiracy theories; Dinesh D’Souza and Michael Shermer debate “Is Christianity Good for the World?”.
October 17th: new issue of Skeptic on Medical Controversies
A new issue of Skeptic magazine (volume 13, number 3) hits the news stands with a special section on Medical Controversies; Shop Skeptic gets three new Richard Dawkins DVDs; and Michael Shermer shares The Real Secret.
October 10th: Two Views, One Reality
Jason Rosenhouse reviews two books: Francisco Ayala’s Darwin and Intelligent Design and Philip Kitcher’s Living With Darwin: Evolution, Design and the Future of Faith.
October 3rd: Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography
James N. Gardner reviews Janet Browne’s book Darwin’s Origin of Species: A Biography.
September 26th: Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis
Angelo Stagnaro reviews Bryan Farha’s book Paranormal Claims: A Critical Analysis.
September 19th: The Trickster and the Paranormal
Robert R. Lavieri reviews George P. Hansen’s book entitled The Trickster and the Paranormal.
September 12th: Announcing the Fall Season of Lectures at Caltech
The Skeptics Society announces its fall season of lectures at Caltech.
September 5th: A Fond Farewell to Jerry Andrus & Paul MacCready
Michael Shermer shares his personal remembrances of his good friends Jerry Andrus and Paul MacCready, who recently passed away.
August 29th: Burn Down the Thinkeries!
Jonathan Gottschall reviews Frederick Crews’ book Follies of the Wise: Dissenting Essays.
August 22nd: How Doctors Think They Think
Charles Lambdin reviews Jerome Groopman’s book: How Doctors Think.
August 15th: Bioidentical Hormones
Dr. Harriet Hall, Skeptic’s resident expert on all matters medical, examines the evidence surrounding bioidentical hormone treatment.
August 8th: Primate Politics Heats Up Again
World-renowned primateologist Frans de Waal, responds to a recent New Yorker article on bonobos, in which primate politics, both left and right, once again muddled the science.
August 1st: Blinded by Science?
We present two reviews of Frank Tipler’s book The Physics of Christianity — the first review by Lawrence Krauss and the second by Tim Callahan.
July 25th: Testing Tenure
Michael Shermer proposes a market solution to the problem of tenure in this invited open peer commentary on an article entitled “Is Tenure Justified? An Experimental Study of Faculty Beliefs About Tenure, Promotion, and Academic Freedom” by Stephen J. Ceci, Wendy M. Williams, and Katrin Mueller-Johnson, published in a 2006 issue of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, volume 29, pages 553–569.
July 18th: Michael Shermer on Larry King Live
Michael Shermer shares some of the more amusing (and nasty) letters he received after his appearaance on the UFO episode of Larry King Live. Also, David Sloan Wilson responds to Dawkins; and Shermer tries remote viewing.
July 11th: DNA as Evolution’s Proof
Kenneth K. Krause reviews Sean B. Carroll’s book entitled The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Record of Evolution.
July 4th: Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong About Religion
David Sloan Wilson shares with us his analysis of Dawkins’ theory of religion, which he feels is wide of the mark based on the evidence.
June 27th: Why This Universe?
Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator and host of the PBS television series Closer To Truth provides a brilliant summation and classification of the numerous answers to the question “Why This Universe?”; PLUS, Michael Shermer experiments with the “God Helmet” and recounts his out of body experience.
June 20th: the Vaccine-Autism Myth
Matthew P. Normand and Jesse Dallery, Ph.D. address one of the hottest topics in the news this week: vaccination and autism, considering the best scientific evidence to date on the possible connection. As you shall see, the scientists considering the link, Matthew P. Normand and Jesse Dallery, provide an excellent summary of what we know and do not know.
June 13th: Loch Ness and other Lake Monsters
Daniel Loxton provides a skeptical commentary on Gordon T. Holmes Loch Ness Monster video and reviews Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World’s Most Elusive Creatures, by Benjamin Radford and Joe Nickell.
June 6th: Who Designed That?
Tom McIver discusses “the faith that dare not say its name” (a.k.a. Creationism) and suggests that although Evolution can be accepted with or without belief in God or the Bible, teaching creationism, including ID creationism, requires the unnecessary entanglement of religion with science.
May 30th: And God Created Lenin
Paul Gabel discusses the Soviet failed attempt to eradicate religion by fiat out of the Russian people. The historical experiment carries an important lesson for those who study belief systems in general and religion in particular: you cannot legislate beliefs and faith.
May 23rd: the New Creation Museum in Kentucky
A review of the new young-earth creationism museum in Kentucky, visited by our colleague and correspondent Stephen Asma.
May 16th: Flock of Dodos
Donald R. Prothero reviews Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny, by Barrett Brown and Jon P. Alston.
May 9th: Hitchens and God
Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens.
May 2nd: Science Will Never Explain Everything
Robert Ehrlich addresses one of the standard myths about science: that the gaps in scientific knowledge mean that there is something wrong with science and that the scientific method is inherently deeply flawed. Ehrlich notes that the exact opposite is the case: where gaps exist is where science flourishes.
April 25th: Ancient Astronauts, Lost Civilizations
Skeptic magazine’s Religion Editor Tim Callahan shows how classic myths of ancient astronauts and other legends have grown into practically religious beliefs for many New Age spiritualists who have grown disenchanted with mainstream religion and have turned to these legends to find mythic meaning.
April 18th: The Problem of Evil in a Darwinian World
Dr. Norman Levitt reviews by George Levine’s book entitled Darwin Loves You: Natural Selection and the Re-enchantment of the World.
April 11th: Bad Apples or Bad Barrels?
Jennifer McKevitt reviews by Philip Zimbardo’s book entitled The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
April 4th: God — the Failed Hypothesis
David Ludden reviews Victor J. Stenger’s book entitled God: The Failed Hypothesis — How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist.
March 28th: Measuring the Deity
Warren Allmon reviews two books: The Measure of God. Our Century-Long Struggle to Reconcile Science & Religion. The Story of the Gifford Lectures, by Larry Witham; and Before Darwin. Reconciling God and Nature, by Keith Stewart Thomson.
March 21st: Dr Zimbardo; Mind of the Market
Michael Shermer tries out some new ideas at a free lecture on evolutionary economics; and Dr. Philip Zimbardo lectures at Caltech on the topic of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.
March 14th: The Legacy of Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was a man ahead of his time. On the 10th anniversary of his death we celebrate Carl Sagan’s remarkable legacy in Skeptic magazine volume 13, number 1.
March 7th: The Secret
Ingrid Hansen Smythe gives us her skeptical analysis of the movie The Secret.
February 28th: Dawkins v. Collins
Gary J. Whittenberger gives us a skeptical analysis of the “spirited debate between atheist biologist Richard Dawkins and Christian geneticist Francis Collins” which appeared in Time magazine on November 13, 2006.
February 21st: a Mammoth in the Garden
In a review essay, Paul R. Gross discusses: The Creationist Debate: The Encounter Between the Bible & the Historical Mind, by Arthur McCalla; Creatures of Accident: The Rise of the Animal Kingdom, by Wallace Arthur; and The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Francis S. Collins.
February 16th: Before the Dawn
Kenneth Krause reviews Nicholas Wade’s book, Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors.
February 12th: Darwin Day
Today, the Skeptics Society celebrates one of the greatest thinkers in history, Charles Darwin, on what would be his 198th birthday.
February 7th: New season of Lectures at Caltech
The Skeptics Society is pleased to announce its Spring 2007 season of the Skeptics Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech.
January 31st: two reviews of Richard Dawkins’ latest
Norman Levitt and Michael Shermer offer two different reviews of Richard Dakwins’ book, The God Delusion.
January 24th: Mr. Deity & Letter to a Christian Nation
Mr. Deity explores the lighter side of religion through His humorous short films and Kenneth W. Krause reviews Sam Harris’ book Letter to a Christian Nation.
January 17th: Fact Checking 101
Michael Shermer issues a correction to the Grand Canyon Story, Creationism in Our National Parks, that we ran in last week’s eSkeptic.
January 10th: Creationism in Our National Parks
Geologist and paleontologist Dr. Donald Prothero discusses the latest creationist challenge to science in the form of banning park rangers at the Grand Canyon from telling people how old it is!
January 4th: an Afterlife Debate with Deepak Chopra
Michael Shermer and Deepak Chopra debate about science, spirituality, the afterlife, and the meaning of life; Skepticality presents the Sam Harris Caltech lecture.

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