What is the right approach to dealing with people who believe in the paranormal or some particular idea we could call pseudoscience? Naturally no one considers their beliefs to be pseudoscience or faith-based nonsense, so saying something along those lines to a believer’s face is likely to close off conversation. In this remarkable article, our own Daniel Loxton tackles the matter head on. Daniel shows that a controversy that erupted at last year’s The Amazing Meeting conference was just the latest in a very long history of skeptical debates about the “tone” of our criticism and educational outreach. (Please note: this is a long article, running over 4500 words.)
Most people believe that science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. In this lecture, based on his explosive new book, The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge.
In this week’s eSkeptic, Frank Miele interviews ecologist and social activist Garrett Hardin about his views on the economy, abortion, overpopulation and assisted suicide. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine volume 4, number 2 in 1996.
In this Caltech lecture, Conway tells an important story about the misuse of science to mislead the public on matters ranging from the risks of smoking to the reality of global warming. He names names, documenting their involvement in such issues as acid rain, the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke, the ozone hole, global warming, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the banning of DDT.
FRAUD IN SCIENCE is not as easy to identify as one might think. When accusations of scientific misconduct occur, truth can often be elusive, and the cause of a scientist’s ethical misstep isn’t always clear. In his lecture based on his new book, On Fact and Fraud, Caltech physicist David Goodstein looks at actual cases in which fraud was committed or alleged, explaining what constitutes scientific misconduct and what doesn’t, and outlines some ethical foundations needed to discern and avoid fraud wherever it may arise.
Morality is our biological destiny. We each have within us the awesome power to create our own meaning in life, our own sense of purpose, our own destiny. With a natural ethic we are able to move beyond the random hand of birth to pave our own road to a better life. With the ability to choose to be good comes the obligation to make that choice; choosing to be moral is what makes us special as individuals and as a species…
In this week’s eSkeptic, our regular contributor Kenneth Krause reviews the latest research on altruism, most notably that of primate research in controlled experiments in which both monkeys and apes are given choices to cooperate or compete against game partners in exchange scenarios, with implications for human research in this area.
In this lecture based on his new book, Jonathan Kirsch delivers a sweeping and provocative history that explores how the Inquisition was honed to perfection and brought to bear on an ever-widening circle of victims by authoritarians in both church and state for over 600 years…
Carbon Comic, which appears in Skeptic magazine, is created by Kyle Sanders: a pilot and founder of Little Rock, Arkansas’ Skeptics in The Pub. He is also a cartoonist who authors Carbon Dating: a skeptical comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and relationships. It can be found at carboncomic.com.
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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?
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…