Sometimes strange things happen, the causes for which seem hard to explain. Sometimes, these occurrences are referred to as “supernatural” or “paranormal.” But, what do those words really mean? In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer describes what is meant by “supernatural.”
In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce: our next geology tour—Central California Classics (January 17–19, 2015); our next distinguished science lecture—by Dr. Bradley Voytek (Oct 19); Weekly Insights from Blake Smith and Barbara Drescher; Michael Shermer’s October column in Scientific America; and MonsterTalk interviews Daniel H. Wilson about a robot apocalypse.
Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience like the examples that we list in this FREE PDF booklet? If so, you know how compelling they can be. A life can be changed or an entire religion founded on the basis of a single brain-generated hallucination. These phenomena are so powerful that throughout history seekers of knowledge have sought to induce them. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be more than a waste of time and energy. It can be dangerous for both the individual and larger society.
Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience like the examples that we list in this FREE PDF booklet? These phenomena are powerful and are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. As skeptics are well aware that accepting these beliefs can be dangerous. The Skeptics Society the much-needed scientific explanation for these and other phenomena. Join us in our many efforts to do that and make a tax-deductible donation online today.
On April 21, 2003, the day before her 17th birthday, Amanda Berry was kidnapped in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2004, on an episode of the Montel Williams show, “psychic” Sylvia Browne told Amanda’s mother that Amanda was dead. Sylvia Browne’s “psychic powers” failed miserably that day. Amanda Berry is alive today, having escaped from the house where she had been held for 10 years. In this week’s eSkeptic, in light of these recent events, Ingrid Hansen Smythe reviews Sylvia Browne’s latest book Past Lives of the Rich and Famous in order to glean some insight into the mind of the “great psychic.”
Despite the best efforts of skeptics and teachers to advance scientific thinking, paranormal beliefs and pseudoscientific thinking continue to be commonplace. It is a common popular stereotype that knowledge of science and belief in the paranormal are like opposite ends of a teeter totter: with one tending to rise as the other falls. However, the landscape of belief is considerably more complicated than that. Science education may not be enough when we lack the ability to critically evaluate the evidence for claims. In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article from Skeptic 9.3 that examined the relationship between science knowledge and paranormal beliefs.
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…