The election of Jerry Brown as the Governor of California in 2010 reminded us that back in 1996 Skeptic magazine (vol. 4, no. 3) Senior Editor Frank Miele conducted an in-depth interview with Brown, who was in between political positions and thus willing to speak quite frankly and openly about “money, politics, and who really runs America” (as the subtitle of the article states). Given the fact that Jerry Brown was Governor of California for two terms, ran for Senate in 1982 (where he lost to California Governor Pete Wilson), and ran for President twice (even giving Bill Clinton a run for his money), there are few people more qualified by experience to speak skeptically about American politics. With the mid-term elections still fresh on our minds, enjoy this candid and skeptical look into the inner workings of a modern democracy.
In this debate, on what are arguably two of the most important questions in the culture wars today — Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil? and Can you be Good without God? — the conservative Christian author and cultural scholar Dinesh D’Souza and the libertarian skeptic writer and social scientist Michael Shermer, square off to resolve these and related issues, such as the relationship between science and religion and the nature and existence of God.
Over the past decade the relationship of science and religion has been under close scrutiny, with people on both sides developing various positions on how two of the most powerful institutions in the today’s world — one ancient, one modern — can co-exist. And as we have seen in the news coming out of the Middle East, the relationship of religion and politics has also taken center stage, as people of faith and party on both sides square off in the name of God and mammon. In this afternoon symposium we bring to the table four eminent scholars and social commentators, all with new books on these vital topics, to present their views, exchange ideas with one another, and to engage the audience in lively conversation…
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…