Drawing on innovative sociological research, Dr. Zuckerman—a Pitzer College professor who founded a Department of Secular Studies, the first of its kind—illuminates this demographic shift with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals, offering crucial information for the religious and nonreligious alike. Living the Secular Life reveals that, despite opinions to the contrary, nonreligious Americans possess a unique moral code that allows them to effectively navigate the complexities of modern life.
Some might characterize the faith-inspired murder of satirical cartoonists as shocking. But the prospect of violent reprisal for religious criticism was hardly inconceivable to the now-deceased artists of Charlie Hebdo. In this week’s eSkeptic, Kenneth Krause describes potential relationships between religion and violence, and questions whether these murders would seem possible in the absence of religious devotion to an allegedly all-powerful god.
All scientists are naturalists, taking for granted that we live, experiment and study nature in a closed universe where God never intervenes. This is a first principle of science. But Alvin Plantinga says that there is deep conflict between naturalism and science but deep concord between theism and science. In this week’s eSkeptic, William S. Moore reviews Plantinga’s Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism.
In this conversation with Michael Shermer, based around his book, An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins shares a rare view into his early life, his intellectual awakening at Oxford, and his path to writing The Selfish Gene. He paints a vivid picture of his idyllic childhood in colonial Africa, peppered with sketches of his colorful ancestors, charming parents, and the peculiarities of colonial life right after World War II…
Jim Lippard reviews two books: Janet Reitman’s book Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, ISBN 978-0618883028) and Hugh Urban’s The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion (Princeton University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0691146089). This article was published in Skeptic magazine 17.1 in 2011.
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…