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The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

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Latest eSkeptics

eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, event announcements, and more to your inbox.

eSkeptic for August 15, 2018

In Science Salon # 33, Michael Shermer talks with with David Quammen, one of the best nature and science writers of our generation, about his new book on the history of one of the most exciting revolutions in evolution and genetics that is unfolding before our eyes. SCIENCE SALON # 33 David Quammen — The […]

eSkeptic for August 8, 2018

In Science Salon # 32, Michael Shermer talks with investigative journalist Nina Teicholz about the scientific literature on diet and nutrition, the link (or lack thereof) between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the history of the government’s recommendation of what constitutes a healthy diet and why they got it so wrong, statins and heart disease, exercise and nutrition, and much more…

eSkeptic for August 1, 2018

In Science Salon # 31, Michael Shermer talks with the science writer and weekly advice columnist Amy Alkon about her new book, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence.

eSkeptic for July 25, 2018

In Science Salon # 30, Michael Shermer talks with University of Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis about helping cancer patients cope without religion; Harriet Hall, M.D. reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst.

eSkeptic for July 18, 2018

Does a scientific understanding of the world erase its emotional impact or spiritual power? Michael Shermer reviews Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman. This review was originally published online in the New York Times on June 25, 2018 under the title “Must Science Conflict With Spirituality?”

latest additions to
the reading room

The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.

Calling SCAM a Scam

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst (UK: Societas. 2018. ISBN 978-1845409708).

Falling Into Infinity

Does a scientific understanding of the world erase its emotional impact or spiritual power? Michael Shermer reviews Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman. This review was originally published online in the New York Times on June 25, 2018 under the title “Must Science Conflict With Spirituality?”

What is it like to be a Human?

Imagine an intelligent bat contemplating the mind-body problem, name of Tim Nigel.1 Nigel has noticed that humans have an auditory sense not possessed by bats (of his species): they can hear various pitches. This enables them to appreciate music (unlike Tim and his conspecifics) and also to have other types of auditory experience not available […]

Now Playing at a Cartesian Theater Near You: Dualism Returns

Software programmer and technical writer Peter Kassan avers that a return to dualism is not justified. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.4 (2017).

Illuminated Genius

Chris Edwards reviews John Gribbin’s definitive work on Einstein and his intellectual process: Einstein’s Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity (2017. New York/London: Pegasus Books).

Exodus Matters Did the Exodus really happen, and why does it matter if it did?

Tim Callahan reviews The Exodus: How It Happened and Why it Matters, by Richard Elliott Friedman (2017. New York: Harper One ISBN: 978-0062565242).

Watch Science Salons

Science Salon venue (photo by Ed Pastor)

In the tradition of the Enlightenment salons that helped drive the Age of Reason and the public interest in science, the Skeptics Society hosts an intimate Science Salon featuring an “in conversation” between Dr. Michael Shermer and a prominent scientist, scholar, or intellectual. Learn more about Science Salon.

The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos

This lecture is an account of scientific discovery from the invention of stone tools to theories of quantum physics. In this fascinating and illuminating work, Leonard Mlodinow guides us through the critical eras and events in the development of science, all of which were propelled forward by humankind’s collective struggle to know.

How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? According to evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro, the science says yes. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used to resurrect the past.

Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions

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.

Latest INSIGHTS

INSIGHT at Skeptic.com is a broadly accessible, evidence-based resource that offers critical perspective on mysteries of science, paranormal claims, and the wild, woolly, wonderful weirdness of the fringe.

The Skeptical Virtue of Seriously Just Being Quiet

Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.

Is the Earth Flat?

There is growing conspiracy theory belief that the Earth is not a globe, but a flat disc. According to believers, government forces promote a completely fictitious model of the cosmos in order to conceal the true nature of the Earth. Daniel Loxton examines whether these claims are true.

Astonishing Legends, Questionable Facts

Did a family in Kentucky get drunk and mistake owls for ‘space-goblins’, or was something much more complex going on that hot August night in 1955?

Confessions of a Skeptical Marketer

Guest writer Steve Cuno shares an insider's view on the ethics of advertising in a world full of false claims.

Junior Skeptic # 67

Junior Skeptic issue 67 (detail of cover)

The Perpetual Quest for Perpetual Motion

Today I’d like you to imagine two impossible, magical machines: The first machine runs forever. You may picture a complex tangle of gears and wheels, or something as simple as a spinning top, but imagine that it never runs down—once started it just keeps going without ever needing more energy. Now imagine a second machine. This one may require fuel or energy to run, but somehow, through some fantastic process, it generates more energy than it consumes. We aren’t the first to imagine these two types of “perpetual motion” machines. Inventors have dreamed of such devices for centuries. How has their search unfolded? Let’s find out! f ghost ships be explained? Let’s find out!

global warming

How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused

Donald R. Prothero addresses climate change denialism head on, demolishing deniers’ arguments and rebuttals, and clearly demonstrating how we know global warming is real and human caused.

Michael Shermer Articles

New York Times bestselling author, Michael Shermer, writes at michaelshermer.com. Quickly access his three most recent articles below.

Free to Inquire

A book chapter for the The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy (December 26, 2018), edited by David Boonin.

Frequent Infrequencies

This op-ed by Michael Shermer was originally published on Slate.com as part of a Big Ideas series on the question “What is the Future of Religion” in 2015.

Moral Philosophy and its Discontents

Michael Shermer responds to Massimo Pigliucci’s critique of his Scientific American column on utilitarianism, deontology, and rights, entitled “You Kant be Serious: Utilitarianism and its Discontents.” (May 2018).

Realizing Rawls’ Just Society

Michael Shermer reviews It’s Better Than it Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook (Public Affairs. February 2018. ISBN 9781610397414.) A shorter version of this review was published in the Wall Street Journal on February 28, 2018 under the title “Why Things Are Looking Up”.

Reason (and Science) for Hope

A review of Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (Viking, 2018, ISBN 978-0525427575). This review appeared in Science in February 2018.

Finding Freedom in a Determined Universe

Foreword to Free Will Explained: How Science and Philosophy Converged to Produce a Beautiful Illusion, by Dan Barker (Sterling. 2018. ISBN 9781454927358). In 1985, the physiologist Benjamin Libet conducted a series of experiments that involved taking EEG readings of subjects’ brains engaged in a task that required them to press a button at random intervals […]

Skeptic Magazine App

Read Skeptic Magazine on Your Favorite Device!

Read Skeptic magazine on your Apple, Android, and Kindle devices using the FREE Skeptic Magazine App. Read it on Windows devices using the PocketMags App, or read on your PC or Mac via PocketMags.com.

Skeptic Presents:
Humour & Skepticism

Skeptic Presents is a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire. With your support, we hope to produce these instructional, educational, and entertaining videos regularly throughout the year for free viewing for everyone, everywhere, to spread the message of the power of science and skepticism to make the world a saner, safer place.

The Vaccine Debate

Engaging the
Anti-vaxxers

Vaccines are one of science’s greatest achievements. Yet, fears and anxieties about immunization persist. In this article, Christian Orlic reviews Mark A. Largent’s new book Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America (2012, John Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-1421406077).

Skepticism 101

Skeptical Resources Freely Available to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

The Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource Center is a comprehensive, free repository of resources for teaching students how to think skeptically. This Center contains an ever-growing selection of books, reading lists, course syllabi, in-class exercises, PowerPoint presentations, student projects, papers, and videos that you may download and use in your own classes.

The Skeptical Movement

We’re pleased to present Daniel Loxton’s challenging and provocative new project, “Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?”. Almost two years in the writing, these two meticulously-researched chapter-length explorations dig deeply into the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism. Arguing that it is essential for skeptics to “appreciate that we’re caretakers for the work of those who have come before,” Loxton carries forward the discussion about the scope and limits of scientific skepticism.

our podcasts

The Skeptics Society proudly presents award-winning podcasts, available on multiple listening platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Soundcloud.

Science Salon

Science Salon is a series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.

Skepticality

Skepticality is the pioneering, original skeptical podcast dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science.

MonsterTalk

MonsterTalk is the science show about monsters that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures.

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Please support the work of the Skeptics Society. Make the world a more rational place and help us defend the role of science in society.

Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

FREE PDF Download

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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