Skeptics Society News and Site Highlights
Watch The Michael Shermer Show
Shermer Speaks Out
Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter
eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, op-eds, event announcements, and more to your inbox.
eSkeptic for July 21, 2021
In episode 194, Michael Shermer speaks with John Mackey, Founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market and author of Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Leadership. Mackey’s goal is to write a new narrative for capitalism that asks us to care about customers and human beings instead of data points on a spreadsheet.Read this eSkeptic
eSkeptic for July 17, 2021
In episode 193, Michael Shermer speaks with Chris Edwards about educational reform and thought experiments. Plus, Harriet Hall, M.D. discusses osteopathy. What is it? What is the difference between an MD and a DO? Should the DO degree be abolished?Read this eSkeptic
eSkeptic for July 13, 2021
From teleportation and space elevators to alien contact and interstellar travel, science fiction and fantasy writers have come up with some brilliant and innovative ideas. Yet how plausible are these ideas? In this lecture from our archives, recorded in February 2014 as part of The Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series, professor of physics, Dr. Charles Adler, delves into the most extraordinary details in science fiction and fantasy.Read this eSkeptic
eSkeptic for July 10, 2021
In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.Read this eSkeptic
eSkeptic for July 5, 2021
Jennifer Michael Hecht celebrates doubt as an engine of creativity and as an alternative to the political and intellectual dangers of certainty. This lecture from our archives was recorded in July 2005 as part of The Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series.Read this eSkeptic
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
Osteopathy Then and Now
What is osteopathy? What is the difference between an MD, a DO, and an osteopath in the US? Why do students choose a DO school? Should the DO degree be abolished? Find out what Harriet Hall, M.D. says in this column from Skeptic magazine 26.1 (2021).Read this article
Mark Twain and Alternative Medicine
In this column from Skeptic magazine 26.2 (2021), Harriet Hall, M.D. recounts that Mark Twain was an enthusiastic proponent of “alternative medicine” long before the term was coined — and much of it remains the same as in his time.Read this article
A review of Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
A review by Dr. Harriet Hall of Abigail Shrier’s 2020 book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters was originally published on Science-Based Medicine’s website and later removed and put under review by SBM’s Editors “due to concerns expressed over its scientific accuracy and completeness.” Skeptic is publishing here because, if skepticism means anything, there are no sacred cows, no political sensitivities of topics to prohibit open discussion and review, no censorship of ideas that don’t toe a political line.Read this article
US Government Says UFOs are “Real”
An Analysis of the 60 Minutes Investigation
Has the US government admitted that UFOs are “real” and that the military is investigating them? Mick West presents an analysis of the 60 Minutes episode that aired May 16, 2021.Read this article
Metaphors & Mindsets
How to ‘Update’ Beliefs
Admitting our beliefs are false can feel like a failure, a sign of weakness. Instead, we should look at changing our mind as an ‘update.’ The following is a review by Michael Shermer of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef (Portfolio).Read this article
The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time. Listen via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.
John Mackey on Conscious Capitalism & Conscious Leadership
In episode 194, Michael Shermer speaks with John Mackey, Founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market and author of Conscious Capitalism and Conscious Leadership. Mackey’s goal is to write a new narrative for capitalism that asks us to care about customers and human beings instead of data points on a spreadsheet.Listen to this episode
Chris Edwards on Educational Reform and Thought Experiments
Michael Shermer speaks with Chris Edwards about educational reform, his study and teaching of world history, the problems in K–12 education, the zip-code model vs. the seat time model of education and how they result in massively different educational outcomes, how “no child left behind” left children behind, federal vs. state educational systems, and more…Listen to this episode
Lesley Newson & Peter Richerson — A New Look at Human Evolution
In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.Listen to this episode
Michael Gordin on the Fringe of Where Science Meets Pseudoscience
Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience,” typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. In episode 191, Michael explores with Michael Gordin the philosophical and historical attempts to address the problem of scientific demarcation.Listen to this episode
Watch lectures from Dr. Michael Shermer’s Chapman University course called Skepticism 101: How to Think Like a Scientist.
The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral
In this, the final lecture of his Chapman University Skepticism 101 course, Dr. Michael Shermer pulls back to take a bigger picture look at what science and reason have done for humanity in the realm of moral progress. Watch The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral.Watch this lecture
What is Truth, Anyway?
In this lecture Dr. Michael Shermer addresses one of the deepest questions of all: what is truth? How do we know what is true, untrue, or uncertain?Watch this lecture
The Honest Truth about Vaccines
“Vaccines” are medicines we take when we’re healthy to prevent us from getting sick later. Nobody loves getting their shots. But vaccines protect you, your family, and your community. Vaccines have helped us control many serious diseases. Right now, scientists are racing to develop a safe, effective vaccine to make us immune to COVID-19. However, some people claim that a COVID vaccine might not be safe, or even that it might be some sort of trick to control us. Others say vaccines are more dangerous than doctors admit. What is the truth? Are vaccines safe or risky? Or might the truth be something in between? Let’s find out!
We’ve investigated some very weird mysteries in the pages of Junior Skeptic. Today we’ll delve into the deepest, strangest mystery of them all: what’s happening inside our own brains! There are smart people today who believe that the Earth is flat, that they’ve been kidnapped by space aliens, or even that the deadly coronavirus pandemic is a hoax. How is it that so many people believe things that aren’t true, despite strong evidence that they’re wrong? Well, how is it that any of us decide what is true, or which sources to trust? How do our brains sometimes fool us into justifying our silliest beliefs and most hurtful behaviour? Let’s find out!
The Skeptic Research Center (SRC) is a collaboration with qualified researchers to release digestible single-topic analyses of proprietary polling and survey data, detailing peoples’ attitudes about the important concerns of our time. Our data is open-source for full transparency. Our goal is to empower you with an understanding of what your fellow citizens really believe and how they really behave.
Civil Unrest & Presidential Election Study (CUPES)
In the Civil Unrest and Presidential Election Study (CUPES), we take a deeper look at the political issues that most divide people. Specifically, we examine peoples’ political and social attitudes as they relate to the George Floyd protests, the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the presidential election.Explore this study
Social & Political Attitudes Study (SPAS)
Many pundits have suggested that a divided Democratic party contributed to the “surprise” election of Donald Trump in 2016, and that such division may contribute to Trump’s re-election in 2020. In the Social and Political Attitudes Study (SPAS), we surveyed a nationally representative sample of adults to examine the question, “Are Democrats more divided than Republicans?”Explore this study
Pandemics Throughout History
In this issue of Junior Skeptic we’ll confront one of humanity’s scariest enemies: epidemic disease. Are we brave enough to face this horror? You bet we are! We’ve done it every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID is new. Other diseases have plagued our ancestors since ancient times. Mighty civilizations have been devastated by the invisible invaders we call “germs.” But people are not helpless! Over centuries, we learned how to fight back against disease. Our strongest weapons are science and critical thinking. However, germs have a powerful ally: misinformation! How do ignorance and bad ideas help the germs win—and what can we do about that? Let’s find out!
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 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.
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: books, reading lists, course syllabi, in-class exercises, presentations, student projects, and videos that you may download and use in your own classes.
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.
Since April 2001 New York Times bestselling author Michael Shermer has written the “Skeptic” column for Scientific American.
Stein’s Law and Science’s Mission
January 2019: In his 214th consecutive and final ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer reflects on what science brings to the human project.
Kids These Days
In his December 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer discusses how to avert a looming crisis among today’s youth.
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.
Be in the know!
Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox twice a week. It’s free. We never share your address. Unsubscribe any time.
Art of the Skeptic
In celebration of Skeptic magazine’s 100th issue, we present sage graphic art advice for skeptical groups and a gallery of art reflecting more than 47 years of skeptical activism from Skeptic’s long time Art Director, Pat Linse
Browse by Topic
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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…
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!
Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.
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.