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eSkeptic for October 10, 2018
In Science Salon # 41, Dr. Lieberman considers disgust and its impact on the legal system to show why the things that we find stomach-turning so often become the things that we render unlawful.
eSkeptic for October 3, 2018
Science Salon # 40: Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah — Who Am I? Who Are You? The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity; Scientific American: A Mysterious Change of Mind: Why Do People Die by Suicide?; MonsterTalk # 171: Long and Drawn Out: Bigfoot Pictographs
eSkeptic for September 26, 2018
Have Archetype—Will Travel by Michael Shermer attempts to explain the startling phenomenon of Jordan Peterson; not the man’s ideas so much as his message and following, which has grown astronomically in the past two years, from obscure Canadian professor of psychology to international man of mystery: mysterious to nearly everyone, that is, on exactly what it is he believes.
eSkeptic for September 19, 2018
In Science Salon # 38, Michael Shermer and Hebrew University historian and best-selling author (Sapiens, Homo Deus), Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, discuss the central ideas of his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
Have Archetype — Will Travel The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon
Michael Shermer attempts to explain the startling phenomenon of Jordan Peterson; not the man’s ideas so much as his message and following, which has grown astronomically in the past two years, from obscure Canadian professor of psychology to international man of mystery: mysterious to nearly everyone, that is, on exactly what it is he believes.
Reports of Mysterious Attacks on U.S. Diplomats Continue Separating Fact from Fiction
As reports of mysterious “sonic attacks” continue, Robert Bartholomew examines the flaws in a study that was published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by a team of neurologists who examined American Diplomats who believe they were victims of such attacks last year in Havana, Cuba.
The Inevitability of Intelligent Life?
Nathan H. Lents reviews The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution by Charles S. Cockell, and The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will by Kenneth R. Miller.
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 […]
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.
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.
The Startling Truth Behind Claims of Astral Projection
In the pages of Junior Skeptic, we often discover that incredible-sounding paranormal claims are, in truth, fake mysteries—misleading stories told by tricksters to fool people. Today we’ll try to solve a genuine mystery! It’s a fact that millions of people all over the world have had the bizarre experience of feeling that they temporaily left their bodies behind. During these out-of-body experiences (OBEs), people feel that the thinking, feeling part of themselves has somehow floated free as a spirit. Some people even report that they have looked down from the ceiling to see their own bodies! How can this be? What is really happening? Let’s find out!
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.
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.
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 […]
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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.
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).
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.
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.
The Skeptics Society proudly presents award-winning podcasts, available on multiple listening platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Soundcloud.
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 is the pioneering, original skeptical podcast dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science.
MonsterTalk is the science show about monsters that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures.
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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.