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eSkeptic for November 15, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, Margret Schaefer reviews Freud: The Making of an Illusion, in which its author, Frederick Crews, convincingly argues that Freud constructed psychoanalysis on a fraudulent foundation. How did Freud convince so many people of the correctness and the profundity of his theory?
eSkeptic for November 8, 2017
It’s possible that artificially intelligent systems might end up far more intelligent than any human. In this week’s eSkeptic, Matthew Graves warns that the same general problem-solving ability that makes artificial superintelligence a uniquely valuable ally may make it a uniquely risky adversary.
eSkeptic for November 1, 2017
In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris examines whether the Implicit Association Test (IAT) can really capture unconscious prejudices and predict if people will actually behave in a biased or discriminatory way.
eSkeptic for October 25, 2017
Could a sonic weapon have focused a wave of energy with pinpoint accuracy on American diplomats in Cuba? In this week’s eSkeptic, Robert E. Bartholomew presents a plausible explanation for the illness cluster reported by State Department officials: mass psychogenic illness.
The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.
The Wizardry of Freud
Margret Schaefer reviews Freud: The Making of an Illusion, in which its author, Frederick Crews, convincingly argues that Freud constructed psychoanalysis on a fraudulent foundation. How did Freud convince so many people of the correctness and the profundity of his theory?
Why We Should Be Concerned About Artificial Superintelligence
Matthew Graves warns that the same general problem-solving ability that makes artificial superintelligence a uniquely valuable ally may make it a uniquely risky adversary.
Are You An Unconscious Racist?
Carol Tavris examines whether the Implicit Association Test (IAT) can really capture unconscious prejudices and predict if people will actually behave in a biased or discriminatory way.
The “Sonic Attack” on U.S. Diplomats in Cuba: Why the State Department’s Claims Don’t Add Up
Could a sonic weapon have focused a wave of energy with pinpoint accuracy on American diplomats in Cuba? Robert E. Bartholomew presents a plausible explanation for the illness cluster reported by State Department officials: mass psychogenic illness.
What is Spirituality, Anyway? Is “Spirituality” so Broadly Defined that Testing for it is Meaningless?
Dr. David Speed examines why the definitional ambiguity of the word “spirituality” is problematic for researchers who seek to explore the relationship between it and other constructs.
Conjuring Up a Lost Civilization: An Analysis of the Claims Made by Graham Hancock in Magicians of the Gods
In this week’s eSkeptic, Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Marc J. Defant, provides an analysis of the claims made by Graham Hancock in his book Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization.
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.
Donald Prothero & Timothy Callahan—UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says
In Science Salon # 15 — UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens — Prothero and Callahan explore why such demonstrably false beliefs thrive despite decades of education and scientific debunking.
Dr. Nancy Segal — Twin Mythconceptions: False Beliefs, Fables, and Facts about Twins
Dr. Nancy Segal, the world’s leading expert on twins, has a new book that sheds light on over 70 commonly held ideas and beliefs about the origins and development of identical and fraternal twins. Using the latest scientific findings from psychology, psychiatry, biology, and education, Dr. Segal separates fact from fiction.
Dr. Walter Scheidel — The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the 21st Century
Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, the Stanford University historian Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return.
INSIGHT at Skeptic.com brings together a variety of accomplished voices for a broad-ranging but focussed discussion of science and skepticism. INSIGHT will shed light, offer critical perspective, and serve as a broadly accessible, evidence-based resource on mysteries of science, paranormal claims, and the wild, woolly, wonderful weirdness of the fringe.
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 Century-Long Fight Against American Quackery
Guest writer Robert Blaskiewicz reports on the early days of the ongoing battle to protect American patients from cynically fraudulent quack "medicine."
Our world has been conquered by hordes of zombies! They menace us in video games, comics, television, and movies. They lurch gruesomely down city streets in “zombie walk” events. After decades of zombie fiction, the walking dead are more popular than ever. Mindless, moaning, hungry for human flesh, zombies may be the ultimate modern monsters. They’ve spread like a virus through tales of terror and horrified imaginings. But where did the idea come from? Were zombies invented for fiction, or do they have a basis in legend—or perhaps even in reality? Could anything like fictional movie zombies actually exist in the real world? 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, blogs at michaelshermer.com. Quickly access his three most recent blog posts below.
Science Makes America Great
In this March for Science speech, Michael Shermer urges President Donald Trump to consider the vital role science plays in our lives.
How Might a Scientist Think about the Resurrection?
Did Jesus die and come back to life? In the parlance of current events, is this a fake news story, an alternative fact invented by the followers of Jesus, or did it really happen?
If There is No God, is Murder Wrong?
Michael Shermer strikes back against the attack on atheism made by conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager, in the recent video ‘If There Is No God, Murder Isn’t Wrong’.
Inspired by Enlightenment Salons that helped drive the Age of Reason and the public interest in science, the Skeptics Society presents Science Salon — a series of intimate conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and a prominent scientist, scholar, or intellectual.
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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.
Why Is There a 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.
Skepticality— the official podcast of Skeptic magazine
Skepticality — the pioneering original skeptics podcast — is a top-rated audio talk show dedicated to skeptical topics and interviews.
MonsterTalk— presented by Skeptic magazine
MonsterTalk critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves.
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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.