The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

the new issue of Skeptic magazine:
The Legacy of Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan was a man ahead of this time. On the 10th anniversary of his death we celebrate Carl Sagan’s remarkable legacy. In this issue you’ll find:

  • An interview with Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan’s collaborator, co-author, companion, and wife; What Carl Sagan thought about the issue of God and science
  • An excerpt from Sagan’s The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God based on his 1985 Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology at the University of Glasgow
  • An excerpt from Conversations with Carl Sagan, edited by Tom Head which nicely captures Sagan’s remarkable breadth of intellectual interests
  • Tributes to Carl Sagan by Freeman Dyson, David Morrison Tom McDonough by Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” and more…

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Also of interest…

Summation of Shermer Lecture at Beyond Belief

I recently found this blog summary of my lecture at the Beyond Belief conference at the Salk Institute November 5–7, 2006. I wanted to call it to your attention because this is the only account I have seen thus far that understood what I was saying about the necessity for compromise between science and religion if we have goals beyond the scope of the realm of these two enterprises (which I do). All of the press accounts of the conference simply quoted the most extremist positions in short sound-bites, missing out entirely on much of the subtle discussions that went on.

—Michael Shermer

Mr. Deity logo

An Interview with Mr. Deity

Here, we present a link to Jes Constantine’s interview with Mr. Deity Himself, as well as Mr. Deity’s creator Brian Dalton. This interview first appeared on the Humanist Network News Podcast (made possible by the Institute of Humanist Studies).

Banner from Caltech Streaming Theater website

5th Annual Science Writing Symposium
(free audio downloads from Caltech Streaming Theater)

On February 20th, 2007, several prominent science writers and scientists participated in a panel discussion at the 5th Annual Science Writing Symposium sponsored by the Words Matter Program at Caltech. This particular panel discussed “the importance and challenges of communicating scientific information to the general public. This year’s panelists included Robert Lee Hotz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times science journalist; Richard Murray, Caltech’s Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems; and Michael Shermer, founding director of the Skeptics Society and regular columnist for Scientific American.”

Included in this panel discussion is conversation around the accuracy of scientific information in Wikipedia versus Encyclopedia Britannica. Below we link to an article in Nature magazine that says, “among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great.” Encyclopedia Britannica objects to the findings and says that “Nature’s research was invalid”.


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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

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.

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