Skeptic » eSkeptic » August 27, 2008

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Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine

Can Skeptics Tame the Internet?


Misinformation is everywhere, but nowhere has it proliferated more than on the internet. A Google search for “homeopathy” or “UFO” returns a landslide list of mystery-mongering websites. Yes, there are a few skeptical web resources too — but a non-skeptic can be easily misled online.

On this episode, Derek & Swoopy talk with Tim Farley, a skeptic applying his 20-plus years of software development experience to the creation of advanced tools and techniques for fighting the battle against misinformation on the World Wide Web.

Tim’s popular websites include the Skeptical Software Tools blog “Skeptools” (which uses Web 2.0 techniques to aid the spread of critical thinking information online), and, which has collected the stories of over 225,000 people who have been injured or killed as a result of supernatural and pseudoscientific practices from alternative medicine to hypnosis to faith healing.

ABC Radio National logo

Michael Shermer & Stephen Mayne head to head
over money, markets & morality

Are markets moral? Is our hunter-gatherer brain geared for modern capitalism, and do economies work like evolutionary organisms? The rise of neuroeconomics, the extinction of Homo Economicus and more…

Those were the topics discussed in last week’s ABC Radio National show All in the Mind, a debate recorded for National Science Week in Australia, with outspoken founder of the Skeptics Society, Dr Michael Shermer, and shareholder activist and Crikey founder, Stephen Mayne.

LISTEN to the debate

ORIGINS - The BIG Questions Conference (October 3-4, 2008), presented by the Skeptics Society

reminder of our 2008 Conference:
ORIGINS — the BIG Questions
October 3–4, 2008

Today, there is arguably no hotter topic
in culture than science & religion.

So much of the debate turns on The Big Questions that involve Origins: the origin of the universe, the origin of the ‘fine-tuned’ laws of nature, the origin of time and time’s arrow, the origin of life and complex life, and the origin of brains, minds, and consciousness. From theologians and philosophers to creationists and intelligent design theorists, the central core of almost all of their arguments centers on filling these origin gaps with God. But now science is making significant headway into providing natural explanations for these ultimate questions, which leaves us with the biggest question of all: Does science make belief in God obsolete?

Organized by the Skeptics Society and running from October 3–4, 2008, we have assembled some of the world’s greatest minds to discuss some of the world’s greatest questions at the California Institute of Technology.

LEARN more

This year’s speakers include:
  • Dr. Sean Carroll, Senior Research Associate in Physics at Caltech
  • Dr. Paul Davies, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and author
  • Dr. Stuart Kauffman, founding director, Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics
  • Dr. Christof Koch, Ph.D. (bio)-physics with a minor in Philosophy
  • Dr. Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University
  • Dr. Nancey Murphy, Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Donald Prothero, Professor of Geology at Occidental College
  • Dr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D. astronomy from the University of Toronto
  • Dr. Victor Stenger, emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at U of Hawaii
  • Dr. Leonard Susskind, the discoverer of string theory.
Hosted by:

Dr. Philip Clayton, a professor of religion and philosophy at Claremont Graduate University and Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology, and Dr. Michael Shermer, the cofounder of the Skeptics Society, the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University.

With entertainment by:

Mr. Deity himself.

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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

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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