Skeptic » eSkeptic » December 3, 2008

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine




photo

Newtonmas is just around the corner…

It’s that time of year once again. Giving gifts on December 25, Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday (he’s 366 this year!), has long been a tradition amongst skeptics, so here are a few gems we plucked out of our catalogue that we think your friends and family members will enjoy receiving as gifts (and it’s okay to buy yourself a gift as well!).

DVD cover
Julia Sweeney’s polemic dialogue on religion (now on DVD!)
Letting Go of God
From the inside, any supernatural belief system can seem absurd. “You drink God ’s blood? You could be a gnat in the next life? You can’t eat what?” Julia Sweeney’s brave, hilarious, moving new show “Letting Go of God” is a gale-force breath of fresh air into a mostly polemic dialogue about religion in our time. While she scores flawlessly deadpan laughs at the expense of Mormonism, Deepak Chopra, Astrology and Catholicism (the tradition she was happily raised in) Sweeney is after much bigger game — challenging and disarming believers of all stripes and intensities, as well as scoffing at non-believers. As she says to an imaginary God near the shows end, “It’s because I take you so seriously that I can’t bring myself to believe in you.” Read more and order the DVD >
DVD cover
Dawkin’s latest documentary
on the power and beauty of science
Break the Science Barrier
In this one-hour film, the famed British evolutionary biologist and world-renowned science writer communicates both the power and the beauty of science through a series of stories and vignettes dealing with a wide variety of topics, including the discovery of the Big Bang, junk science in the courtroom, magic and deception, and how science is the best tool ever devised for understanding how the world works. The film includes a delightful interview with Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), and a brilliantly entertaining session with magician Ian Rowland, who reveals how easy it is for any of us to be fooled — by both magic and superstition.
Read more and order the DVD >
DVD cover
Origins & the Big Questions
our 2008 conference DVDs
Get the 5-DVD Set
and save $39.80 over buying them separately!
Today, there is arguably no hotter topic in culture than science and religion, and 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?” we have assembled some of the world’s greatest minds to discuss some of the world’s greatest questions. Read more and order the 5-DVD Set > … or, get only the ones you want
Get Part 1
Michael Shermer introduces the conference by presenting the big questions followed by Dr. Donald Prothero and Dr. Christof Koch on The Origin of Life, Complex Life and Consciousness. Read more and order Part 1 >
Get Part 2
Dr. Leonard Susskind, Dr. Paul Davies, and Dr. Sean Carroll on The Origin of the Universe, of the Laws of Nature, and of Time and Time’s Arrow.
Read more and order Part 2 >
Get Part 3
Dr. Nancey Murphy, Dr. Kenneth Miller, and Dr. Michael Shermer on Does science make belief in God obsolete? Read more and order Part 3 >
Get Part 4
Dr. Hugh Ross versus Dr. Victor Stenger in a Great God Debate: Does Science Support Belief in a Deity?, moderated by Dr. Philip Clayton. Read more and order Part 4 >
Get Part 5
An evening with Brian Dalton, the creator of “Mr. Deity,” along with Jimbo Marshall as Larry, his clipboard-toting assistant; Sean Douglas as Jesus/Jesse; and Amy Rohren as Lucy/Lucifer. Dalton and his cast performed a series of skits live, including a new episode developed specifically for the conference… Read more and order Part 5 >
book cover
The Story Behind Who Changed
the Bible and Why
Misquoting Jesus
Dr. Bart Ehrman explains how the New Testament texts have changed over the centuries and describes the methods scholars use to determine what has changed (i.e., scribal errors and deliberate alterations made for cultural and political purposes). While some of these changes are inconsequential, others have profoundly affected religious doctrine…

Read more and order the book >

book cover
The Undeniable Facts
About Alternative Medicine
Trick or Treatment
An excellent guide to the confusions and contradictions of alternative medicine written with clarity, integrity and authority. What works? Who can you trust? What alternative cures have positive results? What medical authorities are included in their “Top ten culprits in the promotion of unproven and disproven medicine?” Includes extensive information on the big four: acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, and chiropractic, plus a “Rapid guide to Alternative Therapies.” Read more and order the book >
book cover
On Religion, Intelligent Design
& Evolution
God: The Failed Hypothesis
This book is the best refutation of “scientific” arguments for God’s existence. While arguments for the existence of God have traditionally been philosophical and theological, the success of science has tempted many to use it to argue for the existence of God. Physicist Victor J. Stenger explains what should be true and testable if the traditional Judeo-Christian God truly does exist. He examines Intelligent Design (God’s influence in biology); detecting the effects of prayer; and evidence for a creator, given the parameters of physics and astronomy. Read more and order the book >
Only a Theory: Evolution & the Battle for America’s Soul
An insider’s view of the evolution-creationism debate, Only a Theory is the definitive book on the Dover trial on evolution and intelligent design by the prosecution’s key witness. Read more and order the book >
book cover

cover tinted here

The Bible Against Itself
Before the Bible was the Bible it was a lot of little books written by many writers with many different viewpoints. If you open up the Bible and read it straight through, you will notice two things that should not be true if it had been written as a coherent whole and with a single purpose. First, the Bible is quite repetitious; second, the Bible frequently seems to contradict itself. Readers have often ignored these contradictions, and apologists have long tried to reconcile them. Randel Helms chooses a third course — to understand the contradictions by looking at the cultural and historical factors that produced them.
Read more and order the book >
The 5th Miracle
How did life begin? Did it start here, by blind chance or by necessity, or was Earth seeded by extraterrestrial visitors? (And, if so, how did they arise?) Physicist Paul Davies tackles these heavy questions and more in this book, a wide-ranging survey of the field of biogenesis. From the “Martian meteorite” ALH84001 to the hardy microorganisms living on — and under — our sea beds, Davies looks for evidence pointing toward our first ancestor. A great read about a great subject.
Read more and order the book >
book cover
The Mind of God
Physicist Paul Davies asks the big questions about life, the universe and everything: How did it all start? Why is there a universe at all? Is there a God? Does God have any limitations? Could the laws of physics have been different? Who made the laws? Why are we here? Could there be a universe devoid of life? Traditionally questions for theologians to answer, Davies reveals that today scientists are trying to answer them. Read more and order the book >
book cover

cover tinted here

For the Junior Skeptics
in Your Family
Secrets of Mental Math
Get ready to amaze your friends — and yourself — with incredible calculations you never thought you could master, as renowned “mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin shares his techniques for lightning-quick calculations and amazing number tricks. This book will teach you to do math in your head faster than you ever thought possible, dramatically improve your memory for numbers, and — maybe for the first time — make mathematics fun.
Read more and order the book >
Big Blast of Science
A great introduction to the basic laws of nature and scientific thinking using everyday examples and experiments that can be done with common household items. Sure to stimulate curiosity and change the way the reader looks at the world. Read more and order the book >
The Magic Detectives
30 mysteries encourages readers to think for themselves before the solution is offered. Historical ghost incidents, Mummy’s Curse, UFO creatures, Holy shroud, Lock Ness, and more. (ages 9–14 years). Read more and order the book >
book cover
Sasquatches From Outer Space
Chatty cheerful style. Covers Astrology, Bigfoot, the Bermuda triangle, ESP, corp circles, Loch Ness Monster,Vampires, and UFOs and aliens. Glossary, websites and bibliography. A “Try This” section encourages critical thinking skills. (ages 10–15 years).
Read more and order the book >
Maybe Yes, Maybe No
Adventures of Andrea, a skeptic. Cartoon strip style. How to check out extraordinary claims. Simple straightforward text. How to listen and ask questions; how to seek a simple explanation; what tools and rules a scientist uses to check things out. (ages 7–10 years). Read more and order the book >
book cover
Test Your Science IQ
Hundreds of addictive questions and answers covering both science and pseudoscience. Clear, well written, yet sophisticated enough for adults. Very strong on why science is important. Fascinating and fun. (ages 12 to adult). Read more and order the book >
Don’t Believe Everything You Think
Learn how to recognize faulty thinking and develop the necessary skills to become a more effective problem solver. This book identifies the “six-pack of problems” that leads us unconsciously to accept false ideas, and vividly illustrates these tendencies with numerous examples that demonstrate how easily we can be fooled into believing something that isn’t true. Read more and order the book >

Skeptic magazine wrapped with a bow

Order must be placed by 5 pm PST, December 17th with Priority Shipping selected to ensure delivery by Christmas. US destinations only.

Give a Gift Subscription
to Skeptic magazine

Skeptics love Skeptic magazine. They especially love to receive a subscription as a gift from a friend! Simply order a subscription to Skeptic magazine and include your friend’s address in the “SHIP TO” form during checkout. Tell us “This is a gift” in the “comments” box and we’ll take care of the rest.

GIVE a GIFT subscription


Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine

Undercover Skepticism?

Over the past several episodes, Skepticality has endeavored to showcase an eclectic range of skeptical activism. Our recent guests have overwhelmingly agreed that everyone has something to offer — and that “activism” comes in many flavors.

This week, Derek & Swoopy talk with bloggers Kate Holden & Tiana Dietz, who recently had an unorthodox adventure at the well-known Intelligent Design think tank The Discovery Institute. These unapologetic rabble-rousers discuss the controversial tactics that took them where few skeptics have gone before.

SUBSCRIBE to Skepticality
within iTunes

DOWNLOAD Episode #91 (30MB MP3)

SUBSCRIBE to the Skeptic RSS feed

Patreon: a new way to support the things skeptic creates

Get eSkeptic

Science in your inbox every Wednesday!

eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, event announcements, and more to your inbox once a week.

Sign me up!

Donate to Skeptic

Please support the work of the Skeptics Society. Make the world a more rational place and help us defend the role of science in society.

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 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. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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 why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one 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

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They 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.

Copyright © 1992–2017. All rights reserved. The Skeptics Society | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. Privacy Policy.