The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

spread from Junior Skeptic Evolution book

First Junior Skeptic Book Released
to Portuguese School Kids!

In commemoration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday on February 12th, 2009, the Skeptics Society is thrilled to unveil a major new educational outreach project: the release of the first Junior Skeptic book, Evolução (“Evolution”).

Right now, 10,000 copies of this gorgeous, full-color, illustrated kids’ science book are being distributed to public school students in Portugal — completely free.

Reprising material originally published in Junior Skeptic #26 and #27, the new book is produced by Pat Linse, written by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton, and illustrated by Daniel Loxton and Jim W. W. Smith. This Portuguese-language translation was prepared by immunologist and science popularizer Vasco M. Barreto.

The book is published by our colleagues at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (an international nonprofit organization headquartered in Lisbon) as part of an ambitious Darwin 2009 public education program with partners that include the American Museum of Natural History and the Portuguese Ministries of Science & Technology and Education. Their Darwin 2009 celebrations include the largest and more comprehensive evolution-themed museum exhibit in the world (“Darwin’s Evolution”), a high profile series of public conferences (to be opened by paleontologist Niles Eldredge on February 13th) — and the full-color book based on Junior Skeptic.

Wondering where you can get your hands on a copy? You’ll have to wait. This free Portuguese-language school edition is an exclusive educational project for students in Portugal.

But not to worry: an English-language version is in full production now at a major North American publisher! Look for the enhanced and expanded version scheduled for wide release early in 2010….

READ more about the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s
Darwin 2009 celebrations >

Want to support Junior Skeptic and other educational initiatives from the nonprofit Skeptics Society? DONATE through Shop Skeptic, or contact us to discuss earmarking a larger contribution.


Did Charles Darwin Steal the Idea
of Natural Selection?

On this, the 200th anniversary week of Charles Darwin’s birthday (12 February, 1809) and 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species, there is a movement afoot in the UK to challenge Darwin’s priority in the discovery of natural selection, claiming that Darwin’s either stole or plagiarized the idea from Alfred Russel Wallace, his younger colleague who in 1858 was on the other side of the planet in the Malay Archipelago when he hatched his own theory of evolution and sent an essay version of it to Darwin that spring.

In this article for Forbes magazine, who has compiled a wonderful tribute issue to Darwin and evolution, Dr. Michael Shermer sets the record straight. Even though Shermer did his doctoral dissertation on Wallace and Darwin, and later penned a full-length biography of Wallace (In Darwin’s Shadow, Oxford University Press) and is an unabashed fan of the younger and less well-known naturalist, Shermer proves that Darwin stole nothing from Wallace and that, to the contrary, the two men were best of friends and collaborative colleagues.

Upcoming Lecture at Caltech:
A Darwin Day Celebration

with Dr. Donald Prothero, Dr. Michael Shermer, and others…

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Baxter Lecture Hall, Caltech (map)

Come join us for a special celebration of the life and science of one of the greatest scientists in history. Historian of science Dr. Michael Shermer will review the remarkable life of Darwin and explain how he arrived at his theory of evolution. Paleontologist and geologist Dr. Donald Prothero will give a brief overview of how evolutionary theory has changed since Darwin’s time. And other scientists will consider the many aspects of Darwin’s remarkable theory. website banner

Evolution Rocks! The Power of Deep Time & Change

On this, the 200th anniversary week of Charles Darwin’s birthday (12 February, 1809), we celebrate the power of deep time and nature’s processes to produce dramatic change, as Michael Shermer demonstrates how a solid hunk of lava rock can be ground down to fine grains of black sand, given enough time under nature’s power of erosion. READ the post >

While you’re there be sure to read the blog posts of the other Skepticbloggers: Brian Dunning, Kirsten Sanford, Mark Edward, Phil Plait, Ryan Johnson, Steven Novella, and Yau-Man Chan.


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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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