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Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine
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Confessions of an Alien Hunter cover

Confessions of an Alien Hunter

Why do we think aliens are out there? Is Earth really being visited? Will aliens really be short, gray, and hairless? What happens if we pick up a signal from another world?

These are just a few of the questions this week’s guest tackles regularly, in his role as the senior astronomer for the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute.

Dr. Seth Shostak talks with Swoopy about the ongoing search for life in the universe, as chronicled in his new book Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

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Michael Shermer photo

Michael Shermer’s
April lecture tour

Dr. Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Lecture Series at Caltech. He is the author of The Mind of the Market, Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, Science Friction, The Science of Good and Evil, How We Believe, Why People Believe Weird Things, In Darwin’s Shadow, Denying History, and The Borderlands of Science. Below is a list of upcoming lectures and debates this month in various locations around the US.

Why Darwin Matters, cover
Charleston, West Virginia
Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 pm
Year of Science 2009 Lecture on Why People Believe Weird Things
Science, Technology, and Research Symposium
Charleston Marriott Town Center
San Francisco, California
Thursday, April 23, 7 pm
Why Darwin Matters
Annual Leakey Foundation Speaker Series
California Academy of Sciences
Long Beach, California
Sunday, April 26, 1–5 pm
The Mind of the Market, Long Beach Medical Center, Van Dyke Hall, 2801 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806, combined with a lecture by Jay Stuart Snelson, Can Science Save us from Self-Extinction?. Shermer will consider the recent economic meltdown in the context of research in behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, and evolutionary economics. To register call: 760/233-2071.
Austin, Texas
Tuesday, April 28, 7pm
Was Darwin Wrong: Evolution v. Intelligent Design
Michael Shermer, Sahotra Sarkar and Kenneth R. Diller (biologists at the University of Texas, Austin) v. Hugh Ross and Fuz Rana, from Reasons to Believe.

BROWSE Michael’s books >

petrified sand dunes

Checkerboard Mesa on the road leading east out of Zion National Park. The horizontal cross-beds of this 200 million year-old Navajo Sandstone formation are petrified sand dunes, fractured by a vertical system.

details of June’s 6-Day Geology Tour: Utah or Bust!

June 8–13, 2009
Dinosaurs, Trilobites & Geology Galore

  • EXCLUSIVE: visit some of the richest dinosaur-bearing deposits in the world. These fossil quarries are usually open only to the scientists working there.
  • Tour the geologic wonders of southern Utah, including Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef National Parks.
  • Along the way we will stop frequently to learn about the rocks beneath our feet, or gaze over breathtaking scenic vistas that tell a remarkable story. On site lectures by renowned geologist and paleontologist Dr. Donald Prothero.
  • Dig your own trilobite fossils at a quarry famous for quantity and quality specimens.
  • Included in the fee: charter bus, and hotels, breakfast, lunch, snacks, lectures, museums, park fees, fossil collecting, and a guide booklet.
  • Seats are limited, so make your reservations soon!

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& DOWNLOAD the registration form

or call 626/794-3119. website banner

Why Darwin Matters to Creationists

On April 2, 2009 I was the keynote speaker for the University of California at San Diego Biological Science Symposium, giving my talk on “Why Darwin Matters” based on my book of that title. Earlier that day I awarded the winners of the Why Darwin Matters contest, in which students submitted entries on different ways to express their answer to the implied question in my book title.…

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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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