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An Interview with People Francis

In this video — the sixth in our witty and satirical “Skeptic Presents” series, Michael Shermer interviews Pope Francis.

CREDITS: Special thanks to David Cowan, Daniel Mendez, and Jim Robinson for their support in launching this series of Skeptic videos.

Written and Produced by: Brian Keith Dalton, Michael Shermer, Pat Linse, Jennifer Shermer. Directed, lensed, and edited by: Brian Keith Dalton. Executive Producers: David Cowan, Daniel Mendez, Jim Robinson. Starring: Michael Shermer, Brian Keith Dalton. Music by: Final Cut Pro. Shot on: a Canon C100.

If you missed our previous videos, check them out:

  1. The Con Academy
  2. B.Y.T.H Busters: The Secret Law of Attraction
  3. You Can’t Handle The Truther
  4. What is a Skeptic?
  5. Get Your Guru Going

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Sikivu Hutchinson
Race and Religious Rebels

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek tracked down Sikivu Hutchinson, a passionate skeptic and rights activist. Sikivu is the senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angles County Human Relations Commission, and the author of several books centering around race, gender, politics, and atheism in minority society within the United States. Her most recent book, Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels, attempts to shed light on the issues around minorities which often get overlooked by many in atheist communities and skeptic circles.

Skepticality (the Official Podcast App of Skeptic Magazine) is available on the App Store
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Get the Skepticality App — the Official Podcast App of Skeptic Magazine and the Skeptics Society, so you can enjoy your science fix and engaging interviews on the go! Available for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices. Subscribe to Skepticality for free on iTunes.

Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? (cover)

Pre-order the book from Amazon (released Sep 21, 2014)

MonsterTalk # 87
More Brainssss

What can a shambling zombie teach us about the human brain? According to Brad Voytek and Tim Verstynen, quite a lot. Their new book is called Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep? and in this episode of MonsterTalk we’ll be talking “Brainssss…”

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App (presented by Skeptic Magazine) and enjoy the science show about monsters on your handheld devices! Available for iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices. Subscribe to MonsterTalk for free on iTunes.

The Mind of the Science Denier

The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country—all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain.

Edward Slingerland Video, On Demand
Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science
of Spontaneity

Edward Slingerland (photo by Paul Joseph)

Why is it always hard to fall asleep the night before an important meeting? Or be charming and relaxed on a first date? What is it about a politician who seems wooden or a comedian whose jokes fall flat or an athlete who chokes? In all of these cases, striving seems to backfire. In Trying Not To Try, Edward Slingerland explains why we find spontaneity so elusive, and shows how early Chinese thought points the way to happier, more authentic lives. We’ve long been told that the way to achieve our goals is through careful reasoning and conscious effort. But recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly. Through stories of mythical creatures and drunken cart riders, jazz musicians and Japanese motorcycle gangs, Slingerland effortlessly blends Eastern thought and cutting-edge science to show us how we can live more fulfilling lives. Order Trying Not to Try from Amazon.

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  1. Byron Crowell says:

    The great weapon of the leftist intellectual – derision and disrespect. This crap is why i quit being a Skeptic. It’s boring.

    • Bob Pease says:

      I am frightened to think about life in a world where Skeptics were required
      to submit to the Attitude Police.

      Unfortunately, “Standard Rhetoric” gets debate points, but effective Rhetoric depends on some emotional jolt.


    • Bad Boy Scientist says:

      Hmmm. So you stopped being a skeptic – IOW: stopped scrutinizing ideas before accepting them – because ‘leftist intellectuals’ behave in a manner that displeases you? How odd.

      The behavior of many groups of skeptics rubs me the wrong way but I remain skeptical of things …. in fact, I just added skeptics groups to my list of things to carefully scrutinize before accepting.

  2. Terry Wall says:

    Climate change deniers dispute the links between human activity and any disagreeable effects, and philosophical scientists try to reason with them by demonstrating that those links are proven, or highly probable, based on the data. Unfortunately this focuses all the attention on that data, which the deniers find any reason to criticise.

    However, it is indisputable that mankind’s activities are now so far-reaching and the impact on the natural environment so substantial that it is no longer necessary to prove those links to the deniers. Those energies would be better employed examining specific activities that are clearly damaging the planet, either by gross over-exploitation of precious resources or by the failure to manage the resulting waste products.

    If businesses, and governments, are obliged to ensure that the environment is left in the same condition after their activities that it was in before, or, if this is not feasible, any potential negative impact is eliminated, then the costs will have to be borne by those organisations. Ultimately, of course, rightly, by us as consumers.

  3. peter says:

    Re: Interview with the pope. This came over to me as childish, un-funny, and it is this sort of poor effort that harms your case. I feel ashamed to be associated with Sceptic

  4. peter says:

    Freudian slip, clearly!

  5. Brandon says:

    The interview with the pope was funny, clever and insightful. Parody is a first-rate method for highlighting ridiculous ideas and institutions.

    I am a newcomer to Skeptic, but I’m delighted I discovered you. There can never be too much informed apostasy in North American life, your critics and naysayers be damned!

    • Bob Pease says:

      The interview examines valid issues.
      The Catholic Church represents an important population of Latin American
      who would be offended and are not reached by Mike’s style in this case

      It comes across as a project for religion class in an Episcopal Junior High


      • Patrick Seery says:

        Most of Latin Americas catholics would nt even know this site exists . let alone would look at it . Websites such as this appeal to those who are better educated than the average devout Christian . Im catholic , and thought the parody interview hilarious . Whats more offensive , this video or sexual abuse by priests …just ask a victim ? or women who end up with aids which is transmitted to their unborn child because the vatican has told catholics not to use condoms and the husband sleeps with say prostitutes or any woman who is carrying the HIV virus ?

        • Bob Pease says:

          The Pope is a Latin American.

          He can’t or will not declare radical doctrine changes .

          This doesn’t justify Mike’s shotgun of moronic stereotypes which are
          better fit for the pulpit of a hillbilly parson
          running hysterical naked through the OZark Hills at night, looking for a lonely cracker!


  6. M MacHauer MD says:

    What a biased and unsubstantiated bunk laden lecture by Prothero at the TAM2014 conference. I have been a skeptic for my entire life, have read Skeptic magazine for years and nearly every book written by Dawkins and Shermer. For the last 3 years, I have read almost every shred of science related to both climate change and creationism. But according to Prothero, I must be a climate change denier, just like a creationist, essentially just above an idiot. The real skeptic would be the one questioning the extremely weak Global Warming evidence since its based on such minimal science. Little or no warming, a long pause in warming since 1998, no logic of why CO2 would have any effect any where close to that of water vapor, and the greatest leap of logic, that a slightly warmer world containing more natural fertilizer would not be more conducive to the human condition. I have no economics driving my decision, but I agree that economics might drive other’s opinions. I would think that if there was actually some significant warming at all, something more than the ridiculously small 0.4 C that has occurred, and if there was a grain of truth to the logic that a colder earth is better, than the people who shift their beliefs because of economics would easily shift their beliefs to the new reality. Comparing Global warming skeptics to creationist is truly despicable behavior and certainly inconsistent to Carl Sagan’s legacy

  7. Jack Wetter says:

    I have to agree with MacHauer largely. In the case of global warming the burden of proof is on the theorists since apart from statistical analysis and air sample analysis there is no demonstrable evidence of an impending doom. In addition I believe because of the way it is associated, that is not correcting for any external factors models will naturally tend to overestimate the effects if they are not exactly correct. There definately seems to be some kind of effect and it is highly probably it is caused by humans. But exactly the scope and scale of the effect and what it will mean to the future is still in doubt and in fact may not result in any type of doom scenario at all. Though if I was a climatologist… even seeing the evidence the way I do… I think I would say exactly what they say… because the worst case scenario is truely something you want to avoid… but I call it that… a worse case scenario which on the balance I do not believe is particularly likely.

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