Skeptic » eSkeptic » November 12, 2014

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Be part of bringing the Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech to the world

Fellow skeptics,

Since 1992, the Skeptics Society has sponsored the Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, one of the premiere scientific institutions in the world, hosting over 350 of the biggest names in science. This series of lectures has covered the most advanced, leading-edge discoveries, and controversial topics in all of science, and enabled students, educators, and the general public to hear what’s new in science and skepticism. These lectures have helped people learn how to think critically about claims made in the name of science.

Now we want to take the Distinguished Science Lecture Series to a whole new level. While ticket, book, and DVD sales have provided enough funding to bring these cutting-edge ideas to tens of thousands of people, we would like to make them available to a much broader audience—to millions…to the world.

Following the TED model (I have given two TED talks that have been viewed by almost six million people), we are looking for a major donor/sponsor to reach this goal. Our speakers are just as prestigious as TED speakers—and our speakers’ talks are more in depth at full hour-long lectures—so there is every reason to believe that we too can reach millions of people around the world with our remarkable speakers and lectures.

A quality product on the Internet is, of course, a means to this end. We want to make our lectures available to everyone in the world who has Internet access by live streaming the events and then posting them shortly thereafter at for viewing in the future. We would like to make this service available for free for viewers. To this end we have a detailed line-item budget available upon request and look forward to working with a major donor/sponsor to help take the Distinguished Science Lecture Series to the next level. We want to change the world, and in order to do that we need to make science and skepticism available to everyone in the world.

Michael Shermer

Click the graphic below to download a printable PDF version of highlights from our Distinguished Science Lecture Series

We need your support.

Please be a part of bringing our Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech to the world, by making a tax-deductible donation online using your credit card, or by downloading a printable donation card to make your donation by cheque. You may also make a donation by calling 1-626-794-3119. The Skeptics Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Make a tax-deductible donation
to your Skeptics Society

Conspiracy Theories
Who Believes Them, and Why? How Can You Determine if They are True or False?

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? For the answers, download this free booklet, created by Michael Shermer and Pat Linse, the founders of Skeptic magazine and your Skeptics Society.

Download the free booklet

Molly Crockett

Molly Crockett

Of Cheese And Neuro-Bunk

Can the simple act of eating a cheese sandwich change your mood? Will taking some commonly prescribed drugs make you more likely to help random strangers on the street? Well-known neuroscientist Molly Crockett may have some answers. In this episode of Skepticality, Derek explores altruism, morality, and values-based decision-making in humans, with Molly, who reminds us against blind acceptance of some of the more overstated claims about neuroscience in the media.

The Latest Episode of The Way of the Mister: The Mormon Testimony




  1. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    I applaud the Skeptic’s decision to make streaming videos available online. TED talks are merely one example of successful talks being streamed online. I don’t know what the policy is about mentioning other services so I’ll merely point out that the San Francisco Bay Area has a long running Astronomy Lecture Series that is (a) free and (b) freely available online due to generous donations. I often assign students watch certain ‘episodes’ from that lecture series for my astronomy class… I’m hoping I will do the same for the skeptic’s talks.

    I am afraid my donation will not be very generous (the current economy means those of us with decent jobs help our relatives without) but I will make a humble donation for this very worthy cause. I hope many of you do the same!

    Way to go,!

    • Yashira says:

      Sorry! I just saw this post. An answer is bteter late than never, I hope.When such inconsistencies occur, go with the later of the two dates.You can also always make a note when you submit the file on Canvasso that the mentors know about the timing issue. Karen +1Was this answer helpful?

  2. Joel Carlinsky says:

    I have heard that the collapse of the World Trade Center was ordered because a man who worked there was having an affair with his secretary and his wife found out about it and ordered a hit. Everyone else there was just collateral damage.

    That is a lot more likely than the official conspiracy theory that a group of radical Arabs hijacked several airliners simultaneously and intentionally killed themselves by crashing into the building.

    But it is also possible that it was orcestrated by the American Indian Movement, trying to get the U.S. out of North America.

    One must keep an open mind about everything if one intends to be a skeptic, but to blindly follow the official line is not skepticism. It is lazyness. Real conspiracies do exist:

    The FBI runs drugs into African-American neighborhoods to destabilize them and prevent political organizing.

    The CIA smuggles drugs to fund illegal programs like starting Protestant churches in Latin America to undermine the influence of Roman Catholic clergy.

    The CIA illegally donates millions of dollars to right-wing parties in every country in Europe to help them win elections.

    The Army hires journalists to plant favorable stories in the news media, decieving the public.

    Every police car in America carries a “throw-down gun”, an unregistered cheap handgun with one shot fired, to throw down next to a body of someone they have shot to prove they killed him in self-defense.

    The FBI taps phones of members of Congress to get information to blackmail them into passing laws the FBI wants passed.

    Local police forces are often pressured into following orders from Federal agencies, despite the lack of Federal legal authority to give them orders.

    The Forest Service conspires with Earth First! leaders to divert potential environmental activism into “harmless” channels like civil disobedience instead of more effective actions like sabotage.

    The Bureau of Printing and Engraving adds cocaine to the ink used in printing paper money to give the police legal grounds to sieze any stash of banknotes they find.

    The American prison system has been privatized and the prison companies spend millions each year on lobbying and campaign contributions to get as many laws passed as possible, with the longest possible sentences for every offense, to get more prisoners.

    A researcher who found a mistake in the method of DNA identification, proving the method ineffective, was threatened by the FBI to keep him from publishing his data.

    Fingerprinting is a hoax. Each year, for the past 100 years, thousands of people all over the world, are convicted on a basis of fingerprint evidence, but there is not a single peer-reviewed scientific study to show that no two people have identical prints. The claim that fingerprints are positive identification rests entirely on folklore, not science.

    Government documents dealing with the asassination of Abraham Lincoln are still classified. There are reasons to suspect they reveal the involvement of the British Secret Service, and the U.S. government fears damage to the Anglo-American alliance if the American public found out, even at this late date.

    The question that nobody is asking is, why is there such a large, and apparently well-funded movement promoting the obviously crackpot claims of someone deliberately spraying poisons from aircraft, or of miraculous free energy inventions being suppressed by some secret plotters for some incomprehensible reason, or some mysterious government agency covering up contact with UFOs for some unknown reason, but no interest in investigating and exposing all these real conspiracies that have been going on for years without drawing any attention from the huge populist conspiracy-theory movement?

    Could it be that someone is trying to distract attention from real conspiracies and prevent them from being taken sertiously by spreading deliberate rubbish about nonsensical false conspiracies around to discredit anyone who claims to have uncovered a conspiracy?

    • WCorvi says:

      OMG – you are SOOO right! And Bigfoot lives in my back yard. And Nessie is in my bathtub.

      ALL of them!

  3. Bob Pease says:

    the REALTROOTH about conspiracy gas been known for years.

    the above cons have been orchestrated by agents of the REALCON
    to divert attention from their thing..

    The Bavarian Illuminati , Jesuits and Masons have been in collaboration for many years.
    It is Obvious that Mozart was drugged by Salieri into writing Elevator music
    to soothe The upper Crust of society into a hypnotic and apathetic mind state.

    For more information check out

    Dr. Wattaya ibn Tokin
    Bob Dobbs University
    69th Clench of the Church of the Subgenius
    Pope Bobby II
    Dean and chief bottlewasher

  4. tpaine says:

    Who do you really work for?

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 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.

Copyright © 1992–2018. All rights reserved. The Skeptics Society | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. Privacy Policy.