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This Science Salon is sold out. You can watch the live stream of the event for free online on February 18, 2018 at 2pm PST.


Caltech Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Kip Thorne, in conversation with Dr. Michael Shermer

Kip Thorne

Kip S. Thorne (photo by Bengt Nyman from Vaxholm, Sweden (Kip S. Thorne EM1B8790) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Join us for what promises to be one of the deepest and most profound conversations we’ve had in our Science Salon series as Dr. Thorne reflects on his life and career in theoretical physics, his pursuit of the detection of the long-elusive gravitational waves through the LIGO detector, his relationship and bet with Stephen Hawking, how he came to consult on Carl Sagan’s Contact and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, his curious work on black holes, wormholes, and time travel, and what it’s like to go to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize.

Contact and Interstellar (posters)
Discussion in the main lecture hall at the École de Physique des Houches (Les Houches Physics School), 1972. From left, Yuval Ne’eman, Bryce DeWitt, Kip Thorne.

Discussion in the main lecture hall at the École de Physique des Houches (Les Houches Physics School), 1972. From left, Yuval Ne’eman, Bryce DeWitt, Kip Thorne. (Photo by A. T. Service (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

This Science Salon is sold out. You can watch the live stream of the event for free online on February 18, 2018 at 2pm PST.

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Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia

In his most ambitious work yet—a scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality—bestselling author and skeptic, Michael Shermer, sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. Check out what people are saying about the book…

Faulty religious reasoning and sloppy secular arguments about the afterlife earn a skeptic’s side-eye
by Paula Quinon
Read the review

The Quest for Immortality, Rebooted
by Maria Konnikova
Read the review

Scientists could one day make humans immortal
by Larry Getlen
Read the review

Read the review

The pull of ‘heaven’: Even some atheists believe in afterlife
by Repps Hudson Special to the Post-Dispatch
Read the review

Jordan B Peterson Interviews Michael
Watch the interview

The Dangers of Utopia
by Richard Davies & Jim Meigs
Listen to the podcast

NPR AirTalk
The big sleep and beyond: What’s behind our fascination with the afterlife
Listen to the podcast

Explore more reviews

Learn more about the book

Get an Autographed 1st Edition from Shop Skeptic

Order Heavens on Earth from Shop Skeptic, and we will send you an autographed copy, signed by Michael Shermer himself! The autographed version is only available from Shop Skeptic.

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In this week’s eSkeptic, Mario E. Herrera and Lawrence Patihis review Mark Pendergrast’s new book: Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die.

Psychology’s Unhealed Wound

by Mario E. Herrera & Lawrence Patihis

Imagine 20 years ago that you bandaged up a deep wound, and now you peel back the bandages to find that only part of the wound had healed and that, in fact, a raging infection persists. That is analogous to the situation that Mark Pendergrast describes in Memory Warp.

In the early 1990s one of psychology’s most important debates arose between some psychologists who argued that the recovery of repressed memories was valid, and skeptical researchers who thought they were confabulations. The theory of repressed memory, first proposed by Sigmund Freud in 1895, states that traumatic events are often so threatening to the psyche that the mind encapsulates them, rendering them inaccessible for years, only to be recalled later in a safer environment (for example, a therapist’s office).

Many experimental memory researchers, such as David Holmes and Elizabeth Loftus, argued that there is no credible scientific evidence for repressed memory. A growing band of psychology researchers became suspicious that some practitioners were actually creating false abuse memories in clients.

It was a bitter and personal argument at times, but thankfully all seemed to calm down to a degree around the turn of the century—the ameliorative bandages seemed to be working. An American Psychology Association committee came to an uneasy compromise on the issue. Related high profile court cases seemed to decrease in number—those where psychotherapy clients would sue parents, clients would retract their memories and sue therapists, or parents of clients would sue therapists. Multimillion-dollar verdicts against psychotherapists made most counselors far more cautious about seeking to unearth purportedly repressed abuse memories. […]

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Skeptic cover art by Pat Linse

Art of the Skeptic

In celebration of Skeptic magazine’s 100th issue, we present sage graphic art advice for skeptical groups and a gallery of art reflecting more than 47 years of skeptical activism from Skeptic’s long time Art Director, Pat Linse

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.

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