The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer in conversation

In this high quality production of their conversation in Urania, Berlin on November 11, 2018 Dawkins and Shermer discuss God, religion, science, skepticism, abortion, education, politics, terrorism, moral progress/regress, Trump, and more…

Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist and author. From 1995 to 2008, he held the Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His book The Selfish Gene is considered the central work of evolutionary biology. His polemic “The God Delusion” is a bestseller.

Michael Shermer earned graduate degrees in psychology and the history of science and has taught at various American universities since 1979. He is the founder and publisher of Skeptic magazine and writes regularly for Scientific American. Shermer has published several books including The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc.

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Dr. Susan Blackmore — Altered States and Conscious Beings

Dr. Susan Blackmore is no stranger to skeptics. Dr. Shermer has known Dr. Blackmore since the early 1990s. When the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine were founded in 1992 she was already a rock star in the skeptical movement, having moved from believing in the paranormal, ESP, telepathy, and all the rest, to being an arch skeptic of all such claims. After earning a Ph.D. in the paranormal she devoted a decade to testing various phenomena under rigorous laboratory conditions, and continually found null results. That is, the tighter the controls she implemented and the more rigorous the research protocols, the weaker the paranormal effects became until they disappeared entirely. She went on from there to develop a theory about the neural correlates of such altered states of consciousness as Out of Body Experiences and Near Death Experiences, and after that wrote her bestselling book The Meme Machine, in which she developed a theory of how memes can be replicated and selected in a manner first proposed by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, when he coined the term. Dr. Blackmore went on to publish one of the leading textbooks on consciousness and is now working on a theory of tremes, or technological memes and how they can be replicated and selected in machines without human input.

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This Science Salon was recorded on November 7, 2018.

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Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Here’s what’s in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine (23.4):

Personhood and Abortion Rights: How Science Might Inform this Contentious Issue • How to Teach Evolution to Religious Students • The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution: A Study in Contrasts • Meeting Our “Enemies” Where They Are: The Advantage of Understanding Your Adversary’s Arguments • Reviews of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress • The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution • The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will • SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine • Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life • The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are • Junior Skeptic: Secrets of the Ouija Board, and more…

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Secrets of the Ouija Board

In this issue of Junior Skeptic we will dim the lights and gather around an object of mystery: the ouija (pronounced “wee-ja” or “wee-gee”). With a little pointer, these simple but spooky devices spell out answers that appear to come from some invisible source. Some people believe ouija boards release secrets from our subconscious minds. Others claim ouija boards harness supernatural forces to predict the future or contact spirits of the dead. Ouija boards have been used to write entire books, and praised as a source of cosmic wisdom. They have also been blamed for madness, mayhem, and murder. Some even fear that ouija boards are gateways for evil demons. Are any of these claims true? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic # 69

Order Skeptic Magazine 23.4 to get Junior Skeptic # 69

Junior Skeptic —an engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers (and the young at heart)—is physically bound inside each and every issue of Skeptic magazine. A dozen back issues are also available as single downloadable PDFs at an amazing price!


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