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SCIENCE SALON # 95

Michael Shermer with John Martin Fischer — Death, Immortality and Meaning in Life

John Martin Fischer’s Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life offers a brief yet in-depth introduction to the key philosophical issues and problems concerning death and immortality. In this wide-ranging and thoughtful conversation, Shermer and Fisher discuss:

  • meaning in life
  • meaning in death
  • the badness of death
  • different philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas on immortality
  • near-death experiences
  • extending life through medical technology
  • medical immortality vs. real immortality
  • the problem of identity for immortality (who or what becomes immortal?)
  • living for 100 years vs. 1000 years vs. forever
  • responding to the theistic argument that without God anything goes, there is no objective morality, and no meaning to life
  • If you don’t believe in God or the afterlife, what do you say to someone who is dying or has lost a loved one?
  • Is immortality, like existence, one thought too many?

John Martin Fischer is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, and a University Professor at the University of California. He is coauthor of Near-Death Experiences: Understanding Visions of the Afterlife (OUP, 2016), and coeditor of Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings (Eighth Edition, OUP, 2018). He was Project Leader of The Immortality Project (John Templeton Foundation).

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SKEPTIC 24.4

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In the latest issue of Skeptic Magazine (24.4): Understanding Flat Earthers: Who Says the Earth Is Flat, and Why Do They Say It? • Shroud of Turin Update • The Girl Who Smelled Blue: The Colorful Case of Willetta Huggins • How to Navigate Contentious Conversations • How Much Longer Will Cancer Screening Myths Survive? • Nationalistic Pseudohistory in the Balkans • The SkepDoc: Water Fluoridation: Public Health, Not Poison • The Gadfly: Are You in the 43 Percent? • Does God Exist? A Rebuttal of Theologian Brian Huffling • God is Not a Moral Being: A Response to Gary Whittenberger on the Problem of Evil • “Prove that I am Wrong!” What QAnon, Descartes, and Brains in Vats Have in Common • Reviews of Mind Fixers, The Human Swarm, Darwin’s Apostles, Forensic Science Reform, The Psychology and Sociology of Wrongful Convictions, and Blinding as a Solution to BiasJunior Skeptic: Victorian England’s Jurassic Park.

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JUNIOR SKEPTIC # 73

Victorian England’s Jurassic Park

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we venture back two hundred years to a time when no one had ever heard the word “dinosaur” or suspected such creatures ever existed. This is hard for modern people to imagine. Today, everyone knows about dinosaurs. Kids learn about dinosaurs almost before they can talk! If I say “Tyrannosaurus rex,” you can clearly picture one. You know things about T. rex: it lived a long time ago, walked on two legs, ate meat, and eventually went extinct. Yet there was a time when absolutely no one knew any of those things. What was it like when people learned about dinosaurs for the very first time? Let’s find out!

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Junior Skeptic # 73

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Junior Skeptic — an engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers (and the young at heart) — is physically bound within each and every issue of Skeptic magazine. About 30 Junior Skeptic back issues are also available as single downloadable PDFs at an amazing price!

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2019 was another banner year for the Skeptics Society, as we revamped our efforts in promoting science, skepticism, and critical thinking as we move into our second quarter century of activism in the name of science. Thanks to your continued support, we are looking forward to 2020 and are pleased to report on what we have been doing with your donations the past year…
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