The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

eSkeptic Archives 2016–2020

2020

December 29th: The After Time: The Future of Civilization After COVID-19
In Science Salon 149, the last of 2020, Dr. Michael Shermer reflects on the many issues we have witnessed this year: Black Live Matter, class conflicts, income inequality, lack of education, anti-Semitism, far-left illiberalism, far-right xenophobia and bigotry, and religious indoctrination. He then reads an expanded version of his essay The After Time: The Future of Civilization After COVID-19.
December 26th: Save 40% on new digital subscriptions
BOXING WEEK SALE! From now until January 9, 2021, save 40% on new digital subscriptions via PocketMags.com. Subscribe now and download the current issue (25.4) instantly. Three more digital issues will follow as they are released (in March 2021, June 2021, and September 2021).
December 22nd: Psychological Risks with Covid-19 Vaccines
Robert E. Bartholomew & Kate MacKrill remind us that, if history is a guide — and given the large number of people to be vaccinated — a mass anxiety event is not improbable. PLUS: In Science Salon # 148, Michael Shermer reflects on the recent resurrection of Jordan Peterson, the resurgent criticism of him and why so many people attack him, why similar such unwarranted attacks have been made against other public intellectuals.
December 18th: Evolution Revolution: Festschrift 2000 for Stephen Jay Gould
From our Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives from October 2000, we present Dr. Stephen Jay Gould’s remarkable lecture tracing the history of western culture’s uneasy relationship with the pedestal-shattering discoveries of science. PLUS: we present the third report in our Civil Unrest and Presidential Election Study.
December 15th: Michael Shermer with David Barash — On the Brink of Destruction
2020 has been one of the most momentous years of the past half century. In this conversation based on the book Threats: Intimidation and its Discontents, Shermer and Barash discuss: the evolutionary logic of nuclear deterrence, threat strategy and motive behind nuking, close calls with nuclear weapons, why they are not a sustainable strategy, the arms race within the U.S. between the Army, Navy, and Airforce, and more…
December 11th: Havana Syndrome Skepticism
A report by the National Academy of Sciences says microwaves caused an array of mysterious health complaints at the American embassy in Cuba. Robert E. Bartholomew reminds us why we should be skeptical. It was probably psychogenic.
December 8th: Announcing the 100th issue of Skeptic magazine!
We are pleased to announce Skeptic’s 100th issue (25.4) which focuses on QAnon in conspiratorial context. Instantly download the digital edition or order the print edition today. PLUS: In Science Salon podcast # 146, Michael Shermer speaks Donald Prothero about his new book Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas About Our Planet.
December 4th: Political Intolerance Is Lower Than You Might Think
Have Americans become more politically intolerant over the last year? If so, is this intolerance directed more toward perceived oppositional political parties or specific political candidates? We seek answers to these questions in the second report from Skeptic Research Center’s Civil Unrest & Presidential Election Study (CUPES).
December 1st: Celebrating Skeptic’s 100th issue!
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 combined skeptical activism from Skeptic’s long time Art Director, Pat Linse, and Junior Skeptic Creator, Daniel Loxton. Plus, a message your Skeptic’s Society Executive Director, Michael Shermer.
November 24th: Agustín Fuentes on Why We Believe
Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? In Science Salon # 144 Michael Shermer speaks with Agustin Fuentes about his new book Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being.
November 20th: Our Biggest Sale Ever! On Now Thru Dec 5, 2020
For the next 16 days, now through December 5, 2020, shop our biggest sale ever! Get 40% off digital subscriptions via pocketmags.com, and get 25% off everything at shop.skeptic.com including magazine subscriptions and back issues!
November 17th: Michael Shermer with Nicholas Christakis
In Science Salon # 143 Michael Shermer speaks with Nicholas Christakis about his new book Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.
November 13th: Did Political Disunity Change in 2020?
The Skeptic Research Center presents the first report in the new Civil Unrest & Presidential Election Study: Did Political Disunity Change in 2020? (CUPES-001). PLUS: From the Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives from October 2011, we present Dr. Steven Pinker discussing his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.
November 9th: Galileo’s Error and Carl Safan’s Birthday
In Science Salon # 142 Michael Shermer speaks with Philip Goff about his new book Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. PLUS, we celebrate Carl Sagan’s birthday; he would have been 86 years old today.
November 6th: Dr. Richard Dawkins in Conversation with Dr. Michael Shermer
In March 2019, Jared Diamond predicted what might happen if Trump loses his bid for reelection in 2020. PLUS: From the Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives from October 2010, we present Dr. Richard Dawkins in Conversation with Dr. Michael Shermer discussing Dawkins’ book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
November 2nd: Richard Kreitner on American Secession & Division
In Science Salon podcast # 141, Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Kreitner about this new book: Break it Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.
October 27th: Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art
In Science Salon podcast # 140, Michael Shermer speaks with Rebecca Wragg Sykes about her new book Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art. PLUS: Evolutionary biologist and National Geographic photographer Mark Moffett considers how we might reduce racism, bigotry, and even speciesism.
October 24th: James Randi in Memoriam, 1928–2020
In loving memory of our friend James Randi who passed away at the age of 92 on October 20, 2020 we present a classic lecture on skepticism given at Caltech by James Randi on March 22, 1992 at the inaugural session of the Distinguished Science Lecture Series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society in California (1992–2015). With wit and wonderfully illustrative examples, Randi teaches us several lessons on the scientific investigation of unusual claims.
October 20th: Michael Shermer with Shelby Steele — Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country & the film What Killed Michael Brown?
In Science Salon podcast # 139, Michael Shermer speaks with Shelby Steele about his book Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country and about his new film What Killed Michael Brown?
October 16th: A Special Science Salon Episode with Douglas Murray on the Madness of 2020: The Madness of Crowds Continues…
In this special episode of the Science Salon Podcast, Michael Shermer catches up with Douglas Murray one year after the publication of his bestselling book The Madness of Crowds, now out in paperback, with an Afterword update on all that has happened the past year, one of the most momentous in living memory.
October 13th: Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100
In addition to healthy nutrition and physical activity, deepening friendships, practicing empathy and contemplating your purpose in life can improve your lifespan. Learn more about this in Science Salon podcast # 137 in which Michael Shermer speaks with Marta Zaraska.
October 9th: Get 7 digital Skeptic issues for only $14.99!
Do not miss this incredible sale on new Skeptic digital subscriptions via PocketMags.com. Starting today, Oct. 9, and running through Oct. 16, 2020, get seven digital issues for only $14.99!
October 6th: The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense
In Science Salon podcast # 136, Michael Shermer speaks with Gad Saad about his new book The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense.
October 2nd: Replicating Milgram: A Study on Why People Commit Evil Deeds
Dr. Michael Shermer, working with Chris Hansen and Dateline NBC producers in 2010, replicated a number of classic psychology experiments, including Stanley Milgram’s famous shock experiments. Here’s a summary of that research along with the two-part video from the Dateline NBC show, called “What Were You Thinking?”
September 29th: Science Salon podcast # 135: Michael Shermer with Paul Halpern
In Science Salon podcast # 135, Michael Shermer speaks with Paul Halpern about his new book Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect.
September 25th: Do Diversity Training Programs Work?
Agenda-driven diversity and antiracism training programs are everywhere, but do they work in creating an inclusive culture? In our current climate of high racial tensions and deadlocked civil discourse, Dr. Mona Sue Weissmark asks “Is there a more effective way to break down these conversation barriers in order to answer some of the most difficult, polarizing questions that we face today?” PLUS, given the rising level of social and economic unrest seen in 2020, we announce a new study coming out soon in the Skeptic Research Center: Civil Unrest and Presidential Election Study (CUPES).
September 22nd: The WEIRDest People in the World
In Science Salon podcast # 134, Michael Shermer speaks Joe Henrich about his book: The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.
September 15th: Michael Shermer with Michael E. McCullough — The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code
In Science Salon podcast # 133, Michael Shermer speaks with Michael E. McCullough about his new book: The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code.
September 11th: Political Disagreement and Emotional Closeness (SPAS-009)
In SPAS-009, we assess the extent to which people disagree on political matters with close friends and family, whether this disagreement relates to their emotional closeness to one another, whether it varies by political orientation and commitment (e.g., activism).
September 8th: Michael Shermer with Leonard Mlodinow — Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics
In Science Salon podcast # 132, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book in which he recounts, in a unique and deeply personal portrayal, nearly two decades as Stephen Hawking’s collaborator and friend. PLUS: Skeptic Magazine 25.3, What Science Says About Race, is available now! Instantly download the digital edition or order the print edition today.
September 4th: Political Orientation and Political Attitudes (SPAS-008)
In SPAS-008, we asked: (1) To what extent are peoples’ political orientation consistent with their political party affiliation? and (2) How does political orientation correspond to political attitudes? To investigate this, we assessed attitudes towards abortion, climate change, and immigration among 600 self-identified liberals, moderates, and conservatives. Check out our latest findings.
September 1st: The Future of Civilization After Covid-19
Dr. Michael Shermer considers the pitfalls of projecting the consequences of the pandemic for our future (the availability heuristic, the negativity bias, the difficulties of superforecasting, and the contingent nature of history). PLUS: In Science Salon # 131, Michael Shermer speaks with Stuart Ritchie his book Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth.
August 28th: Political Orientation and Information Sources; Plus 99¢ back issues!
In SPAS-007, the researchers asked: “Do sources of information differ by political orientation?”. PLUS, this weekend only, Skeptic magazine back issues (in print or digital formats) are on sale for only 99 cents each!
August 25th: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society
In Science Salon # 130, Michael Shermer speaks with Debra Soh — a neuroscientist who specializes in gender, sex, and sexual orientation — about her new book: The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society.
August 21st: Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS): Is It Real?
In SPAS-006, the researchers asked: “Do people with different political orientations have different bases—evidence or emotion—for their political opinions?” PLUS: Harriet Hall, M.D. examines Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS) and shares the science.
August 18th: Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote
Today, August 18, marks the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, guaranteeing women the right to vote. We honor that momentous event with an excerpt adapted from the chapter on women’s rights in Dr. Shermer’s 2015 book The Moral Arc. PLUS: in Science Salon # 129, Michael Shermer speaks with Mona Sue Weissmark about her book The Science of Diversity which uses a multidisciplinary approach to excavate the theories, principles, and paradigms that illuminate our understanding of the issues surrounding human diversity, social equality, and justice.
August 14th: Plagued by Nonsense—Pandemics Throughout History: How Mistakes, Fakes, and Missing Facts Make Epidemics Worse
Right now, we are all confronting one of humanity’s scariest enemies: epidemic disease. Are we brave enough to face this horror? You bet we are! Download Junior Skeptic 76 for free: Pandemics Throughout History—How Mistakes, Fakes, and Missing Facts Make Epidemics Worse. PLUS: Dr. Michael Shermer gives a remote lecture on free speech & censorship.
August 11th: Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All
In Science Salon # 128, Michael Shermer speaks with Michael Shellenberger about his new book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. PLUS, save 40% on new digital subscription via PocketMags.com, now thru August 15, 2020.
August 7th: Attitudes about Language; Fat Man & Little Boy
In SPAS-005, the researchers asked, “Do attitudes about language differ by political party affiliation?” PLUS: On the 75th anniversary of nuclear weapons, Dr. Michael Shermer presents a moral case for their use in ending WWII and the deterrence of Great Power wars since, and a call to eventually eliminate them.
August 4th: Michael Shermer with William Perry and Tom Collina — The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump
In Science Salon # 127, Michael Shermer speaks with William J. Perry, Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration and Tom Z. Collina, the Director of Policy at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation in Washington, DC, as they share their firsthand experience on the front lines of the nation’s nuclear history.
July 31st: Attitudes on Inequality and Political Affiliation
Do beliefs in the prevalence of inequality, and demand for equality, differ by political party affiliation? In the fourth report from the Skeptic Research Center, Attitudes on Inequality and Political Affiliation, Dr. Anondah Saide and Dr. Kevin McCaffree assessed attitudes on inequality among self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and those who reported no political party identification in particular.
July 28th: Michael Shermer with Sarah Scoles on UFO Culture (Science Salon # 126)
More than half a century since Roswell, UFOs have been making headlines once again. In Science Salon # 126 Michael Shermer speaks with Sarah Scoles about her new book They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers.
July 25th: Moral and Political Attitudes of the Least Tolerant (SPAS-003)
In the third SPAS report from the Skeptic Research Center, Moral and Political Attitudes of the Least Tolerant, Dr. Anondah Saide and Dr. Kevin McCaffree asked the question: Are there attitudinal differences between people that are the most versus least tolerant towards people with opposite political views?
July 21st: Michael Shermer with Bjorn Lomborg on Climate Change Panic
In Science Salon # 125 Michael Shermer speaks Bjorn Lomborg about his new book False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.
July 17th: Political Affiliation & Intolerance; Plus Conspiracies
Dr. Anondah Saide and Dr. Kevin McCaffree examine whether political party identification is associated with tolerant attitudes towards individuals with different political views. ALSO, Michael Shermer explains who believes conspiracy theories and why they believe them in an essay derived from a lecture on conspiracies and conspiracy theories.
July 14th: Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO
In Science Salon # 124 Michael Shermer speaks with David J. Halperin about what our fascination with UFOs tells us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species.
July 10th: Announcing the Skeptic Research Center
The Skeptic Research Center (SRC) is a collaboration with qualified researchers to release digestible single-topic analyses of proprietary polling and survey data, detailing peoples’ attitudes about the important concerns of our time. Our data is open-source for full transparency. Our goal is to empower you with an understanding of what your fellow citizens really believe and how they really behave.
July 7th: Michael Shermer with Gerald Posner — Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America
In Science Salon Podcast # 123, Michael Shermer and Gerald Posner discuss how Big Pharma conspires to hack FDA regulations, the Opioid crisis. addiction, greed, capitalism, drug patents, innovation, and the prospects for a COVID-19 vaccine. PLUS, save 40% on new digital subscription via PocketMags.com, now thru July 25, 2020.
July 3rd: The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral
In this, the final lecture of his Chapman University Skepticism 101 course, Dr. Michael Shermer pulls back to take a bigger picture look at what science and reason have done for humanity in the realm of moral progress. Watch The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral.
June 30th: The Failure of the Roman Empire and the Road to Prosperity
In Science Salon # 122 Michael Shermer speaks with Walter Scheidel as he recounts the gripping story of how the end of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the modern world. PLUS, Harriet Hall, M.D. sets the record straight on wearing face masks during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
June 26th: Truth, Post-Truth, and Anything But
In a lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer addresses one of the deepest questions of all: what is truth? Following that, Lee McIntyre and Michael Shermer debate whether we are living in a Post-Truth era of fake news and alternative facts.
June 23rd: Maria Konnikova — The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win
In Science Salon # 121 Michael Shermer speaks with Harvard Psychologist and high-stakes poker player Maria Konnikova about her book The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win — the ultimate master class in learning to distinguish between what can be controlled and what can’t.
June 19th: Is Freedom of Speech Dangerous for College Students?
In this lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer addresses the growing crisis of free speech in college and culture at large, triggered as it was by the title lecture, which he was tasked to deliver to students at California State University, Fullerton, after a campus paroxysm erupted over Taco Tuesday.
June 16th: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars
In Science Salon # 120 Michael Shermer speaks with Andrew Rader about his book Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars. PLUS is Göbekli Tepe, a 12,000 year old site in Turkey, proof of a lost civilization, or is there another answer?
June 12th: What are Science & Skepticism?
In this lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer presents description of skepticism and science and how they work, along with a discussion of the difference between science and pseudoscience, and some very practical applications of how to test claims and evaluate evidence.
June 9th: Michael Shermer with Howard Bloom — Einstein, Michael Jackson, and Me: A Search for the Soul in the Power Pits of Rock and Roll
In Science Salon # 119 Michael Shermer speaks with Howard Bloom about his book Einstein, Michael Jackson, and Me: A Search for the Soul in the Power Pits of Rock and Roll. PLUS, we examine free speech and censorship in Skeptic Magazine 25.2 (2020): Giving the Devil His Due, available now in print and digital formats.
June 5th: Evolution & Creationism, Part 2: Who says evolution never happened, why do they say it, and what do they claim?
Dr. Michael Shermer continues the discussion of evolution and creationism, focusing on the history of the creationism movement and the four stages it has gone through
June 2nd: Artificial Intelligence, the Problem of Control, and Travels Within the Feminist Divide
In Science Salon # 118 Michael Shermer speaks with distinguished artificial intelligence researcher Stuart Russell about this new book Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control. PLUS social psychologist Carol Tavris discusses two new books whose authors separate what’s right in the pursuit of justice from what’s self-righteous.
May 31st: Wicked Games: Lance Armstrong, Forgiveness and Redemption, and a Game Theory of Doping
Part 2 of the documentary film “Lance” airs tonight on ESPN and served as a catalyst for this article that employs game theory to understand why athletes dope even when they don’t want to, as well as thoughts on forgiveness and redemption. The article is a follow up to and extension of Dr. Shermer’s article in the April 2008 issue of Scientific American.
May 29th: Michael Shermer on Evolution & Creationism, Part 1
In this lecture on Evolution and Creationism (Part 1), Dr. Michael Shermer takes viewers to the Galápagos Islands to retrace Darwin’s footsteps and show that, in fact, Darwin did not discover natural selection when he was there in September of 1835. He worked out his theory when he returned home, and Shermer shows exactly how Darwin did that, along with the story of the theory’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace.
May 26th: Michael Shermer with Matt Ridley — How Innovation Works: and Why It Flourishes in Freedom
Innovation is the main event of the modern age, the reason we experience both dramatic improvements in our living standards and unsettling changes in our society. In Science Salon # 117, Michael Shermer speaks with Matt Ridley about his book How Innovation Works: and Why It Flourishes in Freedom.
May 22nd: Michael Shermer on Holocaust Denial
In this lecture on Holocaust Denial, Dr. Shermer employs the methods of science to history, showing how we can determine truth about the past.
May 19th: Michael Shermer with Howard Steven Friedman — Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life
How much is a human life worth? In Science Salon # 116, Michael Shermer speaks with Howard Steven Friedman about the calculations that governments routinely use to place a price on human life.
May 15th: Skepticism 101: Pathways to Evil, Part 2
In his lecture on Pathways to Evil (Part 2), Dr. Michael Shermer fleshes out the themes of Part 1 by exploring how the dials controlling our inner demons and better angels can be dialed up or down depending on circumstances and conditions. Are we all good apples but occasionally bad barrels turn good apples rotten, or do we all harbor the capacity to turn bad?
May 12th: Michael Shermer with Matthew Cobb — The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience
In Science Salon # 115, Michael Shermer speaks with scientist and historian Matthew Cobb about his book The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience which traces how our conception of the brain has evolved over the centuries.
May 8th: Michael Shermer with Matthew Cobb — The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience
In his lecture on Pathways to Evil (Part 1), Dr. Michael Shermer considers the nature of evil in his attempt to answer the question of how you can get normal civilized, educated, and intelligent people to commit murder and even genocide.
May 5th: The Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism; Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies
In Science Salon # 114, Michael Shermer speaks with Katherine Stewart about her new book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. PLUS: Frank S. Robinson reviews The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies by Robert Boyers.
May 1st: Michael Shermer on the Bermuda Triangle, and Robert Sheaffer on the Pentagon’s “UFO Program”
The media keeps making claims that the Pentagon supposedly announced that UFOs are ‘real.’ How much of that is really true? Robert Sheaffer — leading skeptical investigators of UFOs — separates the facts from the hype. Plus: Dr. Michael Shermer examines the claims about the Bermuda Triangle using the tools of skepticism, science, and rationality to reveal that there is no mystery to explain.
April 28th: Michael Shermer with Dave Rubin — Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason
In Science Salon # 113 Michael Shermer speaks with Dave Rubin, the host of the political talk show The Rubin Report — the most-watched talk show about free speech and big ideas on YouTube — about his first book Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason.
April 24th: Carl Sagan lecture on The Possibility of Life in the Universe (from 1979)
Listen to “The Possibility of Life in the Universe,” a lecture by Carl Sagan, delivered one early evening in September 1974 (most likely Thursday, 5 September) to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Arnold Hall theater in front of a 3,000 cadet packed house lecture.
April 21st: Michael Shermer with Ann Druyan — Cosmos: Possible Worlds
In Science Salon # 112 Michael Shermer speaks with Ann Druyan about her book Cosmos: Possible Worlds, exploring how science and civilization grew up together. This book is the sequel to Carl Sagan’s beloved classic and the companion to the hit television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
April 17th: Michael Shermer gives a remote lecture on the Politics of Belief
Dr. Michael Shermer explains how we arrived at the Left-Right spectrum, both historically and evolutionarily, and the numerous metaphors used to wrap our minds around such complex systems as politics and economics. This Chapman University lecture is based on chapters in his books The Believing Brain, The Moral Arc, and Giving the Devil His Due, along with the books of Christian Sith, George Lakoff, Alan Fiske, Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Sowell, and Steven Pinker.
April 14th: Michael Shermer with Scott Barry Kaufman — Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization
In Science Salon # 111 Michael Shermer speaks with psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman about his book Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization. Kaufman picks up where Abraham Maslow left off, unraveling the mysteries of his unfinished theory of transcendence, and integrating these ideas with the latest research on attachment, connection, creativity, love, purpose and other building blocks of a life well lived.
April 9th: Giving the Devil His Due: Michael Shermer’s new book, available today!
We are pleased to announce a brand new book by New York Times best selling author Dr. Michael Shermer entitled Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist. Order your autographed 1st edition from Shop Skeptic.
April 7th: Deities for Atheists, Skygods for Skeptics: UFOs & ETIs
Dr. Michael Shermer distinguishes between two questions: (1) Are extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) out there somewhere in the cosmos? and (2) Have aliens come here? Evidence for both questions is considered in the larger context of why the issue so compels us to answer it almost religiously.
April 3rd: Michael Shermer on Cults, Myths, and Religion
Dr. Michael Shermer considers the characteristics of cults, how they differ from sects, religions, and myths, the role that myths and religions play in culture and people’s lives, and what Scientologists really believe.
March 31st: Michael Shermer with Bart Ehrman — Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife
Nearly everyone wonders about what, if anything, comes after death. In Science Salon # 110 Michael Shermer speaks with Bart Ehrman about his book Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife in which Ehrman investigates the powerful instincts that gave rise to the common ideas of heaven and hell and that help them endure. PLUS, save 40% on new digital subscriptions to Skeptic magazine now through April 12, 2020.
March 27th: Skepticism 101: Cognitive Biases & How Thinking Goes Wrong
Dr. Shermer reviews the many ways that our attempts to understand the truth about the world are derailed by cognitive biases, including the anchoring bias, the representative bias, the availability bias, the confirmation bias, the hindsight bias, the self-serving bias, and even the bias bias.
March 24th: Michael Shermer with Neil Shubin — Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
In Science Salon # 109 Michael Shermer speaks with Neil Shubin about his new book Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA — a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth.
March 17th: Michael Shermer with Brian Greene — Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe
In Science Salon # 108 Michael Shermer speaks with Brian Greene about his book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe. PLUS, during the Coronvirus outbreak, while many schools are closed, Shermer shares one of his Chapman University lectures, taught remotely, free for everyone to view.
March 10th: Michael Shermer with Fred Kaplan — The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War
In Science Salon # 107 Michael Shermer speaks with Fred Kaplan about his book The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War. PLUS, find out who believes in conspiracies and why, and read real conspiracy theories (and conspiracies with no theories) in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine, available now in print and digital formats.
March 3rd: Michael Shermer with Daniel Chirot — You Say You Want a Revolution? Radical Idealism and its Tragic Consequences
In Science Salon # 106 Michael Shermer speaks with Daniel Chirot about his book You Say You Want a Revolution? Radical Idealism and its Tragic Consequences. PLUS: An excerpt from Is A Good God Logically Possible? by James P. Sterba.
February 25th: Michael Shermer with Diana Pasulka — American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology
More than half of American adults and more than 75 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. In Science Salon # 105 Michael Shermer speaks with Diana Pasulka about her book: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.
February 18th: Michael Shermer with Judith Finlayson — You Are What Your Grandparents Ate
In Science Salon # 104 Michael Shermer speaks with Judith Finlayson about her book You Are What Your Grandparents Ate: What You Need to Know About Nutrition, Experience, Epigenetics and the Origins of Chronic Disease. PLUS: Carol Tavris avers that organizations’ Codes of Conduct that try to specify each and every possible behavior they wish to prohibit (or encourage), will find themselves in linguistic and psychological quicksand.
February 11th: Michael Shermer with Robert Frank — Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work
In Science Salon # 103 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Frank about how social environments profoundly influence our behavior. This conversation is based on Frank’s new book: Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. PLUS: Michael Aisner presents a vintage slice of history, science, and skepticism about UFOs in this interview he recorded in 1966 with UFOlogist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, his photo analyst cohort Fred Beckman, and then repackaged in the early 1970s with contributions from Sherman J. Larson, of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon.
February 4th: Michael Shermer with Christopher Ryan — Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress
In Science Salon # 102 Michael Shermer speaks Christopher Ryan about his new book: Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress. PLUS, The recent spate of drone sightings in the Midwest have residents on edge. Medical sociologist Robert Bartholomew avers that one explanation can be ruled out — mass hysteria.
January 28th: Michael Shermer with Hugo Mercier
In Science Salon # 101 Michael Shermer speaks with Hugo Mercier about his new book: Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe.
January 26th: The Crooked Timber of Auschwitz
On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman present a brief history of how a concentration camp became an extermination center.
January 21st: Science Salon # 100: Ask Me Anything # 6 with Michael Shermer
In Science Salon # 100 Michael Shermer presents his answers to Ask Me Anything # 6. PLUS, this weekend only, Skeptic magazine back issues (in print or digital formats) are on sale for only 99 cents each!
January 14th: Human Misunderstanding & Water Fluoridation
In Science Salon # 99 Michael Shermer speaks with Bobby Duffy about his research into public perception across more than 40 countries, offering a sweeping account of the stubborn problem of human delusion: how society breeds it, why it will never go away, and what our misperceptions say about what we really believe. PLUS: Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the evidence and the arguments for and against water fluoridation to see what holds up to scrutiny.
January 7th: An Instinct for Truth and Why Estrogen Matters
In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices. PLUS, Sociologist and Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. reviews Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives — Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.

2019

December 31st: Michael Shermer with Amber Scorah — Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life
In Science Salon # 97 Michael Shermer speaks with former Jehovah’s Witness Amber Scorah about the psychology of religious belief and her new book Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life. PLUS Peter Kassan reviews Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell.
December 24th: Michael Shermer with Catherine Wilson — How to Be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well
In Science Salon # 96 Michael Shermer speaks with Catherine Wilson about the ancient wisdom of Epicureanism: a philosophy of living well that promoted reason, respect for the natural world, and reverence for our fellow humans.
December 17th: Michael Shermer with John Martin Fischer — Death, Immortality and Meaning in Life; PLUS: Skeptic Magazine 24.4: Understanding Flat Earthers
In Science Salon # 95 Michael Shermer speaks with Distinguished Professor of Philosophy John Martin Fischer about his book Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life — a brief yet in-depth introduction to the key philosophical issues and problems concerning death and immortality. PLUS: Skeptic Magazine 24.4 is available today. Find out who says the Earth is flat, and why.
December 10th: Michael Shermer with David Leiser — How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters
In Science Salon # 94 Michael Shermer speaks with David Leiser about his new book: How We Misunderstand Economics and Why it Matters, diving into the mismatch between the complexities of economics and the constraints of human cognition that lie at the root of our misconceptions.
December 3rd: Virtue Signaling; Plus Memory, Myth, and the Death of JFK
In Science Salon # 93 Michael Shermer speaks with evolutionary psychology professor Geoffrey Miller about his book: Virtue Signaling: Essays on Darwinian Politics and Free Speech. Plus, Michel Jacques Gagné examines the reasons shocking events like the Kennedy assassination give rise to conspiracy myths.
November 26th: 8-Day Mega Sale, Now Thru Dec 3, 2019
It’s our best sale of the year! For 8 days — from now through December 3, 2019 — SAVE 40% on new digital subscriptions at PocketMags.com and SAVE 25% on everything at Shop Skeptic, including: print subscriptions, print back issues, books, DVDs & CDs, Junior Skeptic PDFs, hoodies, t-shirts, Skeptic lapel pins, and eGift Certificates.
November 19th: Michael Shermer with Tim Samuels — FutureMan: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo
In Science Salon # 92 Michael Shermer speaks with Tim Samuels about his brand new book: FutureMan: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo. PLUS: Michael Shermer reviews The Violence Paradox, a PBS NOVA film special based on Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature.
November 12th: Michael Shermer with James Traub — What Was Liberalism?
In Science Salon # 91 Michael Shermer speaks with James Traub about his new book What Was Liberalism? The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea.
November 5th: Michael Shermer with Melvin Konner — Believers: Faith in Human Nature
In Science Salon # 90 Michael Shermer speaks with world renowned biological anthropologist Mel Konner who examines the nature of human nature, including (and especially) in his new book on the nature of religiosity. PLUS: In an article originally published in Quillette on Halloween, October 31, 2019, Dr. Shermer argues that patternicity, agenticity, pessimism, the negativity bias, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics provides a deeper explanation for why conspiracy theories are so popular and enduring. The article is based on Dr. Shermer’s new course from Audible and The Teaching Company on Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories.
October 29th: Michael Shermer and Richard Dawkins — Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide
In Science Salon # 89 Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Dawkins about his new book Outgrowing God. Dawkins explains how the natural world arose without a designer and challenges head-on some of the most basic assumptions made by the world’s religions. PLUS: Is the statement “We are living in a post-truth world” true? If your answer is “yes” then the answer is “no” because you’ve just evaluated the statement in an evidentiary manner, so evidence still matters and facts still matter. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker explains why were are not living in a post-truth world in this deeply insightful cover story from Skeptic magazine 24.3 (2019).
October 22nd: Michael Shermer with Daniel Oberhaus — Extraterrestrial Languages (Science Salon # 88)
The endlessly fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe has always been accompanied by another, more complicated one: if there is extraterrestrial life, how would we communicate with it? In Science Salon # 88 Michael Shermer speaks with Daniel Oberhaus about his new book: Extraterrestrial Languages.
October 20th: Shedding Light on the Intellectual Dark Web: A Preliminary Empirical Study
Ever since Bari Weiss introduced the world to the “Intellectual Dark Web” much has been written on what the members of the IDW believe. Pundits, journalists, and scholars have confidently espoused their “hot take” of the IDW without the slightest bit of systematic data collection to back up their claims. This empirical study of members of the IDW offers a preliminary summary of their beliefs on a wide range of issues.
October 15th: Michael Shermer with Douglas Murray — The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity
In Science Salon # 87 Michael Shermer speaks with Douglas Murray about his new book The Madness of Crowds on sexuality, gender, technology and race playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.
October 8th: Michael Shermer with Neil deGrasse Tyson — Letters from an Astrophysicist
In Science Salon # 86, Michael Shermer speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about his latest book Letters from an Astrophysicist. In this discussion of his hand-picked collection of 101 letters, we go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers.
October 1st: Michael Shermer with Deepak Chopra — Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential
In Science Salon # 85 Michael Shermer and Deepak Chopra make an attempt at mutual understanding through the careful unpacking of what Deepak means when he talks about the subject-object split, the impermanence of the self, nondualism, the mind-body problem, the nature of consciousness, and the nature of reality. PLUS, on the occasion of the recent death of Napoleon Chagnon, one of the world’s most famous and controversial anthropologists, we reprint Dr. Michael Shermer’s analysis of the charges leveled against Dr. Chagnon by the journalist Patrick Tierney in his book Darkness in El Dorado.
September 24th: Michael Shermer with Christof Koch — The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed
In Science Salon # 84 Michael Shermer speaks with Christof Koch about his new book The Feeling of Life Itself: Why Consciousness is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed; PLUS, Harriet Hall, M.D. looks at the evidence for some of the extraordinary claims for coconut oil.
September 17th: Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories: What We Should and Shouldn’t Believe — and Why
We are pleased to announce Dr. Michael Shermer’s brand new 12-lecture Audible Original Course: Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories — What We Should and Shouldn’t Believe — and Why, available now from audible.com — the world’s largest producer and provider of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment. PLUS In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion. In Science Salon # 83, Michael Shermer speaks with Peter Boghossian about his new book How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide.
September 10th: Michael Shermer with Phil Zuckerman — What it Means to be Moral: Why Religion is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life
In Science Salon # 82, Michael Shermer speaks with Phil Zuckerman about his book that launches today — What it Means to be Moral: Why Religion is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life. PLUS, the latest issue of Skeptic magazine (24.3) launches today in print and digital editions.
September 5th: The Fabulist and the Publisher: A Journalistic and Academic Fraud Exposed
John Anthony Glynn claimed to have a Ph.D. in psychology and professorships of psychology at several universities. He committed academic fraud by representing himself as a Ph.D. psychologist to several academic institutions and under those credentials committed journalistic fraud by publishing over 40 articles in 15 different outlets in 2019 alone. The extent of this calculated, systematic, and repeated deception warrants publishing our findings, the details of which follow.
September 3rd: Michael Shermer with Bruce Hood — Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need
In Science Salon # 81, Michael Shermer speaks with award-winning University of Bristol psychologist Bruce Hood about his brand new book, Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need, which draws on research to explain why our uniquely human preoccupation with ownership governs our behavior from the cradle to the grave, even when it is often irrational, and destructive.
August 27th: Michael Shermer with Bryan Walsh — End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World
In Science Salon # 80, Michael Shermer speaks with Bryan Walsh about his brand new book End Times in which he provides a stunning panoramic view of the most catastrophic threats to the human race.
August 20th: Michael Shermer with Anthony Kronman — The Assault on American Excellence
In Science Salon # 79 Michael Shermer speaks with former dean of Yale Law School Anthony Kronman about his new book The Assault on American Excellence; PLUS psychologist John Glynn explores one of the most perplexing aspects of human behavior: why does anyone die by suicide?
August 13th: Michael Shermer with Dr. Donald Hoffman — The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes
In Science Salon # 78, Michael Shermer speaks with cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman about his new book The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes, which challenges the leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. Plus, Harriet Hall M.D. examines whether laser therapy is more hype than hope.
August 6th: Guns Don’t Kill People, Beliefs Kill People
In response to last week’s trifecta shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton, Michael Shermer offers an analysis of the psychology of mass public shooters, or why people act on their beliefs, why almost everyone thinks their beliefs are ontologically true and morally right, and why political rhetoric matters.
July 30th: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience
In Science Salon # 77, an engaging conversation on the nature of science, Dr. McIntyre and Dr. Shermer get deep into the weeds of where to draw the line between science and pseudoscience. PLUS Dr. John Glynn reflects on our ever-increasing sensitivity to the perception of harm in an article about concept creep.
July 23rd: The Doomsday Calculation and The Incest Taboo
When will the world end? How likely is it that intelligent extraterrestrial life exists? Are we living in a simulation like the Matrix? Is our universe but one in a multiverse? How does Warren Buffett continue to beat the stock market? How much longer will your romance last? In Science Salon # 76 — a wide ranging conversation with Michael Shermer — science writer William Poundstone answers these questions and more. PLUS Gabriel Andrade examines the incest taboo and asks: How truly dangerous is cousin marriage, and should it be legalized?
July 16th: Charles Fishman — One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission that Flew us to the Moon
On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, Michael Shermer speaks with veteran space reporter Charles Fishman who has been writing about NASA and the space program for more than 30 years; Peter Barglow, MD reviews Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington; MonsterTalk speaks with Uruguayan paleontologist Dr. Richard A. Fariña about the legendary Mapinguari.
July 9th: Shaili Jain, M.D. — The Unspeakable Mind: Stories of Trauma and Healing from the Frontlines of PTSD Science
In Science Salon # 74 Michael Shermer speaks with practicing psychiatrist and trauma scientist at the National Center for PTSD Shaili Jain, M.D about her new book The Unspeakable Mind, which shines a long-overdue light on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) epidemic affecting today’s fractured world; PLUS Chris Edwards reviews Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
July 2nd: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American
Was America founded on Judeo-Christian principles? Are the Ten Commandments the basis for American law? What, exactly, was the role of religion in America’s founding? In Science Salon # 73, Michael Shermer speaks with constitutional attorney and scholar at the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) Andrew L. Seidel about his new book: The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American; PLUS Entomologist and nature explorer Mark Moffett has a new book that not only advances our knowledge about human societies, but attempts to create a biological definition and understanding of the very concept of “society” itself. But how does his intriguing thesis integrate with other theories on the origin of our uniquely human sociality?
June 25th: Robert Zubrin — The Case for Space
In Science Salon # 72, Michael Shermer speaks with visionary astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin where he lays out the plans for how humans can become a space faring, multi-planetary civilization; PLUS social psychologist Carol Tavris reminds us just how imperative it is that justice requires us to assess the evidence when public opinion and emotion are weighted heavily in favor of one side.
June 12th: Dr. Brian Keating — Losing the Nobel Prize
In this issue: The latest issue of Skeptic magazine (24.2) launches today in print and digital editions; PLUS Science Salon # 70 with cosmologist and inventor of the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) experiment Dr. Brian Keating.
June 5th: The Pentagon’s UFOs: A UFO News Story
In this issue: Science Salon # 69 with Dr. Brian Keating; PLUS Robert Sheaffer on How a Multimedia Entertainment Company Created a UFO News Story.
May 29th: Health Freedom, Right to Try, and Informed Consent
In Science Salon # 68, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy Dr. Michael Ruse discusses A Darwinian Meaning to Life; PLUS Harriet Hall, M.D. expresses concerns that under the right-to-try law, patients may not fully understand the risks and the low probability of success, and drug companies may take advantage to sell their products to desperate individuals at inflated prices.
May 22nd: Atheist Overreach & Radiation Hormesis
In Science Salon # 67, Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith explains why we ought to be skeptical of the increasingly vociferous and confident claims of atheist apologists about morality, science, and human nature; PLUS Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.
May 15th: Why Free Will is Real; A Disproof of God’s Existence
In Science Salon # 66 Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with Dr. Christian List about his new book Why Free Will is Real which defies scientific orthodoxy and presents a bold new defense of free will in the same naturalistic terms that are usually deployed against it; PLUS British philosopher Dr. Colin McGinn avers that it is wrong to say that God is by definition all powerful; he is only powerful within the limits of his nature.
May 8th: Jared Diamond — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
In a special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer took a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.
May 1st: How Science Will Fix Fake News
VeriSign founder David Cowan avers that science is the key to combatting the spread of disinformation; PLUS, evolutionary anthropologist Michael Tomasello presents his new theory of how humans became such a distinctive species.
April 24th: Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide (SCIENCE SALON # 63)
In Science Salon # 63, through the lens of evolutionary science, Dr. Hector A. Garcia offers a novel perspective on why we hold our political ideas, and why they are so often in conflict. Drawing on examples from across the animal kingdom, Garcia reveals how even the most complex political processes can be influenced by our basic drives to survive and reproduce.
April 17th: Dr. Mark Moffett — The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall (SCIENCE SALON # 62)
In Science Salon # 62, Dr. Shermer has a riveting conversation with Dr. Mark Moffett, biologist (Ph.D. Harvard, under E. O. Wilson), wildlife photographer for National Geographic, cave explorer, and world traveler about his new book, The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall, on the nature of societies from a biologist’s perspective.
April 10th: Dr. Richard Wrangham — The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution
In this fascinating dialogue (Science Salon # 61), Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with biological anthropologist Dr. Richard Wrangham about the evolutionary histories of reactive and proactive aggression as theorized in his book The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution.
April 3rd: Nicholas A. Christakis — Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
In Science Salon # 60 — exceptionally important conversation — Dr. Shermer discusses at length the background to and research of Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and evolutionary sociologist famous for his study of social networks in humans and other animals. PLUS: The breadth of what can be meant by the word “hoax” makes the concept — and consequences — worthy of renewed study. Michelle E. Ainsworth reviews Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont.
March 27th: Raymond Barglow on the opioid epidemic; Cass Sunstein on freedom
Dr. Raymond Barglow discusses three mistaken approaches to the opioid epidemic in this article that appeared in Skeptic magazine 24.1 (2019). Plus, Michael Shermer dialogues On Freedom with New York Times bestselling author Cass Sunstein.
March 20th: Ben Shapiro — The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
In Science Salon # 58, Michael Shermer and noted conservative political commentator and public intellectual Ben Shapiro discuss and debate “what made the West great” in this wide ranging conversation.
March 13th: Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, Witch Hunts
In Science Salon # 57, Dr. Shermer speaks with legendary biologist and primatologist Dr. Frans de Waal about his empirical and theoretical work on animal societies, politics, intelligence, sentience, consciousness and, now, feelings and emotions. PLUS, using two cases as touchstones, Stewart Justman draws an analogy between the extraction of an apology and the extraction of a false confession to a crime of violence.
March 6th: Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again
In this eSkeptic: Science Salon # 56: Dr. Tyler Cowen — How an Economist Views the World; Announcing Skeptic Magazine 24.1, Available Now in Print & Digital Editions; Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again.
March 3rd: Dr. Michael Shermer — The Problem of Evil (AMA # 4)
In Science Salon Ask Me Anything # 4, Dr. Shermer performs a postmortem on his debate/dialogue on with Dr. Brian Huffling at the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday February 23, 2019. The specific topic was: “Is the Reality of Evil Good Evidence Against the Christian God?”
February 27th: Meeting Our “Enemies” Where They Are: The Advantage of Understanding Your Adversary’s Arguments
Most people take an attack on their beliefs as an attack on their identity. Andrew Cooper-Sansone avers that to succeed in changing minds and building a better world, we must begin by cultivating a compassionate view of our enemies’ deeply-held and identify-defining beliefs. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 20th: The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution: A Study in Contrasts
How do arguments for evolution used by mainstream scientists differ from arguments employed by creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design? Ralph M. Barnes sheds some light on this question in this article from Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 13th: Personhood & Abortion Rights — How Science Might Inform this Contentious Issue
Although it’s been 45 years since Roe v. Wade, abortion continues to be a highly controversial and polarizing issue. In this essay, Gary Whittenberger articulates the philosophical and scientific foundation for a third option between the two extremes of pro-life and pro-choice — the pro-person position — after examining the evidence for the best possible answer to the question: “When does the human fetus acquire the capacity for consciousness?” This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 6th: Bruce Schneier — Hacked! Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World
In Science Salon # 52, Michael Shermer speaks with Bruce Schneier, special advisor to IBM Security, and author of Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World. Plus, in response to a NYT op-ed by Northeastern U. Psych. Prof. David DeSteno, Michael Shermer presents Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s full reply to DeSteno’s question about what science can learn from religion through testable hypotheses about human behavior.
January 30th: Gregg Hurwitz — Into the Light: Myths, Narratives, Archetypes, and Trump
In Science Salon # 51 Michael Shermer has a wide-ranging dialogue with New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz about myths, narratives, archetypes, and Trump.
January 23rd: SCIENCE SALON AMA # 3: “What is your opinion of Jordan Peterson?”
In Science Salon AMA # 3, Dr. Shermer offers a brief summary of his current opinion of Jordan Peterson and then reads his essay: “Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon”.
January 16th: Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld — A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security
Michael Shermer responds to Richard Weikart’s critique of his January 2019 column in Scientific American: “Stein’s Law and Science’s Mission: The Case for Scientific Humanism. And, in Science Salon # 50, Michael speaks with Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and states in transition.
January 9th: God, Heaven, and Evil: A Renewed Defense of Atheism
In this article from Skeptic magazine 23.1 (2018) Ken Levy examines arguments put forth by theists that God’s existence is perfectly compatible with all the violence, pain, suffering, and premature death we experience.
January 1st: Dr. Gad Saad — Doing Gad’s Work
Happy New Year! Relax and enjoy listening to episode 49 of the Science Salon Podcast in which Michael Shermer speaks with the renowned evolutionary behavioral scientist and Concordia University professor Dr. Gad Saad. Plus, regular columnist Carol Tavris reminds us that the human need for touch is significant.

2018

December 26th: Sir Martin Rees — On the Future: Prospects for Humanity
In Science Salon # 48, Michael Shermer has a wide-ranging dialogue with Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees — a leading astrophysicist as well as a senior figure in UK science and a public intellectual in England and America.
December 26th: Sir Martin Rees — On the Future: Prospects for Humanity
In Science Salon # 48, Michael Shermer has a wide-ranging dialogue with Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees — a leading astrophysicist as well as a senior figure in UK science and a public intellectual in England and America.
December 19th: Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
There have been many arguments for the existence of God. In this cover story from our just-released issue Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018), Michael Shermer delves into the question that underlies all the arguments: Why is there something rather than nothing?
December 12th: Kids These Days: How to Avert a Looming Crisis
In his December 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer discusses how to avert a looming crisis among today’s youth.
December 5th: Dr. Susan Blackmore — Altered States and Conscious Beings
In Science Salon # 47, Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with Dr. Susan Blackmore about: how science can test subjective mystical experiences; memes and tremes; free will and determinism; the hard problem of consciousness, out of body experiences, near-death experiences, and God.
November 28th: Finding Meaning and Morality in Life Without God
Psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis answers the following question for religious believers facing adversity: “You’re an atheist?! How do you find meaning and morality in life if there is no God?”
November 21st: Enormous Savings — Now Thru Nov 28
For a one week only — now through November 28 — SAVE 40% on new digital subscriptions at PocketMags.com (reg $14.99. now only $8.99 for 4 digital issues), and SAVE 25% on everything at shop.skeptic.com including: print subscriptions, print back issues, books, DVDs, audiobooks, hoodies, stickers, Skeptic lapel pins, and gift certificates. nd how to find meaning and purpose in a humanistic nontheist worldview.
November 14th: Sleep Paralysis: A Personal Odyssey into an Apparently Paranormal Experience
Sleep paralysis is a type of hallucination that occurs in the fuzzy borderlands between wakefulness and sleep. Former tripping-hippie-conspiracy-theorist-turned-skeptic Heidi Love shares first-hand accounts of her experiences lucid dreaming under sleep paralysis.
November 7th: Pangburn Philosophy: Steven Pinker and Michael Shermer in Conversation
Steven Pinker and Michael Shermer discuss morality and science, morality and politics, good and evil, moral progress in an era of Populism and Nationalism, the negativity bias and how to put into perspective all the bad news reported daily by the media, and how to find meaning and purpose in a humanistic nontheist worldview.
October 31st: Thought Crimes: Jordan Peterson & the Meaning of the Meaning of Life
The New York Times calls him “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” He inspires heartfelt admiration or abject loathing, and very little in between. In these uncertain times it seems essential to have an opinion about Jordan Peterson. But Skeptic contributor Stephen Beckner can’t quite make up his mind.
October 24th: Download selected issues of Junior Skeptic for $1.99 in PDF format
For 20 years, Junior Skeptic has been organized skepticism’s premier effort to inform and inspire younger readers. Bound into every new issue of Skeptic magazine, Junior Skeptic is proudly included in every digital and print subscription. Now, for the first time, select issues of Junior Skeptic are also available to download as standalone products in PDF format for just $1.99.
October 17th: Dr. Clay Routledge — The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything
Science Salon Podcast # 42: The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. A dialogue between Michael Shermer and psychologist Clay Routledge (Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World) on life’s deepest and most meaningful issues.
October 10th: Dr. Debra Lieberman — That’s Disgusting! Objection: Disgust, Morality and the Law
In Science Salon # 41, Dr. Lieberman considers disgust and its impact on the legal system to show why the things that we find stomach-turning so often become the things that we render unlawful.
October 3rd: Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah — Who Am I? Who Are You? The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity
In Science Salon # 40 Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah and Dr. Michael Shermer review the 5 “Cs” of identity—Creed, Country, Color, Class, and Culture—and what they tell us about who we are, based on Dr. Appiah’s new book The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity explores the nature and history of the identities that define us.
September 26th: Have Archetype—Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon
Have Archetype—Will Travel by Michael Shermer attempts to explain the startling phenomenon of Jordan Peterson; not the man’s ideas so much as his message and following, which has grown astronomically in the past two years, from obscure Canadian professor of psychology to international man of mystery: mysterious to nearly everyone, that is, on exactly what it is he believes.
September 19th: Dr. Yuval Noah Harari — 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
In Science Salon # 38, Michael Shermer and Hebrew University historian and best-selling author (Sapiens, Homo Deus), Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, discuss the central ideas of his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
September 12th: Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson — Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military
In Science Salon # 37, Michael Shermer and Neil deGrasse Tyson take a deep dive into the history of science and war, and the strange but productive alliances that have been formed over the centuries—particularly those between astrophysicists and politicians, governments, military, and corporations.
September 5th: Dr. Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
Available Now: Skeptic Magazine 23.3 — Science and Moral Values; Plus Dr. Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (Science Salon # 36)
August 29th: Dr. Tali Sharot — The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others (Science Salon # 35)
In Science Salon # 35, Michael Shermer talks with neuroscientist Dr. Tali Sharot about her new book The Influential Mind in which she takes readers on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence.
August 22nd: Colin McGinn — Paradoxes, Puzzles, and Philosophy (Science Salon # 34)
In their second Science Salon conversation Michael Shermer and Colin McGinn discuss paradoxes and puzzles of philosophy, pseudo-questions, realism v. antirealism, how to deal with unknown unknowns, immortality and the nature of the self and soul.
August 15th: David Quammen — The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life (Science Salon # 33)
In Science Salon # 33, Michael Shermer talks with with David Quammen, one of the best nature and science writers of our generation, about his new book on the history of one of the most exciting revolutions in evolution and genetics that is unfolding before our eyes.
August 8th: Nina Teicholz — The Big Fat Surprise About Diet and Nutrition (Science Salon # 32)
In Science Salon # 32, Michael Shermer talks with investigative journalist Nina Teicholz about the scientific literature on diet and nutrition, the link (or lack thereof) between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the history of the government’s recommendation of what constitutes a healthy diet and why they got it so wrong, statins and heart disease, exercise and nutrition, and much more…
August 1st: Amy Alkon—Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence (Science Salon # 31)
In Science Salon # 31, Michael Shermer talks with the science writer and weekly advice columnist Amy Alkon about her new book, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence.
July 25th: Falling Into Infinity
In Science Salon # 30, Michael Shermer talks with University of Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis about helping cancer patients cope without religion; Harriet Hall, M.D. reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst; MonsterTalk host Blake Smith looks back at the career and impact of radio-host Art Bell who passed away on April 13, 2018 at the age of 72.
July 18th: Falling Into Infinity
Does a scientific understanding of the world erase its emotional impact or spiritual power? Michael Shermer reviews Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman. This review was originally published online in the New York Times on June 25, 2018 under the title “Must Science Conflict With Spirituality?”
July 16th: Mysterianism, Consciousness, Free Will, and God
In Science Salon # 29, Michael Shermer talks with philosopher Colin McGinn about his public criticism of Shermer’s latest Scientific American column on the mysteries of consciousness, free will, and God.
July 14th: MonsterTalk Episode 161: The Call of Tut-Thulhu
In this eSkeptic, MonsterTalk interviews Jeb Card about Spooky Archaeology. Don’t forget to shop at Amazon Smile on July 16 and support your Skeptics Society! Lastly, we still have a few titles left in our Distinguished Science Lecture Series Closeout Sale.
July 11th: Dr. Michael Shermer — Ask Me Anything # 1
Watch or listen to the first Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Dr. Michael Shermer, the host of the Science Salon: a series of conversations between Michael and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.
July 9th: Now Playing at a Cartesian Theater Near You: Dualism Returns
Software programmer and technical writer Peter Kassan avers that a return to dualism is not justified. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.4 (2017).
July 7th: Are consciousness, free will, and God insoluble mysteries?
In his July 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer ponders how, for millennia, the greatest minds of our species have grappled to gain purchase on the vertiginous ontological cliffs of three great mysteries—consciousness, free will and God—without as­cending anywhere near the thin air of their peaks.
July 4th: 70–90% off Distinguished Science Lecture DVDs
It’s the 4th of July, and we are selling off all of our Distinguished Science Lecture Series DVDs at incredible savings. The more you buy, the bigger the discount! Shop now.
July 2nd: Edward J. Larson — On Faith and Science
In Science Salon # 28, Dr. Michael Shermer talks with Edward J. Larson, University Professor of History and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University.
June 27th: Charles Cockell—Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution
In Science Salon # 27, Dr. Michael Shermer talks with Charles S. Cockell, Professor of astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh and the director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology.
June 23rd: Dr. Stephen T. Asma — Why We Need Religion
In Science Salon # 26, Dr. Michael Shermer talks with philosopher Dr. Stephen T. Asma, a Professor of Philosophy and Founding Fellow of the Research Group in Mind, Science, and Culture at Columbia College, Chicago.
June 20th: Exodus Matters: Did the Exodus really happen, and why does it matter if it did?
Tim Callahan reviews The Exodus: How It Happened and Why it Matters, by Richard Elliott Friedman (2017. New York: Harper One ISBN: 978-0062565242).
June 18th: Science Salon # 23: Dr. Kenneth R. Miller — The Human Instinct
Did you miss Science Salon # 23 with Dr. Ken Miller last month? The recording is now available for free viewing on skeptic.com. Or, if you prefer to listen on your commute, download the podcast audio via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud.
June 15th: Conspiracy Theorists, and the Harm They Do
No event in the twentieth century did more to popularize conspiracy theories and confuse the general public than the assassination of President Kennedy. By educating people about what actually happened to JFK, and how conspiracy theorists have deliberately lied about it, James K. Lambert hopes that we can also get the general public to better see the lies (aka “fake news”) of today.
June 13th: I Am Not a Racist, And So Are You
In what sense could a man like Bret Weinstein be a racist? If he is racist, surely anyone (maybe even everyone) could be racist. Perhaps this is precisely the point. Screenwriter and filmmaker, Stephen Beckner, ponders privilege and parity in a postmodern world, weighing in on the many Grand American Shaming Experiments taking place right now, and their potentially enormous personal, political, and cultural opportunity costs.
June 11th: No, Being Religious Will Not Save You from Suicide
Jesse Bering responds to Bill Donohue’s claim that if Anthony Bourdain had been a religious man, he wouldn’t have taken his own life.
June 8th: Soul-Searching: Google as a window into our private thoughts
In his June 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz’s idea that Google searches may act as a “digital truth serum” for our deeper and darker thoughts.
June 6th: Skeptic Magazine 23.2: The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion
Available Now: Skeptic Magazine 23.2 — The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion; Feature: Jordan Peterson’s Evidence-Based Endeavor; MonsterTalk # 158: An interview with Richard Hatem (Part II).
May 30th: Richard Rhodes — Energy: A Human History
Listen to Science Salon # 25: a remarkable conversation between Michael Shermer and Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes as they discuss nuclear weapons, North Korea, Iran, and Russia, the psychology of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), human violence and its causes, the socialization of violence, and his new book Energy: A Human History.
May 23rd: Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science
In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science by Allison B. Kaufman and James C. Kaufman.
May 16th: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear
Michael Shermer reviews It’s Better Than it Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook; On MonsterTalk, Blake Smith interviews City of the Dead tour-guide Fred Fogarty about the Greyfriars Kirkyard and the Mackenzie Poltergeist.
May 9th: Five Questions about Human Errors for Proponents of Intelligent Design
This week’s feature is an excerpt from Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, From Pointless Bones to Broken Genes, by Nathan H. Lents (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2018. ISBN 9781474608343).
May 2nd: What Biology Can Teach Us About Crime and Justice
Nathan H. Lents and Lila Kazemian discuss evidence from a variety of disciplines as disparate as animal behavior and moral theology that point toward more humane, efficient, and effective responses to crime and punishment that work in concert, rather than in conflict, with our evolutionary psychology. This column appeared in Skeptic 22.4 (2017).
April 25th: Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery? by Kimberly Blaker (Green Grove Press. 2018. 78 pages.), a delightful new book for children age 9–13 that encourages readers to ask questions and gives them the tools to find the answers for themselves.
April 18th: Diet Sodas: Are the Dangers in the Chemicals or the Headlines?
Headlines about recent scientific studies are notoriously unreliable. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) examines a study that caused alarming headlines last year about the dangers of drinking diet soda. This column appeared in Skeptic 22.4 (2017).
April 11th: Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer interviews Dr. Leonard Mlodinow about his new book: Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change; and Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.
April 4th: Hope and Hype for Alzheimer’s
In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) clarifies what we know and don’t know about Alzheimer’s.
March 28th: Nuclear Deterrence and its Discontents
There are skeletons in the closet of nuclear deterrence. Advocates of nuclear deterrence say nuclear weapons are not only justified, their existence seems to have worked, and to be working, right now. In this week’s eSkeptic, David Barash avers that skepticism of nuclear deterrence is long overdue.
March 21st: Skeptics Investigates: Is the Earth Flat?
There is growing conspiracy theory belief that the Earth is not a globe, but a flat disc. According to believers, government forces promote a completely fictitious model of the cosmos in order to conceal the true nature of the Earth. Daniel Loxton examines whether these claims are true.
March 14th: Hear Hear! Announcing the Science Salon Podcast. Listen Everywhere! 📻
We are pleased to announce the release of the Science Salon Podcast for your listening pleasure. Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and Soundcloud.
March 7th: Skeptic 23.1—Meaning & morality in a life without god
In this week’s eSkeptic: “You’re an atheist?! How do you find meaning and morality in life if there is no god?; Are we living in a post-truth world? Michael Shermer discusses congnitive and emotional biases in pursuit of the truth.
February 28th: Juicing for Health or Torture
In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka The SkepDoc) examines many of the health benefit claims for juicing, and finds them lacking scientific scrutiny. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.3 (2017). Buy this issue.
February 21st: Trouble in the Multiverse
The notion that there can be more than one universe at first seems oxymoronic. In this week’s eSkeptic, Peter Kassan discusses the problematic notion of a multiverse arising from a highly speculative interpretation of quantum mechanics. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.1 (2017). Buy this issue.
February 14th: Honor, Dignity, Victim: A Tale of Three Moral Cultures
In this week’s eSkeptic, Kevin McCaffree reviews the forthcoming book The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars (March 21, 2018) in which sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning have produced the first systematic theoretical analysis of the moral culture of “victimhood” emerging on university campuses.
February 7th: Virtual Violence
Do “violent” video games pose “as big a health risk as alcohol and drug abuse” and are they “ruining the youth of America”? In this week’s eSkeptic, Terence Hines reviews Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong, by Patrick M. Markey and Christopher J. Ferguson.
January 31st: pH Mythology: Separating pHacts from pHiction
pH diets, alkaline water, urine pH tests, pseudoscience and bogus cancer cures abound. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. combats the plague of pH misinformation by distinguishing pHacts from pHiction. (This column appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 22.2 in 2017.)
January 17th: Unsubstantiated: A new Netflix documentary purporting to provide proof of alien visitation fails to deliver
In this week’s eSkeptic, Tim Callahan reviews Unacknowledged: An Exposé of the World’s Greatest Secret, a new Netflix documentary, purporting to provide proof of alien visitation, that fails to deliver.
January 10th: Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopiam the New book by New York Times Bestselling Author, Michael Shermer, is available now!
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.
January 3rd: Trial by Therapy: The Jerry Sandusky Case Revisited
In this week’s eSkeptic, Frederick Crews reviews Mark Pendergrast’s book The Most Hated Man in America: Jerry Sandusky and the Rush to Judgment: a sustained, comprehensive case—based on detailed evidence and reasoning—that Jerry Sandusky (found guilty on 45 counts of child molestation) was, in fact, blameless.

2017

December 27th: I, Too, Am Thinking About Me, Too
In this week’s eSkeptic, social psychologist Carol Tavris reminds us that it is more important than ever to tolerate complexity and ask questions that evoke cognitive dissonance whenever a movement is fueled by rage and revenge.
December 20th: Watch Science Salon 15 and 16, online now
In this week’s eSkeptic Seth Andrews recounts how he became a card-carrying skeptic; Science Salons 15 and 16 are now available to watch for free online; Sam Harris and Michael Shermer will dialogie live in Austin, TX, in March.
December 13th: Why Freud Matters: Sigmund Freud, Anna Freud, and the Skeptical Humanist Tradition
In this week’s eSkeptic, Raymond Barlow discusses how the psychoanalytic tradition inaugurated by Sigmund Freud casts light on the mainsprings of human motivation and helps to explain human irrationality and encourage recovery.
December 6th: Campus Craziness: The New War on Science
In this week’s eSkeptic, campus craziness brings a new war on science in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine (22.4) available now in print and digital editions; Blake Smith talks about UFOs, chemtrails, and aliens with Don Prothero and Tim Callahan; and Dr. Robert Trivers discusses the evolutionary genetics of honor killings.
November 29th: Take The Pro-Truth Pledge
In a time when the Oxford English Dictionary has named “post-truth” as its word of the year (2016), Dr. Gleb Tsipursky avers that we can create a mechanism for differentiating the liars from the truth-tellers, ensuring the veracity of public information.
November 28th: 25 Years Strong: Ensuring Sound Scientific Viewpoints Are Heard Worldwide
You play a vital role in our mission to promote science and reason. November 28th is #GivingTuesday. Please download and read the letter from Executive Director, Michael Shermer, and support our mission by donating to the Skeptics Society, your 501(c)(3) non-profit science education organization.
November 22nd: Our Best Sale of the Year
Now through Cyber Monday, SAVE 25% on subscriptions, books, DVDs, swag, and gift certificates. PLUS, SAVE OVER 80% on Skeptic magazine back issues in print. (Shipping not included, while supplies last. Sale ends at 23:59:59 Sunday, November 27, 2017, PST.)
November 15th: The Wizardry of Freud
In this week’s eSkeptic, Margret Schaefer reviews Freud: The Making of an Illusion, in which its author, Frederick Crews, convincingly argues that Freud constructed psychoanalysis on an entirely fraudulent foundation, and explains how Freud convinced so many people of the correctness and the profundity of his theory.
November 8th: Why We Should Be Concerned About Artificial Superintelligence
It’s possible that artificially intelligent systems might end up far more intelligent than any human. In this week’s eSkeptic, Matthew Graves warns that the same general problem-solving ability that makes artificial superintelligence a uniquely valuable ally may make it a uniquely risky adversary. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.2 (2017).
November 1st: Are You An Unconscious Racist?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris examines whether the Implicit Association Test (IAT) can really capture unconscious prejudices and predict if people will actually behave in a biased or discriminatory way. This column appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 22.2 (2017).
October 25th: “Sonic Attack” or Mass Hysteria?
Could a sonic weapon have focused a wave of energy with pinpoint accuracy on American diplomats in Cuba? In this week’s eSkeptic, Robert E. Bartholomew presents a plausible explanation for the illness cluster reported by State Department officials: mass psychogenic illness.
October 18th: Tell Us Your Story. Become a Card-Carrying Skeptic!
We skeptics can all remember that one moment when we began to think like skeptics. We’d like for you to join us in celebrating our 25th anniversary by telling us your story of when you knew that you were a Card-Carrying Skeptic.
October 11th: What is Spirituality, Anyway?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. David Speed examines why the definitional ambiguity of the word “spirituality” is problematic for researchers who seek to explore the relationship between it and other constructs.
October 4th: Scientific Naturalism: A Manifesto for Enlightenment Humanism
This week, we present a recording of Michael Shermer’s article, “Scientific Naturalism: A Manifesto for Enlightenment Humanism,” originally published in the journal Theology and Science in July 2017, being read by the author, and introduced by David Smalley.
September 27th: Conjuring a Lost Civilization: Analysis of Graham Hancock’s Claims
In this week’s eSkeptic, Professor of Geology at the University of South Florida, Dr. Marc J. Defant, provides an analysis of the claims made by Graham Hancock in his book Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization.
September 20th: Wall Street Journal Profile: Michael Shermer's Skeptical Eye
In conjunction with our 25th anniversary milestone that we are celebrating, we would also like to share with you this recent profile of Michael Shermer featured in the Wall Street Journal, published on September 1, 2017, written by Alexandra Wolfe
September 13th: Radically Wrong in Berkeley
Is Antifa an enemy of free speech? In this week’s eSkeptic, Raymond Barglow discusses the recent violent demonstrations in Berkeley, which purported to “fight fascism,” while fueling it instead.
September 6th: Grand Irish Odyssey 2018
In this week’s eSkeptic: Tour of the Emerald Isle in our 2018 Grand Irish Odyssey; Science Salon # 14: Dr. Nancy Segal on Twin Mythconceptions; Sept. 15 Debate: Is God a Figment of Our Imagination? Shermer v. McGrath; Promotional Offer: Save 25% off the Reasons to Believe film on Vimeo; Oct. 19 Debate: Solving Moral Dilemmas: How Do We Know What’s Right?.
August 30th: The Multi-headed Hydra of Prejudice
In this week’s eSkeptic, social psychologist (and regular columnist for Skeptic magazine, Carol Tavris, discusses the hydra of prejudice and the psychological predictors that lead to it rearing its ugly heads.
August 23rd: Ultraterrestrials: A Review of How UFOs Conquered the World
How useful are eyewitness reports and “investigations” by UFO proponents? In this week’s eSkeptic, psychology professor Dr. Terence Hines reviews How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth, by David Clarke.
August 16th: Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness
In this week’s eSkeptic Harriet Hall, M.D. (the SkepDoc) examines the latest flavor of integrative medicine called “functional medicine” (FM) — a Trojan horse designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice.
August 9th: Life’s Score
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reviews Knowing the Score: What sports can teach us about philosophy (and what philosophy can teach us about sports), by King’s College philosopher David Papineau.
August 2nd: ET v. Earth Pathogens: Will ETs Kill Us or Vice Versa?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Tim Callahan explores the question of whether microbes from any given planet will be brutally harmful to the inhabitants of another planet who have no immunity to the alien pathogens.
July 26th: Provocateur: A Review of Milo Yiannopoulos’s new book Dangerous
In this week’s eSkeptic, George Michael reviews Milo Yiannopoulos’s self-published book Dangerous, which has reached #1 on Amazon’s Bestseller list, and, at the time of this writing, is near the top of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
July 19th: Scientific Naturalism: A Manifesto for Enlightenment Humanism
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Michael Shermer’s article, “Scientific Naturalism: A Manifesto for Enlightenment Humanism,” from Theology and Science, 14 July, 2017.
July 12th: Who Are You? Memories, Points of View and the Self
In this week’s eSkeptic, Janna Levin Discusses the Edge of the Universe; Michael Shermer looks at Memories, Points of View and the Self; MonsterTalk interviews Ben Frable about Naming Monsters.
July 5th: I am Not Living in a Computer Simulation, and Neither Are You
In this week’s eSkeptic, Peter Kassan examines the idea that we are all just computer simulations living in a computer simulation.
June 28th: An Outbreak of Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism: Why We Need Skepticism More Than Ever
“Doctors Left Stumped as Bizarre Hallucination-causing Illness Seemingly Spread by Touch.” In this week’s eSkeptic, medical sociologist Dr. Robert E. Bartholomew, examines a “baffling epidemic of hallucinations” that was reported to have broken out in Oregon in October of 2016. Was it an outbreak of mass suggestion, or simply an surge of shoddy journalism?
June 21st: 3 Shades of Atheism: How Atheists Differ in Their Views on God
In this week’s eSkeptic, based on a sample of hundreds of respondents to a survey distributed through social media, California State University, Fullerton psychologists Brittany Page and Douglas J. Navarick explain the differences they found in how atheists view God.
June 14th: A Reply to 10 Popular Criticisms of the “Conceptual Penis” Hoax
In this week’s eSkeptic, James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian offer a point-by-point reply to 10 popular criticisms of their parody-style hoax paper, “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct,” that they published in an academic journal called Cogent Social Sciences.
June 7th: Alan Sokal on the “Conceptual Penis” Hoax
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present a thoughtful reflection by Alan Sokal on the latest academic hoax perpetrated by James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, who managed to get published in the peer-reviewed journal Cogent Social Sciences their nonsensical paper “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct.”
May 31st: The Reincarnation of a Particular Kind of Irrationality
Since the death of William Peter Blatty—the author best known for his novel turned blockbuster film The Exorcist— exorcism is, once again, showing a robust presence in contemporary life, this time among millennials. In this week’s eSkeptic, Kathy Schultheis warns that this resurgence of interest in exorcism is a sign of how far reason has fallen.
May 24th: Paradoxology: If It Doesn’t Make Sense, It Must Be True
Can paradoxes that seem to undermine belief in the God of Christianity actually support a belief in Him? In this week’s eSkeptic, Skeptic magazine’s religion editor, Tim Callahan, reviews Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant To Be Simple, by Krish Kandiah.
May 19th: The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct
In this special Friday eSkeptic, we present “The conceptual penis as a social construct” — a Sokal-style hoax on gender studies by @peterboghossian and @GodDoesnt.
May 17th: On Witches and Terrorists
In this week’s eSkeptic: Michael Shermer explains why torture as a tool to obtain useful information doesn’t work. Skepticality speaks with Bob Loomis about the history of stage illusion. MonsterTalk interviews Sharon Hill about The Stone Tape theory.
May 10th: Big News on Homo naledi
In huge announcements on May 9th, a team of scientists, led by Dr. Lee Berger, confirmed rumors that a second cave had been found harboring more Homo naledi skeletal remains, and revealed that the fossils are much younger than previously thought — a mere 300,000 years old. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Nathan H. Lents catches up with Dr. Lee Berger to ask him about the astounding and far-reaching implications of these announcements.
May 3rd: What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Peter Boghossian says that students taught to formulate beliefs on the basis of evidence may, ironically, be digging themselves into cognitive sinkholes — and, the more intelligent they are, the deeper the hole…
April 26th: In Defense of the Bell Curve
As promised last week, this week, we present anthropologist Dr. Vincent M. Sarich’s defense of the bell curve. See last week’s eSkeptic for the critique of the bell curve by Diane Halpern.
April 19th: The Skewed Logic of the Bell-Shaped Curve
In light of recent events in which Charles Murray has been booed off stage at two academic institutions for lecturing on ideas from his book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, we think it’s worth revisiting an article from Skeptic magazine from 1995 in which cognitive psychologist Diane Halpern critiques the book.
April 12th: What Really Happened to Jesus?
In this week’s eSkeptic, Tim Callahan reviews the documentary film The Last Days of Jesus, produced by Blink Films, Associated Producers Ltd., PBS, Channel Five Television, LTD., SBS Television Australia and ZoomerMedia Limited. Aired on PBS affiliates in the U.S. April 4, 2017.
April 5th: What is Truth, Anyway? How to Think About Claims
In his April 2017 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses the principle of proportionality: that we should prefer the more probable explanation over the less probable. Also in this week’s eSkeptic, MonsterTalk interviews folklorist and author Mark Norman to discuss legends of black hounds.
March 29th: What the Heaven’s Gate Suicides Teach Us About Islamic Martyrdom
It was 20 years ago this week, March 20–26, 1997, that 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult “graduated” from this life to ascend to the UFO mothership that they believed would take them to an extraterrestrial paradise.
March 22nd: How Accurate is the “Cycle of Abuse”?
Are abused children doomed to repeat the crimes of their abusers? In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris examines our intuition about the “cycle of abuse.” This column was originally published in Skeptic magazine 21.2 (2016).
March 15th: What is Sexual Orientation?
When it comes to understanding sexual orientation “nobody knows anything” is a pretty close assessment. In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris explores various notions and definitions of sexual orientation.
March 8th: AI, Poltergeists, and Bill Nye
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses the question of whether artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to human beings; MonsterTalk interviews Guy Lyon Playfair about The Enfield Poltergeist; and Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix and in the latest issue of Skeptic magazine 22.1!
March 1st: Anti-Aging Claims: The Fountain of Youth is Still Only a Legend
The media love to hype “Fountain of Youth” claims. Many diverse treatments being promoted as “anti-aging” remedies are not grounded in science, are misleading, and sometimes even illegal. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. discusses some of the those treatments. This column was originally published in Skeptic magazine 21.4 (2016).
February 22nd: Climate Cold Reading: Meteorological Myths of Farmer’s Almanacs
In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Karen Stollznow discusses the awkward mix of science and superstition found in almanacs. This article originally appeared in Skeptic magazine 18.1 (2013).
February 15th: How Science & Reason Make the World Better
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer argues that science and reason have bent the moral arc of society towards justice and freedom; also, for Scientific American, Shermer compiles several responses from a number of sources on the incomprehensible topic of “nothing”.
February 8th: Cosmic Consciousness and the Ptolemaic Principle
In this week’s eSkeptic, Leonard Mlodinow and Michael Shermer review You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters, by Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos, 2017. (New York: Harmony Books, 288 pages)
February 1st: The Rise of the Alt-Right and the Politics of Polarization in America
Although Donald Trump’s presidential campaign mobilized the movement that has come be known as the alt-right, it was not he who created it. In this week’s eSkeptic, George Michael explores how the alt-right movement in America has gained traction in recent years, and examines whether it could change the American political landscape, now that Donald Trump is president.
January 25th: Announcing Upcoming Science Salons
In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce our next three Science Salons featuring Dr. Carol Tavris, Dr. Lawrence Krauss, and Dr. Andrew Shtulman. Purchase tickets in advance by calling 1-626-794-3119 now. Seating is limited. Don’t wait!
January 18th: What Scientific Term Ought to be More Widely Known?
In this week’s eSkeptic: Scientific American: Why Worldview Threats Undermine Evidence; Edge Question: What Scientific Term Ought to be More Widely Known?; Science Salon This Sunday: Gary Taubes—The Case Against Sugar
January 11th: The Stealth Determinism of the HBO Series Westworld
Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoiler alerts.
January 4th: The Case Against Sugar
In this week’s eSkeptic: The Case Against Sugar (by Gary Taubes); Changing the World Through Skepticism and Critical Thinking; British Natural History and Zoology (a 17-day tour); Skeptic Magazine Current Issue (21.4).

2016

December 28th: Back to the Future and Forward to the Past
Chris Edwards reviews Time Travel: A History, by James Gleick, examining some of time travel’s logical paradoxes and violations of known laws of physics.
December 20th: Remembering Carl Sagan
This is a special Tuesday release of eSkeptic to honor Carl Sagan on the 20th anniversary of his death. We remember him fondly, on this day, grateful for the inspiration and education that he provided to so many.
December 14th: Confessions of a Skeptical Marketer
Guest writer Steve Cuno shares an insider’s view on the ethics of advertising in a world full of false claims.
December 7th: Skeptic magazine 21.4: Deception in Cancer Treatment
The latest issue of Skeptic magazine (21.4), available digitally right now, examines deceptions in cancer treatment and marketing; mysterious “alien” skulls; clown panics; anti-aging claims; defining “spirituality;” memory training; computer simulations; Salem Witch trials; mammoth mysteries; and more…
November 30th: The Ultimate Trade Off
Michael Shermer reviews What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality, by Richard G. Bribiescas. A shortened version of this review ran in the Wall Street Journal on November 18, 2016, under the title “Why Men Die First.”
November 23rd: Save 25% on Everything, Now Thru Cyber Monday
It’s our best sale of the year, on now through Cyber Monday. SAVE 25% on everything at Shop Skeptic, including: books, science lecture DVDs, clothing and other cool swag, like t-shirts and hoodies, stickers, lapel pins, Skeptic magazine subscriptions and back issues, as well as Skeptic eGift Certificates. Skeptic digital subscriptions and digital back issues are also on sale via PocketMags.com. This sale ends at 23:59:59 Sunday, November 28, 2016 (PST).
November 16th: Flu Shots: Facts & Fallacies
It’s flu shot season again! Of all vaccines, flu shots garner the most criticism. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. examines flu shot facts and fallacies, reminding us that the flu vaccine is of benefit, and the more people who get the vaccine, the greater the benefit for everyone.
November 9th: Carl Sagan — A Way of Thinking
On this, November 9th, the day of Carl Sagan’s birthday (1934), we celebrate and remember the man whose contributions and commitment to furthering the work of scientific skepticism have helped make the world a more rational place.
November 2nd: Sex, Brains & Hands: Differences in How Women and Men Think
In this week’s eSkeptic, Diane F. Halpern presents some of the theories and research that have explored individual differences in cognition between women and men, and discusses what we know and what we don’t know. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 2.3 (1994). It was originally presented as one of the Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lectures at Caltech, on Sunday, April 18, 1993.
October 26th: Meeting ET
If intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, how should we interact, and what will it mean for our civilization? In this week’s eSkeptic, Lawrence E. Grinter reviews Preparing for Contact: When Humans and Extraterrestrials Finally Meet (2014), by George Michael. This review appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.4 (2015).
October 19th: Podcast Double Header
In this week’s eSkeptic, we present a podcast double header. Skepticality interviews Angie Feazel Mattke about medical quackery, and MonsterTalk meets Robert Price: The Lovecraft Geek.
October 12th: Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?
In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.
October 5th: Can Science Defeat Death?; Fighting Medical Quackery
A number of scientists and Silicon Valley billionaires think it’s possible to extend the human life span by a century for people alive now. In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer shares his skepticism; plus, INSIGHT guest writer, Robert Blaskiewicz, reports on the early days of the ongoing battle to protect American patients from cynically fraudulent quack “medicine.”
September 28th: Mammoth Mysteries — Part I
In the pages of Junior Skeptic—the engagingly illustrated science and critical thinking publication for younger readers, bound within every issue of Skeptic magazine—we often look at “wild and wooly” mysteries. In Junior Skeptic #60 (2016), we mean that literally; we explore the hidden history of mammoths and mastodons! In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an excerpt from the first couple pages of the Junior Skeptic #60, bound within Skeptic magazine 21.3 (2016), available now in print and digital editions.
September 21st: A Betrayal of Confidence
Kathleen J. Schultheis reviews Larry Taunton’s book, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens.
September 14th: Clown Panic! Sightings of Mysterious Clowns Rattle Nerves in South Carolina
Unsubstantiated reports of phantom clowns in the United States can be traced back decades and are a form of social panic. In this week’s eSkeptic, sociologist and authority on culture-specific mental disorders, outbreaks of mass psychogenic illness, and moral panics—Dr. Robert Bartholomew—reminds us that they reflect age-old fears that are dressed up in new garb—literally.
September 7th: Gene Roddenberry: The Hero on the Edge of Forever
September 8, 1966 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. In this essay, from 1994, upon the publication of David Alexander’s biography: Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, Shermer considers the role of the individual—the hero even—and difference that Gene Roddenberry made in history.
August 31st: What Will Tomorrow Bring?
Bernard Leikind reminds us how fortunate we are to stand grounded on a foundation of scientific knowledge in the face of uncertainty.
August 24th: What Was Adam’s IQ?
Bernard Leikind takes a satirical look at the question of Adam’s IQ and the idea that we only use 10% of our brains.
August 17th: Facilitated Communication: Mental Miracle or Sleight of Hand?
Gina Green traces the history of the Facilitated Community (FC) movement’s rapid growth and widespread adoption—a movement whose validity was accepted largely on faith, with little objective evaluation. Green discusses how scientifically controlled observations have been used to determine authorship in FC, weaving a cautionary tale about the obvious and serious legal, ethical, and practical implications of these findings.
August 10th: Flood Myths and Sunken Arks — Who needs to believe in Noah’s Ark and why?
Should the Noah’s Ark story be taken literally? No, said Dr. Gerald A. Larue (1916–2014), former Emeritus Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology at USC, back in 1994, when Skeptic first published this article. There never was a world-wide flood, nor was there ever a “Noah’s ark” containing all the species of the world. Here’s why.
August 3rd: Facilitated Communication Quackery
Michael Shermer on “The Quack of the Gaps Problem: Facilitated Communication, Autism and Patients’ Rights”; MonsterTalk episode 109: Blake Smith interviews James Randi’s about his late-night AM radio show: Long John Nebel “Party Line”; plus, Mr. Deity: The Bourne Again Identity, an episode in which a couple takes in a young believer suffering from dissociative amnesia.
July 27th: Uncertainty in Medicine
Modern medicine deals in probabilities and informed guesses based on scientific evidence. Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) deals in certainties based on fantasy and intuition. Harriet Hall, M.D. reminds us that, although modern medicine is riddled with uncertainty, it’s still far better than any other option. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 18.4 (2013).
July 20th: Myths about Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
Electromagnetic radiation from power lines, wifi, cell phones, TVs, light bulbs, and toasters have been blamed for causing poor sleep, fatigue, heart palpitations, headaches, nausea, dizziness, memory impairment, skin rashes, depression, anxiety, colds, digestive disorders, and chronic pain. Harriet Hall, M.D. asks whether electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is physical or psychological, and dispels some myths about it and other sensitivities. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 18.1 (2013).
July 13th: Skeptic Activist’s Cartoon Kept Alt-Med Away from Infants
What does it take to convince legislators with a negligible understanding of science or ignorance of alternative medicine to kill a bill that would allow parents to choose Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers and “natural remedies” for their infants? Linda Rosa takes a look at the many attempts naturopathic “doctors” have made seeking recognition as the equivalent of physicians. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 19.3 (2014).
July 6th: Heaven is Not for Real: Reviewing the Myth of an Afterlife
Given the current success of neuroscience in establishing the neural basis of consciousness and thought, is it still honest to claim that we simply don’t know “what comes after”? In this week’s eSkeptic, Sebastian Dieguez, cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, reviews The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, edited by M. Martin and K. Augustine.
June 29th: Accepting the Reality of Biological Evolution
In this week’s eSkeptic, James “The Amazing” Randi — age 85 at the time the following article was written — ruminates on the reality of biological evolution. Randi wrote the “’Twas Brillig…” column regularly for Skeptic magazine until issue 19.2 (2014). This week’s feature article was Randi’s second-last column, which appeared in Skeptic magazine 19.1 in 2014, under the title “Let’s Get Real, Even if it Hurts.”
June 22nd: Barefoot in Sedona: Bogus Claims About Grounding Your Feet to Earth Promote Medical Pseudoscience
Could it be that shoes are the world’s most dangerous invention and the cause of health problems ranging from autoimmune diseases to premature aging? In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the claims of “grounding” or “earthing” — the idea that shoes are the most destructive invention ever and that maintaining health requires direct contact with the earth. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 17.4 (2012).
June 15th: Myths of Terrorism
In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer dispels seven myths of terrorism. This is an excerpt from his book The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. This excerpt also appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.1—a special issue on Terrorism—in 2015.
June 8th: Aspartame: Safe Sweetener or Perilous Poison?
Depending on who you listen to, aspartame is either a safe aid to weight loss and diabetes control or it is evil incarnate—a deadly poison that is devastating the health of consumers. In this week’s eSkeptic, Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the claims and explains how we know that aspartame is safe for almost everyone.
June 1st: Electromagnetic Fields and Parental Panics: A case study in how science can bring comfort
There is no known biological mechanism for non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) to cause DNA damage, and thus cancer. Yet, the media continue to drop panic bombs, instilling fear where none is warranted. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Julie Frantsve-Hawley reminds us of the importance of sound science communication so that the general public can experience the same comfort in and reliance on science as scientists themselves.
May 25th: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It…Every Time
Why are we so bad at spotting deception? In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an excerpt from The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It…Every Time by Maria Konnikova, published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by Maria Konnikova. This excerpt appeared in Skeptic magazine 21.1 (2016).
May 18th: Winning the Vaccination War in California
In this week’s eSkeptic, Raymond Barglow & Margret Schaefer discuss the issue of vaccination of school children, the subject in California of a prolonged and bitter debate which led to California Senate Bill 277 which eliminated the personal belief exemption that allowed unvaccinated children to attend school. The bill became law in California on the last day of June 2015. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 21.1 (2016).
May 11th: Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough
There is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Harriet Hall, aka the SkepDoc, distinguishes between science-based medicine and CAM. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.3 (2015).
May 4th: The Non-Fine-Tuned Universe: The Astronomical Failure of the Cosmological Argument for Theism
How significant are we as humans within the universe? Could the universe have been fine-tuned for our existence? In this week’s eSkeptic, Jérémie Harris and Edouard Harris examine the nature and extent of universal fine-tuning. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.3 (2015)
April 27th: More on Porn: Guard Your Manhood—A Response to Marty Klein
What would happen if you stopped watching online pornography for a few months? In this week’s eSkeptic, the debate about pornography addiction and its effects concludes with this response to Marty Klein by Philip Zimbardo and Gary Wilson.
April 20th: Skeptical of the Porn Skeptics
Is porn viewing really changing young brains, skewing our views of “normal” sexuality, causing sexual dysfunction, and undermining our ability to relate to real sex? In this week’s eSkeptic, certified sex therapist and one of the United States’ leading experts on pornography, Marty Klein, responds to the article we published last week by Philip Zimbardo and Gary Wilson.
April 13th: How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood
Research is suggesting that pornography addiction may be distorting our ideas of healthy sexual relationships, causing erectile dysfunction, social anxiety, depression, compulsivity, desensitization, anorgamsia, delayed ejaculation, difficulty having sex with real partners, and abnormally low sexual desire. In this week’s eSkeptic, renowned psychologist Philip Zimbardo and author of Your Brain on Porn, Gary Wilson, discuss the problem of pornography addiction.
April 6th: Bike Crashes, Divine Intervention, and the Nature of Evil
In this week’s eSkeptic: Bike Crashes, Divine Intervention, and the Nature of Evil: An Open Letter to Larry Taunton from Michael Shermer; Hooey. Drivel. Baloney… Would you know it if you saw it?; INSIGHT: The Discovery of Richard III’s Grave and the Fallibility of Memory; The Way of the Mister: Science & Religion are Mortal Enemies: Part III
March 30th: The Delicate Dilemma of Defining Rape
Is misogyny and sexual violence widespread and entrenched in our culture, or are claims of rape exaggerated? Can we vigorously pursue the goals of justice for rape victims and fairness for accused perpetrators? Dr. Carol Tavris discusses the definition of rape and examines the recent statistical practice of combining rape with unwanted sexual acts.
March 23rd: What Went Wrong? Campus Unrest, Viewpoint Diversity, and Freedom of Speech
Is freedom of speech harmful for college students? Why is this question even being asked? In light of recent eruptions of student protests at numerous American colleges and universities, Michael Shermer discusses the notions of trigger warnings, microagressions, the importance of political viewpoint diversity and freedom of speech.
March 16th: Myth, Mystery, and Margery: When Scientific American Put Psychics to the Test
Michelle E. Ainsworth reviews the book: The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, by David Jaher.
March 9th: Confidence Scams: Who Does Them, and Why We Fall for Them
The latest issue of Skeptic magazine (21.1), CONFIDENCE SCAMS, features an excerpt from Maria Konnikova’s The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time, “A gripping examination of exactly why so many of us are such suckers for schemes that shut down our saner instincts.” (Vice). PLUS: Did Highly Developed Europeans Build a Sophisticated Astronomical and Religious Monument on the American East Coast More than 3000 Years Ago?; Is Star KIC 8462852 a Sign of an Extraterrestrial Civilization?; On Science and Morality; Hurricane Strikes as Divine Retribution—An Empirical Test; Ruins of Empires: Thomas Jefferson, Constantin-Francois Volney, and the Separation of Church and State; Winning the Vaccination War in California; and more! Get it now!
March 2nd: How Science Makes Us Better People
How Science Makes Us Better People: Now Available in Paperback; Scientific American: Left Behind: Political Bias in the Academy; New Episode: The God Distraction Chapter Two: The Unknowable; Chapman University Debate March 7: God vs. Science Smackdown (Keith Ward vs. Michael Shermer)
February 24th: Ancient Warfare & the Blank Slate
Scientist and historian, Michael Shermer, responds to evolutionary biologist and anthropologist, David Sloan Wilson, about ancient warfare and the notion the blank slate.
February 17th: The Negative Side of Positive Psychology
The oversimplified litany of alleged benefits of positive thinking is scientifically problematic. New research keeps whittling away at previously discussions of the benefits of positive psychology such that it is barely a shadow of its former hulking self. In Carol Tavris’ column, “The Gadfly,” from Skeptic magazine 19.3 (2014), she examines the negative side of positive psychology.
February 10th: All Sacred Cows
Most Americans continue to grow up without thinking very deeply about other religions (other than mocking them on a superficial basis), and never question the assumptions of their own faith. In this week’s eSkeptic, Donald Prothero reviews Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World, by Seth Andrews, in which he does all that, and more.
February 3rd: Charlie Sheen’s HIV Goat Milk Doctor
Harriet Hall, M.D. (a.k.a. The SkepDoc) takes a close look at Samir Chachoua, a man who claims to have discovered a cure for HIV/AIDS, cancer, and a host of other illnesses.
January 27th: The Great ET Paradox: Why We are Likely to Find Them Before They Find Us
It’s possible that life exists outside of our solar system and that we may, one day, find it. The Internet has been abuzz with speculation that an alien megastructure orbiting the star KIC 8462852 is responsible for the star’s erratic flicker. Since scientists have yet to advance a convincing natural explanation, attention has turned to more tantalizing possibilities. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. George Michael discusses a number of theories that have been advanced to explain the anomalous activity of the star.
January 20th: Mathemagics, Science Writing, Anthropomorphism, and Breakfast Cereal Skepticism
Art Benjamin on the Magic of Math; Michael Shermer on science writing for the general audiences; Mike McRae on Anthropomorphism; and Zack Wienersmith on Skepticality discussing Breakfast Cereal Skepticism.
January 13th: Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye
Michael Shermer’s new book, now available and published by Henry Holt/Macmillan, is a collection of his Scientific American essays that began in April of 2001. Shermer is most pleased with being able to bind the first 75 essays between two covers, and tell you about them here through the Introduction to the book, reprinted by permission of the publisher.
January 6th: Paleoanthropology Wars: The discovery of Homo naledi
Through random mutation, evolution is relentlessly tinkering—driving species toward diversification. The result is often a wide and bushy family tree that is trimmed and culled by the harshness of natural selection. Could it be that Homo naledi is not a new species at all, but is instead a smaller and more primitive variant of the well known Homo erectus? In this week’s eSkeptic, Nathan H. Lents discusses the recent discovery of Homo naledi, which has created considerable controversy in the world of paleoanthropology.
Donate

Get eSkeptic

Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox twice a week. It’s free. We never share your address. Unsubscribe any time.

Sign me up!

Retrospective

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.

Copyright © 1992–2021. All rights reserved. | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.