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The Science Salon Podcast Has a New Name!

Beginning this week with episode # 150, the Science Salon podcast’s new name is The Michael Shermer Show. We changed the name because (1) we found a lot of people tripped over the word “salon” when communicating about it verbally, and most don’t get the connection to Enlightenment salons we were trying to emulate, and (2) we would like to expand these conversations to topics that most people think of as outside of the realm of science, such as history, philosophy, politics, economics, cultural and social issues (like race and gender), and the like. Although Dr. Shermer thinks of science in the broadest sense of using reason, rationality, and empiricism to examine any and all claims from any field of study, most people think of science in narrower modes like physics and biology. Name change aside, the format of the show of long-form conversations pegged to a new book, new theory, new idea, or controversial topic, will continue per usual and you can find the podcast on all the usual platforms, such as: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.

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Michael Shermer with Daniel Lieberman — Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding

“Nothing about the biology of exercise makes sense except in the light of evolution, and nothing about exercise as a behavior makes sense except in the light of anthropology.”

In this myth-busting book, Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise — to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Lieberman recounts how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. […]

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You play a vital part in our commitment to promoting science and reason. If you enjoy the podcast, please show your support by making a $5 or $10 monthly donation.

The more absurd a belief is the easier it is to dismiss it out of hand. One problem with such a cavalier attitude is that people adhering to such belief systems may well act on them — and their actions may well be violent in proportion to the absurdity and irrationality of their belief system. Perhaps one of the most bizarre beliefs rampant in modern times is that malign, shape-shifting reptilian extraterrestrial invaders, disguised as human beings, secretly control the governments of the world. It is possible that we recently experienced a violent consequence of that belief.

Lizard People, 5G and the Nashville Bomber

On Christmas morning Anthony Quinn Warner detonated explosives packed in his motorhome and blew himself and the surrounding environs to smithereens. Thankfully, police were alerted to the pending explosion by a bizarre warning emanating from the RV and managed to evacuate people in the community and no one was killed. It was quickly determined that it was not an act of terror, and not long after reports emerged that took the case down a strange alley, well captured in a December 31, 2020 Yahoo News headline that read “Nashville bomber linked to lizard people myth investigators say.” That rang a skeptical bell in my head.

When I was co-authoring UFOs, Chemtrails and Aliens with Donald Prothero, I came across a number of what were essentially modern mythic systems involving extraterrestrial aliens who had either visited Earth in ancient times, were actively creating hybrids with human beings, and/or were secretly controlling governments. Three types of aliens were foremost in this new mythology: the benevolent Nordic aliens (usually hailing from the Pleiades star cluster), the gray aliens of dubious intent, often said to be from the Beta Reticuli double star system, and the evil reptilians, according to some emanating from the single star system Tau Ceti. Of these, the reptilians were the most far-fetched. […]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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…

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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!

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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.

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