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EPISODE # 229

Fritjof Capra on Patterns of Connection: Is there a Tao of physics? Is life a web? Is humanity at a turning point?

Michael Shermer speaks with scientist, educator, activist, and accomplished author, Fritjof Capra, about the evolution of his thinking over five decades. In this conversation, based on Capra’s book, Patterns of Connection, Shermer and Capra discuss: what it means to be spiritual in an age of science, nuclear energy and why Capra thinks we don’t need it and Shermer thinks we do, 50 years of progress or regress, limitations of models and theories of reality, limitations of analogies between western physics and eastern mysticism, mind and consciousness, and why Capra is hopeful for the future of humanity.

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12 DAYS OF SKEPTIC: NOW THROUGH DEC 4

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It’s our biggest sale of the year! For 12 days — from now through December 4, 2021 — SAVE 25% on everything at Shop Skeptic, including: print subscriptions, print back issues, books, DVDs & CDs, Junior Skeptic PDFs, hoodies, t-shirts, and Skeptic lapel pins. Click the button below, or keep scrolling to see our recommendations!

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Skeptic Magazine 26.3 (cover) Buy print subscription

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Stephen Jay Gould called Skeptic magazine “The best journal in the field.” The definitive skeptical journal, Skeptic magazine makes a perfect gift that lasts all year (we publish 4 issues, 1 approximately every 3 months). Promoting science and critical thinking, our in-depth articles explore and inform. As the leading international publication in the realm of skeptical inquiry, it serves as an educational tool for those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint. Buy it. Read it. Share it. Help us make the world a more rational place by defending the role of science in society! Subscribe to the print edition now and save 25%!

 
Skeptic Magazine 25.1 (cover) Buy print back issues

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Skeptic magazine examines extraordinary claims, and serves as an educational tool for those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint. Don’t miss this opportunity to complete your collection by getting the back issues you’re missing in your library. Order a back issue for a friend and introduce them to skepticism! Some back issues have completely sold out in print format and will not be printed again. Most of our back issues are available in digital format via PocketMags.com (currently not on sale).

DARWIN AND HIS BEARS

How Darwin Bear and His Galápagos Islands Friends Inspired a Scientific Revolution

 
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Scientist and Darwin scholar Frank J. Sulloway’s delightful and deeply informative book imaginatively recounts the fabled adventure of Darwin’s first visit to “a shore fit for Pandemonium,” as Beagle Captain Robert FitzRoy described the Galápagos on their arrival in 1835. Sulloway reveals a crucial — yet little known — link that led to Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution: sixteen brilliant little bears residing on the sixteen archipelago islands. As Sulloway brings to life the story of Darwin’s scientific triumph, he also reveals the critical conceptual steps by which Darwin reached his theory of evolution by natural selection.

THE MAGIC OF REALITY

How Do We Know What’s Really True?

 
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For years people have wanted the renowned evolutionary biologist to write a book for kids on evolution. He has done that — and much more — with this highly engaging and well-illustrated work that will also enlighten adults who read it. Filled with clever thought experiments and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. This is a page-turning detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

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Skeptic Lapel Pin

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We’d like to see this lapel pin become world-famous, and we need your help to make that happen! Every skeptic (and his/her best friends) should have one of these lapel pins. They feature elegant gold-colored SKEPTIC letters, with a contrasting black background. They’re a great size for a lapel or tie-tack — about 25mm × 6mm (1″ × .25″). The pin comes in a classy little plastic box suitable for gift-giving. At this price, why not get one for every jacket you own!

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QUICK READS FOR $3.75 EACH!

16- & 28-page booklets on baloney detection, climate change, and debating creationists

 
The Baloney Detection Kit (cover) Buy the booklet

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The Baloney Detection Kit

Designed to hone your critical thinking skills, includes suggestions on what questions to ask, what traps to avoid, specific examples of how the scientific method is used to test pseudoscience and paranormal claims, 25 fallacies of thinking, a list of highly-recommended skeptical books, a how-to guide for developing a class in critical thinking, and more… This booklet has 16 pages.

A Skeptics Guide to Global Climate Change (cover) Buy the booklet

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A Skeptic’s Guide to Global Climate Change

Distinguish climate change skepticism from climate change denialism; get 25 answers to classic climate denier arguments; examine a summary of the scientific evidence and climate data and discover what’s behind the debate on climate change; find out why scientists think climate is changing and how we know global warming is real and human caused. This booklet has 28 pages.

How to Debate a Creationist (cover) Buy the booklet

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How to Debate a Creationist

Perfect for anyone who wants to know how to converse with a creationist. It contains 25 creationist arguments and 25 evolutionist answers (some philosophical and some scientific); describes what the theory of evolution is and isn’t and explains why creationism is not science; provides an in-depth understanding of Intelligent Design, its pitfalls and logical fallacies, and much more. This booklet has 28 pages.

THE GREAT LEVELER

Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century

 
The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (cover) Buy the hardcover

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Only violence and catastrophes have consistently reduced inequality throughout world history. Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

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UFOS, CHEMTRAILS, AND ALIENS

What Science Says

 
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In this double-award-winning book, Donald R. Prothero and Tim Callahan explore why demonstrably false beliefs thrive despite decades of education and scientific debunking. Employing the ground rules of science and the standards of scientific evidence, Prothero and Callahan discuss a wide range of topics including the reliability of eyewitness testimony, psychological research into why people want to believe in aliens and UFOs, and the role conspiratorial thinking plays in UFO culture. Winner of the 2017 Robert P. Balles Award in Critical Thinking, and Winner of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award.

THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY

A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

 
The Skeptic's Dictionary (cover) Buy the paperback

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The definitive short-answer debunking of nearly everything skeptical. Nearly 400 definitions, arguments, and essays on topics ranging from acupuncture to zombies. Detailed information on all things supernatural, occult, paranormal, and pseudoscientific, including: alternative medicine; cryptozoology; extraterrestrials and UFOs; frauds and hoaxes; junk science; logic and perception; New Age energy; psychics. An invaluable reference.

SECRET ORIGINS OF THE BIBLE

How can such a widely studied book like the Bible still hold secrets?

 
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Many intelligent and otherwise well informed readers will find much of the material in this book new and quite startling, although Bible scholars, and anyone with a background in comparative mythology will be familiar with it. Callahan gathers material together from many sources — literary analysis, archeology, and history — and uses comparative mythology to demonstrate how Bible stories that do not make much sense when taken literally can be understood when their mythic content is revealed.

AUTOGRAPHED 1st EDITION HARDCOVER

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist

AUTOGRAPHED HARDCOVER
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Who is the “Devil”? And what is he due? The devil is anyone who disagrees with you. And what he is due is the right to speak his mind. He must have this for your own safety’s sake, because his freedom is inextricably tied to your own. If he can be censored, why shouldn’t you be censored? If we put barriers up to silence “unpleasant” ideas, what’s to stop the silencing of any discussion? This book is a full-throated defense of free speech and open inquiry in politics, science, and culture by the New York Times bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer. The new collection of essays and articles takes the devil by the horns by tackling five key themes: free thought and free speech, politics and society, scientific humanism, religion, and the ideas of controversial intellectuals. For our own sake, we must give the devil his due.

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Buy Michael Shermer’s other books

WINNER OF TWO AWARDS

Evolution: How We & All Living Things Came to Be

 
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Can something as complex and wondrous as the natural world be explained by a simple theory? The answer is yes, and now Evolution explains how in a way that makes it easy to understand. Based on the acclaimed articles from Junior Skeptic (Skeptic magazine’s science magazine for kids), and combining lavish illustrations, breezy prose, and deep science, this spectacularly illustrated introduction to the theory of evolution (written for ages 8–13) takes us from Charles Darwin to modern-day science. Along the way, Evolution answers common questions (and clears up misunderstandings) that sometimes confuse people about the history of life on Earth. This book has been applauded by expert reviewers including the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Center for Science Education.

Awards for the book
  • WINNER: Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre (2011)
  • WINNER: Lane Anderson Book Award, Fitzhenry Family Foundation (2011)
  • Finalist: Norma Fleck Award, Canadian Children’s Book Centre (2011)
  • Finalist: Silver Birch Award, Ontario Library Association (2011)

JUNIOR SKEPTIC BACK ISSUES

Download select issues in PDF

Reg. $1.99 ea. NOW $1.49 ea.

Created in 1998 by Skeptics Society co-founders Pat Linse and Michael Shermer, and helmed since 2002 by national award-winning children’s science book author Daniel Loxton, Junior Skeptic boasts lively illustrations, in-depth ideas, and deep research. Each 10-page story offers a simple but thorough primer on a fringe claim, scientific mystery, or critical thinking theme, all told in Junior Skeptic’s engaging, easygoing signature style.

Here are our top 5 most downloaded issues of the 33 available:

Junior Skeptic 33: Cold Reading

In this issue, you’ll discover the work of Ian Rowland, an expert on “cold reading” — sneaky techniques for convincing complete strangers that you know all about them. As a performer on stage, Ian Rowland creates the illusion that he has psychic powers like “telepathy.” Learn how someone who is not psychic can pretend to be so using a set of psychological strategies. Rowland always admits that he uses trickery on stage. Unfortunately, some people use cold reading techniques to take advantage of others. How do they do it — and how can we keep from being fooled? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 37: Top 10 Busted Myths

Welcome to a whirlwind tour of busted paranormal myths! In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll review a few topics from previous issues, and take a peek at some we’ll explore in greater detail in the future. For now, I hope you’ll enjoy the ride: 10 myths in 10 pages! From Roswell to homeopathy, dowsing to ghost orb photography, this issue explores some of the worst paranormal cases of all time!

Junior Skeptic 58: Haunted Houses

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’ll summon our courage, light a candle, and venture inside the ancient horror of haunted houses. Imagine walking dark hallways, peering into abandoned rooms. We strain to recognize unfamiliar shapes in the shadows. A cold draft stirs the cobwebs; outside, wind moans through the trees. We climb creaking stairs up into the unknown. Ahead of us, we — wait, did you hear something? Were those…footsteps? Our skin prickles with fear and tension. Breathless, trembling, we call into the darkness, “Is somebody there?” Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 67: Perpetual Motion

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we’d like you to imagine two impossible, magical machines: The first machine runs forever. You may picture a complex tangle of gears and wheels, or something as simple as a spinning top, but imagine that it never runs down — once started it just keeps going without ever needing more energy. Now imagine a second machine. This one may require fuel or energy to run, but somehow, through some fantastic process, it generates more energy than it consumes. We aren’t the first to imagine these two types of “perpetual motion” machines. Inventors have dreamed of such devices for centuries. How has their search unfolded? Let’s find out!

Junior Skeptic 47: Alien Invaders!

In this issue of Junior Skeptic, we look at the topic of alien invasions. Where did we get our ideas about being attacked from “outside” — from other lands, or from outer space? How has this idea been expressed in stories? How do exotic species here on Earth “invade” new regions? Can life forms from one planet really invade another? Let’s find out! And remember: space slugs are our friends!

33 of the most popular issues of Junior Skeptic are available in PDF (four of which are free to download!).

Browse available issues

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HELP US CONTINUE PAT LINSE’S LEGACY

A Note from Michael Shermer — Executive Director of Your Skeptics Society

2021 has shaped up to be one of the most dramatic in recent history as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of the economy. The Skeptics Society has been busier than ever dealing with the fallout of QAnon and rigged-election conspiracy theories, along with those that claim 5G causes COVID-19, that SARS-CoV-2 was invented by Bill Gates, that Big Pharma created a pandemic in order to sell us drugs and vaccines, not to mention antivaxxers and vaccine hesitancy.

On top of all this, and tragically, we lost our beloved and respected co-founder of the Skeptics Society and Art Director of Skeptic magazine, Pat Linse. Pat and I founded the organization and the magazine in 1992 and it became our life’s work.

In Skeptic 26.3 we devoted a special section to honoring Pat, including her on both the front cover (in upper-left corner) and back cover, along with tributes from myself, Daniel Loxton, Bill Nye, Carol Tavris, and many others whose lives she touched. Download and read the 18-page tribute to Pat Linse in PDF format.

Going forward we shall continue publishing Skeptic per usual, and maintaining our mission of promoting science, reason, and critical thinking. But we can’t do it without your support.

Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown (book cover)

Donate $50 or more and we’ll send you a hardcover copy of Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown.

To this end, I ask you to please pay tribute to Pat Linse and help us continue her legacy of science and skepticism by making a donation to the Skeptics Society so that we may carry on into the future, long after any of us who run it now.

Your tax-deductible donations go not only to the day-to-day operation of the organization, but to our growing endowment so that the Skeptics Society may continue in perpetuity. Many years ago, I set up a stock investment portfolio that has grown in proportion to the market itself (even better, actually, as it is weighted in tech stocks).

Make a Donation online now

Donate instantly online using the link above, or over the phone by calling 1-626-794-3119, or by mailing us a cheque along with your completed printable donation form to P.O. Box 338, Altadena, CA 91001.

Thank you,
Michael Shermer
Executive Director, Skeptics Society
Publisher, Skeptic magazine

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LIVE SEMINAR WITH DR. BART EHRMAN DEC 5

Did the Christmas Story Really Happen? The Birth of Jesus in History and Legend

What can we actually know about the birth of Jesus? How can we decide whether he was born in Bethlehem? Is it possible to reconcile the different Gospel accounts? Was the story of the Virgin Birth a later fabrication? What is the evidence for (or against) the many details, such as the trip to Bethlehem, the visit of the wisemen, and the “slaughter of the innocents”? How many of the most familiar parts of the stories come from later legends?

EARLY-BIRD PRICING! $39.95

Regular price is $49.95, but you can save $10 by signing up before Nov. 28 at 9am PST.

Register now

Live Seminar Dec. 5, 2021
6:30am – 1pm PST / 9:30am – 4pm EST
$39.95 Early Bird Price (ends Nov. 28, then $49.95)
BONUS! Registration includes lifetime access to seminar recording ($79.95 value)

Dr. Bart D. Ehrman has written or edited thirty-three books, including six New York Times bestsellers: How Jesus Became God, Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus Interrupted, Forged, and The Triumph of Christianity. Bart is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he has taught thousands of students and won numerous awards. Ehrman’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek; he has appeared on National Geographic, CNN, the BBC, NBC’s Dateline, the Discovery Channel, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Sam Harris Podcast, and many other top media outlets.

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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.