The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Who Endorses Conspiracy Theories about Government Elites?

Fourth report in the Paranormal & Conspiratorial Ideation Study (PCIS)

In this report we delve into a new group of conspiracy theories, this time regarding the alleged nefarious influence of government elites. We focus here on QAnon, Deep State, and Jeffrey Epstein. QAnon has been branded a “viral, pro-Trump conspiracy theory” (Roose, 2021) that came to light after Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, had his emails hacked. Proponents of the conspiracy theory insisted that hidden messages in the emails revealed an extensive network of Satan-worshipping pedophiles amongst the Democrat political elite. Deep State conspiracy theories are typically more general. Here, the contention is that elections only swap out public-facing political representatives, while the real political decision-making process takes place amongst an unelected secret group. Finally, we turn to a very specific conspiracy theory regarding the apparent suicide of convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Was Epstein murdered by his elite clientele to silence him? As with our other reports in this series, we ask: who in the United States most endorses these conspiracy theories?

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Simon Conway Morris on Design in Evolution & the Possibility of Purpose in the Cosmos

If extraterrestrial intelligences exist, will look anything like us? Are we alone in the cosmos? If we reran the tape of life, would humans appear again? Is there purpose in the cosmos?

Shermer speaks with Cambridge evolutionary palaeobiologist Simon Conway Morris whose latest book challenges six assumptions that too often pass as unquestioned truths amongst the evolutionary orthodox. These include the idea that evolution is boundless in the kinds of biological systems it can produce. Not true, he says. The process is highly circumscribed and delimited. Nor is it random. This popular notion holds that evolution proceeds blindly, with no endgame. But Conway Morris suggests otherwise, pointing to evidence that the processes of evolution are “seeded with inevitabilities.”

Shermer and Morris also discuss: convergent evolution and directionality in evolution; chance, contingency, and law in evolution; theistic evolution and teleology in nature; why Morris is a Christian but rejects Intelligent Design creationism; free will and determinism; and whether there good arguments for God’s existence.

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Trans Doper

Puberty is a performance enhancing drug. When Male-to-Female trans athletes like collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas compete and win against biological females it is cheating and must end


Gender Dysphoria Rising

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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.

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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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