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Frans De Waal on Sex and Gender Across the Primate Spectrum

What is gender? How different are men and women? Are differences due to biological sex or to culture? How do they compare with what is known about our fellow primates? Do apes also culturally learn their sex roles or is “gender” uniquely human? Michael Shermer and Frans de Waal discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of the gender binary, exceptions to which are also found in other primates.

eSkeptic for April 9, 2022

Mark W. Moffett remind us that breakthroughs in science often come about by exploring points of similarity between things that are normally seen as very different. PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with quantum physicist, Jim Al-Khalili, who reveals how 8 lessons from the heart of science can help us all get the most out of our lives. PLUS: In SRC Report PCIS-005, we take a look at Conspiracy Theory Endorsement by Generation.

Apples and Oranges, Ants and Humans: The Misunderstood Art of Making Comparisons

Mark W. Moffett describes how comparing identical things is extremely boring; breakthroughs in science often come about by exploring points of similarity between things that are normally seen as very different—in his own research, and that of his mentor, Edward O. Wilson, ants and humans.

eSkeptic for April 3, 2019

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.

Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis — Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

In Science Salon # 60 — an 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.

Death, Sex & Evolution

IN THIS RIVETING STORY about his remarkable discoveries from the Gogo fossil site in the Kimberly district of Western Australia, the Australian paleontologist John Long, now Vice President of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, takes us beyond just reconstructing animal morphology and into the realm of restoring ancient behavior…

Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions

INTREPID INTERNATIONAL EXPLORER, biologist, and National Geographic photographer Mark W. Moffett, “the Indiana Jones of entomology,” takes us around the globe on a strange and colorful journey in search of the hidden world of ants. In tales from Nigeria, Indonesia, the Amazon, Australia, California, and elsewhere, Moffett recounts his entomological exploits and provides fascinating details on how ants live and how they dominate their ecosystems through strikingly human behaviors, yet at a different scale and a faster tempo…

10-02-24

In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr Harriet Hall, MD, (aka the Skepdoc) reviews 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior by Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry L. Beyerstein.

Why People Behave Badly

One of the most difficult problems in the social sciences is understanding why some people intentionally inflict emotional and physical pain on others. Such intentional pain occurs not only on a local level — within families, with “friends,” or in work situations, but also on a national and international scale — Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, and Chairman Mao’s slaughter of millions. Neuroscience is providing the potential for a revolution in our understanding of why “bad” people do what they do…

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Renowned social psychologist Dr. Carol Tavris takes a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification…

07-04-11

In this week’s eSkeptic, Jennifer McKevitt reviews by Philip Zimbardo’s book entitled The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

07-03-21

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer tries out some new ideas at a free lecture on evolutionary economics; and Dr. Philip Zimbardo lectures at Caltech on the topic of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

06-11-29

In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce: Julia Sweeney’s new CD Letting Go of God, now available at shop skeptic; James Randi compiles a remarkable line-up of speakers for The Amazing Meeting 5; and Michael Shermer sheds some light on Kramer’s Conundrum, in an LA Times op-ed on racism.

06-06-01

In this week’s eSkeptic, Kenneth W. Krause reviews Laurence R. Tancredi’s book, Hardwired Behavior: What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality.

05-05-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reviews Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

05-03-29

In this week’s eSkeptic, Susan Carol Losh, Ph.D. responds to an earlier eSkeptic (“Sex, Brains & Hands — Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities” by Diane Halpern, Tuesday, March 15th, 2005) with a letter titled “Mr. Summers’ Hidden Agenda: Women, Men & the 80-Hour Work Week.”

05-02-18

In this week’s eSkeptic, Paul R. Gross and Alondra Oubré tackle Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele’s book Race: The Reality of Human Differences.

Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception & and the Unconscious Mind

Philosopher and evolutionary psychologist David Livingstone Smith elucidates the essential role that deception and self-deception have played in human — and animal — evolution and shows that the very structure of our minds has been shaped from our earliest beginnings by the need to deceive…

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