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Reading Room
Metaphors & Mindsets
How to ‘Update’ Beliefs

Admitting our beliefs are false can feel like a failure, a sign of weakness. Instead, we should look at changing our mind as an ‘update.’ The following is a review by Michael Shermer of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef (Portfolio).

eSkeptic for March 27, 2021

In this eSkeptic, we present a tribute to Richard Dawkins by Michael Shermer, plus a short film spoof on the creation of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Reading Room
The Skeptic’s Chaplain
Richard Dawkins as a Fountainhead of Skepticism

A tribute to Richard Dawkins by Michael Shermer. The following essay was commissioned by Oxford University Press to be included in a volume entitled Richard Dawkins. How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think: Reflections by Scientists, Writers, and Philosophers, edited by Alan Grafen and Mark Ridley (biologists and former graduate students of Dawkins) and published in 2006 to mark the 30th anniversary of the publication in 1976 of Dawkins’ influential book, The Selfish Gene.

eSkeptic for January 15, 2021

In this cover story article (written in October 2020) for Skeptic magazine 25.4 (December 2020), Daniel Loxton considers the unsavory origins and rising threat of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Written prior to the deadly QAnon-led occupation of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, this analysis exposes the conspiracy theory as baseless, unoriginal, and harmful for believers and society at large.

Reading Room
QAnon Is Just a Warmed Over Witch Panic — and It’s Also Very Dangerous

In this cover story article (written in October 2020) for Skeptic magazine 25.4 (December 2020), Daniel Loxton considers the unsavory origins and rising threat of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Written prior to the deadly QAnon-led occupation of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, this analysis exposes the conspiracy theory as baseless, unoriginal, and harmful for believers and society at large.

Science Salon # 144
Agustín Fuentes — Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being

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.

eSkeptic for November 24, 2020

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.

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.

Reading Room
A Report from the Paranormal Trenches

A classic lecture on skepticism was given 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.

Reading Room
Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories

What is a conspiracy, and how does it differ from a conspiracy theory? Michael Shermer explains who believes conspiracy theories and why they believe them in the following essay, derived from Lecture 1 of his 12-lecture Audible Original course titled “Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories: What We Should Believe and Why.”

eSkeptic for July 17, 2020

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.

Science Salon # 124
David J. Halperin — 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.

eSkeptic for July 14, 2020

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.

Reading Room
Why We Are Living in a Post-Truth Era

Are we living in a Post-Truth era of fake news and alternative facts? Dr. Lee McIntyre avers that we must take seriously the threat to truth posed both by those who would subvert the truth for political gain, and also by those who would deny that such a threat actually exists.

Skepticism 101
What are Science & Skepticism?

In this lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer presents descriptions 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.

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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.

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