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Persistent Belief: The Relative Implausibility of Certainty

Long before science came of age in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, religion had been struggling to make sense of the world for millennia. Sometimes they got it right, but mostly they had no idea how the world works and had no systematic method to determine as much. This article explores the relationship between science and religion in terms of what was known back then and what is known now.

Iris Berent — The Blind Storyteller: How We Reason About Human Nature

Shermer and Berent discuss: nature/nurture genes/environment biology/culture • language and innate knowledge • what babies are born knowing • how people reason about human nature • dualism • essentialism • theory of mind • the nature of the self • innate beliefs in the soul and afterlife • free will and determinism • how people think about mental illness and disorders • how one’s theory of human nature effects one’s attitudes about nearly everything.

Race & Policing: A Data-Driven Look at Policing and Its Discontents

In his usual data-driven style of analysis, statistician and sociologist Kevin McCaffree, who also runs the Skeptic Research Center, presents the SRC finding about policing and race in America, and how political beliefs and orientation skews our perceptions of what is actually happening on the streets of the United States.

Nature’s God: Why Christians Should Accept the Theory of Evolution

If you give Christians a choice between Jesus and Darwin by telling them that the theory of evolution means you have to be an atheist, they’re going to pick Jesus every time. In this article, Larry Arnhart argues that Christians should accept the theory of evolution not only because it’s true but also that it does not mean they have to give up their religion.

Moshe Hoffman and Erez Yoeli on the Surprising Power of Game Theory to Explain Irrational Human Behavior

Moshe Hoffman is a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology whose research focuses on using game theory and models of learning. Erez Yoeli is a research scientist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, whose research focuses on altruism: understanding how it works and how to promote it.

Louis Theroux on Neo-Nazis, Jimmy Savile, UFO Cults, and Scientology

Shermer and Theroux discuss: how documentary films are made • religious fanaticism • UFO cults • Scientology • neo-Nazis • anti-Semitism • prisons, pornography, and prostitution • Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Savile • self-help movements and gurus • deception and self-deception • social proof and human conformity • are humans naturally rational, irrational, or both?

eSkeptic for April 30, 2022

Michael Shermer Speaks With Louis Theroux About Neo-Nazis, Jimmy Savile, UFO Cults, and Scientology. PLUS: In SRC Report PCIS-006, we take a look at Conspiracy Theory Endorsement by Media Viewership.

eSkeptic for March 5, 2022

“Havana Syndrome” is the latest in a long list of health scares involving the fear of new technology. The present panic involves claims of a secret weapon that uses sound or microwaves to zap people anywhere in the world. Robert Bartholomew examines some of the sensational claims made in a recent 60 Minutes episode suggesting White House attacks amid ongoing political tensions with Russia.

60 Minutes Whips Up “Havana Syndrome” Hysteria, Airs Sensational Segment on White House “Attacks”

“Havana Syndrome” is the latest in a long list of health scares involving the fear of new technology. The present panic involves claims of a secret weapon that uses sound or microwaves to zap people anywhere in the world. Robert Bartholomew examines some of the sensational claims made in a recent 60 Minutes episode suggesting White House attacks amid ongoing political tensions with Russia.

Kelly Weill on Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything

Michael Shermer speaks with journalist Kelly Weill whose work covers extremism, disinformation, and online conspiracy theories in current affairs. The conversation is based on her book Off the Edge which tells a powerful story about belief, polarized realities, and what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

eSkeptic for March 1, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with journalist Kelly Weill whose work covers extremism, disinformation, and online conspiracy theories in current affairs. The conversation is based on her book Off the Edge which tells a powerful story about belief, polarized realities, and what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

Nick Pope on UAPs, UFOs, Conspiracies, and Cover-ups

Author, journalist and TV personality Nick Pope ran the British government’s UFO program for the Ministry of Defense, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. He’s recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on UFOs, the unexplained, and conspiracy theories. Nick is the media’s go-to person for UFOs.

eSkeptic for February 1, 2022

Read the Skeptic Research Center’s general report, “Pandemic Politics: How 2020 Impacted Americans’ Social and Political Attitudes,” based on their nine reports from the Civil Unrest and Presidential Election Study (CUPES) released in late 2020–early 2021. PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with author, journalist, and TV personality Nick Pope about UAPs, UFOs, conspiracies, and cover-ups.

Mytho-history: The “Evolution” of Adam and Eve

One of the most influential conservative Christian theologians goes all-in for evolutionary science and finds room for a Paleolithic Adam and Eve. This has left some schools of Christian orthodoxy scrambling to find a way forward. With any luck, they may start to reevaluate their opposition to evolution altogether.

Bobby Duffy on The Generation Myth: Why When You’re Born Matters Less Than You Think

Boomers are narcissists. Millennials are spoiled. Gen Zers are lazy. We assume people born around the same time have basically the same values. But, do they? In episode 224 Michael Shermer speaks with social researcher Bobby Duffy who has spent years studying generational distinctions. In The Generation Myth, he argues that our generational identities are not fixed but fluid, reforming throughout our lives.

eSkeptic for November 6, 2021

Boomers are narcissists. Millennials are spoiled. Gen Zers are lazy. We assume people born around the same time have basically the same values. But, do they? In episode 224 Michael Shermer speaks with social researcher Bobby Duffy who has spent years studying generational distinctions. In The Generation Myth, he argues that our generational identities are not fixed but fluid, reforming throughout our lives.

Charles Foster on Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

eSkeptic for October 23, 2021

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

Steven Pinker on Rationality: What it is, Why it Seems Scarce, Why it Matters

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

eSkeptic for October 19, 2021

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

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