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Carl Sagan

Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon

In Science Salon # 148, Michael Shermer reflects on the recent resurrection of Jordan Peterson, the resurgent criticism of him and why so many people attack him, why similar such unwarranted attacks have been made against other public intellectuals.

eSkeptic for April 24, 2020

Listen to “The Possibility of Life in the Universe,” a lecture by Carl Sagan, delivered one early evening in September 1974 (most likely Thursday, 5 September) to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Arnold Hall theater in front of a 3,000 cadet packed house lecture.

Ann Druyan — Cosmos: Possible Worlds

In this sequel to Carl Sagan’s beloved classic and the companion to the hit television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the primary author of all the scripts for both this season and the previous season of Cosmos, Ann Druyan explores how science and civilization grew up together. From the emergence of life at deep-sea vents to solar-powered starships sailing through the galaxy, from the Big Bang to the intricacies of intelligence in many life forms…

eSkeptic for April 21, 2020

In Science Salon # 112 Michael Shermer speaks with Ann Druyan about her book Cosmos: Possible Worlds, exploring how science and civilization grew up together. This book is the sequel to Carl Sagan‘s beloved classic and the companion to the hit television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

eSkeptic for December 20, 2016

This is a special Tuesday release of eSkeptic to honor Carl Sagan on the 20th anniversary of his death. We remember him fondly, on this day, grateful for the inspiration and education that he provided to so many.

eSkeptic for November 9, 2016

On this, November 9th, the day of Carl Sagan’s birthday (1934), we celebrate and remember the man whose contributions and commitment to furthering the work of scientific skepticism have helped make the world a more rational place.

eSkeptic for September 9, 2015

Skeptic Digital Back Issues: on Cryonics, Carl Sagan, and Conspiracies; Follow Michael Shermer: Forensic Pseudoscience: Can Tests be Trusted?; Daniel Loxton on INSIGHT at Skeptic.com: A Rope of Sand; Debate: Do We Need God? Michael Shermer v. Larry Taunton

Carl Sagan and the Dangers of Skepticism

Daniel Loxton shares an excerpt from Junior Skeptic 50 (released in print format in 2014).

The Forgetfulness of Skepticism

Daniel Loxton discusses skepticism’s inattention to its own history, and sets up a reflection for another post to follow.

A Skeptical Maxim (May) Turn 75 This Week

Tim Farley looks into the origin of the saying "keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out," and finds it is older than most skeptics may think.

From the Skeptical Literature: Thomas Ady on the Role of Mental Illness in Witchcraft Confessions (1655)

Cover of Ady's book A Candle in the Dark

Daniel Loxton shares and discusses a quote from a skeptical volume which was written three and a half centuries ago as an urgent effort to curb the bloodthirsty witch hunting mania.

14-03-12

Pseudoscience runs rampant in much of the popular media, reducing science to stereotypes of evil mad scientists. With the recent reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos documentary, we see the return of science popularization in a manner that inspires people (especially children) to be fascinated by science, to think about careers in science, and to pass Sagan’s mantle on to another generation. In this week’s eSkeptic, scientist and educator Donald Prothero reviews the first episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, which premiered March 9, 2014.

14-03-05

The PBS broadcast of Carl Sagan’s 13-part documentary, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, was one of the most watched series in the history of American public television. The soon-to-be-released sequel, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey (see above), written, executively produced and directed by Ann Druyan, premieres Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 9pm/10pm ET/PT on FOX. In light of the rebirth of this stellar production, we present to you, in this week’s eSkeptic, an interview with Ann Druyan conducted by Michael Shermer in 2007, which appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 13.1—our tribute issue to Carl Sagan.

14-02-05

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer asks whether a scientific utopia can succeed; Daniel Loxton shares some thoughts from Carl Sagan about the value of scientific confrontation of pseudoscientific ideas; and Skepticality interview Robert Blaskiewicz and Guy Harrison about critical thinking.

Extraterrestrials May Be Out There: But He Says They’re Not Here

In the past half century of UFOlogy, one man stands out, among a sea of believers, as the definitive skeptic of all matters flying saucers and aliens. This interview with Philip J. Klass (1919–2005), one of the last he gave of his career, goes inside his investigations into the claims of extraterrestrial investigations. This interview was published in Skeptic magazine volume 7, number 4 in 1999.

11-11-09

Few celebrities in science have done more for the promotion of science, reason, rationality, and critical thinking than Carl Sagan, whom we remember today upon the occasion of his birthday: November 9, 1934. Carl would have been 77 years old today. Happy Birthday Carl!

11-09-14

For nearly 50 years, the SETI (Search for Alien Intelligence) project has searched for evidence of alien civilizations and has occasionally sent messages into space with the intention of communicating with intelligent sentient extraterrestrial beings. How likely are we to come into contact with an extraterrestrial civilization? If they do exist, their aspirations could differ markedly from our own. Could visitors from extraterrestrial civilizations pose a threat to Earth? What would motivate aliens to visit the Earth? In this week’s eSkeptic, George Michael discusses these fascinating questions.

11-06-22

What is the right approach to dealing with people who believe in the paranormal or some particular idea we could call pseudoscience? Naturally no one considers their beliefs to be pseudoscience or faith-based nonsense, so saying something along those lines to a believer’s face is likely to close off conversation. In this remarkable article, our own Daniel Loxton tackles the matter head on. Daniel shows that a controversy that erupted at last year’s The Amazing Meeting conference was just the latest in a very long history of skeptical debates about the “tone” of our criticism and educational outreach. (Please note: this is a long article, running over 4500 words.)

09-12-16

In this week’s eSkeptic, we return to a controversy that raged throughout the 1990s in the anthropology world over whether or not Margaret Mead was hoaxed by her Samoan hosts during her research there while earning her Ph.D. under Franz Boaz. The following is an excerpt from The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy by Paul Shankman. Used by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.

09-11-04

There are few celebrities in science who have done more for the promotion of science, reason, rationality, and critical thinking than Carl Sagan, whom we remember this week upon the impending occasion of his birthday on November 9, 1934.

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