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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.

eSkeptic for 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!

eSkeptic for 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.

eSkeptic for 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.)

eSkeptic for 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.

eSkeptic for 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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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Our Place in the Universe

Carl Sagan was a scholar and a visionary. He changed the world. His work still does. As Bill Nye thinks back on the time he got to spend in Sagan’s classes, he realizes what made Sagan the best science communicator of his day.

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Sagan & Skepticism

David Morrison reviews two books: Carl Sagan: A Life by Keay Davidson (1999, John Wiley and Sons) and Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos by William Poundstone (1999, Henry Holt)

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The Measure of a Life

Michael Shermer ponders the question of what the measure of a life is once it has gone. And if that life was an epochal-shaping life, how is a contemporary biographer to put that life in perspective before the epoch is over?

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Leaving a Demon-Haunted World

Solen discovered The Demon-Haunted World on the library shelf one day. He had heard of Sagan, of course, but knew little of him. At a time when Solen’s friends had left him, where he could not confide in his own family, the book’s dedication invited him toward the candle…

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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.

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. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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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.

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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 why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one 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

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They 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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