The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


censorship

Katherine Brodsky — How to Find and Free Your Voice in the Age of Outrage

Shermer and Brodsky discuss: growing up Jewish in the Soviet Union and Israel • why liberals (or progressives) no longer defend free speech • cancel culture: data and anecdotes; whether it is an imagined moral panic; social media • free speech law vs. free speech norms • pluralistic ignorance and the spiral of silence • solutions to cancel culture • identity politics • witch crazes and virtue signaling • hate speech and slippery slopes • how to stand up to…

Michael Shellenberger Explains Government Censorship of Social Media

Michael Shellenberger explains the role of government agencies in social media censorship, his work on the Twitter files, and the differences between independent and mainstream journalism. PLUS: how to deal with the opioid epidemic, what we can do about homelessness, his take on January 6, George Floyd, UFOs and UAPs, and more. Recorded live in Santa Barbara, CA at the Skeptics Society 2023 conference.

Caylan Ford — Good and Evil, Human Nature, Education Reform, and Cancel Culture

Shermer and Ford discuss: • education reform • public vs. private vs. charter schools • the blank slate • Thomas Sowell’s Constrained Vision vs. Unconstrained Vision • French Revolution vs. American Revolution • truth, justice, and reality • what promotes humanity and what degrades it • transhumanism • political correctness • identity politics • cancel culture • totalitarianism • preference falsification • free speech • hate speech • how to stand up to cancel culture.

The Kill Your Brother Game: Playful Dramas & Unintended Consequences of Censorship

In the controversies surrounding campaigns to ban books from school libraries and publishers’ new policy of removing offensive words from classic books, most commenters focus on the nature of the books’ content and whether it’s appropriate for children of a certain age. In contrast, this essay focuses on the nature of stories and how concerned parents should think about them in the context of their children’s moral and social development.

Education Matters in the Culture Wars: Can We Separate Bias From Ideology?

Instead of liberal-conservative bias in education we should think about biases and orthodoxies by topic. Each side values truth and cites facts, but only if they confirm what they already believe. Ideological and Political Bias in Psychology (edited by Frisby, Redding, O’Donohue, & Scott Lilienfeld) details the harm to psychological science, academia, and society from today’s very illiberal ‘woke’ ideology.

Behind the Rhetoric: The Untold Story of “Gender-Affirming” Clinics

What is gender identity? Why do some people feel an inconsistency between their natal sex and the gender they consider themselves to be, and when and why does that “dysphoria” begin? A few very young children, mostly boys, prefer the clothes, names, and activities of girls before they even have a concept of “boy” and “girl.” But do the reasons for their gender incongruence apply to the adolescents, mostly girls, who show no interest in transitioning until puberty or later?…

Marty Klein — Sex Matters

Shermer and Klein discuss: sex therapist and the reasons people seek therapy • self-help sex books • sexual orientation • asexuality • sex abuse • infidelity • monogamy • polyamory • trans • homosexuality • sex education • the case against the sexual revolution • sex addiction • pornography • the anti-pornography movement • prostitution • obscenity and censorship • pedophilia.

Can’t These People Read?

Dr. Harriet Hall shows how the failure to read medical and health literature carefully and critically leads to a number of cognitive problems, such as correlation is not causation, and personal anecdotes and testimonials don’t count as evidence. We will miss Dr. Hall’s wisdom and encourage readers to visit her website to read her many writings over the years on medical, health, diet, and related topics.

Bethanne Patrick — Book World

Shermer and Patrick discuss: her memoir Life B • trends in treatment of depression and other mental diseases • why memoirs by authors who have suffered traumas and stresses in their lives sell so well • non-fiction, fiction, and quasi-nonfictional fiction • censorship and cancel culture in publishing • why the New York Times bestseller list is so influential • the trial over the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by Penguin Random House over whether it will lead to a monopsony…

Dave Rubin — Left, Right, and Woke, based on his book Don’t Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia

Michael Shermer speaks with Dave Rubin: New York Times bestselling author, and creator and host of The Rubin Report. They discuss his book Don’t Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia.

eSkeptic for April 16, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with Dave Rubin: New York Times bestselling author, and creator and host of The Rubin Report. They discuss his book Don’t Burn This Country: Surviving and Thriving in Our Woke Dystopia.

Ravi Gupta on the Lost Debate: Whatever Happened to Reasoned Discussion and Respectable Disagreement?

Whatever happened to reasoned discussion and respectable disagreement? Michael Shermer speaks with Ravi Gupta, the Founder and CEO of Lost Debate, a new non-profit media company that launched in October 2021 to fight polarization and misinformation online.

eSkeptic for March 15, 2022

Whatever happened to reasoned discussion and respectable disagreement? Michael Shermer speaks with Ravi Gupta, the Founder and CEO of Lost Debate, a new non-profit media company that launched in October 2021 to fight polarization and misinformation online.

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.

Jacob Mchangama on Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media

In this episode, based on the book Free Speech, Michael Shermer and Jacob Mchangama discuss the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of the principle, how much we have gained from it, and how much we stand to lose without it.

eSkeptic for February 8, 2022

In this episode, based on the book Free Speech, Michael Shermer and Jacob Mchangama discuss the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of the principle, how much we have gained from it, and how much we stand to lose without it.

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.

Pandemic Politics: How 2020 Impacted Americans’ Social and Political Attitudes

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 & Presidential Election Study (CUPES) released in late 2020–early 2021.

Suzanne Nossel on defending free speech for all, based on her book Dare to Speak

In episode 226, Michael Shermer speaks with a leading voice in support of free expression, Suzanne Nosel, on defending free speech for all, based on her book Dare to Speak. Nossel delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country.

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