The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


climate change

Steven Koonin on what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters, based on his book Unsettled

According to Steven Koonin, when it comes to climate change, the media, politicians, and other prominent voices have declared that “the science is settled.” Koonin avers that the long game of telephone from research to reports, to the popular media, is corrupted by misunderstanding and misinformation. Koonin says that core questions about the way the climate is responding to our influence, and what the impacts will be remain largely unanswered.

eSkeptic for November 20, 2021

In episode 228, Michael Shermer speaks with Steven Koonin about what climate science tells us, what it doesn’t, and why it matters, based on his book Unsettled. Plus, we annouce a 6-hour seminar with Bart Ehrman on Dec 5, and recap Michael Shermer’s Substack posts this week.

eSkeptic for September 18, 2021

We pile on “to-dos” but don’t consider “stop-doings.” We create incentives for good behavior, but don’t get rid of obstacles to it. In episode 210, Michael Shermer speaks with Leidy Klotz about his book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less. PLUS Do you believe that men have greater power and privilege because they are stronger, more aggressive, and smarter than women (and don’t have babies)? Think again.

Leidy Klotz on doing more with less, based on his book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less

We pile on “to-dos” but don’t consider “stop-doings.” We create incentives for good behavior, but don’t get rid of obstacles to it. We collect new-and-improved ideas, but don’t prune the outdated ones. Every day, across challenges big and small, we neglect a basic way to make things better: we don’t subtract. In episode 210, Michael Shermer speaks with Leidy Klotz about his book Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less.

Niall Ferguson — Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

In episode 179 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael Shermer speaks with one of the world’s most renowned historians, Niall Ferguson, who explains why our ever more bureaucratic and complex systems are making us worse, not better, at handling disasters.

eSkeptic for May 8, 2021

In episode 179 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael Shermer speaks with one of the world’s most renowned historians, Niall Ferguson, who explains why our ever more bureaucratic and complex systems are making us worse, not better, at handling disasters.

Michael Heller & James Salzman — Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives

A hidden set of rules governs who owns what — explaining everything from whether you can recline your airplane seat to why HBO lets you borrow a password illegally. In episode 166 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with two acclaimed law professors — Michael Heller & James Salzman — who reveal how things become “mine.” Surprisingly, there are just six simple stories that everyone uses to claim everything…

eSkeptic for March 20, 2021

A hidden set of rules governs who owns what — explaining everything from whether you can recline your airplane seat to why HBO lets you borrow a password illegally. In episode 166 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with two acclaimed law professors — Michael Heller & James Salzman — who reveal how things become “mine.” Surprisingly, there are just six simple stories that everyone uses to claim everything… PLUS: In the ninth CUPES report, we investigated the extent to which peoples’ time spent with family and friends changed during the period leading up to the 2020 Presidential election amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

eSkeptic for November 2, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 141, Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Kreitner about this new book: Break it Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.

Richard Kreitner — Break it Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

Investigative journalist Richard Kreitner takes us on a revolutionary journey through American history, revealing the power and persistence of disunion movements in every era and region. The provocative thesis of Break It Up is simple: The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will. The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the 19th century. It was there at our founding and has never gone away.

Michael E. McCullough — The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code

In this sweeping psychological history of human goodness — from the foundations of evolution to the modern political and social challenges humanity is now facing — psychologist Michael McCullough answers a fundamental question: How did humans, a species of self-centered apes, come to care about others?

eSkeptic for September 15, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 133, Michael Shermer speaks with Michael E. McCullough about his new book: The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code.

eSkeptic for August 11, 2020

In Science Salon # 128, Michael Shermer speaks with Michael Shellenberger about his new book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All. PLUS, save 40% on new digital subscription via PocketMags.com, now thru August 15, 2020.

Michael Shellenberger — Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

Shermer and Shellenberger discuss: the rise of apocalyptic environmentalism • Environmental Humanism as a replacement worldview • problems and shortcomings of climate computer models • how much warmer it’s going to get, what the consequences will be, and what we can do about it? (hint: nuclear), why people fear nuclear power • renewables, solar, wind, geothermal, and why they are not nearly as efficient as nuclear, and more…

Bjorn Lomborg — False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet

Bjorn Lomborg argues that climate change is real, but it’s not the apocalyptic threat that we’ve been told it is. Projections of Earth’s imminent demise are based on bad science and even worse economics, he claims. Lomborg attempts to convince us that everything we think about climate change is wrong — and points the way toward making the world a vastly better, if slightly warmer, place for us all.

eSkeptic for July 21, 2020

In Science Salon # 125 Michael Shermer speaks Bjorn Lomborg about his new book False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.

Politics of Belief

Dr. Michael Shermer explains how we arrived at the Left-Right spectrum, both historically and evolutionarily, and the numerous metaphors used to wrap our minds around such complex systems as politics and economics.

eSkeptic for April 17, 2020

Dr. Michael Shermer explains how we arrived at the Left-Right spectrum, both historically and evolutionarily, and the numerous metaphors used to wrap our minds around such complex systems as politics and economics. This Chapman University lecture is based on chapters in his books The Believing Brain, The Moral Arc, and Giving the Devil His Due, along with the books of Christian Sith, George Lakoff, Alan Fiske, Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Sowell, and Steven Pinker.

Robert Frank — Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work

Shermer and Frank discuss: luck and circumstances • peer pressure • free will • self-control • happiness vs. purpose • utilitarianism vs. natural rights theory • abortion, capital punishment, polygamy, prostitution, and the selling of organs • behavioral contagions: smoking, problem drinking, obesity, tax cheating, bullying, and wasteful energy use • same-sex marriage • climate change • Universal Basic Income, and more…

eSkeptic for February 11, 2020

In Science Salon # 103 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Frank about how social environments profoundly influence our behavior. This conversation is based on Frank’s new book: Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work. PLUS: Michael Aisner presents a vintage slice of history, science, and skepticism about UFOs in this interview he recorded in 1966 with UFOlogist Dr. J. Allen Hynek, his photo analyst cohort Fred Beckman, and then repackaged in the early 1970s with contributions from Sherman J. Larson, of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon.

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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 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

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.

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