The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


confirmation bias

The After Time: The Future of Civilization After COVID-19

In Science Salon 149, the last of 2020, Dr. Michael Shermer reflects on the many issues we have witnessed this year: Black Live Matter, class conflicts, income inequality, lack of education, anti-Semitism, far-left illiberalism, far-right xenophobia and bigotry, and religious indoctrination. He then reads an expanded version of his essay The After Time: The Future of Civilization After COVID-19.

eSkeptic for December 29, 2020

In Science Salon 149, the last of 2020, Dr. Michael Shermer reflects on the many issues we have witnessed this year: Black Live Matter, class conflicts, income inequality, lack of education, anti-Semitism, far-left illiberalism, far-right xenophobia and bigotry, and religious indoctrination. He then reads an expanded version of his essay The After Time: The Future of Civilization After COVID-19.

Joseph Henrich — The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Unlike much of the world today, and most people who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically distinct? What role did these psychological differences play in the industrial revolution and the global expansion of Europe during the last few centuries?

eSkeptic for September 22, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 134, Michael Shermer speaks Joseph Henrich about his book: The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.

eSkeptic for September 1, 2020

Dr. Michael Shermer considers the pitfalls of projecting the consequences of the pandemic for our future (the availability heuristic, the negativity bias, the difficulties of superforecasting, and the contingent nature of history). PLUS: In Science Salon # 131, Michael Shermer speaks with Stuart Ritchie his book Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth.

Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS) Is It Real?

child wearing VR headset

Is Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS) real? Is it a disease? An addiction? Do violent video games cause aggression? Can playing video games have positive effects? In this column from Skeptic magazine 25.2 (2020), Harriet Hall, M.D. examines ESS and shares the science.

eSkeptic for August 21, 2020

In SPAS-006, the researchers asked: “Do people with different political orientations have different bases—evidence or emotion—for their political opinions?” PLUS: Harriet Hall, M.D. examines Electronic Screen Syndrome (ESS) and shares the science.

Why People Believe Conspiracy Theories

What is a conspiracy, and how does it differ from a conspiracy theory? Michael Shermer explains who believes conspiracy theories and why they believe them in the following essay, derived from Lecture 1 of his 12-lecture Audible Original course titled “Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories: What We Should Believe and Why.”

eSkeptic for July 17, 2020

Dr. Anondah Saide and Dr. Kevin McCaffree examine whether political party identification is associated with tolerant attitudes towards individuals with different political views. ALSO, Michael Shermer explains who believes conspiracy theories and why they believe them in an essay derived from a lecture on conspiracies and conspiracy theories.

How to Navigate Contentious Conversations

An excerpt from How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide provides some tools to help people navigate contentious conversations.

eSkeptic for February 25, 2020

In Science Salon # 105 Michael Shermer speaks with Diana Pasulka about her book: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology. PLUS an excerpt from How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide provides some tools to help people navigate contentious conversations.

eSkeptic for October 29, 2019

In Science Salon # 89 Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Dawkins about his new book Outgrowing God. Dawkins explains how the natural world arose without a designer and challenges head-on some of the most basic assumptions made by the world’s religions. PLUS: Is the statement “We are living in a post-truth world” true? If your answer is “yes” then the answer is “no” because you’ve just evaluated the statement in an evidentiary manner, so evidence still matters and facts still matter. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker explains why were are not living in a post-truth world in this deeply insightful cover story from Skeptic magazine 24.3 (2019).

Why We Are Not Living in a Post-Truth Era: An (Unnecessary) Defense of Reason and a (Necessary) Defense of Universities’ Role in Advancing it

Is the statement “We are living in a post-truth world” true? If your answer is “yes” then the answer is “no” because you’ve just evaluated the statement in an evidentiary manner, so evidence still matters and facts still matter. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker explains why were are not living in a post-truth world in this deeply insightful cover story from Skeptic magazine 24.3 (2019).

Science and Pseudoscience

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews Pseudoscience: The Conspiracy Against Science by Allison B. Kaufman and James C. Kaufman.

14-04-23

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer reviews Will Storr’s book, The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science. A shorter version of this review ran in the Wall Street Journal on April 1, 2014.

13-06-19

For some obsessed fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, The Shining, there exists hidden meaning in the film. Are these fans suffering from confirmation bias, or did Stanley Kubrick intend to leave clues, like a riddle to be solved? In this week’s eSkeptic, Will Dowd conspiracy thinking in this review of Room 237, a documentary directed by Rodney Ascher, produced by Tim Kirk, and distributed by IFC Films (released January, 2012, 102 minutes).

11-04-08

In this eSkeptic, Michael Shermer announces his lecture schedule for Illinois and Wisconsin for April 2011.

08-11-26

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses the confirmation bias — the powerful compulsion to seek out confirmatory evidence for our beliefs, in the context of the film Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.

05-01-05

In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce Michael Shermer’s latest book, Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown.

Donate
For those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint

Newsletter

Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox once or twice a week.

Sign me up!

Copyright © 1992–2023. All rights reserved. | 3938 State St., Suite # 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 | 1-805-576-9396. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.