The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


COVID-19

Paul Offit — Deciphering Covid Myths and Navigating Our Post-Pandemic World

Shermer and Offit discuss: mRNA vaccines • science gone wrong or part of the long and risky history of medical innovation? • loss of trust in medical and scientific institutions • overall assessment of what went right and wrong • mandates vs. recommendations • economic costs • lab leak hypothesis vs. zoonomic hypothesis • debating anti-vaxxers • treatments • high risk vs. low risk groups • Robert Malone,Joe Rogan, RFKJ, Peter Hotez, Del Bigtree • Stanford professor Jay Bhattacharya censored for signing the…

Sandro Galea — How US Public Health Has Strayed From Its Liberal Roots

The Covid-19 response was a crucible of politics and public health—a volatile combination that produced predictably bad results. As scientific expertise became entangled with political motivations, the public-health establishment found itself mired in political encampment. It was, as Sandro Galea argues, a crisis of liberalism: a retreat from the principles of free speech, open debate, and the pursuit of knowledge through reasoned inquiry that should inform the work of public health.

Dannagal Young — How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation

Shermer and Young discuss: how do you know if you are wrong, or that someone else is wrong • the evolution of reason: veridical perception or group identity? • the 3 “Cs” of our needs: comprehension, control, community • open-minded thinking • intellectual humility • political polarization • echo vs. identity chambers • social media • lies • disinformation • Donald Trump • democracy • science and morality • solutions to identity-driven wrongness.

Dan Ariely — What Makes Rational People Believe Irrational Things?

Shermer and Ariely discuss: What is disinformation and what should we do about it? • How do we know what is true and what to believe? • virtue signaling one’s tribe as a misbelief factor • the role of complex stories in misbelief • emotions, personality, temperament, trust, politics, and social aspects of belief and misbelief • the funnel of belief • social proof and the influence of others on our beliefs • a COVID-23 pandemic • social media companies…

Lee McIntyre — Disinformation: How to Fight for Truth and Protect Democracy

Shermer and McIntyre discuss: default to truth theory • RFK Jr. • whether reason evolved for veridical perception or group identity? • How do we know what is true and what to believe? • worst case scenarios if Donald Trump wins in 2024 • trans issues, race issues, GMOs, nuclear power, climate doomsdayism • What went wrong during the COVID-19 pandemic? • disinformation about masks, vaccines • social media and disinformation.

Nicholas Dirks on Science Denial, Distrust, and Skepticism

Shermer and Dirks discuss: vaccine hesitancy • why antibiotics do not generate the same distrust • vaccines and autism • COVID-19 and its differential effects on people • the lab-leak hypothesis vs. the zoonomic hypothesis for the origin of SARS CoV-2 • Anthony Fauci and the CDC • climate denial • how trust in science has changed over the past century • the politicization of science • how to talk to someone who doesn’t trust science or scientists.

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.

Matt Ridley on the Search for the Origin of COVID-19

A new virus descended on the human species in 2019 wreaking unprecedented havoc. Finding out where it came from and how it first jumped into people is an urgent priority, but early expectations that this would prove an easy question to answer have been dashed. Nearly two years into the pandemic, the crucial mystery of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 is not only unresolved but has deepened.

eSkeptic for December 11, 2021

Skeptic 26.4 is here: Havana Syndrome Hysteria. Instantly download the digital edition or pre-order the print edition today. Plus, Michael Shermer speaks with Matt Ridley about his research investigating the origin of COVID-19.

eSkeptic for October 19, 2021

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

Steven Pinker on Rationality: What it is, Why it Seems Scarce, Why it Matters

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

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.

Red Alert: Anti-Vaccination in the Age of COVID-19

Raymond Barglow and Margret Schaefer discuss the anti-vaccination movement in the age of COVID-19.

eSkeptic for January 15, 2021

In this cover story article (written in October 2020) for Skeptic magazine 25.4 (December 2020), Daniel Loxton considers the unsavory origins and rising threat of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Written prior to the deadly QAnon-led occupation of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, this analysis exposes the conspiracy theory as baseless, unoriginal, and harmful for believers and society at large.

QAnon Is Just a Warmed Over Witch Panic — and It’s Also Very Dangerous

In this cover story article (written in October 2020) for Skeptic magazine 25.4 (December 2020), Daniel Loxton considers the unsavory origins and rising threat of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Written prior to the deadly QAnon-led occupation of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, this analysis exposes the conspiracy theory as baseless, unoriginal, and harmful for believers and society at large.

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.

eSkeptic for December 22, 2020

Robert E. Bartholomew & Kate MacKrill remind us that, if history is a guide — and given the large number of people to be vaccinated — a mass anxiety event is not improbable. PLUS: 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.

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