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Deepfake: How to Determine if a Doctored Photograph, Video, or Audio Recording is Real

As computer’s grow ever more powerful and computer programs—especially those involved in voice and image manipulation—the threat of “deepfakes” grows, and with it the problem of both personal and national crisis looms. Personally, someone could created a deepfake sex tape of someone and blackmail them; nationally, a foreign power could create a video of a President or Prime Minister making remarks of a threatening nature, that could then be used as an excuse for military action (a “false flag” operation). In this article tools are provided for how to detect deepfakes.

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?

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?

John Petrocelli — The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit

In episode # 207, Michael Shermer speaks with experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University, John Petrocelli about his research that examines the causes and consequences of bullshit and bullshitting in the way of better understanding and improving bullshit detection and disposal.

eSkeptic for September 7, 2021

In episode # 207, Michael Shermer speaks with experimental social psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University, John Petrocelli about his research that examines the causes and consequences of bullshit and bullshitting in the way of better understanding and improving bullshit detection and disposal. PLUS, the newest issue of Skeptic magazine (26.3: UFOs and UAPs) is now available in print and digital formats.

Jamy Ian Swiss — The Conjuror’s Conundrum

In episode 195, Michael speaks with internationally acclaimed sleight-of-hand artist and 35-year activist for scientific skepticism, Jamy Ian Swiss, about his lively, personal book, The Conjuror’s Conundrum, that takes readers on a magical mystery tour of the longstanding connection between magic and skepticism.

eSkeptic for July 27, 2021

In episode 195, Michael speaks with internationally acclaimed sleight-of-hand artist and 35-year activist for scientific skepticism, Jamy Ian Swiss, about his lively, personal book, The Conjuror’s Conundrum, that takes readers on a magical mystery tour of the longstanding connection between magic and skepticism.

Helen Pluckrose — Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody

In episode 163 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Helen Pluckrose about her book (co-authored with James Lindsay) Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody.

eSkeptic for March 9, 2021

Skeptic Magazine 26.1: Cosmic Beginning is Available Now! Instantly Download the Digital Edition or Pre-order the Print Edition Today. PLUS: In episode 163 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Helen Pluckrose about her book (co-authored with James Lindsay) Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody.

eSkeptic for May 1, 2020

The media keeps making claims that the Pentagon supposedly announced that UFOs are ‘real.’ How much of that is really true? Robert Sheaffer — a leading skeptical investigator of UFOs — separates the facts from the hype. Plus: Dr. Michael Shermer examines the claims about the Bermuda Triangle using the tools of skepticism, science, and rationality to reveal that there is no mystery to explain.

Claims About a Government “UFO Program”: How Much is True?

The media keeps making claims that the Pentagon supposedly announced that UFOs are ‘real.’ How much of that is really true? Robert Sheaffer — a leading skeptical investigator of UFOs — separates the facts from the hype.

eSkeptic for April 24, 2020

Listen to “The Possibility of Life in the Universe,” a lecture by Carl Sagan, delivered one early evening in September 1974 (most likely Thursday, 5 September) to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Arnold Hall theater in front of a 3,000 cadet packed house lecture.

eSkeptic for March 27, 2020

During the Coronavirus outbreak, while schools are closed and everyone is practicing social distancing at home, Michael Shermer gives a remote lecture on Cognitive Biases & How Thinking Goes Wrong that anyone can watch for free.

Cognitive Biases & How Thinking Goes Wrong

Dr. Michael Shermer reviews the many ways that our attempts to understand the truth about the world are derailed by cognitive biases, including the anchoring bias, the representative bias, the availability bias, the confirmation bias, the hindsight bias, the self-serving bias, and even the bias bias.

Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories

Dr. Michael Shermer explains the difference between conspiracies and conspiracy theories, who is more likely to believe which conspiracy theories, the social, political, cultural, and psychological conditions in which conspiracy theories flourish, real conspiracies, and who really killed JFK.

Virtue Signaling, Memory, Myth, and JFK

In Science Salon # 93 Michael Shermer speaks with evolutionary psychology professor Geoffrey Miller about his book: Virtue Signaling: Essays on Darwinian Politics and Free Speech. Plus, Michel Jacques Gagné examines the reasons shocking events like the Kennedy assassination give rise to conspiracy myths.

From Camelot to Conspiracy: Memory, Myth, and the Death of JFK

Why did JFK’s untimely death produce so many clashing interpretations of one of the most meticulously documented periods of history? This article examines the reasons shocking events like the Kennedy assassination give rise to conspiracy myths. Such stories, though based on ostensibly historic events, serve a contemporary agenda, namely by scapegoating a source of existential evil and promoting a paranoid counter-ideology to defeat it. This essay appeared in Skeptic magazine 22.4 (2017) and was presented to the 2017 Concordia-Vanier Liberal Arts Colloquium in Montreal on March 31, 2017, based on a working manuscript titled: The Autopsy of a Modern Myth: Thinking Critically about the Kennedy Assassination.

eSkeptic for September 3, 2019

In Science Salon # 81, Michael Shermer speaks with award-winning University of Bristol psychologist Bruce Hood about his brand new book, Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need, which draws on research to explain why our uniquely human preoccupation with ownership governs our behavior from the cradle to the grave, even when it is often irrational, and destructive.

Junior Skeptic: An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection!

In an era of “fake news,” “post truth,” and just plain old-as-time baloney, kids need critical thinking more than ever! They need tools to sift fact from fiction when they navigate YouTube, television, and social media. To help, we created “An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection!”… DOWNLOAD the free PDF

Not in Your Stars

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews Horoscopes: Reality or Trickery? by Kimberly Blaker (Green Grove Press. 2018. 78 pages.), a delightful new book for children age 9–13 that encourages readers to ask questions and gives them the tools to find the answers for themselves.

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