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epistemology

Michael Strevens — The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science

Shermer and Strevens discuss: irrationality and how it drives science • the knowledge machine • the replication crisis, what caused it, and what to do about it • verification vs. falsification • the iron rule of explanation • Bayesian reasoning vs. falsification • climate/evolution skeptics • model dependent realism • humanism • theistic arguments for: God, origin of life, morality, consciousness • known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns • how to evaluate media sources of science.

Michel Gagné — How to Think About Conspiracy Theories

As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the violent public assassination of President John F. Kennedy, over half of all Americans surveyed continue to believe that he was killed by a conspiracy involving multiple assassins. Shermer and Gagné discuss: conspiracies and conspiracy theories; what role conspiracy theories play in society; who believes them and why; why conspiracy theorists rewrite the past; Trump and rigged election; Obama Birtherism; and more…

Jim Al-Khalili on the Joy of Science

Michael Shermer speaks with quantum physicist, Jim Al-Khalili, who reveals how 8 lessons from the heart of science can help us all get the most out of our lives.

eSkeptic for April 9, 2022

Mark W. Moffett remind us that breakthroughs in science often come about by exploring points of similarity between things that are normally seen as very different. PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with quantum physicist, Jim Al-Khalili, who reveals how 8 lessons from the heart of science can help us all get the most out of our lives. PLUS: In SRC Report PCIS-005, we take a look at Conspiracy Theory Endorsement by Generation.

Bart Ehrman — Did the Christmas Story Really Happen? The Birth of Jesus in History & Legend

In episode 230, Michael Shermer speaks with renowned biblical scholar and historian Bart Ehrman about how Jesus became God and how Christianity grew from a few dozen followers at the time of Jesus’s death to over two billion followers today.

eSkeptic for Nov 27, 2021

In episode 230, Michael Shermer speaks with renowned biblical scholar and historian Bart Ehrman about how Jesus became God and how Christianity grew from a few dozen followers at the time of Jesus’s death to over two billion followers today.

Andy Norman — Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Why? More importantly, what can we do about it? Michael Shermer and Andy Norman discuss: the plague of ideologies • memes and viruses • bad ideas as parasites • cognitive immunology • cultural immune systems • epistemology • gullibility • beliefs and values • evidence vs. faith • how to regulate beliefs, and impediments to curiosity.

eSkeptic for May 11, 2021

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Why? More importantly, what can we do about it? In episode 180 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with Andy Norman about his book Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think.

eSkeptic for June 26, 2020

In a lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer addresses one of the deepest questions of all: what is truth? Following that, Lee McIntyre and Michael Shermer debate whether we are living in a Post-Truth era of fake news and alternative facts.

The Truth About Post-Truth Truthiness

Is post-truth the political subordination of reality? Is truth itself any more under threat today that in the past? Have the populists & postmodernists won the day? In response to Dr. Lee McIntyre’s essay, Dr. Michael Shermer asserts that people are not nearly as gullible as some believe.

Why We Are Living in a Post-Truth Era

Are we living in a Post-Truth era of fake news and alternative facts? Dr. Lee McIntyre avers that we must take seriously the threat to truth posed both by those who would subvert the truth for political gain, and also by those who would deny that such a threat actually exists.

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 January 28, 2020

In Science Salon # 101 Michael Shermer speaks with Hugo Mercier about his new book: Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe.

Hugo Mercier — Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe

Not Born Yesterday explains how we decide who we can trust and what we should believe — and argues that we’re pretty good at making these decisions. Hugo Mercier demonstrates how virtually all attempts at mass persuasion — whether by religious leaders, politicians, or advertisers — fail miserably.

Dr. Donald Hoffman — The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes

Cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman challenges the leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally.

eSkeptic for August 13, 2019

In Science Salon # 78, Michael Shermer speaks with cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman about his new book The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes, which challenges the leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. Plus, Harriet Hall M.D. examines whether laser therapy is more hype than hope.

eSkeptic for March 2, 2016

How Science Makes Us Better People: Now Available in Paperback; Scientific American: Left Behind: Political Bias in the Academy; New Episode: The God Distraction Chapter Two: The Unknowable; Chapman University Debate March 7: God vs. Science Smackdown (Keith Ward vs. Michael Shermer)

Science v. Intuition: Why is it Difficult for Scientific Knowledge to Take Root?

How is it that naïve intuitions can survive the acquisition of contradictory scientific knowledge? Andrew Shtulman discusses the psychological concepts of knowledge enrichment and conceptual change, inquiring into why it is so difficult for scientific knowledge to take root, and whether scientific knowledge can overwrite deep-seated forms of intuition.

eSkeptic for November 4, 2015

How is it that naïve intuitions can survive the acquisition of contradictory scientific knowledge? In this week’s eSkeptic, Andrew Shtulman discusses the psychological concepts of knowledge enrichment and conceptual change, inquiring into why it is so difficult for scientific knowledge to take root, and whether scientific knowledge can overwrite deep-seated forms of intuition.

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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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