The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


evidence

Holy Relics, Holy Places, Wholly Fiction

Holy relics like the Ark of the Covenant, Moses’s Ten Commandment stone tablets, the Holy Grail, the chalice from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, The Spear of Destiny, and the like, are the stuff of myth, legend, Hollywood movies, and even Nazi villains, but what is the real story behind the myths? In this insightful analysis Skeptic magazine religion editor Tim Callahan reveals what we know and don’t know about these legendary icons.

The Gimbal Video: Genuine UFO or Camera Artifact?

In recent years the UFO phenomena has reached a new fever pitch over a handful of grainy videos and blurry photographs under the rubric of UAP, or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. What are those objects in the videos and photographs? Alien spacecraft? Russian or Chinese spy drones? In this masterclass in analytical reasoning based on what little there is to assess, Mick West argues that the most famous of the UAPs, the Gimbal video, is most likely an artifact of the camera used to film it.

ESP Debate: Is Belief in ESP Irrational?

A three-part debate between Steven Pinker and Brian D. Josephson, initiated from a private email exchange in which Josephson challenged Pinker’s claims in a BBC radio program that there is no rational reason to believe in ESP. Here, Pinker first makes his case, followed by Josephson’s critique, and then Pinker’s response to that critique. As is our custom, we prefer to steel-man a position someone else holds, especially with a controversial subject like ESP, but better still is to have a proponent of it make the case for believing in it.

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.

Nick Pope on UAPs, UFOs, Conspiracies, and Cover-ups

Author, journalist and TV personality Nick Pope ran the British government’s UFO program for the Ministry of Defense, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. He’s recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on UFOs, the unexplained, and conspiracy theories. Nick is the media’s go-to person for UFOs.

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.

Mytho-history: The “Evolution” of Adam and Eve

One of the most influential conservative Christian theologians goes all-in for evolutionary science and finds room for a Paleolithic Adam and Eve. This has left some schools of Christian orthodoxy scrambling to find a way forward. With any luck, they may start to reevaluate their opposition to evolution altogether.

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 September 25, 2021

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

Gale Sinatra & Barbara Hofer — Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

Osteopathy Then and Now

osteopath with patient

What is osteopathy? What is the difference between an MD, a DO, and an osteopath in the US? Why do students choose a DO school? Should the DO degree be abolished? Find out what Harriet Hall, M.D. says in this column from Skeptic magazine 26.1 (2021).

eSkeptic for July 17, 2021

In episode 193, Michael Shermer speaks with Chris Edwards about educational reform and thought experiments. Plus, Harriet Hall, M.D. discusses osteopathy. What is it? What is the difference between an MD and a DO? Should the DO degree be abolished?

Michael Gordin on the Fringe of Where Science Meets Pseudoscience

Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience,” typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. In episode 191, Michael explores with Michael Gordin the philosophical and historical attempts to address the problem of scientific demarcation.

eSkeptic for July 3, 2021

Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience,” typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. In episode 191, Michael explores with Michael Gordin the philosophical and historical attempts to address the problem of scientific demarcation.

Metaphors & Mindsets: How to ‘Update’ Beliefs

Admitting our beliefs are false can feel like a failure, a sign of weakness. Instead, we should look at changing our mind as an ‘update.’ The following is a review by Michael Shermer of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef (Portfolio).

Naomi Oreskes — Why Trust Science?

In this interview, based on her landmark book, Why Trust Science?, historian of science Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength — and the greatest reason we can trust it. Drawing vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong, Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.

eSkeptic for April 17, 2021

In episode 173 of Michael Shermer’s podcast he speaks with historian of science Naomi Oreskes about her landmark book, Why Trust Science? that offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength — and the greatest reason we can trust it.

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.

NEXT
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 © 1992–2022. All rights reserved. | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. 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.