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evidence

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.

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.

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 June 25, 2019

In Science Salon # 72, Michael Shermer speaks with visionary astronautical engineer Robert Zubrin where he lays out the plans for how humans can become a space faring, multi-planetary civilization; PLUS social psychologist Carol Tavris reminds us just how imperative it is that justice requires us to assess the evidence when public opinion and emotion are weighted heavily in favor of one side.

The Sisyphean Challenges of Skepticism or, Start by Disbelieving

Social psychologist Carol Tavris reminds us that justice requires us to assess the evidence, and that this requirement is especially imperative when public opinion and emotion are weighted heavily in favor of one side.

The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution: A Study in Contrasts

How do arguments for evolution used by mainstream scientists differ from arguments employed by creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design? Ralph M. Barnes sheds some light on this question in this article from Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).

eSkeptic for February 20, 2019

How do arguments for evolution used by mainstream scientists differ from arguments employed by creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design? Ralph M. Barnes sheds some light on this question in this article from Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).

Calling SCAM a Scam

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst (UK: Societas. 2018. ISBN 978-1845409708).

eSkeptic for July 25, 2018

In Science Salon # 30, Michael Shermer talks with University of Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis about helping cancer patients cope without religion; Harriet Hall, M.D. reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst.

eSkeptic for June 15, 2018

No event in the twentieth century did more to popularize conspiracy theories and confuse the general public than the assassination of President Kennedy. By educating people about what actually happened to JFK, and how conspiracy theorists have deliberately lied about it, James K. Lambert hopes that we can also get the general public to better see the lies (aka “fake news”) of today.

Conspiracy Theorists, and the Harm They Do

No event in the twentieth century did more to popularize conspiracy theories and confuse the general public than the assassination of President Kennedy. By educating people about what actually happened to JFK, and how conspiracy theorists have deliberately lied about it, James K. Lambert hopes that we can also get the general public to better see the lies (aka “fake news”) of today.

eSkeptic for May 3, 2017

What evidence would it take to change your mind? (Peter Boghossian)

In this week’s eSkeptic, Peter Boghossian says that students taught to formulate beliefs on the basis of evidence may, ironically, be digging themselves into cognitive sinkholes — and, the more intelligent they are, the deeper the hole…

What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?

What evidence would it take to change your mind? (Peter Boghossian)

On a scale from 1–10, how confident are you in a belief that you hold? What evidence could you encounter that would undermine your confidence? What would it take to lower your confidence from 9 to 8, or even 6?

eSkeptic for April 5, 2017

In his April 2017 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses the principle of proportionality: that we should prefer the more probable explanation over the less probable. Also in this week’s eSkeptic, MonsterTalk interviews folklorist and author Mark Norman to discuss legends of black hounds.

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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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