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evolutionary-psychology

eSkeptic for 13-03-06

In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an excerpt from Frank Miele’s interview with Napoleon A. Chagnon, usually described as “the most controversial anthropologist,” hero to some, villain to others. His studies of the Yanomamö of the Amazon basin formed a cornerstone in the application of sociobiological theory to humankind. Chagnon himself helped found the discipline of evolutionary psychology and the Human Behavior and Evolution Society (HBES). However, his findings were disputed by other anthropologists who argued for the primacy of culture over genes and evolution. An expanded version of this interview will appear in Skeptic magazine, volume 18, number 2 (later this summer).

Reading Room
Unmasking Darwin’s Cathedral:
It’s Not Just About Religion

What is the origin of religion? Is it purely a cultural product or does it have deeper roots in our evolutionary past? Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argues in his book Darwin’s Cathedral that religion served as a social tool to unite groups into cohesive wholes by which they could out compete groups without religion, and thus the religious impulse was born. Biologist Peter Corning considers the pluses and minuses of this theory of religion in this review.

Reading Room
Sex, Jealousy & Violence:
A Skeptical Look at Evolutionary Psychology

An article excerpted from Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature, by David J. Buller, with permission from the publisher, MIT Press.

Reading Room
Evolutionary Psychology is Here to Stay:
a Response to Buller

The new science of evolutionary psychology has generated considerable controversy since its rise in the 1990s, with critics and proponents taking shots at one another. Skeptic magazine devoted an issue to the controversy in 1996 (Vol. 4, No. 1), and in 2005 a major critique was published in book form by MIT Press. In Skeptic Vol. 12, No. 1, we ran an excerpt from this book, by David Buller, with a reply to it from Frank Miele, which follows here.

Past Lecture
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

IN THIS FASCINATING LECTURE, based on his new book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Dr. Matt Ridley demonstrates that life is getting better — and at an accelerating rate — and he explains why. His new book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change.

Past Lecture
The Evolution of God

In this sweeping story that takes us from the Stone Age to the Information Age, bestselling author Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright’s findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy…

Past Lecture
Moral Markets & the Mind of the Market

In this unusual tag-team lecture, Zak and Shermer debunk two myths: (1) Homo economicus: that “economic man” is rational, free and selfish and (2) that evolution and economics are based almost entirely on cutthroat competition and self-maximizing greed. In Zak’s Moral Markets and Shermer’s The Mind of the Market, the authors demonstrate that people are as irrational with money as they are in all other aspects of life…

eSkeptic for 08-01-30

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer answers the Annual Edge.org Question “What Have You Changed Your Mind About?”.

eSkeptic for 05-02-18

In this week’s eSkeptic, Paul R. Gross and Alondra Oubré tackle Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele’s book Race: The Reality of Human Differences.

Past Lecture
Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception & and the Unconscious Mind

Philosopher and evolutionary psychologist David Livingstone Smith elucidates the essential role that deception and self-deception have played in human — and animal — evolution and shows that the very structure of our minds has been shaped from our earliest beginnings by the need to deceive…

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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

Top 10 Myths of Terrorism

Is Terrorism an Existential Threat?

This free booklet reveals 10 myths that explain why terrorism is not a threat to our way of life or our survival.

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.

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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?

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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…

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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!

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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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The Yeti or Abominable Snowman

5 Cryptid Cards

Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.

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