The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Fermi Paradox

Nick Bostrom — Life and Meaning in a Solved World

Bostrom and Shermer discuss: An AI Utopia and Protopia • Trekonomics, post-scarcity economics • the hedonic treadmill and positional wealth values • colonizing the galaxy • The Fermi paradox: Where is everyone? • mind uploading and immortality • Google’s Gemini AI debacle • LLMs, ChatGPT, and beyond • How would we know if an AI system was sentient?

Adam Frank — Aliens: Real and Imagined

Shermer and Frank discuss: origin of Life • Drake Equation • Fermi’s Paradox • UFOs and UAPs • Projects Sign, Blue Book, Cyclops, Grudge • AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program) • Alien Autopsy film • SETI & METI • technosignatures & biosignatures • aliens: biological or AI? • convergent vs. contingent evolution • interstellar travel • Dyson spheres, rings, and swarms • Kardashev scale of civilizations • aliens as gods and the search as religion • why aliens matter.

Garrett Graff — UFO: The Inside Story of the U.S. Government’s Search for Alien Life

Shermer and Graff discuss: national security • how long government secrets can be kept • cultural context for UFO sightings • why David Grusch’s testimony could be accurate but still not represent alien contact • Kenneth Arnold • Roswell • The Fermi Paradox • why 90-95% of all UFO sightings are explainable • anomalies and how to treat them • Avi Loeb (Galileo Project) • President Clinton’s investigation into UFOs • UFOs as a modern myth or religion.

Martin Rees — Can Science Save Us?

Shermer and Rees discuss: existential threats • overpopulation • biodiversity loss • climate change • AI and self-driving cars, robots, and unemployment • his bet with Steven Pinker • his disagreement with Richard Dawkins • how science works as a communal activity • scientific creativity • science communication • science education • why there aren’t more women and people of color in STEM fields • verification vs. falsification • Bayesian reasoning and scientific progress • Model Dependent Realism and the…

Simon Conway Morris on Design in Evolution & the Possibility of Purpose in the Cosmos

Michael Shermer speaks with Simon Conway Morris, Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge. In his latest book Morris challenges six assumptions — what he calls “myths” — that too often pass as unquestioned truths amongst the evolutionary orthodox. These include the idea that evolution is boundless in the kinds of biological systems it can produce. Not true, he says.

eSkeptic for March 26, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with Simon Conway Morris about chance, direction, and design in evolution, the possibility of purpose in the cosmos, and the existence (or not) of god. Plus, the Skeptic Research Center asks “Who Endorses Conspiracy Theories about Government Elites?”

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.

eSkeptic for March 13, 2021

In episode 164 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about his new book Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Enjoy this thought-provoking conversation on life, the universe, and everything, as Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world’s most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.

Neil deGrasse Tyson — Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

In episode 164 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about his new book Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Enjoy this thought-provoking conversation on life, the universe, and everything, as Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world’s most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science.

Sarah Scoles — They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers

More than half a century since Roswell, UFOs have been making headlines once again. Scoles ventured to dark, conspiracy-filled corners of the internet, to a former paranormal research center in Utah, and to the hallways of the Pentagon to meet the bigwigs, the scrappy upstarts, the field investigators, the rational people, and the unhinged kooks of this sprawling UFO community.

eSkeptic for July 28, 2020

More than half a century since Roswell, UFOs have been making headlines once again. In Science Salon # 126 Michael Shermer speaks with Sarah Scoles about her new book They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers.

eSkeptic for April 21, 2020

In Science Salon # 112 Michael Shermer speaks with Ann Druyan about her book Cosmos: Possible Worlds, exploring how science and civilization grew up together. This book is the sequel to Carl Sagan‘s beloved classic and the companion to the hit television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Ann Druyan — Cosmos: Possible Worlds

In this sequel to Carl Sagan’s beloved classic and the companion to the hit television series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the primary author of all the scripts for both this season and the previous season of Cosmos, Ann Druyan explores how science and civilization grew up together. From the emergence of life at deep-sea vents to solar-powered starships sailing through the galaxy, from the Big Bang to the intricacies of intelligence in many life forms…

Deities for Atheists, Skygods for Skeptics: UFOs & ETIs

Dr. Michael Shermer distinguishes between two questions: (1) Are extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) out there somewhere in the cosmos? and (2) Have aliens come here? Evidence for both questions is considered in the larger context of why the issue so compels us to answer it almost religiously.

eSkeptic for April 7, 2020

Dr. Michael Shermer distinguishes between two questions: (1) Are extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) out there somewhere in the cosmos? and (2) Have aliens come here? Evidence for both questions is considered in the larger context of why the issue so compels us to answer it almost religiously.

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