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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?”

Richard Nisbett on Thinking & Reason

In a wide-ranging conversation Shermer and Richard Nisbett discuss Nisbett’s research showing how people reason, how people should reason, why errors in reasoning occur, and how much you can improve reasoning.

eSkeptic for November 16, 2021

Michael Shermer is now writing on Substack with a new, weekly column called Skeptic: Examining the World Through a Scientific Lens. PLUS in a wide-ranging conversation Shermer and Richard Nisbett discuss Nisbett’s research showing how people reason, how people should reason, why errors in reasoning occur, and how much you can improve reasoning.

Nancy Segal — Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart

In this conversation, Nancy Segal reveals the inside stories of the agency that separated the twins, and the collaborating psychiatrists who, along with their cadre of colleagues, observed the twins until they turned twelve. This study, far outside the mainstream of scientific twin research, was not widely known to scholars or the general public.

eSkeptic for November 9, 2021

In episode 225, Michael Shermer speaks with Nancy Segal about deliberately divided twins and what they tell us about human nature, based on her book Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart.

eSkeptic for July 31, 2021

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

Annie Murphy Paul — The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

Angus Fletcher — 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature

In episode 177 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, he speaks with neuroscientist and literature professor Dr. Angus Fletcher about 25 of the most powerful developments in the history of literature, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante.

eSkeptic for May 1, 2021

In episode 177 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, he speaks with neuroscientist and literature professor Dr. Angus Fletcher about 25 of the most powerful developments in the history of literature, from ancient Mesopotamia to Elena Ferrante. PLUS: From now through May 3, 2021 all print and digital back issues of Skeptic magazine are on sale for only 99 cents each! Now is the time to complete your collection!

Jeff Hawkins — A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

For all of neuroscience’s advances, we’ve made little progress on its biggest question: How do simple cells in the brain create intelligence? Jeff Hawkins and his team discovered that the brain uses maplike structures to build a model of the world — not just one model, but hundreds of thousands of models of everything we know. This discovery allows Hawkins to answer important questions about how we perceive the world.

eSkeptic for April 3, 2021

In The Michael Shermer Show # 169, Michael Shermer speaks with Jeff Hawkins, cofounder of Numenta: a neuroscience research company, about his new book A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. PLUS: Raymond Barglow and Margret Schaefer discuss the anti-vaccination movement in the age of COVID-19.

eSkeptic for January 9, 2019

In this article from Skeptic magazine 23.1 (2018) Ken Levy examines arguments put forth by theists that God’s existence is perfectly compatible with all the violence, pain, suffering, and premature death we experience.

Michael Shermer — Ask Me Anything # 2

Watch or listen to the second Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Dr. Michael Shermer, the host of the Science Salon Podcast: a series of conversations between Michael and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.

eSkeptic for April 26, 2017

illustration

As promised last week, this week, we present anthropologist Dr. Vincent M. Sarich’s defense of the bell curve. See last week’s eSkeptic for the critique of the bell curve by Diane Halpern.

In Defense of the Bell Curve: The Reality of Race and the Importance of Human Differences

illustration

As promised last week, this week, we present anthropologist Dr. Vincent M. Sarich’s defense of the bell curve. See last week’s eSkeptic for the critique of the bell curve by Diane Halpern.

The Skewed Logic of the Bell-Shaped Curve

illustration from Skeptic issue 3.3

In light of recent events in which Charles Murray has been booed off stage at two academic institutions for lecturing on ideas from his book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, we think it’s worth revisiting an article from Skeptic magazine from 1995 in which cognitive psychologist Diane Halpern critiques the book.

eSkeptic for April 19, 2017

In light of recent events in which Charles Murray has been booed off stage at two academic institutions for lecturing on ideas from his book The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, we think it’s worth revisiting an article from Skeptic magazine from 1995 in which cognitive psychologist Diane Halpern’s critiques the book.

Why Smart Doesn’t Guarantee Rational, Part III

Barbara Drescher wraps up her series on the difference between rationality and intelligence.

More On Why Smart People Are Not Always Rational

Barbara Drescher digs further into the roots of irrationality in Part Two of her exploration of the difference between rationality and intelligence.

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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.

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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?

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…

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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!

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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