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eSkeptic for March 27, 2020

During the Coronavirus outbreak, while schools are closed and everyone is practicing social distancing at home, Michael Shermer gives a remote lecture on Cognitive Biases & How Thinking Goes Wrong that anyone can watch for free.

Skepticism 101
Cognitive Biases & How Thinking Goes Wrong

Dr. Michael Shermer reviews the many ways that our attempts to understand the truth about the world are derailed by cognitive biases, including the anchoring bias, the representative bias, the availability bias, the confirmation bias, the hindsight bias, the self-serving bias, and even the bias bias.

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.

Reading Room
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.

Reading Room
The Persistence of Memory…
and of the Memory Wars

Are you old enough to have a memory of the memory wars that were sparked by a debate that began more than 30 years ago? In this column from Skeptic magazine 24.3 (2019), Carol Tavris expounds on the persistence of belief in recovered memories.

eSkeptic for October 15, 2019

In Science Salon # 87 Michael Shermer speaks with Douglas Murray about his new book The Madness of Crowds on sexuality, gender, technology and race playing out in our workplaces, universities, schools and homes in the names of social justice, identity politics and intersectionality.

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.

Science Salon AMA
Dr. 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 July 12, 2017

In this week’s eSkeptic, Janna Levin Discusses the Edge of the Universe; Michael Shermer looks at Memories, Points of View and the Self; MonsterTalk interviews Ben Frable about Naming Monsters.

eSkeptic for January 11, 2017

Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoiler alerts.

Reading Room
Out of the Loop, Lost in the Maze:
The Stealth Determinism of Westworld

Stephen Beckner reviews season one of HBO’s most-watched TV series Westworld, and considers some of the concepts presented in the first ten episodes: creation, evolution, artificial intelligence, memory, consciousness, self-awareness, free will, and suffering. WARNING: This review contains spoilers from season one, and speculation about future events.

eSkeptic for December 7, 2016

The latest issue of Skeptic magazine (21.4), available digitally right now, examines deceptions in cancer treatment and marketing; mysterious “alien” skulls; clown panics; anti-aging claims; defining “spirituality;” memory training; computer simulations; Salem Witch trials; mammoth mysteries; and more…

eSkeptic for October 12, 2016

In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.

Reading Room
Can Working Memory Be Trained to Work Better?

In our health-conscious culture permeated by people eating kale, meditating, and working out, it seems tempting to regard the brain as just another muscle—one whose relevant parts can be “exercised” to keep them from getting flabby and plump. In this article, Dr. Carol Tavris examines the evidence to see if working memory training programs really work.

eSkeptic for April 6, 2016

In this week’s eSkeptic: Bike Crashes, Divine Intervention, and the Nature of Evil: An Open Letter to Larry Taunton from Michael Shermer; Hooey. Drivel. Baloney… Would you know it if you saw it?; INSIGHT: The Discovery of Richard III’s Grave and the Fallibility of Memory; The Way of the Mister: Science & Religion are Mortal Enemies: Part III

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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.

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.

FREE PDF Download

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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