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paranormal

ESP Debate: Is Belief in ESP Irrational?

A three-part debate between Steven Pinker and Brian D. Josephson, initiated from a private email exchange in which Josephson challenged Pinker’s claims in a BBC radio program that there is no rational reason to believe in ESP. Here, Pinker first makes his case, followed by Josephson’s critique, and then Pinker’s response to that critique. As is our custom, we prefer to steel-man a position someone else holds, especially with a controversial subject like ESP, but better still is to have a proponent of it make the case for believing in it.

Charles Foster on Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

eSkeptic for October 23, 2021

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

Jamy Ian Swiss — The Conjuror’s Conundrum

In episode 195, Michael speaks with internationally acclaimed sleight-of-hand artist and 35-year activist for scientific skepticism, Jamy Ian Swiss, about his lively, personal book, The Conjuror’s Conundrum, that takes readers on a magical mystery tour of the longstanding connection between magic and skepticism.

eSkeptic for July 27, 2021

In episode 195, Michael speaks with internationally acclaimed sleight-of-hand artist and 35-year activist for scientific skepticism, Jamy Ian Swiss, about his lively, personal book, The Conjuror’s Conundrum, that takes readers on a magical mystery tour of the longstanding connection between magic and skepticism.

Michael Gordin on the Fringe of Where Science Meets Pseudoscience

Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience,” typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. In episode 191, Michael explores with Michael Gordin the philosophical and historical attempts to address the problem of scientific demarcation.

eSkeptic for July 3, 2021

Everyone has heard of the term “pseudoscience,” typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. In episode 191, Michael explores with Michael Gordin the philosophical and historical attempts to address the problem of scientific demarcation.

James Randi in Memoriam, 1928–2020

In loving memory of our friend James Randi who passed away at the age of 92 on October 20, 2020 we present a classic lecture on skepticism given at Caltech by James Randi on March 22, 1992 at the inaugural session of the Distinguished Science Lecture Series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society in California (1992–2015). With wit and wonderfully illustrative examples, Randi teaches us several lessons on the scientific investigation of unusual claims.

A Report from the Paranormal Trenches

A classic lecture on skepticism was given by James Randi on March 22, 1992 at the inaugural session of the Distinguished Science Lecture Series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society in California (1992–2015). With wit and wonderfully illustrative examples, Randi teaches us several lessons on the scientific investigation of unusual claims.

Matthew Cobb — The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience

In Science Salon # 115, Michael Shermer speaks with scientist and historian Matthew Cobb about his book The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience which traces how our conception of the brain has evolved over the centuries.

eSkeptic for May 12, 2020

In Science Salon # 115, Michael Shermer speaks with scientist and historian Matthew Cobb about his book The Idea of the Brain: The Past and Future of Neuroscience which traces how our conception of the brain has evolved over the centuries.

Sleep Paralysis: A Personal Odyssey Into an Apparently Paranormal Experience

Sleep paralysis is a type of hallucination that occurs in the fuzzy borderlands between wakefulness and sleep. Former tripping-hippie-conspiracy-theorist-turned-skeptic Heidi Love shares first-hand accounts of her experiences lucid dreaming under sleep paralysis.

eSkeptic for April 11, 2018

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer interviews Dr. Leonard Mlodinow about his new book: Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change; and Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.

The Skeptical Virtue of Seriously Just Being Quiet

Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.

Donald Prothero & Timothy Callahan — UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens: What Science Says

UFOs. Aliens. Strange crop circles. Giant figures scratched in the desert surface along the coast of Peru. The amazing alignment of the pyramids. Strange lines of clouds in the sky. The paranormal is alive and well in the American cultural landscape. In UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens, Don Prothero and Tim Callahan explore why such demonstrably false beliefs thrive despite decades of education and scientific debunking.

eSkeptic for April 15, 2015

In this week’s eSkeptic, John E. Buckner V and Rebecca A. Buckner discuss compartmentalization and conformity as possible socio-psychological mechanisms that might explain how individuals, through education, can decrease their paranormal/supernatural beliefs without improving their critical thinking skills.

eSkeptic for March 18, 2015

Sometimes strange things happen, the causes for which seem hard to explain. Sometimes, these occurrences are referred to as “supernatural” or “paranormal.” But, what do those words really mean? In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer describes what is meant by “supernatural.”

14-10-08

In this week’s eSkeptic, we announce: our next geology tour—Central California Classics (January 17–19, 2015); our next distinguished science lecture—by Dr. Bradley Voytek (Oct 19); Weekly Insights from Blake Smith and Barbara Drescher; Michael Shermer’s October column in Scientific America; and MonsterTalk interviews Daniel H. Wilson about a robot apocalypse.

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. A life can be changed or an entire religion founded on the basis of a single brain-generated hallucination. These phenomena are so powerful that throughout history seekers of knowledge have sought to induce them. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be more than a waste of time and energy. It can be dangerous for both the individual and larger society… DOWNLOAD the free PDF

13-11-20

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience like the examples that we list in this FREE PDF booklet? These phenomena are powerful and are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. As skeptics are well aware that accepting these beliefs can be dangerous. The Skeptics Society the much-needed scientific explanation for these and other phenomena. Join us in our many efforts to do that and make a tax-deductible donation online today.

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