The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


progress

Kevin Kelly — ChatGPT, OpenAI, and Excellent Advice for Living

Shermer and Kelly discuss: protopian progress • ChatGPT • artificial intelligence; an existential threat? • evolution • cultural progress • self-driving cars • innovation • social media • putting an end to war • compound interest and the long term effect of small changes • why you don’t want to be a billionaire • beliefs and reason • setting unreasonable goals • persistence as key to success • probabilities and statistics, not algebra and calculus • investing: buy and hold • how to fully become yourself.

Todd Kashdan — The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent and Defy Effectively

Shermer and Kashdan discuss: how he became an insubordinate rebel in his unusual young life • the effects of a fatherless home on children • the influence of role models • how civil rights movements make progress • the adversarial court system • how juries should think • racialization in America • viewpoint diversity • resisting complacency • the value of non-conformity • influencing the majority (when in the minority) • how to build alliances • how to champion ideas…

eSkeptic for June 26, 2020

In a lecture, Dr. Michael Shermer addresses one of the deepest questions of all: what is truth? Following that, Lee McIntyre and Michael Shermer debate whether we are living in a Post-Truth era of fake news and alternative facts.

The Truth About Post-Truth Truthiness

Is post-truth the political subordination of reality? Is truth itself any more under threat today that in the past? Have the populists & postmodernists won the day? In response to Dr. Lee McIntyre’s essay, Dr. Michael Shermer asserts that people are not nearly as gullible as some believe.

Christopher Ryan — Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress

Most of us have instinctive evidence the world is ending — balmy December days, face-to-face conversation replaced with heads-to-screens zomboidism, a world at constant war, a political system in disarray. We hear some myths and lies so frequently that they feel like truths. You’re lucky to be alive here and now. Well, maybe… Civilized to Death counters the idea that progress is inherently good, arguing that the “progress” defining our age is analogous to an advancing disease.

eSkeptic for February 4, 2020

In Science Salon # 102 Michael Shermer speaks with Christopher Ryan about his new book: Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress. PLUS, The recent spate of drone sightings in the Midwest have residents on edge. Medical sociologist Robert Bartholomew avers that one explanation can be ruled out — mass hysteria.

Neil deGrasse Tyson — Letters from an Astrophysicist

In Science Salon # 86, Michael Shermer speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about his latest book Letters from an Astrophysicist. In this discussion of his hand-picked collection of 101 letters, we go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers.

eSkeptic for October 8, 2019

In Science Salon # 86, Michael Shermer speaks with Neil deGrasse Tyson about his latest book Letters from an Astrophysicist. In this discussion of his hand-picked collection of 101 letters, we go behind the scenes of his public fame by revealing his correspondence with people across the globe who have sought him out in search of answers.

eSkeptic for March 20, 2019

What is it about the human mind that so effortlessly translates natural events into messages from another realm — even despite our best attempts to deny that there’s any message in them at all?

Ben Shapiro — The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great

In Science Salon # 58, Michael Shermer and noted conservative political commentator and public intellectual Ben Shapiro discuss and debate “what made the West great” in this wide ranging conversation.

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