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eSkeptic for eSkeptic for September 9, 2015

Skeptic Digital Back Issues: on Cryonics, Carl Sagan, and Conspiracies; Follow Michael Shermer: Forensic Pseudoscience: Can Tests be Trusted?; Daniel Loxton on INSIGHT at Skeptic.com: A Rope of Sand; Debate: Do We Need God? Michael Shermer v. Larry Taunton

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for August 5, 2015

Modern-day mystics have at their disposal a vast and ever-growing arsenal of scientific vocabulary, and employ it liberally in arguing for such practices as quantum healing and energy medicine, variants of which have in recent decades grown into billion dollar industries, supported by millions of consumers. Surely that many people can’t be wrong, can they? In this week’s eSkeptic, Jérémie Harris examines some of the vocabulary often invoked by mystics in the quantum healing community, and contrasts their usage of that vocabulary with current scientific definitions. This article appeared Skeptic magazine 20.1 in 2015.
Order the back issue.

INSIGHT
A History of Life’s Vital Essence (Part 3): The Twilight of Vitalism

Mike McRae provides a glimpse into the history of two competing systems of biology: life as complex chemistry, and the abandoned theory of vitalism. (Part 3 of 3.)

INSIGHT
A History of Life’s Vital Essence (Part 2): Vital Thinking

Mike McRae provides a glimpse into the history of two competing systems of biology: life as complex chemistry, and the abandoned theory of vitalism. (Part 2 of 3.)

INSIGHT
A History of Life’s Vital Essence (Part 1): Fire and Gods

Mike McRae provides a glimpse into the history of two competing systems of biology: life as complex chemistry, and the abandoned theory of vitalism. (Part 1 of 3.)

eSkeptic for eSkeptic for March 25, 2015

In this week’s eSkeptic, Kevin Mccaffree and Anondah Saide present a meta-analysis of peer-reviewed empirical studies that evaluate the success of teaching critical thinking strategies in the classroom. In addition, they discuss some reasons for the limited impact of these strategies.

INSIGHT
Woo in the White House

Donald Prothero reflects on the pseudoscience of astrology and the powerful influence of Joan Quigley, the recently deceased astrologer to Nancy Reagan during most of the years of the Reagan Administration.

eSkeptic for 14-10-15

Among the strangest of all bizarre pseudoscientific notions is the idea that ordinary contrails formed by high-flying aircraft are somehow a government conspiracy to spray us with toxic chemicals. In this week’s eSkeptic, Donald R. Prothero discusses how “chemtrail” conspiracy thinking fails the science literacy test.

INSIGHT
The Fifth Horseman: The Insights of Victor Stenger (1935–2014)

Michael Shermer reflects on the life and skepticism of physicist Victor Stenger.

eSkeptic for 14-07-23

Last week, the James Randi Educational Foundation’s “The Amazing Meeting 2014” conference in Las Vegas brought together many of the most engaging voices in science and skepticism for a challenging and joyful celebration of ideas. The Skeptics Society was in the spotlight, with Michael Shermer, Donald Prothero, and Junior Skeptic’s Daniel Loxton taking the stage for feature presentations. In this week’s eSkeptic, we share the text of Loxton’s well-received speech on skeptical history, titled “A Rare and Beautiful Thing.” Although designed as a live multimedia presentation, we hope this distilled format will give a sense of the passion behind this unusual piece.

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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 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. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

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 why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one 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

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They 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.

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