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review

Upending Civilization

One of the surprise bestselling books of 2022 is David Graeber’s and David Wengrow’s book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, in which they attempt to upend the standard and widely accepted model of how Hunter-Gatherer bands and tribes developed into chiefdoms and states. How accurate is their alternative history of humanity? In this review essay, Chris Edwards considers the evidence as presented in this compelling book.

eSkeptic for April 24, 2021

In episode 175 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with Brian Keating about How it All Began: Cosmic Inflation, the Multiverse, and the Nature of Scientific Proof. Plus, we present a review of Julia Galef’s book The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.

Travels Within the Feminist Divide

In this column social psychologist Carol Tavris discusses two new books whose authors separate what’s right in the pursuit of justice from what’s self-righteous. As skeptics, they repudiate received wisdom and party loyalty, showing that by separating what we wish for from wishful thinking, we can find better, more creative, more flexible routes to attaining the former.

eSkeptic for May 5, 2020

In Science Salon # 114, Michael Shermer speaks with Katherine Stewart about her new book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. PLUS: Frank S. Robinson reviews The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies by Robert Boyers.

Woke Gone Wild

Frank S. Robinson reviews The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies by Robert Boyers.

Why Estrogen Matters

Sociologist and Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. reviews Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives — Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.

eSkeptic for January 7, 2020

In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices. PLUS, Sociologist and Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. reviews Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives — Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.

Ten Years Away: …and Always Will Be

Peter Kassan reviews Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2019).

eSkeptic for December 31, 2019

In Science Salon # 97 Michael Shermer speaks with former Jehovah’s Witness Amber Scorah about the psychology of religious belief and her new book Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life. PLUS Peter Kassan reviews Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell.

eSkeptic for November 19, 2019

In Science Salon # 92 Michael Shermer speaks with Tim Samuels about his brand new book: Future Man: How to Evolve and Thrive in the Age of Trump, Mansplaining, and #MeToo. PLUS: Michael Shermer reviews The Violence Paradox, a PBS NOVA film special based on Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature.

The Enemy Within: a Review of “The Violence Paradox”

Michael Shermer reviews The Violence Paradox, a upcoming two-hour PBS NOVA film special, a production of WGBH Boston, November 20, 2019.

What is Mental Illness, Anyway?

Peter Barglow, MD reviews Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness by Anne Harrington.

eSkeptic for July 9, 2019

In Science Salon # 74 Michael Shermer speaks with practicing psychiatrist and trauma scientist at the National Center for PTSD Shaili Jain, M.D about her new book The Unspeakable Mind, which shines a long-overdue light on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) epidemic affecting today’s fractured world; PLUS Chris Edwards reviews Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Dead Weight

Chris Edwards reviews Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

American Atlantis

In the new book America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization, author Graham Hancock looks for traces of a lost Ice Age civilization in the Americas. Despite relying on controversial research and drawing extreme conclusions, his hunt still comes up short.

eSkeptic for October 17, 2018

Science Salon Podcast # 42: The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. A dialogue between Michael Shermer and psychologist Clay Routledge (Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World) on life’s deepest and most meaningful issues.

Great Untruths

Anondah Saide and Kevin McCaffree review The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

Calling SCAM a Scam

Harriet Hall, M.D. (aka the SkepDoc) reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst (UK: Societas. 2018. ISBN 978-1845409708).

eSkeptic for July 25, 2018

In Science Salon # 30, Michael Shermer talks with University of Toronto psychiatrist Dr. Ralph Lewis about helping cancer patients cope without religion; Harriet Hall, M.D. reviews SCAM: So-Called Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst.

eSkeptic for June 30, 2018

Chris Edwards reviews John Gribbin’s definitive work on Einstein and his intellectual process: Einstein’s Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity (2017. New York/London: Pegasus Books).

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