The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

think tanks

Naomi Oreskes — The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market

Shermer and Oreskes discuss: the myth of market magic • market fundamentalism • market absolutism • market essentialism • capitalism and democracy • well-regulated vs. poorly regulated capitalism • U.S. Constitution and capitalism • what the founding fathers believed about markets • what Adam Smith really said about markets and capitalism and how economists rewrote Adam Smith • why markets need regulation in the same way sports need rules and referees • rhetorical fallacies of market fundamentalists • child labor laws • bank failures • Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 • Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman • religion and capitalism • think tanks • collective action problems.


In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an excerpt from Massimo Pigliucci’s book Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk in which he discusses the alleged decline of the public intellectual, especially in the United States, as well as at the parallel ascent and evolution (some would say devolution) of so-called think tanks. He treats both as rather disconcerting indicators of the level of public discourse in general, and of the conflict between science and pseudoscience in particular. It is an area that is both usually neglected within the context of discussing science in the public arena and yet crucial to our understanding of how science is perceived or misperceived by the public. This excerpt appeared in Skeptic magazine volume 16, number 1 (2010).

For those seeking a sound scientific viewpoint


Be in the know!

Subscribe to eSkeptic: our free email newsletter and get great podcasts, videos, reviews and articles from Skeptic magazine, announcements, and more in your inbox once or twice a week.

Sign me up!

Copyright © 1992–2023. All rights reserved. | 3938 State St., Suite # 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 | 1-805-576-9396. The Skeptics Society is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization (ID # 95-4550781) whose mission is to promote science & reason. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Privacy Policy.