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My Dinner (and Drinks) with Christopher
(Hitchens that is)

An essay tribute by Michael Shermer, written upon hearing of Hitchens’ cancer diagnosis in 2010.

eSkeptic for 10-05-26

In this week’s eSkeptic, in light of the death of Martin Gardner (1914–2010) we present an interview between Martin Gardner and Michael Shermer that appeared in Skeptic magazine Vol. 5, No. 2 (1997). Also, in response to last week’s feature article in eSkeptic, author Frank S. Robinson responds to Victoria Bekiempis’ review of his book The Case for Rational Optimism.

eSkeptic for 10-04-21

On April 8, 2010, the British philosopher Antony Flew (one of the world’s most outspoken and prominent atheists) passed away after a long life in academic philosophy. Flew changed his mind in the closing years of his life, apparently impressed by the arguments from Intelligent Design creationists. In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article by Kenneth Grubbs, which was written before Antony Flew died and aims to get at the truth of his conversion.

eSkeptic for 09-11-04

There are few celebrities in science who have done more for the promotion of science, reason, rationality, and critical thinking than Carl Sagan, whom we remember this week upon the impending occasion of his birthday on November 9, 1934.

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Our Place in the Universe

Carl Sagan was a scholar and a visionary. He changed the world. His work still does. As Bill Nye thinks back on the time he got to spend in Sagan’s classes, he realizes what made Sagan the best science communicator of his day.

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The Measure of a Life

Michael Shermer ponders the question of what the measure of a life is once it has gone. And if that life was an epochal-shaping life, how is a contemporary biographer to put that life in perspective before the epoch is over?

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Leaving a Demon-Haunted World

Solen discovered The Demon-Haunted World on the library shelf one day. He had heard of Sagan, of course, but knew little of him. At a time when Solen’s friends had left him, where he could not confide in his own family, the book’s dedication invited him toward the candle…

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Popular & Pilloried

Gregory Benford recounts how Carl Sagan, the best known astronomer in the world, was turned down by the National Academy of Sciences and laments that no other widely recognized scientist has replaced him in popular discourse.

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
The Sagan File

Joel Achenbach moved offices, and began to purge files, stuff he didn’t need and hadn’t looked at in years. Digging deep, he came across a fat file marked “Sagan.” The astronomer died in December 1996. Save? Throw away? From the documents, a voice emerged…

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A Tribute to Carl Sagan:
Carl Sagan & the Search for E.T.

When Tom McDonough was a grad student at Cornell in the late 1960s, he ploughed through dry scientific journals. Occasionally, he found papers bordering on science fiction, hidden within them like naughty pictures. These gems were often by an obscure Harvard scientist named Carl Sagan. They spoke about the possibility of life on other worlds, a subject almost taboo in science at that time…

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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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