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Skeptics Society News and Site Highlights

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eSkeptic delivers great articles, videos, podcasts, reviews, op-eds, event announcements, and more to your inbox.

eSkeptic for May 22, 2019

In Science Salon # 67, Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith explains why we ought to be skeptical of the increasingly vociferous and confident claims of atheist apologists about morality, science, and human nature; PLUS Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.

eSkeptic for May 15, 2019

British philosopher Dr. Colin McGinn avers that it is wrong to say that God is by definition all powerful; he is only powerful within the limits of his nature.

eSkeptic for May 8, 2019

In a special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer brought a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.

eSkeptic for May 1, 2019

VeriSign founder David Cowan avers that science is the key to combatting the spread of disinformation; PLUS, evolutionary anthropologist Michael Tomasello presents his new theory of how humans became such a distinctive species.

eSkeptic for April 24, 2019

In Science Salon # 63, through the lens of evolutionary science, Dr. Hector A. Garcia offers a novel perspective on why we hold our political ideas, and why they are so often in conflict. Drawing on examples from across the animal kingdom, Garcia reveals how even the most complex political processes can be influenced by our basic drives to survive and reproduce.

latest additions to
the reading room

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The Reading Room is a comprehensive, free resource of articles relating to science and skepticism.

Is Low-Dose Radiation Good for You? The Questionable Claims for Hormesis

Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.

A Disproof of God’s Existence

British philosopher Dr. Colin McGinn avers that it is wrong to say that God is by definition all powerful; he is only powerful within the limits of his nature.

How Science Will Explain & Fix Fake News

Fake news, crafted to exploit us, wreaks havoc on our health, finances and politics. VeriSign founder David Cowan avers that science is the key to combatting the spread of disinformation.

Debating Science and Lost Civilizations My Experience on the Joe Rogan Experience

After his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast # 961 with Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson, Michael Shermer devoted a special issue of Skeptic magazine (22.3) to Hancock’s theory that an ancient lost civilization predates by tens of thousands of years all other known ancient civilizations. The follow is Dr. Shermer’s account of the show and a refinement of his notes for why he is skeptical of Hancock’s theory.

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.

Hoaxed!

The breadth of what can be meant by the word “hoax” makes the concept — and consequences — worthy of renewed study. Michelle E. Ainsworth reviews Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont.

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The Science Salon Podcast is a series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time. Listen via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Interior Door Rug Bathroom Rug Slip 31st Birthday 31 Years Old Age Happy Greetings Stylized Text Confetti Rain colorful Dots Door Rug for Internal Anti-Slip Rug W6'xL8', iHeartRadio, WYQSZ Coat Rack - Creative Living Room Porch Wall Hanger Wall Hanging Coat Rack Solid Wood European Style Hall Coat Rack - Coat Rack 8563 (color B), and Bar Chair Lift Home bar Stool high Stool bar Chair redating high Stool Modern Minimalist bar Chair (color C).

Dr. Christian Smith — Atheist Overreach: What Atheism Can’t Deliver

In Science Salon # 67, Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith explains why we ought to be skeptical of the increasingly vociferous and confident claims of atheist apologists about morality, science, and human nature.

Dr. Christian List — Why Free Will is Real: A response to Sam Harris, Jerry Coyne, and Other Determinists

In Science Salon # 66 Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with Dr. Christian List about his new book Why Free Will is Real which defies scientific orthodoxy and presents a bold new defense of free will in the same naturalistic terms that are usually deployed against it.

Jared Diamond — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis

In a special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer brought a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.

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INSIGHT at Skeptic.com is a broadly accessible, evidence-based resource that offers critical perspective on mysteries of science, paranormal claims, and the wild, woolly, wonderful weirdness of the fringe.

The Skeptical Virtue of Seriously Just Being Quiet

Daniel Loxton reflects on the value of listening in order to first understand paranormal beliefs and then communicate effectively with those who hold them.

Is the Earth Flat?

There is growing conspiracy theory belief that the Earth is not a globe, but a flat disc. According to believers, government forces promote a completely fictitious model of the cosmos in order to conceal the true nature of the Earth. Daniel Loxton examines whether these claims are true.

Astonishing Legends, Questionable Facts

Did a family in Kentucky get drunk and mistake owls for ‘space-goblins’, or was something much more complex going on that hot August night in 1955?

Confessions of a Skeptical Marketer

Guest writer Steve Cuno shares an insider's view on the ethics of advertising in a world full of false claims.

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Secrets of the Ouija Board

In this issue of Junior Skeptic we will dim the lights and gather around an object of mystery: the ouija (pronounced “wee-ja” or “wee-gee”). With a little pointer, these simple but spooky devices spell out answers that appear to come from some invisible source. Some people believe ouija boards release secrets from our subconscious minds. Others claim ouija boards harness supernatural forces to predict the future or contact spirits of the dead. Ouija boards have been used to write entire books, and praised as a source of cosmic wisdom. They have also been blamed for madness, mayhem, and murder. Some even fear that ouija boards are gateways for evil demons. Are any of these claims true? Let’s find out!

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global warming

How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused

Donald R. Prothero addresses climate change denialism head on, demolishing deniers’ arguments and rebuttals, and clearly demonstrating how we know global warming is real and human caused.

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our podcasts

The Skeptics Society proudly presents award-winning podcasts, available on multiple listening platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Soundcloud.

Science Salon

Science Salon is a series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.

MonsterTalk

MonsterTalk is the science show about monsters that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures.

Skepticality

Skepticality is the pioneering, original skeptical podcast dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science.

Skeptic Presents:
Humour & Skepticism

Skeptic Presents is a series of videos that promote science and critical thinking through the use of humor, wit, and satire. With WN - European Bar Stools Solid Wood Wrought Iron Bar Stool Bar Stool Chair High Stool Bar Stool Bar stools (color I), we hope to produce these instructional, educational, and entertaining videos regularly throughout the year for free viewing for everyone, everywhere, to spread the message of the power of science and skepticism to make the world a saner, safer place.

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Engaging the
Anti-vaxxers

Vaccines are one of science’s greatest achievements. Yet, fears and anxieties about immunization persist. In this article, Christian Orlic reviews Mark A. Largent’s new book Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America (2012, John Hopkins University Press, ISBN 978-1421406077).

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Skeptical Resources Freely Available to Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime

The Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource Center is a comprehensive, free repository of resources for teaching students how to think skeptically. This Center contains an ever-growing selection of books, reading lists, course syllabi, in-class exercises, PowerPoint presentations, student projects, papers, and videos that you may download and use in your own classes.

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We’re pleased to present Daniel Loxton’s challenging and provocative new project, “Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?”. Almost two years in the writing, these two meticulously-researched chapter-length explorations dig deeply into the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism. Arguing that it is essential for skeptics to “appreciate that we’re caretakers for the work of those who have come before,” Loxton carries forward the discussion about the scope and limits of scientific skepticism.

Michael Shermer’s Scientific American Columns

Since April 2001 New York Times bestselling author Michael Shermer has written the “Skeptic” column for Scientific American.

Stein’s Law and Science’s Mission

January 2019: In his 214th consecutive and final ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer reflects on what science brings to the human project.

Kids These Days

In his December 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer discusses how to avert a looming crisis among today’s youth.

The Fallacy of Excluded Exceptions

In his November 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer explains the allegedly spooky coincidences associated with some famous films like Poltergeist, The Exorcist, The Omen, and The Crow.

A Mysterious Change of Mind

In his October 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer considers why suicide is a leading cause of death in the US.

Abortion Facts

In his September 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American Michael Shermer avers that when women are educated and have access to birth-control technologies, pregnancies and, eventually, abortions decrease

23 and We

In his August 2018 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses the limitations of personal genome service testing.

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    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 Artzfolio Fireworks Over San Francisco City Skyline, USA Key Holder Hooks Notice Pin Board Black Frame 19.7 X 16Inch: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

    FREE PDF Download

    Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

    Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

    What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

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    The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

    The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

    Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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    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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    5 Cryptid Cards

    Download and print 5 Cryptid Cards created by Junior Skeptic Editor Daniel Loxton. Creatures include: The Yeti, Griffin, Sasquatch/Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and the Cadborosaurus.