A comprehensive theory on how beliefs are born, formed, nourished, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. This book synthesizes Dr. Shermer’s 30 years of research to answer the questions of how and why we believe what we do in all aspects of our lives, from our suspicions & superstitions to our politics, economics, and social beliefs. More…
Michael Shermer reviews Lisa Randall’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World (Ecco, 2011), a book in which Randall attempts “the herculean task of explaining to us uninitiated the daunting science of theoretical particle physics.” This review was originally published in the November 2011 issue of Science magazine.
A torrid tale of quackbusting in 1920s America sheds light on modern medical scares A review of Pope Brock’s Charlatan. America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam. Human cognition has a problem — anecdotal thinking comes naturally whereas scientific thinking does not. The recent medical controversy over whether […]
In celebration of tonight's premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Daniel Loxton shares a short excerpt from Junior Skeptic 50's look back at Carl Sagan's life in skepticism.
Daniel Loxton recommends a detailed discussion of plesiosaur behaviour at Scientific American's Tetrapod Zoology blog, written by paleozoologist Darren Naish.
I don’t think religious beliefs are different from any other kind of beliefs: political attitudes, commitments to political parties, or economic ideologies, for example. These are all forms of belief. I think at the base of it is this whole idea that we’re pattern-seeking primates. We connect the dots — A connects to B connects […]
In his 1964 Republican presidential nomination acceptance speech Barry Goldwater gave voice to one of the most memorable one-liners in political punditry: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” These are stirring sentiments, to be sure, and once in a great while they may […]
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In this 14-minute introduction to skepticism from the remarkable TED conference, Dr. Michael Shermer discusses the power of belief systems.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and Skeptic.com, a scientific and educational outreach for scholars, scientists, historians, and professors dedicated to exploring the facts surrounding controversial ideas and extraordinary claims.
The PBS broadcast of Carl Sagan’s 13-part documentary, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, was one of the most watched series in the history of American public television. The soon-to-be-released sequel, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey (see above), written, executively produced and directed by Ann Druyan, premieres Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 9pm/10pm ET/PT on FOX. In light of the rebirth of this stellar production, we present to you, in this week’s eSkeptic, an interview with Ann Druyan conducted by Michael Shermer in 2007, which appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 13.1—our tribute issue to Carl Sagan.