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…
According to the 2012 Pew Research Center survey, there are 48 million Americans with no religious affiliation. In Michael Shermer’s December 2013 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, he discusses some of the reasons why we are seeing a declining trend in religious belief.
Is it true that the Sixteenth Amendment—empowering Congress to levy an income tax—was never legally ratified? In Michael Shermer’s November 2013 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, he recounts his experience appearing as an expert witness on the psychology of why people fall for such schemes, in a Portland, Oregon court in the case of USA v. Miles J. Julison.
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 […]
Incompetent in science and in finance, Ken Ham's creationist organization seems to have learned its animal husbandry from Noah himself—to the detriment of the animals.
It is now well established in psychological research that humans can form false memories – memories for events that never occurred. Further, these false memories are indistinguishable from genuine memories. Questions remain, however, about the neuroanatomical basis of false memories. One potential window into this question are subjects with so-called “Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory” (HSAM). […]
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.
In this week’s eSkeptic, Patrick Arnold reviews The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield.
Drawing on their decades of work for nasa and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Drs. Linda and Thomas Spilker give us an inside view of what goes into the unmanned space program, from the origin of a space mission, to how the funds are found to finance it, to how the spacecraft is designed and built, and to the launching and running of such a mission, often designed to last for years and even decades.