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Learn about Michael Shermer's new book, Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye. Available in stores now!

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Skeptic Presents…

Scientific American columns

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Imagine No Universe

Imagine nothing. Go ahead. What do you see? In his February 2017 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer compiles several responses from a number of sources on the incomprehensible topic “nothing”.

When Facts Backfire

In his January 2017 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses the tendency to double down on our deepest held beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence against them.

reviews by Michael Shermer

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As Far As Her Eyes Can See

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.

Faith Healing

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 […]

essays

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Does Belief Help Us to Survive?

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 […]

Confessions of a Former Environmental Skeptic

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 […]

Scientology, Anonymous

Imagine reading the following press release: Hello, Jews. We are anonymous. Over the years, we have been watching you. Your campaigns of misinformation; suppression of dissent; your litigious nature, all of these things have caught our eye… Anonymous has therefore decided that your organization should be destroyed. For the good of your followers, for the […]

Why People Don’t Trust Free Markets

The new science of evolutionary economics offers an explanation for capitalism skepticism In his magnum opus on the power of free markets, Human Action, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises noted: “The truth is that capitalism has not only multiplied population figures but at the same time improved the people’s standard of living in an […]

skepticism 101

Michael Shermer on TEDTalks

The Power of Belief

In this 14-minute introduction to skepticism from the remarkable TED conference, Dr. Michael Shermer discusses the power of belief systems.

Skeptic magazine & Skeptic.com

Skeptic magazine

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.

Latest additions to Skeptic.com

eSkeptic for February 22, 2017

In this week’s eSkeptic, Dr. Karen Stollznow discusses the awkward mix of science and superstition found in almanacs. This article originally appeared in Skeptic magazine 18.1 (2013).

Climate Cold Reading: Meteorological Myths of Farmer’s Almanacs

Dr. Karen Stollznow discusses the awkward mix of science and superstition found in almanacs.

Dr. Carol Tavris — Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)

Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it? Social psychologist Dr. Carol Tavris, one of the most influential thinkers and writers of our time, explores in dialogue with Michael Shermer cognitive dissonance and what happens when we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people—we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth.