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Skeptic Presents…

Michael Shermer’s latest book: THE BELIEVING BRAIN

From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

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…

Scientific American columns

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A Science of War

In Michael Shermer’s November 2014 “Skeptic” column for Scientific American, he considers democracies as perhaps the best way to create the type of perpetual peace toward which most sentient beings strive.

Infrequencies

Michael Shermer is often asked if I has ever encountered something that he could not explain. In his October 2014 ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, Michael recounts an unexplained experience so mysterious (which one might call the supernatural or paranormal) that it shook his skepticism.

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 […]

Shermer on SkepticBlog

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Announcing INSIGHT at Skeptic.com

The Skeptics Society has retired Skepticblog (while preserving all posts online at their original urls for future reference), but we’re proud to announce our bigger, better new blog: INSIGHT at Skeptic.com! Dedicated to the spirit of curiosity and grounded in scientific skepticism’s useful, investigative tradition of public service, INSIGHT continues and expands upon the energetic conversations begun here […]

A Fond Farewell to Skepticblog

Daniel Loxton shares the news that the Skeptics Society is archiving Skepticblog and preparing for the launch of an exciting new blog project.

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 […]

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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:

14-11-19

On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone-gunman Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet, about three-quarters of Americans believe that President Kennedy was the victim of a multi-shooter conspiracy. In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses several psychological factors at work that allow conspiracy theories to persist.

Eine andere Welt

Donald Prothero visits Berlin to attend the 74th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and reflects on differences he perceives in social and political trends and scientific understanding between Germany and the United States.

Next Gen Dr Karl? Not Me

Mike McRae considers the ever-changing fashions of the public face of science presenters—fatherly and professional, wacky and fun, and so on—and reflects on the necessarily varied audiences such tropes seek to reach.