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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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Conspiracy Central

According to recent research, a disturbingly high number of people believe in conspiracy theories. In Michael Shermer’s December “Skeptic” column in Scientific American, he discusses who the believers are and why they believe.

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.

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:

The Myth of Learning Styles

Ani Aharonian considers claims that matching instructional style to individual learning styles will yield superior learning. She argues that this appealing idea lacks an evidence-based foundation, despite its popularity.

The Forgetfulness of Skepticism

Daniel Loxton discusses skepticism's inattention to its own history, and sets up a reflection for another post to follow.

14-12-17

Psychologists have known for decades that memory does not operate like a video camera, with our senses recording in high definition what really happens in the world, accurately stored in memory awaiting high fidelity playback on the viewing screen of our mind. In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer discusses how the fallibility of memory can cause eyewitness testimony to contradict the evidence.