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Tagged with “scepticism” (4)

  1. Rationally Speaking: Matthew Hutson on The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking

    You may think you’re a skeptic, but are you really as free from superstition as you think you are? Matthew Hutson thinks not. The author of "The Seven Laws of Magical Thinking" joins Massimo and Julia on this episode of Rationally Speaking to discuss some common, innate forms of superstition that affect even self-identified skeptics, and why the human brain is predisposed to magical thinking. Along the way, the three debate: Overall, are our superstitions good for us?

    Matthew’s picks: "Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition," "SuperSense, " and "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life"

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  2. Michael Shermer: The pattern behind self-deception

    Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things — from alien abductions to dowsing rods — boils down to two of the brain’s most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.

    Michael Shermer debunks myths, superstitions and urban legends, and explains why we believe them. Along with publishing Skeptic Magazine, he’s author of Why People Believe Weird Things.

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  3. Skeptic Check: Saucer’s Apprentice

    They’re here! About one-third of all Americans believe we’re being visited by extraterrestrial spacecraft. But wait, you want evidence?

    UFO sighting are as prevalent as flies at a picnic. But proof of visitation – well, that’s really alien.

    Hear why belief in extraterrestrial UFOs persists … and why military sightings that “can’t be explained” don’t warrant rolling out a welcome mat for ET.

    Plus, the most fab UFOs in the movies!

    It’s Skeptic Check… but don’t take our word for it!


    • Phil Plait – Keeper of the skeptical website
    • Benjamin Radford – Research Fellow with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and managing editor of “Skeptical Inquirer Science Magazine”
    • Leslie Kean – Journalist, and author of UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record
    • Susan Clancy – Psychology Researcher, Harvard University and author of Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens
    • Thomas Bullard – Folkorist at Indiana University and author of The Myth and Mystery of UFOs

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  4. William Little — The Psychic Tourist

    William Little is a freelance journalist based in London, England. He has written for the Saturday Telegraph magazine, Weekend Telegraph, the Guardian, The Times and the Financial Times. He has also worked for Arena, Esquire and Cosmopolitan, and contributed articles to the Independent, the Daily Express and the Big Issue, among many others. His recent book is The Psychic Tourist: A Voyage into the Curious World of Predicting the Future.

    In this interview with D.J. Grothe, William Little recounts his experiences researching The Psychic Tourist, including his seminar with Sylvia Browne, meetings with UK mentalist Derren Browne, scientists Richard Dawkins and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Brian Jospehson, attending a psychic college, and his sister’s star chart predicting her death. He reveals his motivations writing the book, and talks about how his journalistic approach is different than the approach of some academic skeptics who write for more of an already skeptical audience. He explores what it might say about society if there is such widespread belief in psychics when there is so little evidence to support psychic claims. He contrasts the harm psychics do with how they may help people. He explains why he thinks of psychic belief as "disorganized religion." And he talks about the skeptics he met who weren’t cold-hearted, but instead were interested in helping people.

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