Past Meetup

Educational SIG - Skepticism 101

This Meetup is past

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Our next Educational SIG will be December 8th at SHC at 1953 W Grant Rd.at 10 AM.This will be the continuing Great Courses lectures on Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist by Professor Michael Shermer.

The two lectures will be:

The Paranormal and the SupernaturalIn this lecture we will learn how faulty neural activity and anomalous neural firing can apparently lead to paranormal, supernatural, and extraordinary experiences that prompt people to embrace all sorts of strange beliefs. We will also consider the fact that science searches for natural explanations for natural phenomena--there is no such thing as the paranormal or the supernatural; there is only the normal, the natural, and all the mysteries we have yet to explain. This lecture examines a number of paranormal and supernatural claims, how scientists think about them and put them to the test, and what all those failed tests tell us about the future of such claims.

Suggest reading the following books;

Sagan, The Demon- Haunted World

Shermer, The Believing Brain.

Vyse, Believing in Magic.

Wiseman, Paranormality.

Science versus Pseudoscience

This lecture delves into human psychology, the need to believe, and how con artists and even the sincerely deluded employ age-old techniques to lure people into believing that paranormal powers are real. The reasons for explaining how psychics work and explore the claims of UFOlogists in this lecture are two fold: (1) to avoid being taken in by people who do psychic readings or by claims of UFO sightings and (2) to show how scientists and skeptics test such claims, which further reveal how science and pseudoscience differ. In the process, we will also see some of the shortcomings of Science.

Suggest reading the following books;

Hawking, A brief History of Time.

Randi, Flim-Flam!

Rosehan, "On Being Sane in Insane Places"

Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things.

Following the lectures at noon join fellow skeptics for lunch and continue interacting with smart people.

Jerry Karches, moderator

This event is sponsored by FreeThought Arizona.