Collected essays from bestselling author Michael Shermer's celebrated columns in Scientific American For fifteen years, bestselling author Michael Shermer has written a column in Scientific American magazine that synthesizes scientific concepts and theory for a general audience. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, in Skeptic, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time; a welcome addition for his fans and a stimulating introduction for new readers.
Understanding why someone doesn't believe is critical to helping them overcome doubt! People are often skeptical of the Bible for many reasons, but these can be traced to four types of objections: biblical scientific, moral, and spiritual. Once you understand the issues people have raised about these topics, you can better address their skepticism with facts and relevant information. Objections are opportunities. They reveal a non-believers need for truth, and they challenge us to make our faith relevant. With this handy guide to faith conversations, you can expertly present your faith, and defend your worldview with confidence. Be prepared to face the skeptics and help win them for Christ!
Is it possible to be spiritual and yet not believe in the supernatural? Can a person be spiritual without belonging to a religious group or organization?In Spirituality for the Skeptic, philosopher Robert Solomon explores what it means to be spiritual in today's pluralistic world. Based on Solomon's own struggles to reconcile philosophy with religion, this book offers a model of a vibrant, fulfilling spirituality that embraces the complexities of human existence and acknowledges the joys and tragedies of life. Solomon has forged an enlightened new path that synthesizes spirituality with emotions, intellect, science, and common sense. His new paradigm, "naturalized" spirituality, establishes as its cornerstone the "thoughtful love of life"--a passionate concern for the here-and-now, and not the by-and-by. Being spiritual doesn't mean being holed up as a recluse, spending hours in meditation and contemplation, Solomon argues. It demands involvement and emotional engagement with others in the struggle to find meaning in our lives. As such, this modern-day spirituality encompasses a passionate enthusiasm for the world, the transformation of self, cosmic trust and rationality, coming to terms with fate, and viewing life as a gift, all of which are explored in depth throughout this book.Spirituality for the Skeptic answers the need for a non-institutional, non-dogmatic spirituality that leads to personal fulfillment and satisfaction. By examining the ideas of great thinkers from Socrates and Nietzsche to Buddha to Kafka, Solomon arrives at a practical vision of spirituality that should appeal to many seekers looking to make sense of the human condition.
Examines supernatural controversies such as crop circles, the Shroud of Turin, and cold fusion, and provides evidence for and against each phenomenon.
Anita Superson challenges the traditional picture of the skeptic who asks, "Why be moral?" While holding that the skeptic's position is important, she builds an argument against it by understanding it more deeply, and then shows what it would take to successfully defeat it. Superson argues that we must defeat not only the action skeptic, but the disposition skeptic, who denies that being morally disposed is rationally required, and the motive skeptic, who believes that merely going through the motions in acting morally is rationally permissible. We also have to address the amoralist, who is not moved by moral reasons he recognizes. Superson argues for expanding the skeptic's position from self-interest to privilege to include morally unjustified behavior targeting disenfranchised social groups, as well as revising the traditional expected utility model to exclude desires deformed by patriarchy as irrational. Lastly she argues that the challenge can be answered if it can be shown that it is, in an important way, inconsistent and therefore irrational to privilege oneself over others. The Moral Skeptic makes an important contribution to both metaethics/moral theory and feminist philosophy, and brings feminist thinking into the larger discussion of the skeptical challenge.
Greg Boyd and his father, Ed, were on opposite sides of a great divide. Greg was a newfound Christian, while his father was a longtime agnostic. So Greg offered his father an invitation: Ed could write with any questions on Christianity, and his son would offer a response. Letters from a Skeptic contains this special correspondence. The letters tackle some of today's toughest challenges facing Christianity, including Do all non-Christians go to hell? How can we believe a man rose from the dead? Why is the world so full of suffering? How do we know the Bible was divinely inspired? Does God know the future? Each response offers insights into the big questions, while delivering intelligent answers that connect with both the heart and mind. Whether you're a skeptic, a believer, or just unsure, these letters can provide a practical, common-sense guide to the Christian faith.
A son and his skeptical father debate issues such as suffering, Biblical inspiration, and whether or not all non-Christians go to hell. This book will help the reader to wrestle with the rational foundation of his or her own faith.
"Data is here, it's growing, and it's powerful." Author Cathy O'Neil argues that the right approach to data is skeptical, not cynical––it understands that, while powerful, data science tools often fail. Data is nuanced, and "a really excellent skeptic puts the term 'science' into 'data science.'" The big data revolution shouldn't be dismissed as hype, but current data science tools and models shouldn't be hailed as the end-all-be-all, either.
How many of us have felt like Phillip Z? He has a staunch belief in the Twelve Steps, yet struggles with the concept of a Higher Power.
In A Skeptic's Guide to the 12 Steps, the author investigates each of the Twelve Steps to gain a deeper understanding of a higher power. He examines what may seem like ""unsettling"" concepts to us including surrendering one's will and life to God, and he encourages us to understand the spiritual journey of recovery despite our skepticism.
It happens every day: we pick up a newspaper or magazine or turn on the television and are bombarded with urgent advice about how to stay healthy. Lose weight! Lower your cholesterol! Early detection saves lives! Sunscreen prevents cancer! But in many cases, pronouncements we rarely think to question turn out to be half-truths that are being pushed by various individuals or groups to advance their own agendas. The Healthy Skeptic explores who these health promoters are—from journalists and celebrities to industry-funded groups and consumer activists—what their motives are, and how they are spinning us in ways we often don't realize. This treasure trove of little-known facts, written by a seasoned health reporter, provides invaluable tips, tools, and resources to help readers think more critically about what they're being told. Becoming a healthy skeptic is vital, Davis argues, because following the right advice can have a profound impact on overall health and longevity. IN TEN ENTERTAINING CHAPTERS, ROBERT J. DAVIS DISCUSSES: * Diets and why they don't work * Dietary supplements * The campaign to reduce cholesterol * Celebrity exhortations to "get tested" * Sunscreen and its promoters' claims * The antichemical activists
James L. Kelley, a skeptic about religion, writes with insight and humor of his life as a member of St. Mark's, an Episcopal church that welcomes doubters without pressuring them to compromise their intellectual integrity. When Kelley first visited the church, he was well into his forties and searching for a respite from urban malaise. At the same time, he found himself filled with disquieting questions: How could he reconcile his convictions with the central purpose of the church - to worship a God he didn't believe in? Could he say the prayers and sing the hymns while remaining an honest skeptic? After fifteen years of full participation in a church that is open not only to skeptics but also to gay men and lesbians, blacks and Jews, where members are invited to critique Sunday sermons, and where hymns are rewritten to reflect feminist concerns, Kelley found that his agnosticism remained but his skepticism about church participation had disappeared. Modern urban life can be a sterile, isolating experience, yet in St. Mark's Kelley discovered a place of vibrant community, honest inquiry, and support over the hard places in life.
When a friend dies mysteriously, Dr. Mike Ballantine's assumptions about the universe are challenged, and with the help of a gifted CIA agent, he fights a conspiracy to steal research regarding evidence of life after death. 75,000 first printing. Tour.
The essays of leading scholars collected in this volume focus on Salomon Maimon’s (1753-1800) synthesis of 'Rational Dogmatism' and 'Empirical Skepticism'. This collection is of interest to scholars working in the fields of history of philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, rationalism and empiricism as well as Jewish Studies.
Nick Fiedler (of Nick and Josh Podcast fame) decided to travel the world for a year or so, and in the process of figuring out what to set aside, what to carry along and what to throw out, heard a little voice telling him to set aside the faith of his childhood. So Nick changed his Facebook religion status from Christian to "Hopeful Skeptic" and set out to see where God would take him. If you find yourself asking nagging questions of the faith you were born into, put on your boots and take a little trip with Nick.
Through his provocative and influential work, most notably The Culture of Desire and A Queer Geography, Frank Browning has proven himself to be an erudite and intellectual writer with deep insights into the fusion of culture and identity. In his new book The Monk and the Skeptic, Browning examines the intersection of sexuality and religion through the framework of conversations between the author and a gay priest to discuss the nature of secular and spiritual friendship; religious thought on same-sex marriage; the relation of the body to God; the mission of charity enacted by the drag troop Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; the biblical prohibitions on improper pleasures of the body; and the history of how the church has viewed the body and desire. Browning manages to bring in a host of influences to his discussion: Descartes, Locke, Greek Myth, Christian Myth, Buddhist myth, Harry Potter, St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as modern writers like Jeanette Winterson, John Boswell, and Daniel Mendelsohn. The result is an engaging, timely, and very modern discourse on how the self and sexuality has been interpreted throughout the ages.
Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of shamatha and vipashyana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind's role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior. Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: to restore human nature and to transcend it. He begins by explaining the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace also proves that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will liberate us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to Indian Buddhist philosophy’s four schools and the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. Since Buddhism begins with the assertion that ignorance lies at the root of all suffering and that the path to freedom is reached through knowledge, Buddhist practice can be viewed as a progression from agnosticism (not knowing) to gnosticism (knowing), acquired through the maintenance of exceptional mental health, mindfulness, and introspection. Wallace discusses these topics in detail, identifying similarities and differences between scientific and Buddhist understanding, and he concludes with an explanation of shamatha and vipashyana and their potential for realizing the full nature, origins, and potential of consciousness.
When August Frugé joined the University of California Press in 1944, it was part of the University's printing department, publishing a modest number of books a year, mainly monographs by UC faculty members. When he retired as director 32 years later, the Press had been transformed into one of the largest, most distinguished university presses in the country, publishing more than 150 books annually in fields ranging from ancient history to contemporary film criticism, by notable authors from all over the world. August Frugé's memoir provides an exciting intellectual and topical story of the building of this great press. Along the way, it recalls battles for independence from the University administration, the Press's distinctive early style of book design, and many of the authors and staff who helped shape the Press in its formative years.