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.
Dr. Mike Ballantine prides himself on his objectivity and scientific acumen, but even he can't explain the "thing" that killed his friend, the Governor of Massachusetts, and now a Chinese assassin is loose on the streets who uses sorcery to take out his victims. Reprint.
Share Your Faith Effectively in a Cynical and Skeptical Age Talking about faith with friends and family members can be a daunting prospect. What do you say if they have questions you can't answer or if they're outright hostile toward God? Actually, you don't have to have all the right answers, just the right questions--and a willingness to listen. As trust and understanding grow, the door to fruitful dialogue will open. How to Talk to a Skeptic shows you how to: · Ask probing questions and avoid being on the defensive in spiritual conversations. · Tell God's story of the world in a winsome and easily understood way. · Gently respond to the most common misunderstandings skeptics have about God. Here's a natural, relational approach to evangelism and a proven way to reach out to an unbelieving world.
Christian faith almost always meets skepticism. Are you equipped to effectively handle the skeptic’s questions and debates? Meet the Skeptic is a new approach to equipping believers to engage the non-believing culture. Author Bill Foster takes the multitude of objections and reduces them to four basic categories. Understanding these categories will enable you to effectively share your hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ and clarify the skeptic’s root objection. Foster offers pop culture references and biblical support so that you can: Recognize the Red-Flag Words that prop up objections Ask probing questions and acquire an ear for opportunities Develop an understanding of the skeptics ideas and better fulfill the Great Commission. This easy to read approach to apologetics and evangelism is a field guide to faith conversations. It is written for teens, college students, and adults and can be used as a group study with the leader’s guide and workbook.
Philosophical Skepticism provides a selection of texts drawn from the skeptical tradition of Western philosophy as well as texts written by opponents of skepticism. Taken together with the historical introduction by Landesman and Meeks, these texts clearly illustrate the profound influence that skeptical stances have had on the nature of philosophical inquiry. Draws a selection of texts from the skeptical tradition of Western philosophy as well as texts written by opponents of skepticism. Spans centuries of skeptical and anti-skeptical arguments, from Socrates to Rorty. Includes essays by Plato, Cicero, Diogenes Laertius, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Russell, Quine, Nagel, and many others. Provides a solid foundation for further study.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF 10% HAPPIER Too busy to meditate? Can’t turn off your brain? Curious about mindfulness but more comfortable in the gym? This book is for you. You’ll also get access to guided audio meditations on the 10% Happier app, to jumpstart your practice from day one. ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play Ultimate Frisbee, and use the word “namaste” without irony. After he had a panic attack on live television, he went on a strange and circuitous journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation’s most vocal public proponents. Harris found that meditation made him more focused and less yanked around by his emotions. According to his wife, it also made him less annoying. Science suggests that the practice can lower your blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain. So what’s holding you back? In Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Harris and Jeff Warren, a masterful teacher and “Meditation MacGyver,” embark on a gonzo cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that keep people from meditating. It is filled with game-changing and deeply practical meditation instructions—all of which are also available (for free) on the 10% Happier app. This book is a trip worth taking. Praise for Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics “If you’re intrigued by meditation but don’t know how to begin—or you’ve benefited from meditation in the past but need help to get started again—Dan Harris has written the book for you. Well researched, practical, and crammed with expert advice, it’s also an irreverent, hilarious page-turner.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project “The ABC News anchor, a ‘defender of worrying’ who once had an anxiety attack on air, offers a hilarious and stirring account of his two-steps-forward-one-step-back campaign to sort ‘useless rumination’ from ‘constructive anguish’ via mindfulness, along with invaluable suggestions for following in his footsteps.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
A rational explanation of 27 paranormal phenomena - from walking over hot coals to spontaneous combustion - that appear to defy the laws of science.
What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control? Despite 2500 years of contemplation by the world's greatest minds and the more recent phenomenal advances in basic neuroscience, neither neuroscientists nor philosophers have a decent understanding of what the mind is or how it works. The gap between what the brain does and the mind experiences remains uncharted territory. Nevertheless, with powerful new tools such as the fMRI scan, neuroscience has become the de facto mode of explanation of behavior. Neuroscientists tell us why we prefer Coke to Pepsi, and the media trumpets headlines such as "Possible site of free will found in brain." Or: "Bad behavior down to genes, not poor parenting." Robert Burton believes that while some neuroscience observations are real advances, others are overreaching, unwarranted, wrong-headed, self-serving, or just plain ridiculous, and often with the potential for catastrophic personal and social consequences. In A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind, he brings together clinical observations, practical thought experiments, personal anecdotes, and cutting-edge neuroscience to decipher what neuroscience can tell us – and where it falls woefully short. At the same time, he offers a new vision of how to think about what the mind might be and how it works. A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind is a critical, startling, and expansive journey into the mysteries of the brain and what makes us human.
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.
As Judy Gruen walked down the aisle and into her Orthodox Jewish future, her bouquet quivered in her shaky hand. Having grown up in the zeitgeist that proclaimed, “If it feels good, do it,” was she really ready to live the life of “rituals, rules, and restraints” that the Torah prescribed? The Skeptic and the Rabbi is a rare memoir with historical depth, spirituality, and intelligent humor. Gruen speaks with refreshing honesty about what it means to remain authentic to yourself while charting a new yet ancient spiritual path at odds with the surrounding culture, and writes touchingly about her family, including her two sets of grandparents, who influenced her in wildly opposite ways. As she navigates her new life with the man she loves and the faith she also loves—surviving several awkward moments, including when the rabbi calls to tell her that she accidentally served unkosher food to her Shabbat guests—Gruen brings the reader right along for the ride. Reading this wry, bold and compelling memoir, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and when you’re finished, you may also have a sudden craving for chicken matzo ball soup—kosher, of course.
The thirteen essays in this volume explore for the first time the possible skeptical implications of disagreement in different areas and from different perspectives, with an emphasis in the current debate about the epistemic significance of disagreement. They represent a new contribution to the study of the connection between disagreement and skepticism in epistemology, metaethics, ancient philosophy, and metaphilosophy.
#1 New York Times Bestseller Winner of the 2014 Living Now Book Award for Inspirational Memoir "An enormously smart, clear-eyed, brave-hearted, and quite personal look at the benefits of meditation." —Elizabeth Gilbert Nightline anchor Dan Harrisembarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable. After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had propelled him through the ranks of a hypercompetitive business, but had also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out. Finally, Harris stumbled upon an effective way to rein in that voice, something he always assumed to be either impossible or useless: meditation, a tool that research suggests can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain. 10% Happier takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives.
A provocative look behind the hype promulgated by a variety of health promoters argues that many of these pronouncements are half-truths pushed to advance a variety of agendas and furnishes valuable tips, facts, tools, and resources to help readers critically assess the data to do what is best to promote their health and overall well-being.
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.
Global Warming: Alarmists, Skeptics and Deniers brings a unique geological perspective to this politically charged issue, a perspective that has been ignored far too long. Written by a father-son team of geoscientist and attorney, it is the concise guide to the global warming controversy that has been long needed. As a university professor and research geoscientist for thirty years, Dr. Robinson knows that geological science is essential for placing the global warming controversy in proper prospective. One cannot hope to understand how humans might be causing climate change without an understanding of the magnitude and speed natural processed are capable of when it comes to climate change. Earth history is the only yardstick we have to determine whether recent climate change is unusual or not. Yet, inexplicably, a vast repository of geologic data has been ignored in this contentious issue. Global Warming: Alarmists, Skeptics and Deniers was written to correct this oversight. This book has been years in the making. It follows the outline Dr. Robinson used successfully for many years in a college classes taken by large numbers of students. Using an easy-to-understand question and answer format, the fourteen chapters of the book cover systematically all the major scientific issues of global warming. With more than three hundred references to peer-reviewed science journal articles and numerous illustrations, it shows how the scientific underpinnings of the global warming theory are actually weak and uncertain. Dr. Robinson is the author of numerous scientific articles in national and international journals. His background in teaching a wide variety of geology courses has shown him how to present difficult scientific concepts in a way that is understandable and interesting to non-scientists. He has chaired sessions at scientific conferences, led seminars for science teachers, served as the head at two different college geoscience departments and was interviewed on a television network. His co-author and son, an attorney experienced in argumentative rhetoric, has helped him hone in on the erroneously based assumptions underlying activists' arguments. He has also served as a sounding board for areas where the writing, intended for a general audience, needed to be less technical. Together, this unique father-son team present a well thought out and fully documented discussion of the global warming theory without impugning anyone's sincerity, motives or personal integrity. Global Warming: Alarmists, Skeptics and Deniers covers the science of global warming, but unlike many other books, not the politics.
"Brilliant and practical, just what we need in these techno-human times."--Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise HeartMost of us will freely admit that we are obsessed with our devices. We pride ourselves on our ability to multitask -- read work email, reply to a text, check Facebook, watch a video clip. Talk on the phone, send a text, drive a car. Enjoy family dinner with a glowing smartphone next to our plates. We can do it all, 24/7! Never mind the errors in the email, the near-miss on the road, and the unheard conversation at the table. In The Distracted Mind, Adam Gazzaley and Larry Rosen -- a neuroscientist and a psychologist -- explain why our brains aren't built for multitasking, and suggest better ways to live in a high-tech world without giving up our modern technology. The authors explain that our brains are limited in their ability to pay attention. We don't really multitask but rather switch rapidly between tasks. Distractions and interruptions, often technology-related -- referred to by the authors as "interference" -- collide with our goal-setting abilities. We want to finish this paper/spreadsheet/sentence, but our phone signals an incoming message and we drop everything. Even without an alert, we decide that we "must" check in on social media immediately.Gazzaley and Rosen offer practical strategies, backed by science, to fight distraction. We can change our brains with meditation, video games, and physical exercise; we can change our behavior by planning our accessibility and recognizing our anxiety about being out of touch even briefly. They don't suggest that we give up our devices, but that we use them in a more balanced way.
We are unavoidably hope-based creatures. Imagine two women given the same boring task to do eight hours a day in the same conditions - but you tell one woman she will be paid GBP15,000 for a year of this work, and you tell the other that she will be paid GBP15 million. Each woman in identical circumstances will be experiencing those circumstances in completely different ways, because what we believe about the future determines how we live in the present. In this dynamic new book, New York pastor and bestselling author Tim Keller explores the biblical understanding of hope. A profound grasp of what we are hopeful for, he argues, can re-energise and transform us personally, can help us face death, can influence our community practices with regard to sex, money and power - and even be applied globally, to renew our culture.
A highly respected physicist demonstrates that the essential beliefs of Christianity are wholly consistent with the laws of physics. Frank Tipler takes an exciting new approach to the age-old dispute about the relationship between science and religion in The Physics of Christianity. In reviewing centuries of writings and discussions, Tipler realized that in all the debate about science versus religion, there was no serious scientific research into central Christian claims and beliefs. So Tipler embarked on just such a scientific inquiry. The Physics of Christianity presents the fascinating results of his pioneering study. Tipler begins by outlining the basic concepts of physics for the lay reader and brings to light the underlying connections between physics and theology. In a compelling example, he illustrates how the God depicted by Jews and Christians, the Uncaused First Cause, is completely consistent with the Cosmological Singularity, an entity whose existence is required by physical law. His discussion of the scientific possibility of miracles provides an impressive, credible scientific foundation for many of Christianity’s most astonishing claims, including the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Incarnation. He even includes specific outlines for practical experiments that can help prove the validity of the “miracles” at the heart of Christianity. Tipler’s thoroughly rational approach and fully accessible style sets The Physics of Christianity apart from other books dealing with conflicts between science and religion. It will appeal not only to Christian readers, but also to anyone interested in an issue that triggers heated and divisive intellectual and cultural debates.
THE MAGICIAN'S BOOK is the story of one reader's long, tumultuous relationship with C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia. Enchanted by its fantastic world as a child, prominent critic Laura Miller returns to the series as an adult to uncover the source of these small books' mysterious power by looking at their creator, Clive Staples Lewis. What she discovers is not the familiar, idealized image of the author, but a more interesting and ambiguous truth: Lewis's tragic and troubled childhood, his unconventional love life, and his intense but ultimately doomed friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien. Finally reclaiming Narnia "for the rest of us," Miller casts the Chronicles as a profoundly literary creation, and the portal to a life-long adventure in books, art, and the imagination.
Kurtz argues that there are objective standards for judging truth claims in science, ethics, and philosophy. Of special interest is the application of the new skepticism to paranormal claims such as reincarnation and faith healing, and to religious beliefs, ethics and politics.