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Your Nervous System Can Fool You I was recently asked to join the James Randi Educational Foundation's "Education Initiative," whose purpose is to promote JREF LogoJREF Logothe teaching of critical thinking and skepticism. As part of this effort, I will be writing articles geared toward teachers, offering them tips on how they can encourage reason and scientific literacy... Please CLICK HERE to read the first in my five-part series called "The Top 5 Lessons from Psychology for Critical Thinkers" published on the James Randi Educational Foundation's SWIFT web site. Titled "Your Nervous System Can Fool You," this article briefly provides some tips for teaching people not to trust their own personal experiences as valid evidence. It contains several links to web sites that can be used to demonstrate pareidolic effects, and references for helping people understand how they are created. Enjoy!

Review of Bigfoot Talk

A physical anthropologist who believes Bigfoot is highly probable reviewed my talk sponsored by BAS and Ask Jeff Meldrum, Ph.D.Jeff Meldrum, Ph.D.a Scientist back in 2009. It is archived on Fora.tv. Needless to say, he disagrees with my interpretation. To view the Fora.tv film (linked in the article) and make up your own mind, CLICK HERE

On Monday, July 9th, all five hosts of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe (SGU) podcast attended a meet-and-greet cosponsored by the Bay Area SGU at Ohlone CollegeSGU at Ohlone CollegeSkeptics and the Psychology Department at Ohlone College. Many people have asked me how on earth we were able to pull this off, so I thought I'd share the story. I was introduced to Evan Bernstein several years ago while attending "The Amaz!ng Meeting" in Las Vegas, NV. I had never heard of the SGU, and casually asked Evan what brought him to TAM. He replied, "Oh, I thought you knew. I'm Evan from the SGU." I said, "Oh? What's that?" He said, "The Skeptics Guide to the Universe." I said, "Okay. And what's the Skeptics Guide to the Universe?" Evan looked a bit taken aback and laughed, saying, "I'm sorry if I look surprised. It's just that I don't usually

In God We Teach logo The Bay Area Skeptic’s SkepTalk of 8 August 2012 attracted a packed house and delivered a riveting program that included a one-hour documentary movie followed by the Skype presence of the movie’s principal character, Matthew LaClair. The story begins when Matt LaClair, a student at a suburban New Jersey public high school, hears his history teacher insert Christian proselytizing into his lessons. LaClair believed the teacher was doing this in the other classes he taught and probably had been for years. LaClair also believed that if he voiced an objection [on the basis of respecting the separation of church and state] the teacher would still continue proselytizing in other classes. Matt decided to bring a tape recorder to class and recorded what the teacher had to say about Jesus. [Teacher on tape] “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.” LaClair and his parents released the tape to the media

April 11, 2012 SkepTalk

Mark McCaffreyMark McCaffreyOur April 2012 SkepTalk at Cafe Valparaiso was presented by Mark McCaffrey, climate science specialist at the National Center for Science Education. Speaking on "Skeptical About Climate Skepticism", McCaffrey contended we need to respect the science of climate science so we can "have an adult conversation" about the issue of global warming and other climate change issues. A Youtube video is now available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMV6MCv3JXY&feature=em-uploademail

As many of you know, this year's SkeptiCal 2012 conference was a rousing photo by Heather Appleburyphoto by Heather Appleburysuccess! Hundreds of skeptic-minded guests converged upon the Berkeley Doubletree Hotel to hear talks on what toddlers and children can teach us about being better scientists, the neuroscience of Out-of-Body Experiences, doomsday predictions for 2012, the importance of vaccination, and many other topics. Please CLICK HERE to read an excellent article about the conference by LaRae Meadows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In addition to being exceptionally well written, Meadows' article contains brief descriptions of each speaker and break-out session, links to more information on the speakers themselves. Keep your eyes peeled for details about next year's SkeptiCal Conference, and we hope to see you there!

Skeptics Toolbox LogoSkeptics Toolbox LogoIf you have never attended a Skeptics Toolbox, or if you have, now is the time to register for the summer 2012 course. These courses, sponsored by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, are held in Eugene Oregon every summer, and include discussions and workshops led by expert skeptical investigators. Check out the website for further information. http://www.skepticstoolbox.org/ Being on the west coast has its advantages!

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