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e Skeptic Archives for 2019

May 22nd: Atheist Overreach & Radiation Hormesis
In Science Salon # 67, Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith explains why we ought to be skeptical of the increasingly vociferous and confident claims of atheist apologists about morality, science, and human nature; PLUS Harriet Hall, M.D. examines the dubious claims of radiation hormesis — that low levels of radiation are beneficial to health.
May 15th: Why Free Will is Real; A Disproof of God’s Existence
In Science Salon # 66 Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with Dr. Christian List about his new book Why Free Will is Real which defies scientific orthodoxy and presents a bold new defense of free will in the same naturalistic terms that are usually deployed against it; PLUS British philosopher Dr. Colin McGinn avers that it is wrong to say that God is by definition all powerful; he is only powerful within the limits of his nature.
May 8th: Jared Diamond — Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
In a special edition of the Science Salon Podcast Dr. Shermer took a camera crew to Jared Diamond’s home in Los Angeles for an especially intimate portrait of the man and his theories. You won’t want to miss this conversation, one of the best we’ve yet recorded, with one of the most interesting minds of our time, perhaps of all time.
May 1st: How Science Will Fix Fake News
VeriSign founder David Cowan avers that science is the key to combatting the spread of disinformation; PLUS, evolutionary anthropologist Michael Tomasello presents his new theory of how humans became such a distinctive species.
April 24th: Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide (SCIENCE SALON # 63)
In Science Salon # 63, through the lens of evolutionary science, Dr. Hector A. Garcia offers a novel perspective on why we hold our political ideas, and why they are so often in conflict. Drawing on examples from across the animal kingdom, Garcia reveals how even the most complex political processes can be influenced by our basic drives to survive and reproduce.
April 17th: Dr. Mark Moffett — The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall (SCIENCE SALON # 62)
In Science Salon # 62, Dr. Shermer has a riveting conversation with Dr. Mark Moffett, biologist (Ph.D. Harvard, under E. O. Wilson), wildlife photographer for National Geographic, cave explorer, and world traveler about his new book, The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall, on the nature of societies from a biologist’s perspective.
April 10th: Dr. Richard Wrangham — The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution
In this fascinating dialogue (Science Salon # 61), Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with biological anthropologist Dr. Richard Wrangham about the evolutionary histories of reactive and proactive aggression as theorized in his book The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution.
April 3rd: Nicholas A. Christakis — Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society
In Science Salon # 60 — exceptionally important conversation — Dr. Shermer discusses at length the background to and research of Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and evolutionary sociologist famous for his study of social networks in humans and other animals. PLUS: The breadth of what can be meant by the word “hoax” makes the concept — and consequences — worthy of renewed study. Michelle E. Ainsworth reviews Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young and Hoax: A History of Deception: 5000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies by Ian Tattersall and Peter Nevraumont.
March 27th: Raymond Barglow on the opioid epidemic; Cass Sunstein on freedom
Dr. Raymond Barglow discusses three mistaken approaches to the opioid epidemic in this article that appeared in Skeptic magazine 24.1 (2019). Plus, Michael Shermer dialogues On Freedom with New York Times bestselling author Cass Sunstein.
March 20th: Ben Shapiro — The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
In Science Salon # 58, Michael Shermer and noted conservative political commentator and public intellectual Ben Shapiro discuss and debate “what made the West great” in this wide ranging conversation.
March 13th: Pressured Apologies, False Confessions, Witch Hunts
In Science Salon # 57, Dr. Shermer speaks with legendary biologist and primatologist Dr. Frans de Waal about his empirical and theoretical work on animal societies, politics, intelligence, sentience, consciousness and, now, feelings and emotions. PLUS, using two cases as touchstones, Stewart Justman draws an analogy between the extraction of an apology and the extraction of a false confession to a crime of violence.
March 6th: Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again
In this eSkeptic: Science Salon # 56: Dr. Tyler Cowen — How an Economist Views the World; Announcing Skeptic Magazine 24.1, Available Now in Print & Digital Editions; Behe’s Last Stand: The Lion of Intelligent Design Roars Again.
March 3rd: Dr. Michael Shermer — The Problem of Evil (AMA # 4)
In Science Salon Ask Me Anything # 4, Dr. Shermer performs a postmortem on his debate/dialogue on with Dr. Brian Huffling at the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday February 23, 2019. The specific topic was: “Is the Reality of Evil Good Evidence Against the Christian God?”
February 27th: Meeting Our “Enemies” Where They Are: The Advantage of Understanding Your Adversary’s Arguments
Most people take an attack on their beliefs as an attack on their identity. Andrew Cooper-Sansone avers that to succeed in changing minds and building a better world, we must begin by cultivating a compassionate view of our enemies’ deeply-held and identify-defining beliefs. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 20th: The Arguments for Creationism and the Arguments for Evolution: A Study in Contrasts
How do arguments for evolution used by mainstream scientists differ from arguments employed by creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design? Ralph M. Barnes sheds some light on this question in this article from Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 13th: Personhood & Abortion Rights — How Science Might Inform this Contentious Issue
Although it’s been 45 years since Roe v. Wade, abortion continues to be a highly controversial and polarizing issue. In this essay, Gary Whittenberger articulates the philosophical and scientific foundation for a third option between the two extremes of pro-life and pro-choice — the pro-person position — after examining the evidence for the best possible answer to the question: “When does the human fetus acquire the capacity for consciousness?” This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.4 (2018).
February 6th: Bruce Schneier — Hacked! Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World
In Science Salon # 52, Michael Shermer speaks with Bruce Schneier, special advisor to IBM Security, and author of Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World. Plus, in response to a NYT op-ed by Northeastern U. Psych. Prof. David DeSteno, Michael Shermer presents Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s full reply to DeSteno’s question about what science can learn from religion through testable hypotheses about human behavior.
January 30th: Gregg Hurwitz — Into the Light: Myths, Narratives, Archetypes, and Trump
In Science Salon # 51 Michael Shermer has a wide-ranging dialogue with New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz about myths, narratives, archetypes, and Trump.
January 23rd: SCIENCE SALON AMA # 3: “What is your opinion of Jordan Peterson?”
In Science Salon AMA # 3, Dr. Shermer offers a brief summary of his current opinion of Jordan Peterson and then reads his essay: “Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon”.
January 16th: Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld — A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security
Michael Shermer responds to Richard Weikart’s critique of his January 2019 column in Scientific American: “Stein’s Law and Science’s Mission: The Case for Scientific Humanism. And, in Science Salon # 50, Michael speaks with Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and states in transition.
January 9th: God, Heaven, and Evil: A Renewed Defense of Atheism
In this article from Skeptic magazine 23.1 (2018) Ken Levy examines arguments put forth by theists that God’s existence is perfectly compatible with all the violence, pain, suffering, and premature death we experience.
January 1st: Dr. Gad Saad — Doing Gad’s Work
Happy New Year! Relax and enjoy listening to episode 49 of the Science Salon Podcast in which Michael Shermer speaks with the renowned evolutionary behavioral scientist and Concordia University professor Dr. Gad Saad. Plus, regular columnist Carol Tavris reminds us that the human need for touch is significant.
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