- Who Endorses Conspiracy Theories about Government Elites? : A New Skeptic Research Center Report From Our Paranormal & Conspiratorial Ideation Study (PCIS)
- The Michael Shermer Show # 257: Simon Conway Morris on Design in Evolution & the Possibility of Purpose in the Cosmos
- Michael Shermer on Substack: Trans Doper: Male-to-Female trans athletes like collegiate swimmer Lia Thomas competing and winning against biological females is cheating and must end
SKEPTIC RESEARCH CENTER REPORT (PCIS-004)
Who Endorses Conspiracy Theories about Government Elites?
Fourth report in the Paranormal & Conspiratorial Ideation Study (PCIS)
In this report we delve into a new group of conspiracy theories, this time regarding the alleged nefarious influence of government elites. We focus here on QAnon, Deep State, and Jeffrey Epstein. QAnon has been branded a “viral, pro-Trump conspiracy theory” (Roose, 2021) that came to light after Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, had his emails hacked. Proponents of the conspiracy theory insisted that hidden messages in the emails revealed an extensive network of Satan-worshipping pedophiles amongst the Democrat political elite. Deep State conspiracy theories are typically more general. Here, the contention is that elections only swap out public-facing political representatives, while the real political decision-making process takes place amongst an unelected secret group. Finally, we turn to a very specific conspiracy theory regarding the apparent suicide of convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Was Epstein murdered by his elite clientele to silence him? As with our other reports in this series, we ask: who in the United States most endorses these conspiracy theories?
EPISODE # 257
Simon Conway Morris on Design in Evolution & the Possibility of Purpose in the Cosmos
If extraterrestrial intelligences exist, will look anything like us? Are we alone in the cosmos? If we reran the tape of life, would humans appear again? Is there purpose in the cosmos?
Shermer speaks with Cambridge evolutionary palaeobiologist Simon Conway Morris whose latest book challenges six assumptions that too often pass as unquestioned truths amongst the evolutionary orthodox. These include the idea that evolution is boundless in the kinds of biological systems it can produce. Not true, he says. The process is highly circumscribed and delimited. Nor is it random. This popular notion holds that evolution proceeds blindly, with no endgame. But Conway Morris suggests otherwise, pointing to evidence that the processes of evolution are “seeded with inevitabilities.”
Shermer and Morris also discuss: convergent evolution and directionality in evolution; chance, contingency, and law in evolution; theistic evolution and teleology in nature; why Morris is a Christian but rejects Intelligent Design creationism; free will and determinism; and whether there good arguments for God’s existence.
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