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Distinguished Science Lecture Series Archives

The Great Debate: Dinesh D’Souza v. Michael Shermer

Dinesh D'Souza and Michael Shermer

In this debate on what are arguably two of the most important questions in the culture wars today — Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil? and Can you be Good without God? — the conservative Christian author and cultural scholar Dinesh D’Souza and the libertarian skeptic writer and social scientist Michael Shermer, square off to resolve these and related issues, such as the relationship between science and religion and the nature and existence of God. This event promises to be one of the liveliest ever hosted by the Skeptics Society at Caltech, mixing science, religion, politics, and culture.

Dinesh D’Souza is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Investor’s Business Daily called him one of the “top young public-policy makers in the country,” and the New York Times Magazine named him one of America’s most influential conservative thinkers. Before joining the Hoover Institution, Mr. D’Souza was the John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In 1987-88 he served as senior policy analyst at the Reagan White House. From 1985 to 1987 he was managing editor of Policy Review. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983. His books include the New York Times bestseller What’s So Great About America. His 1991 book Illiberal Education was the first study to publicize the phenomenon of political correctness. He is also the author of The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values in an Age of Techno Affluence. D’Souza’s articles have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, New Republic, and National Review.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Shermer’s latest book is The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. His last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown, The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share Care, and Follow the Golden Rule, and How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, which presents his theory on the origins of religion and why people believe in God. He is also the author of Why People Believe Weird Things on pseudoscience, superstitions, and other confusions of our time. Shermer has an M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University.

Debate co-sponsored by Athens and Jerusalem, a website dedicated to the debate on reason and revelation.

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