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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Watch or listen here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

EPISODE # 241

Jeff Maurer — I Might Be Wrong

I Might Be Wrong (podcast logo)

Michael Shermer speaks with writer, comedian, and five-time Emmy winning Senior Writer for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, Jeff Maurer, about the nature of creativity, comedy, politics, culture, and how the television business really works!

Jeff Maurer won two Peabody Awards, five Writers Guild Awards, and four Television Critics Association awards. He was one of the original writers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, where he was promoted to Senior Writer. He left the show to write a political comedy called I Might Be Wrong: a podcast and several-times-weekly Substack column that covers politics and economics with a comedic voice. Instead of trying to interpret the world from a single viewpoint, Jeff picks apart the thinking behind the viewpoints and digs deep into policy.

Jeff’s early years were split between Kentucky, Virginia, and Washington State. He studied political science and economics at Georgetown (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA). After graduating, he served in the Peace Corps in Morocco, then returned to the US to become a speechwriter for the Environmental Protection Agency. He worked at the EPA for eight years, serving in the Office of Land Management and EPA’s Region 2 office in New York. While working for the EPA, Jeff began building a reputation as a standup comic. He was a semifinalist on Season 7 of Last Comic Standing, a finalist at the Great American Comedy Festival, and was featured on AXS TV’s Live at Gotham and Comcast on Demand Comedy. He became a regular at the Comedy Cellar in New York and performed at clubs and college across the US and Europe.

It was while performing standup that Jeff was spotted by John Oliver and a producer for The Daily Show. That led to him being hired as one of the original writers for Last Week Tonight, where he worked for six years. During his tenure, Jeff was promoted to Senior Writer and was the lead on pieces including Edward Snowden, International Trade, Confederacy, and Sex Education.

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This episode was released on January 15, 2022.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

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Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

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Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

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Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

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Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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