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abortion

Abortion: The Case for Choice

The Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice positions on the contentious abortion issue outline the terms of the debate. In this article Michael Shermer defends the position of choice and women’s reproductive rights as the most moral and rational position, even while acknowledging that Pro-Life proponents have good arguments. Ultimately this issues comes down to conflicting rights, namely those of the unborn fetus to live and those of the mother to choose what is best for her life. As in most matters in life, there are no perfect solutions, only compromises.

The Science of Abortion 

The issue of abortion has never been more polarizing and much of the controversy surrounds medical claims about the procedure which Harriet Hall, MD (aka the SkepDoc) addresses in this article for our special issue on Abortion Matters. What does medical science say about when life begins? When can a fetus survive outside the body of the mother? When does the fetal heartbeat become detectable? What are the short-term and long-term consequences of undergoing an abortion? What are the risks of not undergoing an abortion and carrying to term a fetus? These and other such crucial questions are answered to the best of science’s knowledge.

Inequality & Rejection: A Data-Driven Look Into Men’s Attitudes Toward Abortion

Although abortion is often framed as a women’s issue, men make up half of the electorate and are more often pro-life. In this study the Skeptic Research Center report on men’s attitudes toward abortion is considered in the larger context of the national abortion debate, which has intensified since the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing women a Constitutional right to choose abortion.

Sam Rosenfeld on Party Polarization in the Postwar United States

Shermer and Rosenfeld discuss: why we have a duopoly • gerrymandering • voting restrictions • how we know all elections are not rigged • abortion • immigration • US foreign policy • the rise of conservative and liberal think tanks • ideology • political polarization • political leanings of industrialists vs. tech billionaires and rural poor vs. urban poor • Trump and 2016, 2020, and 2024 (are we facing civil unrest as never seen before?)…

Jesse Singal on Why Fad Psychology Can’t Cure Our Social Ills 

Michael Shermer and Jesse Singal discuss: how social scientists determine causality • cognitive priming • The Malcolm Gladwell-effect • self-help movements • power posing • positive psychology • Implicit Association Test • racism, gender, class, misogyny, bigotry • replication crisis • choice architecture • I.Q. • free will and determinism • nature/nurture and how lives turn out • abortion • and U.S. foreign policy.

eSkeptic for April 26, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with Jesse Singal about this new book: Why Fad Psychology Can’t Cure Our Social Ills.

Mary Eberstadt on God, Religion, Politics, and Sex, based on her books How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization and Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics

In episode 215, Michael Shermer speaks with Mary Eberstadt about the decline of religion in which Eberstadt presents her alternative theory for the “secularization thesis” (that the undermining of the family has undermined Christianity itself). In the second half, they discuss the rise of identity politics and how identitarians track and expose the ideologically impure, as people face the consequences of their rancor.

eSkeptic for October 5, 2021

In episode 215, Michael Shermer speaks with Mary Eberstadt about the decline of religion in which Eberstadt presents her alternative theory for the “secularization thesis” (that the undermining of the family has undermined Christianity itself). In the second half, they discuss the rise of identity politics and how identitarians track and expose the ideologically impure, as people face the consequences of their rancor.

Chris Edwards on Educational Reform and Thought Experiments

Michael Shermer speaks with Chris Edwards about educational reform, his study and teaching of world history, the problems in K–12 education, the zip-code model vs. the seat time model of education and how they result in massively different educational outcomes, how “no child left behind” left children behind, federal vs. state educational systems, and more…

eSkeptic for July 17, 2021

In episode 193, Michael Shermer speaks with Chris Edwards about educational reform and thought experiments. Plus, Harriet Hall, M.D. discusses osteopathy. What is it? What is the difference between an MD and a DO? Should the DO degree be abolished?

James Hunter & Paul Nedelisky on Religious vs. Secular Morality — Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality

Professional philosophers James Hunter and Paul Nedelisky trace the origins and development of the centuries-long, passionate, but ultimately “failed quest” to discover a scientific foundation for morality. The conversation takes a decidedly interesting turn when Drs. Hunter and Nedelisky revealed, unbeknownst to Dr. Shermer, that they are both theists and that their Christian worldview informs their thinking on moral issues.

eSkeptic for May 4, 2021

In episode 178 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with philosophers James Hunter and Paul Nedelisky about religious vs. secular morality and their book Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality.

Kevin Dutton — Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World

Michael Shermer and Kevin Dutton discuss: black-and-white thinking in: physics, biology, psychology, politics, economics, society • categories and why we need them • when does a hill become a mountain? • How many grains of sand makes a heap? • from quantitative scaling to qualitative categories • How can there be dozens of genders if there are just males and females? abortion • stereotypes • tribalism, xenophobia, & racism • the difference between a cult, a sect, and a religion • mental disorders: are we all a little crazy?, and consciousness.

eSkeptic January 19, 2021

In episode 153 Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with University of Oxford research psychologist Dr. Kevin Dutton about his new book Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World.

eSkeptic for November 2, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 141, Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Kreitner about this new book: Break it Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union.

Richard Kreitner — Break it Up: Secession, Division, and the Secret History of America’s Imperfect Union

Investigative journalist Richard Kreitner takes us on a revolutionary journey through American history, revealing the power and persistence of disunion movements in every era and region. The provocative thesis of Break It Up is simple: The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will. The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the 19th century. It was there at our founding and has never gone away.

Howard Steven Friedman — Ultimate Price: The Value We Place on Life

How much is a human life worth? In Science Salon # 116, Michael Shermer speaks with Howard Steven Friedman about the calculations that governments routinely use to place a price on human life.

eSkeptic for May 19, 2020

How much is a human life worth? In Science Salon # 116, Michael Shermer speaks with Howard Steven Friedman about the calculations that governments routinely use to place a price on human life.

Katherine Stewart — The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism

For too long the Religious Right has masqueraded as a social movement preoccupied with a number of cultural issues, such as abortion and same-sex marriage. But in her deeply reported investigation, Katherine Stewart reveals a disturbing truth: America’s Religious Right has evolved into a Christian nationalist movement. It seeks to gain political power and to impose its vision on all of society.

eSkeptic for May 5, 2020

In Science Salon # 114, Michael Shermer speaks with Katherine Stewart about her new book The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism. PLUS: Frank S. Robinson reviews The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies by Robert Boyers.

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