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culture

Iris Berent — The Blind Storyteller: How We Reason About Human Nature

Shermer and Berent discuss: nature/nurture genes/environment biology/culture • language and innate knowledge • what babies are born knowing • how people reason about human nature • dualism • essentialism • theory of mind • the nature of the self • innate beliefs in the soul and afterlife • free will and determinism • how people think about mental illness and disorders • how one’s theory of human nature effects one’s attitudes about nearly everything.

Kevin McCaffree — How Societies Change and Why 

Since the dawn of social science, theorists have debated how and why societies appear to change, develop and evolve. Shermer speaks with sociologist Kevin McCaffree about: his research on crime and gun violence • diversity, equity, and inclusion • political polarization •cultural and biological evolution • horizontal/equalitarian vs. vertical/hierarchical societies • human selfishness and the problem of altruism, and what the future holds for humanity and society…

Frans De Waal on Sex and Gender Across the Primate Spectrum

What is gender? How different are men and women? Are differences due to biological sex or to culture? How do they compare with what is known about our fellow primates? Do apes also culturally learn their sex roles or is “gender” uniquely human? Michael Shermer and Frans de Waal discuss sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of the gender binary, exceptions to which are also found in other primates.

Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein on evolution and the challenges of modern life, based on their new book A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century

We are living through the most prosperous age in all of human history, yet people are more listless, divided and miserable than ever. In episode 209 Michael Shermer speaks with Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein about evolution and the challenges of modern life, based on their new book A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century.

eSkeptic for September 14, 2021

In episode 209 Michael Shermer speaks with Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein about evolution and the challenges of modern life, based on their new book A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century. PLUS, new Skeptic digital subscriptions are on sale for only $6.99 for 4 issues until Sept. 26, 2021!

Lesley Newson & Peter Richerson — A New Look at Human Evolution

In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.

eSkeptic for July 10, 2021

In episode 192, Michael speaks with husband-and-wife team Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about the deep history of humankind discussed in their book, A Story of Us, in which they present this rich narrative and explain how the evolution of our genes relates to the evolution of our cultures.

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.

Woke Gone Wild

Frank S. Robinson reviews The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity, The Academy, and the Hunt for Political Heresies by Robert Boyers.

eSkeptic for April 9, 2020

We are pleased to announce a brand new book by New York Times best selling author Dr. Michael Shermer entitled Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist. Order your autographed 1st edition from Shop Skeptic.

eSkeptic for February 20, 2019

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).

Dr. Michele Gelfand — Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?” Cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand provides answers.

eSkeptic for October 31, 2018

The New York Times calls him “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world right now.” He inspires heartfelt admiration or abject loathing, and very little in between. In these uncertain times it seems essential to have an opinion about Jordan Peterson. But Skeptic contributor Stephen Beckner can’t quite make up his mind.

Dr. Jonathan Haidt — Coming Apart

A lecture by and follow-up discussion with Dr. Jonathan Haidt about the excessive divisiveness of American politics and culture the past several years.

eSkeptic for October 17, 2018

Science Salon Podcast # 42: The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything. A dialogue between Michael Shermer and psychologist Clay Routledge (Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World) on life’s deepest and most meaningful issues.

Great Untruths

Anondah Saide and Kevin McCaffree review The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt.

Heather Mac Donald — The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture

In this riveting review of the campus craziness investigative journalist, writer, and lawyer Heather Mac Donald and Michael Shermer dive deep into the root causes of what has gone wrong on college campuses, in corporations, and in government agencies, over the decades that has led to a crisis in higher education … and beyond.

Dr. Benjamin Bergen — What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves

In this lecture based on his new book, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Benjamin Bergen, illuminates the controversial and complex nature of profanity and its relationship on our culture.

eSkeptic for February 10, 2016

Most Americans continue to grow up without thinking very deeply about other religions (other than mocking them on a superficial basis), and never question the assumptions of their own faith. In this week’s eSkeptic, Donald Prothero reviews Sacred Cows: A Lighthearted Look at Belief and Tradition Around the World, by Seth Andrews, in which he does all that, and more.

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