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empirical truths

Michel Gagné — How to Think About Conspiracy Theories

As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the violent public assassination of President John F. Kennedy, over half of all Americans surveyed continue to believe that he was killed by a conspiracy involving multiple assassins. Shermer and Gagné discuss: conspiracies and conspiracy theories; what role conspiracy theories play in society; who believes them and why; why conspiracy theorists rewrite the past; Trump and rigged election; Obama Birtherism; and more…

Jonathan Gottschall — The Story Paradox: How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears Them Down

“How can we save the world from stories?” Michael Shermer speaks with Jonathan Gottschall about The Story Paradox: How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears Them Down. Gottschall reveals why our biggest asset has become our greatest threat, and what, if anything, can be done.

eSkeptic for January 18, 2022

“How can we save the world from stories?” Michael Shermer speaks with Jonathan Gottschall about The Story Paradox: How Our Love of Storytelling Builds Societies and Tears Them Down. Gottschall reveals why our biggest asset has become our greatest threat, and what, if anything, can be done.

Charles Foster on Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

eSkeptic for October 23, 2021

In episode 220, Michael Shermer speaks with Charles Foster about his book Being a Human: Adventures in Forty Thousand Years of Consciousness. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, natural history, agriculture, medical law and ethics, Charles Foster makes an audacious attempt to feel a connection with 45,000 years of human history.

Steven Pinker on Rationality: What it is, Why it Seems Scarce, Why it Matters

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

eSkeptic for October 19, 2021

In episode 219, Michael Shermer speaks in person with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker about his new book Rationality, about how today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding — and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing?

eSkeptic for October 12, 2021

In episode 217, Michael Shermer speaks with Mary Grabar about her books Debunking the 1619 Project: Exposing the Plan to Divide America and Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation Against America.

Mary Grabar on the 1619 Project, Howard Zinn, Historical Revisionism, and Pseudohistory

Michael Shermer and Mary Grabar discuss: communism • capitalism • cancel culture • the 1619 Project • empirical truths vs. mythic truths • historical revisionism vs. denial • pseudohistory • slavery 1619–1776 • reparations, Howard Zinn and the distortion of history • moral equivalency arguments • quotations taken out of context • the Holocaust s • intentionalism vs. functionalism • manipulation and deception, and more…

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.

Robert Pennock — An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science

In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices.

eSkeptic for January 7, 2020

In Science Salon # 98 Michael Shermer speaks with Robert Pennock about his new book An Instinct for Truth: Curiosity and the Moral Character of Science. Taking a virtue-theoretic perspective, Pennock explores curiosity, veracity, skepticism, humility to evidence, and other scientific virtues and vices. PLUS, Sociologist and Certified Sex Therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. reviews Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives — Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer by Avrum Bluming, M.D. and Carol Tavris, Ph.D.

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