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human rights

Anti-Abortion: The Case for Life

Abortion is one of the most relevant issues of our time. As with many other subjects capable of arousing strong emotion, people tend to assume that the U.S. public is evenly divided, in this case between the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” positions. And some frequently cited polling would lead you to believe that it is indeed […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson — Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization

Shermer and Tyson discuss: why he decided to write about social, cultural, and political issues now • conflict and resolution in science and society • moral progress in society and why it happens • meatarians and vegetarians • race and gender • law and order • the principle of interchangeable perspectives • conflicting rights and how to resolve them • Rationalia (Neil’s hypothetical country whose laws are based on rationality) • life and death • how long Neil would like to live • the meaning in life.

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.

Helen Joyce — Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality

Biological sex is no longer accepted as a basic fact of life. Shermer and Joyce discuss: What is a woman? What is a man? • conflicting rights: trans vs. women • sex vs. gender • gender dysphoria • social contagions • gender affirming care • puberty blockers, testosterone, hormone treatment • detransitioning • top surgery, phalloplasty, vaginoplasty • preferred pronouns: compelled speech ≠ free speech • trans sports • exclusive spaces, and more…

Trans Athletes and Conflicting Rights: Male-to-Female transgender swimmer Lia Thomas from the University of Pennsylvania is crushing the female competition. Is that her right? Is it right? No. Here’s why.

Trans rights are human rights, but rights do not mean that any of us can do anything we like any time. There are restrictions on our actions, and when there are conflicting rights something must give. In this article on trans athletes, Michael Shermer explains why Male-to-Female trans athletes competing in women’s sports is unfair and a threat to the hard-earned rights of women to compete in their own athletic divisions, and why biological males that have gone through puberty cannot be considered equal to women with just a year of hormone suppression therapy.

Suzanne Nossel on defending free speech for all, based on her book Dare to Speak

In episode 226, Michael Shermer speaks with a leading voice in support of free expression, Suzanne Nosel, on defending free speech for all, based on her book Dare to Speak. Nossel delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country.

eSkeptic for November 13, 2021

In episode 226, Michael Shermer speaks with a leading voice in support of free expression, Suzanne Nosel, on defending free speech for all, based on her book Dare to Speak. Nossel delivers a vital, necessary guide to maintaining democratic debate that is open, free-wheeling but at the same time respectful of the rich diversity of backgrounds and opinions in a changing country.

Douglas Murray — The Madness of 2020

In this special episode of the Science Salon Podcast, Michael Shermer catches up with Douglas Murray one year after the publication of his bestselling book The Madness of Crowds, now out in paperback, with an Afterword update on all that has happened the past year, one of the most momentous in living memory.

eSkeptic for October 16, 2020

In this special episode of the Science Salon Podcast, Michael Shermer catches up with Douglas Murray one year after the publication of his bestselling book The Madness of Crowds, now out in paperback, with an Afterword update on all that has happened the past year, one of the most momentous in living memory.

The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral

In this, the final lecture of his Chapman University Skepticism 101 course, Dr. Michael Shermer pulls back to take a bigger picture look at what science and reason have done for humanity in the realm of moral progress. Watch The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral.

eSkeptic for July 3, 2020

In this, the final lecture of his Chapman University Skepticism 101 course, Dr. Michael Shermer pulls back to take a bigger picture look at what science and reason have done for humanity in the realm of moral progress. Watch The Moral Arc: How Thinking Like a Scientist Makes the World More Moral.

Travels Within the Feminist Divide

In this column social psychologist Carol Tavris discusses two new books whose authors separate what’s right in the pursuit of justice from what’s self-righteous. As skeptics, they repudiate received wisdom and party loyalty, showing that by separating what we wish for from wishful thinking, we can find better, more creative, more flexible routes to attaining the former.

eSkeptic for June 2, 2020

In Science Salon # 118 Michael Shermer speaks with distinguished artificial intelligence researcher Stuart Russell about this new book Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control. PLUS social psychologist Carol Tavris discusses two new books whose authors separate what’s right in the pursuit of justice from what’s self-righteous.

Dave Rubin — Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason

The left is no longer liberal. Once on the side of free speech and tolerance, progressives now ban speakers from college campuses, “cancel” people who aren’t up to date on the latest genders, and force religious people to violate their conscience. They have abandoned the battle of ideas and have begun fighting a battle of feelings. This uncomfortable truth has turned moderates and true liberals into the politically homeless class…

eSkeptic for April 28, 2020

In Science Salon # 113 Michael Shermer speaks with Dave Rubin, the host of the political talk show The Rubin Report — the most-watched talk show about free speech and big ideas on YouTube — about his first book Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason.

eSkeptic for September 17, 2019

We are pleased to announce Dr. Michael Shermer’s brand new 12-lecture Audible Original Course: Conspiracies & Conspiracy Theories — What We Should and Shouldn’t Believe — and Why, available now from audible.com. PLUS, in Science Salon # 83, Michael Shermer speaks with Peter Boghossian about his new book How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide.

Peter Boghossian — How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide

In our current political climate, it seems impossible to have a reasonable conversation with anyone who has a different opinion. Everyone seems to be on a hair trigger. This conversation is a guide to straightforward, practical, conversational techniques necessary for every successful conversation — whether the issue is climate change, religious faith, gender identity, race, poverty, immigration, or gun control.

Bruce Hood — Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need

Psychologist Bruce Hood explains why our uniquely human preoccupation with ownership governs our behavior, even when it is often irrational, and destructive. Possessed is the first book to explore how ownership has us enthralled in relentless pursuit of a false happiness, with damaging consequences for society and the planet — and how we can stop buying into it.

eSkeptic for September 3, 2019

In Science Salon # 81, Michael Shermer speaks with award-winning University of Bristol psychologist Bruce Hood about his brand new book, Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need, which draws on research to explain why our uniquely human preoccupation with ownership governs our behavior from the cradle to the grave, even when it is often irrational, and destructive.

eSkeptic for July 30, 2019

In Science Salon # 77, an engaging conversation on the nature of science, Dr. McIntyre and Dr. Shermer get deep into the weeds of where to draw the line between science and pseudoscience. PLUS Dr. John Glynn reflects on our ever-increasing sensitivity to the perception of harm in an article about concept creep.

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