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morality

The Truth About 9/11 and Terrorism

In this special episode of the podcast Michael Shermer honors the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a commentary on the truth about that event and how it changed our lives, 7 myths about terrorism that need debunking if we are to understand how we should respond to this threat, and why we need not sacrifice liberty for security.

Carole Hooven on T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us

In episode 204, Michael Shermer speaks with codirector of undergraduate studies in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Carole Hooven, PhD about testosterone. While most people agree that sex differences in human behavior exist, they disagree about the reasons. But the science is clear: testosterone is a potent force in human society, driving the bodies and behavior of the sexes apart.

eSkeptic for August 28, 2021

In episode 204, Michael Shermer speaks with codirector of undergraduate studies in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, Carole Hooven, PhD about testosterone. While most people agree that sex differences in human behavior exist, they disagree about the reasons. But the science is clear: testosterone is a potent force in human society, driving the bodies and behavior of the sexes apart.

Philip Zimbardo — The Nature and Nurture of Good and Evil

August 15 marks the 50th anniversary of day one of the Stanford Prison Experiment — one of the most controversial studies in the history of social psychology. In episode 200, Michael Shermer speaks with renowned social psychologist and creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo, exploring the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil.

eSkeptic for August 15, 2021

In episode 200, Michael Shermer speaks with renowned social psychologist and creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo, exploring the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil.

Yaron Brook on Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, and Objectivism

In episode 197, Michael speaks with entrepreneur, writer, and activist Yaron Brook about Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism; individualism vs. collectivism; the nature of human nature; altruism, cooperation, reparations, and charity; the starting point of morality and the foundation of ethics; collective action problems and how they are best solved; our moral obligation to help those who cannot help themselves; the Is-Ought problem of determining right and wrong; reason and empiricism; immigration, abortion, foreign wars, the welfare state, and terrorism.

eSkeptic for August 3, 2021

In episode 197, Michael speaks with entrepreneur, writer, and activist Yaron Brook about Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism; individualism vs. collectivism; the nature of human nature; altruism, cooperation, reparations, and charity; the starting point of morality and the foundation of ethics; collective action problems and how they are best solved; our moral obligation to help those who cannot help themselves; the Is-Ought problem of determining right and wrong; reason and empiricism; immigration, abortion, foreign wars, the welfare state, and terrorism.

David Buss — When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault

In episode 181 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with professor of psychology David Buss about sexual conflict, morality, and the double standards that flourish even in the most sexually egalitarian cultures on earth. Buss shows that this “battle of the sexes” is deeper and far more pervasive than anyone has recognized, revealing the hidden roots of sexual conflict — roots that originated over deep evolutionary time.

eSkeptic for May 15, 2021

In episode 181 of Michael Shermer’s podcast, Michael speaks with professor of psychology David Buss about sexual conflict, morality, and the double standards that flourish even in the most sexually egalitarian cultures on earth. Buss shows that this “battle of the sexes” is deeper and far more pervasive than anyone has recognized, revealing the hidden roots of sexual conflict — roots that originated over deep evolutionary time.

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.

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.

Minouche Shafik — What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract for a Better Society

In episode 176 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael Shermer speaks with Minouche Shafik, one of the leading policy experts of our time, about a new and better social contract that recognizes our interdependencies, supports and invests more in each other, and expects more of individuals in return: a rethinking of how we can better support each other to thrive.

eSkeptic for April 27, 2021

In episode 176 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael Shermer speaks with Minouche Shafik, one of the leading policy experts of our time, about a new and better social contract that recognizes our interdependencies, supports and invests more in each other, and expects more of individuals in return: a rethinking of how we can better support each other to thrive.

Daniel Dennett & Gregg Caruso — Just Deserts: Debating Free Will (moderated by Michael Shermer)

The concept of free will is profoundly important to our self-understanding, our interpersonal relationships, and our moral and legal practices. If it turns out that no one is ever free and morally responsible, what would that mean for society, morality, meaning, and the law? This conversation brings together two philosophers — Daniel C. Dennett and Gregg D. Caruso — to debate their respective views on free will, moral responsibility, and legal punishment.

eSkeptic for March 30, 2021

In The Michael Shermer Show # 168, Dr. Shermer moderates an entertaining, rigorous, and sometimes heated philosophical dialogue between two leading thinkers: Daniel Dennett and Gregg Caruso, based on their book Just Deserts.

Shelby Steele — Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country & the film What Killed Michael Brown?

The United States today is hopelessly polarized; the political Right and Left have hardened into rigid and deeply antagonistic camps, preventing any sort of progress. Amid the bickering and inertia, the promise of the 1960s—when we came together as a nation to fight for equality and universal justice—remains unfulfilled. Shermer and Steele discuss: what has changed in race relations in America in the past 30 years, and why “The promised land guarantees nothing. It is only an opportunity, not a deliverance.”

eSkeptic for October 20, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 139, Michael Shermer speaks with Shelby Steele about his book Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country and about his new film What Killed Michael Brown?

Replicating Milgram: A Study on Why People Commit Evil Deeds

Dr. Michael Shermer, working with Chris Hansen and Dateline NBC producers in 2010, replicated a number of classic psychology experiments, including Stanley Milgram’s famous shock experiments. Here’s a summary of that research along with the two-part video from the Dateline NBC show, called “What Were You Thinking?”

eSkeptic for October 2, 2020

Dr. Michael Shermer, working with Chris Hansen and Dateline NBC producers in 2010, replicated a number of classic psychology experiments, including Stanley Milgram’s famous shock experiments. Here’s a summary of that research along with the two-part video from the Dateline NBC show, called “What Were You Thinking?”

Michael E. McCullough — The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code

In this sweeping psychological history of human goodness — from the foundations of evolution to the modern political and social challenges humanity is now facing — psychologist Michael McCullough answers a fundamental question: How did humans, a species of self-centered apes, come to care about others?

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