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psychology

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…

A Transgender Controversy

In this important analysis of the medical issues involving trans people, Dr. Harriet Hall reviews what medical science knows about puberty blockers, vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, rapid onset gender dysphoria, detransitioners, and why “watchful waiting” is probably the best strategy at the moment given the considerable uncertainties.

Trans Matters: An Overview of the Debate, Research, and Policies

In this overview of the debate, research, and policies related to various trans matters, Lisa Selin Davis has written what is arguably the best and most balanced treatment of the culturally radioactive topic that incites passioned opinions on both sides of the political aisle. The trans movement is relatively new and science has just begun intensive study of the various issues, so opinions could change with changing evidence, but for the time being read this article for the most comprehensive analysis to date.

Christopher Blattman on Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace

Shermer and Blattman discuss: Putin, Russia, and Ukraine • game theory and violent conflict • 5 Reasons for conflict and war • common elements of conflict • U.S. foreign policy and its consequences • human nature and conflict: are we wired to fight or do environments push us into conflicts? • cooperation vs. competition, and more…

eSkeptic for April 23, 2022

Education reform researcher and advocate Chris Edwards explains the problem with the U.S. public education system and considers possible solutions. PLUS: Michael Shermer speaks with Christopher Blattman about his new book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace.

eSkeptic for March 10, 2022

Announcing Skeptic 27.1: Transgender Matters — an overview of the debate, research, and policies; supporting kids who identify as transgender or who are experiencing gender dysphoria (marked distress at an incongruence between gender identity and biological sex).

Frank Sulloway on How Lives Turn Out: Genes, Environment, Pluck, and Luck

Michael Shermer speaks with American psychologist Dr. Frank J. Sulloway about the relative roles of genes, environment, hard work, and luck in how lives turn out. For decades, Dr. Sulloway has employed evolutionary theory to understand how family dynamics affect personality development.

eSkeptic for January 29, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with American psychologist Dr. Frank J. Sulloway about the relative roles of genes, environment, hard work, and luck in how lives turn out. For decades, Dr. Sulloway has employed evolutionary theory to understand how family dynamics affect personality development.

Trans Reality: “I Didn’t Know There Was Another Side”

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic.

eSkeptic for January 25, 2022

Social psychologist Carol Tavris thoughtfully explores and questions “affirmative trans medicine,” the latest dangerous medical practices bubble. Few question the mystifying explosion of cases of gender dysphoria among adolescents and the proliferation of clinics to treat them. Vulnerable teens and baffled parents resort to internet misinformation and succumb to biased media influence, while experts spurn exploratory therapies and promote untested treatments that have long-term effects. Dissenters are vilified and silenced as being transphobic. PLUS: Michael Shermer Speaks with Johnjoe McFadden about his book Life is Simple: How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free and Shapes the Universe.

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.

eSkeptic for January 11, 2022

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

Leonard Mlodinow — Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

Richard Nisbett on Thinking & Reason

In a wide-ranging conversation Shermer and Richard Nisbett discuss Nisbett’s research showing how people reason, how people should reason, why errors in reasoning occur, and how much you can improve reasoning.

eSkeptic for November 16, 2021

Michael Shermer is now writing on Substack with a new, weekly column called Skeptic: Examining the World Through a Scientific Lens. PLUS in a wide-ranging conversation Shermer and Richard Nisbett discuss Nisbett’s research showing how people reason, how people should reason, why errors in reasoning occur, and how much you can improve reasoning.

eSkeptic for October 26, 2021

In episode 221, Michael Shermer speaks with Antonio Damasio about recent findings across multiple scientific disciplines that have given rise to new understandings of consciousness.

Antonio Damasio — Feeling & Knowing: Making Minds Conscious

In episode 221, Michael Shermer speaks with Antonio Damasio about recent findings across multiple scientific disciplines that have given rise to new understandings of consciousness.

Kathryn Paige Harden — The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality

In episode 216, Michael Shermer speaks with University of Texas (Austin) professor of clinical psychology and Director of the Developmental Behavior Genetics Lab, Kathryn Paige Harden about her book The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality.

eSkeptic for October 9, 2021

In episode 216, Michael Shermer speaks with Kathryn Paige Harden about her book The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality. PLUS Robert Bartholomew Havana Syndrome Hysteria and the recent U.S. Government investigation into this probable psychogenic illness.

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