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reason

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.

Meta Ethics: Toward a Universal Ethics — How Science & Reason Can Give Us Objective Moral Truths Without God

Ever since the Enlightenment philosopher David Hume outlined the “Is-Ought” problem—that we cannot derive an ought from an is, or we cannot determine the way something ought to be morally based on the way things are in nature (the classic example being slavery—because ants practice slavery that doesn’t make it natural and therefore acceptable for humans to practice slavery)—people have struggled to figure out on what basis should moral values be grounded. Of course, theists argue that God is that grounding, but what if you don’t believe in God? Is everything relative, including murder? In this article psychologist Gary Whittenberger offers an argument grounded in science and reason for determining objective moral truths.

Michael Strevens — The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science

Shermer and Strevens discuss: irrationality and how it drives science • the knowledge machine • the replication crisis, what caused it, and what to do about it • verification vs. falsification • the iron rule of explanation • Bayesian reasoning vs. falsification • climate/evolution skeptics • model dependent realism • humanism • theistic arguments for: God, origin of life, morality, consciousness • known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns • how to evaluate media sources of science.

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.

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?

Gale Sinatra & Barbara Hofer — Science Denial: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

eSkeptic for September 25, 2021

In episode 212, Michael Shermer speaks with Gale Sinatra and Barbara Hofer about the key psychological explanations for science denial and doubt that can help provide a means for improving scientific literacy and understanding — critically important at a time when denial has become deadly.

eSkeptic for September 21, 2021

In episode 211, Michael Shermer speaks with Ashley Rindsberg about his book The Gray Lady Winked in which he pulls back the curtain to reveal an eye-opening, often shocking, look at the New York Times’s greatest journalistic failures, so devastating they changed the course of history.

Ashley Rindsberg — The Gray Lady Winked: How the New York Times’s Misreporting, Distortions and Fabrications Radically Alter History

In episode 211, Michael Shermer speaks with Ashley Rindsberg about his book The Gray Lady Winked in which he pulls back the curtain to reveal an eye-opening, often shocking, look at the New York Times’s greatest journalistic failures, so devastating they changed the course of history.

Richard Dawkins on evangelizing for evolution, science, skepticism, philosophy, reason, and rationality, based on his new book Books Do Furnish a Life: Reading and Writing Science

Michael Shermer and Richard Dawkins discuss: conversations with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, and Christopher Hitchens • Popperian falsification vs. Bayesian reasoning • evolutionary adaptationism • the myth of natural selection as a “force” • E.O. Wilson and group selection, multilevel selection, and other misunderstandings about evolutionary theory • metaphors and analogies in science: artificial selection • convergent evolution • ETIs • Trumpism, and more…

eSkeptic for September 1, 2021

In episode 205, Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Dawkins about evangelizing for evolution, science, skepticism, philosophy, reason, and rationality, based on his new book Books Do Furnish a Life: Reading and Writing Science.

Lee McIntyre — How to Talk to a Science Denier: Conversations with Flat Earthers, Climate Deniers, and Others Who Defy Reason

Science deniers are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don’t believe in facts? In episode 203, Michael Shermer speaks with Lee McIntyre about how to talk to science deniers such as flat earthers, climate deniers, and others who defy reason, and why it’s important to do so.

eSkeptic for August 24, 2021

Science deniers are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don’t believe in facts? In episode 203, Michael Shermer speaks with Lee McIntyre about how to talk to science deniers such as flat earthers, climate deniers, and others who defy reason, and why it’s important to do so.

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.

Annie Murphy Paul — The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

eSkeptic for July 31, 2021

In episode 196, Michael speaks with Annie Murphy Paul as she explodes the myth that the brain is an all-powerful, all-purpose thinking machine that works best in silence and isolation. Paul tells the stories of Jackson Pollock, Charles Darwin, Jonas Salk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Watson and Crick, among others — who have mastered the art of thinking outside the brain.

Andy Norman — Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think

Astonishingly irrational ideas are spreading. Why? More importantly, what can we do about it? Michael Shermer and Andy Norman discuss: the plague of ideologies • memes and viruses • bad ideas as parasites • cognitive immunology • cultural immune systems • epistemology • gullibility • beliefs and values • evidence vs. faith • how to regulate beliefs, and impediments to curiosity.

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