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eSkeptic for March 27, 2021

In this eSkeptic, we present a tribute to Richard Dawkins by Michael Shermer, plus a short film spoof on the creation of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

The Skeptic’s Chaplain: Richard Dawkins as a Fountainhead of Skepticism

A tribute to Richard Dawkins by Michael Shermer. The following essay was commissioned by Oxford University Press to be included in a volume entitled Richard Dawkins. How a Scientist Changed the Way We Think: Reflections by Scientists, Writers, and Philosophers, edited by Alan Grafen and Mark Ridley (biologists and former graduate students of Dawkins) and published in 2006 to mark the 30th anniversary of the publication in 1976 of Dawkins’ influential book, The Selfish Gene.

John McWhorter — The Elect: Neoracists Posing as Antiracists and their Threat to a Progressive America

In episode 165 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with John McWhorter about his new online book on how the antiracism movement poses a threat to progressive America. Shermer and McWhorter discuss: antiracism as a religion; the 3 waves of antiracism; the antiracism trinity: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi; white fragility; Black Lives Matter; systemic racism (incarceration rates, housing, jobs, income, etc.); reparations; George Floyd, Tony Timpa and police violence; the N-word and language as violence; and Third Wave Antiracism catechism.

eSkeptic for March 16, 2021

In episode 165 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with John McWhorter about his new online book on how the antiracism movement poses a threat to progressive America. Shermer and McWhorter discuss: antiracism as a religion; the 3 waves of antiracism; the antiracism trinity: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi; white fragility; Black Lives Matter; systemic racism (incarceration rates, housing, jobs, income, etc.); reparations; George Floyd, Tony Timpa and police violence; the N-word and language as violence; and Third Wave Antiracism catechism.

Benjamin Friedman — Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

In episode 162 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with one of the nation’s preeminent experts on economic policy, Benjamin Friedman, about his new book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism — a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force — religion.

eSkeptic for March 6, 2021

In episode 162 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with one of the nation’s preeminent experts on economic policy, Benjamin Friedman, about his new book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism — a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force — religion. PLUS: The Skeptic Research Center asks “Why Are People Misinformed About Fatal Police Shootings?” and Michael Shermer review Science and the Good: The Tragic Quest for the Foundations of Morality.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali — Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights

Why are so few people talking about the eruption of sexual violence and harassment in Europe’s cities? In episode 156 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born women’s rights activist, free speech advocate and New York Times best selling author, about her new book Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights.

eSkeptic for February 9, 2021

In episode 156 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born women’s rights activist, free speech advocate and New York Times best selling author, about her new book Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights.

eSkeptic January 19, 2021

In episode 153 Dr. Michael Shermer speaks with University of Oxford research psychologist Dr. Kevin Dutton about his new book Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World.

Kevin Dutton — Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World

Michael Shermer and Kevin Dutton discuss: black-and-white thinking in: physics, biology, psychology, politics, economics, society • categories and why we need them • when does a hill become a mountain? • How many grains of sand makes a heap? • from quantitative scaling to qualitative categories • How can there be dozens of genders if there are just males and females? abortion • stereotypes • tribalism, xenophobia, & racism • the difference between a cult, a sect, and a religion • mental disorders: are we all a little crazy?, and consciousness.

Agustín Fuentes — Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being

Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? Philosophers, theologians, social scientists, and historians have offered explanations for centuries, but their accounts often ignore or even avoid human evolution. Fuentes employs evolutionary, neurobiological, and anthropological evidence to argue that belief — the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea — is central to the human way of being in the world.

eSkeptic for November 24, 2020

Why are so many humans religious? Why do we daydream, imagine, and hope? In Science Salon # 144 Michael Shermer speaks with Agustin Fuentes about his new book Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being.

eSkeptic for September 29, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 135, Michael Shermer speaks with Paul Halpern about his new book Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect.

Paul Halpern — Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

Does the universe have a speed limit? If not, some effects could happen at the same instant as the actions that caused them — and some effects, ludicrously, might even happen before their causes. Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of sixteen popular science books.

Joseph Henrich — The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Unlike much of the world today, and most people who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically distinct? What role did these psychological differences play in the industrial revolution and the global expansion of Europe during the last few centuries?

eSkeptic for September 22, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 134, Michael Shermer speaks Joseph Henrich about his book: The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous.

David J. Halperin — Intimate Alien: The Hidden Story of the UFO

In Science Salon # 124 Michael Shermer speaks with David J. Halperin about what our fascination with UFOs tells us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species.

eSkeptic for July 14, 2020

In Science Salon # 124 Michael Shermer speaks with David J. Halperin about what our fascination with UFOs tells us about ourselves as individuals, as a culture, and as a species.

eSkeptic for May 29, 2020

In this lecture on Evolution and Creationism (Part 1), Dr. Michael Shermer takes viewers to the Galápagos Islands to retrace Darwin’s footsteps and show that, in fact, Darwin did not discover natural selection when he was there in September of 1835. He worked out his theory when he returned home, and Shermer shows exactly how Darwin did that, along with the story of the theory’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace.

Evolution & Creationism, Part 1

In this lecture on Evolution and Creationism (Part 1), Dr. Michael Shermer takes viewers to the Galápagos Islands to retrace Darwin’s footsteps and show that, in fact, Darwin did not discover natural selection when he was there in September of 1835. He worked out his theory when he returned home, and Shermer shows exactly how Darwin did that, along with the story of the theory’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace.

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