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Is the Government Hiding Aliens?

Is the Government Hiding Aliens? A commentary on the latest UAP/UFO story about the whistleblower and the government UFO retrieval program. In this special episode of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer addresses the latest claims by a whistleblower that the U.S. government and its allies has spacecraft that are “off-world,” meaning extraterrestrial in nature.

Matt Thornton on Violence: Why It Evolved, Why It Still Happens, and What to Do About It

Shermer and Thornton discuss: aggression: passive, proactive, reactive, relational • moralistic punishment and the game theory analysis of the logic of violence • gun violence (homicide, suicide, accidents) • violence against women/children • male-on-male violence • alcohol, drugs, infidelity • race • self-control • training soldiers • male role models • Rodney King, Michael Brown, George Floyd • police violence • bullying • fatherless homes • rape and sexual violence • self-defense.

Heather Mac Donald — When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives

Shermer and Mac Donald discuss: race as America’s original sin • civil rights • equality vs. equity • disparate impact • overt racism vs. systemic racism • why Blacks make less money, own fewer and lower quality homes, work in less prestigious jobs, hold fewer seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, run fewer Fortune 500 companies • race and science, medicine, classical music, opera, Juilliard, Swan Lake, museums, and the law • crime and mass shootings • George Floyd and race riots • the future of the problem of race trumping merit and what to do about it.

Simon Winchester — How We Transfer Knowledge Through Time

Shermer and Winchester discuss: how to become a professional writer • ChatGPT, GPT-4, and AI • knowledge as justified true belief • What is truth? • Are we living in a post-truth world of fake news and alternative facts? • education, past and present • books and the printing press • the history and future of encyclopedias • museums: repatriating objects taken during colonialism • print and broadcast journalism • internet and knowledge.

Quantum Leaps: Michio Kaku on How the Quantum Computer Revolution Will Change Everything

Shermer and Kaku discuss: AI, GPT, sentience/consciousness, the end of humanity • decoherence • Uncertainty Principle • multiverse, parallel universes, and Many Worlds hypothesis • Einstein • the evolution of the computer • the origin of life • climate change solutions • feeding 10 billion people • gene editing • curing cancer • immortality • simulating the universe • UAPs and UFOs • chaos theory and indeterminism • Are we living in a simulation? • Is there a God? • the end of science?

Inga Thompson — What’s Happened to Women’s Rights?

Shermer speaks with Inga Thompson, one of the most decorated cyclists in American history, about what happened to her when she recently spoke out in defense of women’s rights.

My Final Lecture: What I Learned About Living a Good Life

Ten lessons on living a good life and being resilient in the teeth of entropy, problems, setbacks and obstacles, aka normal life.

Mark Skousen — What You Should Know About Economics

Shermer and Skousen discuss: whether economics is politicized • Adam Smith and what he really said • how the economy really works • fiat money vs. gold standard money • inflation and what to do about it • experimental economics • regulation on capitalism • what the Fed does (or should do) • Modern Monetary Theory • bitcoin/cryptocurrency • monopolies, duopolies, and market capture • antitrust, trustbusting • What’s wrong with free market capitalism? • money, happiness, and meaningfulness.

Kelly Pope — Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry

Shermer and Pope discuss: SBF and FTX • Bernie Madoff • The Tinder Swindler • gullibility • intentional perps, accidental perps, and righteous perps • innocent bystanders and organizational targets • accidental whistleblowers, noble whistleblowers, and vigilante whistleblowers • identity theft • IRS scams • doping in sports • Frank Abagnale Jr. • Edward Snowden and Julian Assange as righteous perps • Daniel Ellsberg as a noble whistleblower • Phil Zimbardo and The Lucifer Effect • how to tell if you have been a victim of financial fraud.

Jean Twenge — Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents, and What They Mean for America’s Future

Shermer and Twenge discuss: untangling interacting causal variables (age, gender, race, religion, politics, SES, big events, slow trends, time-period effects, and generational effects) • fuzzy sets/conceptual categories • how historical events effect generations: the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War and its end, AIDS, 9/11, The Great Recession, Covid-19, #metoo, #BLM, trans, AI • how long-term trends effect generations • technology as a driver of generational differences • civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, trans rights • abortion and reproductive choice • education • religion • marriage, children, home ownership, sex, birthrates, divorce • happiness, meaningfulness, purpose • mental health.

Tanya Luhrmann on How Gods and Spirits Come to Feel Vividly Real to People

Shermer and Luhrmann discuss: the anthropology of religion • what it means when people say they “hear the voice of God” or are “walking with God” • normal “voices within” vs. hallucinations and psychoses • mystical experiences • anomalous psychological experiences • sleep paralysis and other cognitive anomalies • belief in angels and demons • absorption and religious beliefs • prayer vs. meditation vs. mindfulness • sensed presences • why people believe in God • empirical truths, religious truths, mythic truths • how people come to religious belief vs. how they leave religion • theodicy • magic and superstition • witches and witchcraft • shamans and shamanism.

Will We Ever Live in a Post-race World?

In this special episode of the podcast, Michael Shermer talks about: why race still matters and why it shouldn’t • racism • BLM (Black Lives Matter), CRT (Critical Race Theory), DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) • Anti-bias training • the Implicit Association Test and if it measures unconscious racism • race and IQ and why such group differences are environmental and not genetic • how we can achieve a post-race world.

Kennon Sheldon – Free Will, Determinism, and Self-Determinism

Shermer and Sheldon discuss: definitions of free will, determinism, compatibilism, libertarian free will • dualism • reductionism, materialism, predetermination, and epiphenomenalism • Christian List’s three capacities for free will • AI, Star Trek’s Data, sentience and consciousness, ChatGPT, GPT-4 • how what people believe about free will and determinism influences their behaviors • the case for hard determinism • brain injuries, tumors, addictions, and other “determiners” of behavior • emergence • symbolic self • System 1 vs. System 2 thinking •  Experiencing Self vs. Remembered Self •  subjective well-being and happiness.

Matt Johnson — How Hitchens Can Save the Left: Rediscovering Fearless Liberalism in an Age of Counter-Enlightenment

Shermer and Johnson discuss: Hitchens on free expression, identity politics, radicalism, interventionism, authoritarianism, patriotism, internationalism, America and Liberalism, reparations, religion, and death • identity politics • hostility to free speech • why Hitch did not become a neoconservative, warmonger, or imperialist • Enlightenment Liberalism • Trump and the division of the right • Hitchens on the precursors to Trump • Putin and Russian nationalism.

What is a Woman, Anyway?

Dr. Shermer comments on current events surrounding trans matters and reads his in-depth essay on the subject, originally published as one of his regularly Skeptic columns on Substack.

Timothy Redmond — Political Tribalism in America: How Hyper-Partisanship Dumbs Down Democracy and How to Fix It

Shermer and Redmond discuss: why we have political duopoly (Duverger’s law) • parties vs. policies • Are we living in a post-truth, fake-news, alternative facts world? • How do we know political polarization is worse now than in the past? • acquiring, perceiving, and evaluating political information • evaluating: false political information, political numbers and arguments, claims of rigged election • whataboutism • cognitive responsibilities of citizenship • cognitive biases • political polarization • myside bias • numeracy vs. innumeracy • solutions to the polarization problem.

Valerie Fridland — Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English

Shermer and Fridland discuss: Okay, Boomer language • accents • ChatGPT • gender pronouns • gender differences in language use • forensic language analysis • evolution of language • why children learn language naturally but must be taught to read and write • literature, film, and TV’s influence on language use • cancel culture and taboo language • language and identity politics • y’all, contractions, and other language shortcuts • tracking human migrations by language, and vice versa • Fargo, and more.

Secret Scientists and Real Conspiracies — John Lisle on Stanley Lovell, the OSS precursor to the CIA, and the Masterminds of World War II Secret Warfare

Shermer and Lisle discuss: • why countries have spy agencies • from COI to OSS to CIA • Wild Bill Donavan • Stanley Lovell as Professor Moriarty • Vannevar Bush • Division 19 • George Kistiakowsky and the Aunt Jemima explosive weapon • cat bombs, bat bombs, rat bomb, suicide pills, fighting knives, silent pistols, camouflaged explosives, A-pills, B-pills, E-pills, L-pills • psychological warfare • heavy water and nuclear weapons • Werner Heisenberg, Moe Berg, and Carl Eifler • biological and chemical warfare • Operation Paperclip • truth drugs • Sidney Gottlieb, LSD, and MKULTRA (Bluebird, Artichoke).

Ben Alderson-Day — Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other

Shermer and Alderson-Day discuss the psychologist’s journey to understand the phenomenon of sensed-presence: the disturbing feeling that someone or something is there when we are alone. Using contemporary psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and philosophy, Alderson-Day attempts to understand how this experience is possible. Is it a hallucination, a change in the brain, or something else? The journey to understand takes us to meet explorers, mediums, and robots, and step through real, imagined, and virtual worlds.

Gerald & Patricia Posner on Evil

Shermer and the Posners discuss: the nature and banality of evil • Are we all potential Nazis? • Mengele, Eichmann, Himmler, Hitler • The Pharmacist of Auschwitz • the Holocaust • the Stanford Prison Experiment • Milgram’s shock experiments on obedience to authority • Abu Ghraib and other war crimes • restorative justice • the opioid crisis • the Vatican and the future of Catholicism.

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