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The Michael Shermer Show

Ravi Gupta on the Lost Debate: Whatever Happened to Reasoned Discussion and Respectable Disagreement?

Whatever happened to reasoned discussion and respectable disagreement? Michael Shermer speaks with Ravi Gupta, the Founder and CEO of Lost Debate, a new non-profit media company that launched in October 2021 to fight polarization and misinformation online.

Jennifer Sciubba on Putin, Russia, Ukraine, National & Global Security, and How Population Demographics Shape Our Future

Michael Shermer speaks with political demographer, former demographics consultant to the United States Department of Defense, and author of The Future Faces of War, Jennifer Sciubba, about her new 8 Billion and Counting.

John Mueller on Putin’s War: Russia, Ukraine, and NATO

Shermer speaks with renowned Ohio State University political scientist John Mueller about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and what we might expect from Putin’s Russia in the coming weeks, months, and years, along with Dr. Mueller’s outline for how to end the current conflict and compromise with Putin.

Kelly Weill on Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything

Michael Shermer speaks with journalist Kelly Weill whose work covers extremism, disinformation, and online conspiracy theories in current affairs. The conversation is based on her book Off the Edge which tells a powerful story about belief, polarized realities, and what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.

Will Sanctions Work? War in Ukraine

T-90 Russian battle tank (background image)

Michael Shermer provides an analysis of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Will sanctions work? This reading is based on his Substack post entitled: “Putin’s Problem: The outlawry of war has forced tyrants to concoct excuses for invading other countries. How should we respond? Evidence shows that outcasting in the form of economic sanctions beats armed conflict.”

Barbara F. Walter on How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them, including in the United States

Political violence rips apart several towns in southwest Texas. A far-right militia plots to kidnap the governor of Michigan and try her for treason. An armed mob of Trump supporters and conspiracy theorists storms the U.S. Capitol. Are these isolated incidents? Or is this the start of something bigger? Michael Shermer speaks with professor of political science, Barbara F. Walter, about her increasing worry about civil conflict in the United States.

Elizabeth Weiss on Woke Archaeology and Erasing the Past

Michael Shermer speaks with anthropologist Elizabeth Weiss about woke archaeology and erasing the past, based on her book Repatriation.

Jacob Mchangama on Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media

In this episode, based on the book Free Speech, Michael Shermer and Jacob Mchangama discuss the riveting legal, political, and cultural history of the principle, how much we have gained from it, and how much we stand to lose without it.

Nick Pope on UAPs, UFOs, Conspiracies, and Cover-ups

Author, journalist and TV personality Nick Pope ran the British government’s UFO program for the Ministry of Defense, leading the media to call him the real Fox Mulder. He’s recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on UFOs, the unexplained, and conspiracy theories. Nick is the media’s go-to person for UFOs.

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.

Johnjoe McFadden on simplicity in science, based on his book Life is Simple: How Occam’s Razor Set Science Free and Shapes the Universe

Michael Shermer speaks with Professor of Molecular Genetics, Johnjoe McFadden, about: our medieval ancestors • science and religion • how pre-modern theologians thought about the nature of reality • Ptolemaic vs. Tychonic vs. Copernican world systems • simplicity in math, physics, biology, medicine, and the social sciences • quantum physics and simplicity •  Postmodernism and the search for Truth • Is science more Bayesian than Popperian? • the anthropic cosmological principle • the hard problem of consciousness.

Sally Satel on Addiction, the Opioid Crisis, Deaths of Despair, and How Psychiatry Has Gone Woke

Michael Shermer and professor of psychiatry, Sally Satel, discuss: how political correctness has corrupted medicine • how wokeness and social justice activism has corrupted psychiatry • What is social justice and who is really practicing it? • medical models of mental illness • why mental illness is so hard to treat • medical models of addiction: where they succeed, where they fail • how addictions are treated • Can one be addicted to porn? • Can one be addicted to social media? • The opioid crisis: who is responsible? and more…

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.

Jeff Maurer — I Might Be Wrong

Michael Shermer speaks with writer, comedian, and five-time Emmy winning Senior Writer for John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, Jeff Maurer, about the nature of creativity, comedy, politics, culture, and how the television business really works!

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 Firth-Godbehere on emotions and their history, based on his book A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know

Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Firth-Godbehere his book A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know, drawing on psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art, and religious history, and taking us on a fascinating tour of the central and often under-appreciated role emotions have played in human societies throughout history.

Brian Klass on power and corruption, based on his book Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us

Does power corrupt, or are corrupt people drawn to power? Are entrepreneurs who embezzle and cops who kill the result of poorly designed systems or are they simply bad people? What sort of people aspire to power anyway? Are there individuals among us who should never be given the title of president, or CEO, or PTA leader lest they build their own dictatorship?

David Wengrow on The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

In this conversation, based on the book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, Michael Shermer speaks with professor of comparative archaeology, David Wengrow, about his pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology that fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society.

Fernanda Pirie on The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World

In episode 236, Michael Shermer speaks with Fernanda Pirie on The Rule of Laws: A 4,000-Year Quest to Order the World — from ancient Mesopotamia to today, the epic story of how humans have used laws to forge civilizations.

Jason Riley on Thomas Sowell: The Life and Work of the Legendary Social Theorist

In episode 235, Michael Shermer speaks with Jason Riley about Maverick — the first-ever biography of Thomas Sowell, one of the great social theorists of our age.

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Detecting Baloney

Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic) by Deanna and Skylar (High Tech High Media Arts, San Diego, CA)

The Baloney Detection Kit Sandwich (Infographic)

For a class project, a pair of 11th grade physics students created the infographic shown below, inspired by Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit: a 16-page booklet designed to hone your critical thinking skills.

FREE PDF Download

Wisdom of Harriet Hall

Top 10 Things to Know About Alternative Medicine

Harriet Hall M.D. discusses: alternative versus conventional medicine, flu fear mongering, chiropractic, vaccines and autism, placebo effect, diet, homeopathy, acupuncture, “natural remedies,” and detoxification.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and can you tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Mind altering experiences are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

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