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Michael Shermer
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Dr. Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. His new book is The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. Follow him on Twitter @michaelshermer

Entries by Michael Shermer

Science and Hollywood: When the Martian Met the Earthlings

(12) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 3:38 PM


Andy Weir's gripping tale of a NASA astronaut stranded on Mars (entitled, simply enough, The Martian), is coming to Hollywood on October 2, and it is going to be another Ridley Scott blockbuster. I listened to the unabridged audio edition of the book,...

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Are We All Potentially Evil?: A New Dramatic Film Based on the Stanford Prison Experiment Reveals Why Good People Turn Bad

(53) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 5:09 PM


The barbaric acts of ISIS in the Middle East and elsewhere (including lone wolf acts here and in Europe) have renewed the use of an adjective most commonly affiliated with Nazis--evil. In fact, British Prime Minister David Cameron evoked Hitler in his recent...

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The Moral Arc of 'Ted 2': A Ribald Comedy With a Moral Message

(3) Comments | Posted June 26, 2015 | 11:19 PM


What does a smart and socially savvy comedy writer, actor, and producer like Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, SNL host, Oscars host) do when he wants to say something relevant about the moral progress of humanity and deliver it to a large audience? Write...

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'쥬라기 월드'의 과학

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2015 | 3:06 AM

'쥬라기 월드'는 엄청난 영화다. 예전 작들 못지 않다. 1편에 비해도 꿀리지 않는다. 나는 3D로 보았으니 예전의 2D 버전들과 비교해서 말하고 있는 것이다. 3D 포맷으로 만드니 정말 생생했다. 하지만 차원 문제는 제쳐두고라도, 가장 회의적인 관객이라도 불신을 좀 미뤄두고 쥬라기에 존재하지 않았던 완전히 새로운 공룡을 유전조작으로 만들어 낸다는 영화의 전제를 가능한 것으로...

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The Science of Jurassic World

(36) Comments | Posted June 12, 2015 | 10:22 PM

Jurassic World, which opens today, is a terrific film -- as good as the previous three in the franchise, including the first. I saw it in 3D, so my comparison is with the previous 2D versions, and it really comes to life in this format. But such dimensional matters aside,...

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Tolerance and Totalitarianism

(135) Comments | Posted May 21, 2015 | 11:55 AM

Co-authored by Frank Turek

A disturbing trend is sweeping across American colleges and universities under the guise of protecting students from allegedly offensive speech -- defined differently by different interest groups -- with demands for everything from "trigger warnings" to banning speakers from campus.

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Gay Rights, Religious Freedom and the Moral Arc

(6) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 1:02 PM

My friends Jürgen and Heiko, whom I met through my German wife Jennifer, wed in Germany.

In many European countries same-sex marriage is non-controversial. How long will it take for America to catch up to Europe's respect for human rights? Not long, because...

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What Is Skepticism, Anyway?

(2155) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 8:00 AM

TED and The Huffington Post are excited to bring you TEDWeekends, a curated weekend program that introduces a powerful "idea worth spreading" every Friday, anchored in an exceptional TEDTalk. This week's TEDTalk is accompanied by an original blog post from...

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Why Ayn Rand Won't Go Away: 'Atlas Shrugged,' Part 2 and the Motor of Moral Psychology

(579) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 12:22 PM

After seeing the Los Angles premiere of Atlas Shrugged, Part 2, the film that opens today based on the 1957 novel by Ayn Rand (and with an entirely new cast and higher production value, a vast improvement over Part 1), a question struck me as I was exiting the theater...

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Science And Religion: Incompatible?

(2) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Science operates in the natural, not the supernatural. In fact, I go so far as to state that there is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal. There is just the natural, the normal, and mysteries we have yet to explain by natural causes. Invoking such words as...

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Wrong Again: Why Experts' Predictions Fail, Especially About the Future

(164) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 11:03 PM

With the first week of 2012 upon us it is time to reflect on that favorite pastime of soothsayers and scientists alike: predicting the future. At Skeptic magazine we routinely publish articles about the failed predictions of soothsayers, astrologers, tarot-card readers, palm-readers, and psychics of all stripes. But frankly scientists...

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Why Liberals Should See (and Like) Atlas Shrugged Part 1

(1842) Comments | Posted April 27, 2011 | 9:39 PM

Yesterday a liberal friend of mine told me (in response to my query) that he would never go see the film Atlas Shrugged Part 1 because he read a review in the Los Angeles Times that was critical, and that in any case the author of the novel on which...

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Atlas Shrugged, But You Shouldn't

(1651) Comments | Posted April 15, 2011 | 9:29 AM

A review of Atlas Shrugged Part 1, a film by John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, screenplay by Brian Patrick O'Toole and John Aglialoro, directed by Paul Johnasson, based on the novel by Ayn Rand. Opens April 15, 2011. 102 minutes. PG-13. Limited release.

After decades of fruitless efforts to...

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My Day in Dealey Plaza: Why JFK Was Killed by a Lone Assassin

(54) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 5:20 PM

On Tuesday, December 7, I walked through and around Dealey Plaza in Dallas where JFK was assassinated by a lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (LHO). Or was he? A lone assassin, that is? Yes, he was, but that is not what anyone giving informal tours of the plaza will have...

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Inside Job or Internal Greed?

(4) Comments | Posted December 1, 2010 | 12:42 PM

A review of Inside Job, produced, written, and directed by Charles Ferguson, produced by Audry Marrs, 108 minutes, narrated by Matt Damon.

By Michael Shermer

In this disturbing and often infuriating look at the financial meltdown, the Academy Award-nominated (No End in Sight) documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson promises viewers an...

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Of Testosterone and Pheromones

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 8:16 PM

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, directed and produced by Alex Gibney, 117 minutes.

Client 9 is an artfully produced, smartly edited, and dramatic reconstruction (and revisionism) of the rise and fall of "The Sheriff of Wall Street," the man who dared to challenge the "Masters of...

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The Eternally Boring Hereafter

(49) Comments | Posted November 2, 2010 | 8:00 PM

After a string of highly successful and critically acclaimed films by Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino, Invictus, Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, etc.), I fully expected his latest, Hereafter, to be so well written (screenplay by Peter Morgan -- Frost/Nixon, The Queen) and so compelling...

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What I Believe (about Markets and Morals): A Reply to Jerry Coyne & My Critics

(7) Comments | Posted August 31, 2010 | 7:56 PM

In his endearingly titled blog, "Michael, we hardly knew ye," the venerable evolutionary biologist and slayer of creationist dragons Jerry Coyne (author of Why Evolution is True) wonders if I've gone 'round the bend over capitalism and sold my skeptical soul to the Templeton Foundation, the alleged evil...

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The Free Exercise of Stupidity: Dr. Laura, the 'Ground Zero Mosque,' and the First Amendment

(10) Comments | Posted August 20, 2010 | 6:57 PM

Last week's two biggest media story brouhahas were Dr. Laura's n-word gaff and the Ground Zero mosque, both of which commentators insist are First Amendment issues. They are not. Here's why. First, let's review the First...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free...

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These Are the Good Old Days

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 12:22 PM

Despite the relative gloom and doom brought about by the 2008 recession, and the recent downturn of the market and the meltdown and bailout of Greece, there are reasons to be optimistic and to believe that these are the good old days, at least if we take the long view...

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