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Michael Shermer

Will We Ever Really Know Ourselves?

Deepak Chopra | Posted 08.22.2016 | GPS for the Soul
Deepak Chopra

When the ancient Greeks first uttered the dictum "Know thyself," they had another choice. They could have said "Know lots of other things." In one dir...

Do Science and Religion Conflict? Yes - And It Matters

Connor Wood | Posted 05.09.2017 | Religion
Connor Wood

Is there a conflict between religion and science? Some say yes. Others say no. Regardless of their answer, nearly everyone thinks that the relationshi...

Book review: The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer

Dan Arel | Posted 03.25.2017 | Home
Dan Arel

In Robert Blachford's 1906 book Not Guilty: A Defense of the Bottom Dog he wrote of free will: We are to ask whether it is true that everything a man ...

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

Michael Shermer | Posted 07.27.2016 | Science
Michael Shermer

Unlike most filmic reenactments of real-life events in which considerable poetic license is taken to punch up the drama, none is needed for this film because the subjects themselves produced enough gravitas to keep the narrative arc moving toward its shattering conclusion.

The Science of Jurassic World

Michael Shermer | Posted 06.12.2016 | Science
Michael Shermer

As Horner explained in his 2009 book How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to be Forever (and in his TED talk on de-extinction), you can turn on dormant genes to get them to build body parts, including a dino-like tail, snout and even teeth. Because of their availability, chickens work well, so Jack intends to build what he calls a "Chickenosaurus."

'More Rational Than Thou'

Stuart Hameroff | Posted 06.05.2016 | Religion
Stuart Hameroff

An open letter to Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer Dear Richard and Michael, I read your lament that some people leave religion for 'something w...

Tolerance and Totalitarianism

Michael Shermer | Posted 05.21.2016 | College
Michael Shermer

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.

Gay Rights, Religious Freedom and the Moral Arc

Michael Shermer | Posted 06.03.2015 | Politics
Michael Shermer

The arc of the moral universe is bending toward justice for gays and lesbians faster than any moral rights revolution in history, as evidenced this week in Indiana.

A Rabbi And An Atheist Talk Good And Evil

New York Magazine | Sofia Lyons | Posted 03.13.2015 | World

Ever wondered what an atheist and a rabbi would have in common in a discussion of morality? On Saturday, as part of the 92nd Street Y's Seven Days of ...

Science, Religion and the Moral Arc: An Interview With Michael Shermer

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman | Posted 05.03.2015 | Religion
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman

Michael Shermer thinks so. Shermer is the editor of Skeptic magazine, and has long been a strong advocate for science and rational thinking, since they are the best ways we have for understanding the way the world works.

Has Science Made Us Better People?

The Daily Beast | Jake Whitney | Posted 02.17.2015 | World

The Charlie Hebdo massacre occurred on the same day I received my copy of The Moral Arc, Michael Shermer’s new book about how science and reason hav...

A Conversation Between Two Atheists From Muslim Backgrounds (Part 3)

Ali A. Rizvi | Posted 11.04.2014 | Politics
Ali A. Rizvi

We recently decided to have an extended email conversation addressing the Islamic State (ISIS) in Faisal's home country of Iraq, being called an "Uncle Tom" by white people, the existence -- or non-existence -- of a "moderate" Islam, and the one key factor needed to bring about a true Islamic reformation.

Disbelief Doesn't Cure Discrimination

Roy Speckhardt | Posted 04.27.2014 | Religion
Roy Speckhardt

Humanists and other secular-minded people of every level need to understand that "isms" like sexism and racism don't go away just because we identify as atheists or humanists. We need to unpack our privileges and cultural baggage in order to stop discriminatory behavior.

'Liberal War' Debunked

Mother Jones | Posted 03.05.2013 | Politics

In general, I'm no fan of intellectual whack-a-mole....

What Folding Chairs Taught Me About Skepticism

Ben Thomas | Posted 04.05.2013 | TED Weekends
Ben Thomas

What is it that separates everyday trust -- everyday leaps of faith, even -- from the kinds of ironclad beliefs that inspire jihads; crusades; leper-kissing; cathedral-building? How does one become so utterly sure of an idea that rests on so many unproven assumptions?

Are We All Just Wired for Anxiety?

Ben Michaelis, Ph.D. | Posted 04.05.2013 | TED Weekends
Ben Michaelis, Ph.D.

If Shermer is right (and he is), and that our default setting is to see patterns where they don't exist because the cost of being wrong (that there is no pattern) is usually much higher than the cost of being right (that there is a pattern) then I have some bad news for you.

How Much Does 'True Belief' Cost?

Patricia Adair Gowaty | Posted 04.04.2013 | TED Weekends
Patricia Adair Gowaty

Sometimes the cost of believing something is true when it is false (being a "true believer") is gravely expensive compared to the cost of a believing something false when it is true (being a skeptic).

How Self-Deception Can Be Psychologically Healthy

Douglas LaBier | Posted 04.04.2013 | TED Weekends
Douglas LaBier

Both research studies and clinical evidence from psychotherapy show that a strong belief or expectation about achieving a goal or overcoming a problem can have a powerful impact upon what actually happens in your life.

Santa, Self-Deception, And The Survival Instinct

Laura Cococcia | Posted 02.04.2015 | TED Weekends
Laura Cococcia

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideo"Self-deception" might seem like a fairly heavy-handed term to use in describing the average 5-year-old's belief in Santa Claus. So let's extend the metaphor, as Michael Shermer does, back to our ancestors.

The Evolutionary Need To Believe

Art Markman, Ph.D. | Posted 04.03.2013 | TED Weekends
Art Markman, Ph.D.

2013-01-18-TEDplayvideoWe need to trust that the facts, concepts, and explanations that we get from the people around us are generally truthful. There is so much to learn, that when we are exposed to an idea our default is to believe that it is true.

Cara Santa Maria

WATCH: Does Prayer Work? | Cara Santa Maria | Posted 05.10.2012 | Science

An overwhelming 83 percent of Americans say that God answers prayers--which raises the question, does prayer work? Is it something that we can even be...

Science, Religion Incompatible? Scientist, Skeptic Join Debate

Posted 03.09.2012 | Science

Do you believe in God? Or do you put your faith in science? Some argue that it has to be one or the other--that either you accept scientific dogma...

Santorum, Cardinal Dolan And The Tinfoil Hat: Who Gets Into The Public Square?

G. Elijah Dann | Posted 05.05.2012 | Religion
G. Elijah Dann

Santorum and Dolan are at least right on one point. No one should be saying that religious people can't participate in the public square. The reality is, however, the public square has a cacophony of voices.

Cara Santa Maria

WATCH: Why People Believe Strange Things | Cara Santa Maria | Posted 11.30.2011 | Education

2011-11-30-Screenshot20111130at5.48.25PM.jpgHave you ever wondered why otherwise intelligent people believe things that don't seem to be grounded in reality or reason?

WATCH: Colbert Evangelizes 'Believing Brain' Author

Posted 09.11.2011 | Religion

Is science just a system of beliefs like any religion?...