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Science

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The Real Christopher Hitchens

By |April 21st, 2016|

Did Christopher Hitchens Really Keep Two Sets of Books about his Beliefs?

Recently a number of people have asked me about a newly published book entitled The Faith of Christopher Hitchens by the Christian apologist Larry Alex Taunton, who runs the Fixed Point Foundation and whom I have gotten to know through public debates and private conversations. The Religious News Service (RNS), for example, interviewed me about the book, explaining that they had never heard of the author and were wondering why I blurbed the book (a “blurb” is a short quote on the back jacket of books encouraging people to read it). Here is what I wrote (only the final sentence made it onto the book’s cover but the entire quote is on the book’s webpage):

If you really want to get to know someone intimately, go on a multi-day cross-country road trip, share fine food and expensive spirits, and have open and honest conversations about the most important issues in life. And then engage them in public debate before thousands of people on those very topics. In this engrossing narrative about his friendship with the atheist activist Christopher Hitchens, the evangelical Christian Larry Taunton shows us a side of the man very few of us knew. Apparent contradictions dissolve before Taunton’s penetrating insight into the psychology of man fiercely loyal to his friends and passionately devoted to leading a life of integrity. This book should be read by every atheist and theist passionate about the truth, and by anyone who really wants to understand Hitch, one of the greatest minds and literary geniuses of our time. […]

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Guns in the U.S.

By |October 21st, 2015|

Should you choose to own a gun? The fantasy many Americans have of facing down an intruder with a firearm is belied by the fact that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.

Are We All Potentially Evil?

By |July 29th, 2015|

Are We All Potentially Evil? A new dramatic film based on the Stanford Prison Experiment reveals why good people turn bad. Michael Shermer discusses the film, the original experiment by Philip Zimbardo, and the triad of general principles behind evil posited by Zimbardo: the Person, the Situation, and the System.

Michael Shermer on Reasonable Doubt at TEDxGhent

By |July 9th, 2015|

Michael Shermer explains how a scientific way of thinking manages to improve the world in various kinds of ways. He describes how science and reason lead humanity toward truth, justice and freedom. “As democracy increases, violence decreases” is the theme of his talk. He discusses the death penalty, women and gay rights and so much more. He states that within these delicate issues, rationality and abstract thinking are the keys to increased awareness and democracy.

Can Science Determine Moral Values?

By |April 8th, 2015|

Marc Hauser and Michael Shermer dialogue about the problem of whether science can help determine moral values.
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Counter Refutation — Shermer responds to book reviews

By |March 4th, 2015|

The initial reviews of The Moral Arc are in and the author has completed his U.S. book tour, and in this article Michael Shermer replies to the criticisms and commentaries thus far leveled against his thesis that we are living in the most moral time in our species history and that one of the primary drivers bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice is science and reason. You will be astounded to learn that not only religious people, but some scientists and secularists themselves object to using science and reason to determine human values. Shermer challenges them to explain what they use, if not their rational brains, to solve moral issues!

Why Islam? Of the three great monotheistic religions only one did not go through the Enlightenment

By |February 25th, 2015|

One of the central tenets of science is to define a problem to be studied with as much clarity as possible, and the key to clear communication is calling things what they really are. Unfortunately, both the American media and public intellectuals have failed to be honest in identifying what everyone in Europe knows is the primary source of terrorism in the world today: Islam.

Why the Founding Fathers Wouldn’t Have Been Anti-Vaxxers

By |February 17th, 2015|

Are you a vaccination skeptic? Or are you skeptical of the vaccination skeptics? Your answer will most likely depend less on science and more on political ideology. The science jury is in when it comes to vaccinations, as it is for climate change and evolution. Vaccinations work, climate change is real and evolution happened. But, though skepticism in all three cases tends to be the product of politics, to doubt science is to run up against the very heart of America’s political framework.

The Moral Arc Lecture, Broadcast Live from Caltech

By |February 8th, 2015|

In this provocative and compelling talk—that includes brief histories of freedom rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and animal rights, along with considerations of the nature of evil and moral regress—Shermer explains how scientific ways of thinking have moved us ever closer to a more just world.

The Influence of Science and Reason on Moral Progress

By |January 26th, 2015|

In this LA Times op-ed, Michael Shermer discusses the influence of science and reason on moral progress.