Science Salon-logo

Science Salon

Science Podcasts >

More Information

Location:

United States

Language:

English

Contact:

1-626-794-3119


Episodes

Daniel de Visé — On Comebacks in Sports and Life

11/13/2018
More
In this unusual dialogue Dr. Shermer talks to author and journalist Daniel de Visé about one of the greatest athletes in American history, three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond and de Vise’s new book about the cyclist, The Comeback: Greg LeMond, the True King of American Cycling, and a Legendary Tour de France. They also get into what constitutes fairness in sports, Lance Armstrong and the era of doping in sports in which nearly every professional athlete (not just in cycling) was...

Duration:01:23:25

Dr. David P. Barash — Human Nature Through a Glass Brightly

11/6/2018
More
Humans have long seen ourselves as the center of the universe, the apple of God’s eye, specially-created creatures who are somehow above and beyond the natural world. This viewpoint — a persistent paradigm of our own unique self-importance — is as dangerous as it is false. In this conversation with Michael Shermer based on his new book Through a Glass Brightly, noted biologist and evolutionary psychologist David Barash explores the process by which science has, throughout time, cut humanity...

Duration:01:33:25

Dr. Jonathan Haidt — Coming Apart

10/30/2018
More
A lecture by and follow-up discussion with Jonathan Haidt about the excessive divisiveness of American politics and culture the past several years. Dr. Haidt visited the campus of Chapman University on October 18 on his book tour for The Coddling of the American Mind, about which Dr. Shermer talked to him in Science Salon # 36. While on campus Professor Haidt made a guest appearance in Professor Shermer’s class, Skepticism 101, and gave a lecture about his deep concerns of what is happening...

Duration:01:14:38

Dr. Clay Routledge — The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything

10/17/2018
More
In this dialogue on life’s deepest and most meaningful issues Michael Shermer talks with psychologist Clay Routledge about: the evolution of motivation and goals in animals and humans ● what a “purpose driven life” really means ● how atheists and nonbelievers can create meaningful and purposeful lives ● the self, personal identity, and existential psychology ● why people believe in God and fear death ● why religious people live longer and healthier lives ● the different types of atheists ●...

Duration:02:00:46

Dr. Debra Lieberman — That’s Disgusting! Objection: Disgust, Morality and the Law

10/9/2018
More
Why do we consider incest wrong, even when it occurs between consenting adults unable to have children? Why are words that gross us out more likely to be deemed “obscene” and denied the protection of the First Amendment? In a world where a gruesome photograph can decisively influence a jury and homosexual behavior is still condemned by some as “unnatural,” it is worth asking: is our legal system really governed by the power of reason? Or do we allow a primitive human emotion, disgust, to...

Duration:01:43:44

Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah — Who Am I? Who Are You? The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

10/2/2018
More
In this wide-ranging conversation Dr. Appiah and Dr. Shermer review the 5 “Cs” of identity—Creed, Country, Color, Class, and Culture—and what they tell us about who we are, or at least who we think we are. Dr. Appiah’s new book The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity explores the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by...

Duration:01:31:59

Heather Mac Donald — The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture

9/25/2018
More
In this riveting review of the campus craziness investigative journals, writer, and lawyer Heather Mac Donald and Michael Shermer dive deep into the root causes of what has gone wrong on college campuses, in corporations, and in government agencies, over the decades that has led to a crisis in higher education … and beyond. Race and gender form the core of Identity Politics, which Mac Donald and Shermer discuss in dunking the myth that American society in general — and academia in particular...

Duration:01:38:59

Dr. Yuval Noah Harari — 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

9/18/2018
More
In this dialogue with one of the most interesting minds of our time, the Hebrew University historian and best-selling author (Sapiens, Homo Deus), Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, he and Dr. Shermer discuss the central ideas of his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, an exploration of: history, work, liberty, equality, community, civilization, nationalism, religion, immigration, terrorism, war, humility, God, secularism, ignorance, justice, post-truth, science fiction, education, meaning, and...

Duration:01:22:32

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson — Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military

9/11/2018
More
In this deep dive into the history of science and war, and the strange but productive alliances that have been formed over the centuries—particularly those between astrophysicists and politicians, governments, military, and corporations—Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michael Shermer cover centuries of history and the many facets of science policy that have brought us to the modern world of space telescopes, GPS, and the Internet, along with guided missiles, nuclear weapons, and smart bombs...

Duration:01:22:27

Dr. Jonathan Haidt — The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

9/4/2018
More
In this fascinating dialogue Dr. Haidt and Dr. Shermer discuss what has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen? In his new book Haidt has teamed up with First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff to show how the new problems on campus have their...

Duration:01:19:01

Dr. Tali Sharot — The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About our Power to Change Others

8/28/2018
More
In her new book, The Influential Mind, neuroscientist Tali Sharot takes readers on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence, so she and Shermer start the conversation by discussing how we can influence, for example, climate deniers to accept climate science, anti-vaxxers to accept vaccines, and creationists to accept evolution. As Sharot shows in her research, merely presenting people with the facts will not change their minds. There are other forces at work, which she reveals in...

Duration:00:58:31

Colin McGinn — Paradoxes, Puzzles, and Philosophy

8/21/2018
More
In their second Science Salon conversation Michael Shermer and Colin McGinn consider the broader sweep of philosophy after their first encounter in which they focused on consciousness, free will, and God. In this dialogue they review some of the paradoxes and puzzles of philosophy, pseudo-questions, realism v. antirealism, how to deal with unknown unknowns, immortality and the nature of the self and soul, and how McGinn and Daniel Dennett differ in their positions on mysterianism. Another...

Duration:01:11:08

David Quammen — The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

8/15/2018
More
In this dialogue with one of the best nature and science writers of our generation, David Quammen and Michael Shermer discuss his new book on the history of one of the most exciting revolutions in evolution and genetics that is unfolding before our eyes. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is...

Duration:01:24:19

Nina Teicholz — The Big Fat Surprise About Diet and Nutrition

8/7/2018
More
In this fascinating conversation with Michael Shermer, the investigative journalist Nina Teicholz reviews the scientific literature on diet and nutrition, the link (or lack thereof) between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the history of the government’s recommendation of what constitutes a healthy diet and why they got it so wrong, statins and heart disease, exercise and nutrition, an update on what has happened since her book, The Big Fat Surprise, was published in 2014, and most...

Duration:01:11:01

Amy Alkon — Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence

7/31/2018
More
In this unique conversation Michael Shermer talks with the science writer and weekly advice columnist Amy Alkon about her new book, Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence. She calls her book a “science-help” book, instead of “self-help” because she grounds her recommendations in solid science. Her hilarious anecdotes are there just to illustrate a scientific point. She also debunks widely-accepted but scientifically unsupported notions about self-esteem, shame,...

Duration:01:36:26

Dr. Ralph Lewis — Finding Meaning in a Meaningless Universe

7/25/2018
More
In this wide-ranging conversation Michael Shermer talks with the author of the new book Finding Purpose in a Godless World: Why We Care Even if the Universe Doesn’t, Dr. Ralph Lewis. Dr. Lewis is a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto who works with cancer patients and others facing death. They often face existential crises, so Dr. Lewis—himself an atheist—has developed techniques to help people cope that do not depend on any one religion. His new book is about how human purpose and...

Duration:01:23:35

Colin McGinn — Mysterianism, Consciousness, Free Will, and God

7/16/2018
More
This podcast was initiated after McGinn commented publicly, and critically, on Shermer’s latest Scientific American column on the mysteries of consciousness, free will, and God. The philosopher Justin Weinberg at the University of South Carolina, who runs the DailyNous website (@DailyNousEditor on Twitter) posted a dozen tweets admonishing Shermer and Scientific American for publishing such a mischaracterization of several philosophical subjects, even referencing the film Annie Hall, where...

Duration:01:41:26

Dr. Michael Shermer — Ask Me Anything # 1

7/9/2018
More
In this first Ask Me Anything (AMA) Dr. Shermer attempts to answer as many questions as possible in a reasonable time among the hundreds submitted by readers. There were so many good ones, in fact, that he will produce a second AMA on these, as well as new ones submitted when we put out a call shortly. In AMA # 1 the questions are roughly grouped in the following categories: Read a list of the questions answered in this AMA: https://www.skeptic.com/science-salon/ama001/

Duration:01:01:42

Edward J. Larson — On Faith and Science

7/2/2018
More
Throughout history, scientific discovery has clashed with religious dogma, creating conflict, controversy, and sometimes violent dispute. In this enlightening and accessible volume, distinguished historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Larson and Michael Ruse, philosopher of science and Gifford Lecturer, offer their distinctive viewpoints on the sometimes contentious relationship between science and religion. The authors explore how scientists, philosophers, and theologians...

Duration:01:30:19

Charles S. Cockell — The Equations of Life: How Physics Shapes Evolution

6/24/2018
More
We are all familiar with the popular idea of strange alien life wildly different from life on earth inhabiting other planets. Maybe it’s made of silicon! Maybe it has wheels! Or maybe it doesn’t. In The Equations of Life, astrobiologist Charles S. Cockell makes the forceful argument that the laws of physics narrowly constrain how life can evolve, making evolution’s outcomes predictable. If we were to find on a distant planet something very much like a lady bug eating something like an aphid,...

Duration:01:27:08