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The Michael Shermer Show

Science Podcasts

The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Location:

Altadena, California

Description:

The Michael Shermer Show is a series of long-form conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

Language:

English

Contact:

1-626-794-3119


Episodes

172. Andrew Doyle — Free Speech: And Why it Matters

4/13/2021
Political Correctness has formed the basis for a new intolerant mindset, actively policing speech that is deemed offensive or controversial. Rather than confront bad ideas through discussion, it has now become common to intimidate one’s detractors into silence. Taking on board legitimate concerns about how speech can be harmful, Andrew Doyle argues that the alternative — an authoritarian world in which our freedoms are surrendered to those in power — has far worse consequences.

Duration:02:15:13

171. John Mueller — The Stupidity of War: American Foreign Policy and the Case for Complacency

4/10/2021
In this conversation based on his new book, The Stupidity of War, political scientist John Mueller argues that American foreign policy since 1945 has been one long miscue; most international threats — including during the Cold War — have been substantially exaggerated. The result has been agony and bloviation, unnecessary and costly military interventions that have mostly failed. With international war in decline, complacency and appeasement become viable diplomatic devices and a large...

Duration:01:49:15

170. Michio Kaku — The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

4/6/2021
Synthesizing relativity and quantum theory would be the crowning achievement of science, a profound merging of all the forces of nature into one beautiful, magnificent equation to unlock the deepest mysteries in science. In this episode, Michael Shermer speaks with professor of theoretical physics Michio Kaku about: the Big Bang, black holes, worm holes, the multiverse, time travel, dark energy and dark matter, gravity, string theory, ETIs, meaning, and God.

Duration:01:36:45

169. Jeff Hawkins — A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

4/3/2021
Michael Shermer speaks with Jeff Hawkins, cofounder of Numenta: a neuroscience research company, about his new book A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence in which Hawkins explains how simple cells in the brain create intelligence by using maplike structures to build hundreds of thousands of models of everything we know. Listen to this in-depth dialogue about the discoveries that allow Hawkins to answer important questions about how we perceive the world, why we have a sense of...

Duration:01:47:16

168. Daniel Dennett & Gregg Caruso — Just Deserts: Debating Free Will (moderated by Michael Shermer)

3/30/2021
The concept of free will is profoundly important to our self-understanding, our interpersonal relationships, and our moral and legal practices. If it turns out that no one is ever free and morally responsible, what would that mean for society, morality, meaning, and the law? Just Deserts introduces the concepts central to the debate about free will and moral responsibility by way of an entertaining, rigorous, and sometimes heated philosophical dialogue between two leading thinkers.

Duration:02:06:15

167. Gary Taubes — The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating

3/23/2021
For years, health organizations have preached the same rules for losing weight: restrict your calories, eat less, exercise more. So why doesn’t it work for everyone? The Case for Keto puts the ketogenic diet movement in the necessary historical and scientific perspective. It makes clear the vital misconceptions in how we’ve come to think about obesity and diet. Shermer and Taubes discuss: scientific consensus, nutrition, replication, why Newtonian mechanics doesn’t work with human bodies,...

Duration:01:50:22

166. Mine! How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives (Michael Heller & James Salzman))

3/20/2021
“Mine” is one of the first words babies learn. By the time we grow up, the idea of ownership seems natural. But who controls the space behind your airplane seat: you reclining or the squished laptop user behind? Why is plagiarism wrong, but it’s okay to knock-off a recipe or a dress design? Mine! explains these puzzles and many more.

Duration:01:34:55

165. John McWhorter — The Elect: Neoracists Posing as Antiracists and Their Threat to a Progressive America

3/16/2021
Dr. Shermer speaks with John McWhorter about his new online book on how the antiracism movement poses a threat to progressive America. Shermer and McWhorter discuss: antiracism as a religion; the 3 waves of antiracism; the antiracism trinity: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi; white fragility; Black Lives Matter; systemic racism (incarceration rates, housing, jobs, income, etc.); reparations; George Floyd, Tony Timpa and police violence; the N-word and language as violence;...

Duration:01:20:41

164. Neil deGrasse Tyson — Cosmic Queries: StarTalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

3/13/2021
In this thought-provoking conversation on life, the universe, and everything, Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles the world’s most important philosophical questions about the universe with wit, wisdom, and cutting-edge science. For science geeks, space and physics nerds, and all who want to understand their place in the universe, this enlightening new book offers a unique take on the mysteries and curiosities of the cosmos, building on rich material from his beloved StarTalk podcast, along with...

Duration:01:47:11

163. Helen Pluckrose — Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody

3/9/2021
Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Have you read that certain people shouldn’t practice yoga or cook Chinese food? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society? In this wide-ranging conversation Helen Pluckrose recounts the evolution of the...

Duration:02:11:31

162. Benjamin Friedman — Religion and the Rise of Capitalism

3/6/2021
In episode 162 of The Michael Shermer Show, Michael speaks with one of the nation’s preeminent experts on economic policy, Benjamin Friedman, about his new book Religion and the Rise of Capitalism — a major reassessment of the foundations of modern economic thinking that explores the profound influence of an until-now unrecognized force — religion. Critics of contemporary economics complain that belief in free markets — among economists as well as many ordinary citizens — is a form of...

Duration:01:52:27

161. Roy Richard Grinker — Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness

3/2/2021
For centuries, scientists and society cast moral judgments on anyone deemed mentally ill, confining many to asylums. In episode 161 of The Michael Shermer Show, Dr. Shermer speaks with anthropologist Dr. Roy Richard Grinker about his book Nobody’s Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness which chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma — from the 18th century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. Drawing on...

Duration:01:02:19

160. Abigail Shrier — Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

2/27/2021
Until just a few years ago, gender dysphoria—severe discomfort in one’s biological sex—was vanishingly rare. It was typically found in less than .01 percent of the population, emerged in early childhood, and afflicted males almost exclusively. But today whole groups of female friends in colleges, high schools, and even middle schools across the country are coming out as “transgender.” These are girls who had never experienced any discomfort in their biological sex until they heard a...

Duration:01:36:12

159. Joshua Glasgow — The Solace: Finding Value in Death Through Gratitude for Life

2/23/2021
How can we find solace when we face the death of loved ones? How can we find solace in our own death? When philosopher Joshua Glasgow’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, he struggled to answer these questions for her and for himself. Though death and immortality introduce some of the most basic and existentially compelling questions in philosophy, Glasgow found that the dominant theories came up short. Recalling the last months of his mother’s life, Glasgow reveals the breakthrough he...

Duration:01:41:26

158. Jason D. Hill — We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to The American People

2/20/2021
In this episode Michael Shermer speaks with Jason D. Hill, a black immigrant from Jamaica, about his eloquent appreciation of the American Dream, and why his adopted nation remains the most noble experiment in enabling the pursuit of happiness. Dr. Hill came to this country at the age of 20 and, rather than being faced with intractable racial bigotry, Hill found a land of bountiful opportunity. It has been more than 50 years since the Civil Rights Act enshrined equality under the law for all...

Duration:01:38:03

157. Avi Loeb — Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth

2/16/2021
According to the Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, we have proof of alien existence, and more sightings are coming soon. In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Loeb argued that it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of...

Duration:02:02:08

156. Ayaan Hirsi Ali — Prey: Immigration, Islam, and the Erosion of Women’s Rights

2/9/2021
Why are so few people talking about the eruption of sexual violence and harassment in Europe’s cities? No one in a position of power wants to admit that the problem is linked to the arrival of several million migrants — most of them young men — from Muslim-majority countries. In episode 155, Dr. Shermer speaks with Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, scholar, and former politician, Ayaan Hirsi Ali about her new book Prey. She explains why so many young Muslim men who arrive in...

Duration:01:36:39

155. Martin Sherwin — Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1945–1962

2/2/2021
In episode 155, Dr. Shermer speaks with Martin Sherwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, about his new book Gambling with Armageddon, the definitive history of the Cuban Missile Crisis and its potential for nuclear holocaust, in a wider historical narrative of the Cold War — how such a crisis arose, and why at the very last possible moment it didn’t happen. Luck, coupled to reason and diplomacy, saved the world from...

Duration:01:43:05

154. David Sloan Wilson — Atlas Hugged: The Autobiography of John Galt III

1/26/2021
In episode 154, Michael speaks with renowned evolutionary theorist David Sloan Wilson about his new novel Atlas Hugged: The Autobiography of John Galt III, a devastating critique of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and its impact on the world. Shermer and Wilson discuss: the role of fiction and film in spreading ideas, good and bad; empirical/pragmatic/mythic truths; individualism vs. collectivism; why liberals/progressives/feminists don‘t like Rand; the nature of human nature; how small...

Duration:01:59:01

153. Kevin Dutton — Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World

1/19/2021
In episode 153, Michael speaks with University of Oxford research psychologist Dr. Kevin Dutton about his new book Black-and-White Thinking: The Burden of a Binary Brain in a Complex World. Shermer and Dutton discuss a wide gamut including black-and-white thinking in physics, biology, psychology, politics, economics, society; categories, stereotypes, bigotries; the dark side of black-and-white thinking: tribalism, xenophobia, and racism; abortion, gender, cults, sects, religions, mental...

Duration:01:46:30