The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer

You Can Judge This Book by its Cover

written February 2005
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A review of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.

Anyone who does a lot of public speaking knows there are certain questions that inevitably arise from the audience in a Q&A session. In my case, lecturing on pseudoscience and the paranormal, I am almost always asked: (continue reading…)

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Design, Inc.

written July 2004
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A review of Michael Ruse’s Darwin and Design: Does Evolution have a Purpose?.

Psalms 19:1 declares: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” The divine design inference is not confined to the ancient Hebrews. (continue reading…)

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Survival of the Fittest Religion

written April 2004
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The following book review of Mark Oppenheimer’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture (Yale University Press, 2003), (originally published in the Los Angeles Times) ran in the Los Angeles Times Book Review (4/1/04). I used the book review to further support the group selection thesis proffered by David Sloan Wilson in his book Darwin’s Cathedral, as well as my own analysis in The Science of Good and Evil, to explain the success of religion. It was published as Countering the Counterculture. My original title better describes my thesis and what the book is about. But it is an unalterable law of nature that all book review and opinion editorial editors must change the author’s original title or else they will go to editorial hades.

In April, 1993, in his address to the Pontifical Biblical Commission, Pope John Paul II acquitted Galileo for his heretical belief that the earth goes around the sun, explaining that “the theologian must keep informed about the results (continue reading…)

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written October 2003
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A review of Robin Waterfield’s Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis.

In the early 1980s I began a personal odyssey into altered states of consciousness. Because I thought I might like to use my brain again, I eschewed mind-altering substances and instead opted for (continue reading…)

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I Knew You Would Say That

written June 2003
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A review of David G. Myers’ Intuition: It’s Powers and Perils.

Imagine yourself a contestant on the classic television game show Let’s Make a Deal. You must choose one of three doors, behind one of which is a brand new automobile (while the other two harbor goats). You choose door number one. Host Monty Hall, who knows what is behind all the doors, shows you what’s behind door number two, a goat, then inquires: would you like keep the door you chose or switch? It’s 50/50 so it doesn’t matter, right? (continue reading…)

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