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

Tag Results

Michael Shermer on Reasonable Doubt at TEDxGhent

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.

Learn more about Michael Shermer’s book, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom on the official website.

Comments Off on Michael Shermer on Reasonable Doubt at TEDxGhent

Scientia Humanitatis

Reason, empiricism and skepticism are not virtues of science alone
magazine cover

In the late 20th century the humanities took a turn toward postmodern deconstruction and the belief that there is no objective reality to be discovered. To believe in such quaint notions as scientific progress was to be guilty of “scientism,” properly said with a snarl. In 1996 New York University physicist Alan Sokal punctured these pretensions with his now famous article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” chockablock full of postmodern phrases and deconstructionist tropes interspersed with scientific jargon, which he subsequently admitted were nonsensical gibberish.

I subsequently gave up on the humanities but am now reconsidering my position after an encounter this past March with University of Amsterdam humanities professor Rens Bod during a European book tour for The Moral Arc. In our dialogue, Bod pointed out that my definition of science—a set of methods that describes and interprets observed or inferred phenomena, past or present, aimed at testing hypotheses and building theories—applies to such humanities fields as philology, art history, musicology, linguistics, archaeology, historiography and literary studies. (continue reading…)

Comments Off on Scientia Humanitatis

Michael Shermer in Merchants of Doubt

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Merchants of Doubt takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver-tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Comments Off on Michael Shermer in Merchants of Doubt

TEDArchive: The Moral Arc—How Science & Reason Make the World Better

In this previously unpublished, unedited talk recorded at TED 2014 All-Stars, Skeptic Michael Shermer argues that science and reason have bent the moral arc of society towards justice and freedom. Thanks to scientific discovery, myopic ideas and laws are being thrown out in favor of comprehensive legislation. Could this be the onset of major changes? This talk is based on Michael Shermer’s book The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People. Learn more about the book at moralarc.org.

Comments Off on TEDArchive: The Moral Arc—How Science & Reason Make the World Better

Heavens on Earth

Can a scientific utopia succeed?
magazine cover

“There is no scientific law that prevents 100 people who find each other on the Internet from coming together for a month, or 1,000 such people from coming together for a year. And as that increases to 10,000 and 100,000 and beyond, for longer and longer durations, we may begin to see cloud towns, then cloud cities, and ultimately cloud countries materialize out of thin air.” So says Stanford University lecturer Balaji Srinivasan in an article published online by Wired in November 2013. In a talk at the annual conference held by the Silicon Valley start-up-funding organization Y Combinator, he revealed his inspiration to be the classic 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty by the late economist Albert Hirschman: when firms, nations and other organizations begin to stagnate and decline, members or citizens can employ one of two strategies for change— voice their opinions for reform; exit and start anew. (continue reading…)

read or write comments (9)
PREVIOUS
 
NEXT