Episode 38: Giving the Devil His Due: a conversation with Michael Shermer & Brian Keating


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Brian Keating Interviews Skeptic Magazine publisher and author of "Giving The Devil His Due" Michael Shermer. Get Michael Shermer's Books here:

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Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of the Science Salon Podcast, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101. For 18 years he was a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, The Moral Arc, and Heavens on Earth. His new book is Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist. Follow Michael on Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaelshermer and Brian Keating here: https://twitter.com/drbriankeating Michael regularly contributes opinion editorials, essays, and reviews to: the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications. He wrote 214 consecutive monthly columns for Scientific American. He appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Oprah, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). He has been interviewed in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown. His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100.

Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University. He has been a college professor since 1979, also teaching at Occidental College, Glendale College, and Claremont Graduate University, where he taught a transdisciplinary course for Ph.D. students on Evolution, Economics, and the Brain.

  • Watch Michael Shermer discuss Losing the Nobel Prize with Brian Keating on SCIENCE SALON # 70
  • Topics discussed in this extended interview include:
  • Michael’s background and how he became a passionate skeptic.
  • How to teach people HOW to think in the age of dis/misinformation.
  • If mars is colonized, how should it be governed?
  • How should we view social media and ‘cancel culture’?
  • Parsing the conflicting information regarding COVID-19 stats, reporting, science, the efficacy of treatments and cures, the severity of the infection etc.
  • The cognitive biases that are most dangerous NOW!
  • Confirmation bias, authority bias, etc. On pedagogy and distance learning:
  • What is lost in online education versus face-to-face? 1:08:38 Are campuses obsolete?
  • Higher Ed/Post COVID?
  • Skeptic 101 on the GREAT COURSES series. Shermer had his own problems with employment after a PhD. Is it worth it? Was Freeman Dyson correct, has the PhD. become obsolete?
  • Will the value of branded education be flattened with the explosion in online learning?
  • What will be the new ways of credential validation etc.
  • How to think like a scientist and apply the scientific method for themselves?
  • The rule of proportionate proof.
  • Is it possible to reconcile science and faith?

Michael’s favorite lessons that can be learned from the history of science? To donate to the Arthur C. Clark Center for Human Imagination Click Here.

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INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE is a production of The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego in the division of physical sciences,  Directed by Erik Viirre, Brian Keating and Patrick Coleman Produced by Stuart Volkow. For more information go to imagine.ucsd.edu  Find us on Twitter at @ImagineUCSD.