Ayaan talks with Michael Shermer about his journey in and out of religion, the ten commandments of freedom of speech, and the concept of moral politics.

Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the host of The Michael Shermer Show, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101.

For 18 years, he was a columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of Why People Believe in Weird Things, The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, The Moral Arc, Heavens on Earth, and Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist.

Follow him on Twitter @michaelshermer or visit his website: www.skeptics.com; www.michaelshermer.com.

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Published in: Culture

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  1. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    I was shocked by how little Shermer knew about the current status of the conservative movement.  

    His comments about its eagerness to maintain military bases overseas are weirdly dated, as if he thinks George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are still in the White House.

    I understand his problem, of course.

    He wants to depict both sides as equally interested in big government, so he has to gloss over the fact that the (“conservative”) defense budget is tiny compared to (“liberal”) social spending; and that, post-Trump, conservatism is no longer enthusiastic about overseas intervention, if it ever was.

    • #1
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Taras (View Comment):
    I was shocked by how little Shermer knew about the current status of the conservative movement.

    Republicans are also cool with gays now. I think there is some truth to the notion of the daddy government vs. mommy government but I think that Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions is a better idea of why we believe what we believe. For example, Thomas Sowell noticed that people who are into guns are also anti-abortion. He tried to figure out why and I think he gave a great answer and it has been ignored in political psychology.

    Also, with guns, with the exception of suicides and homicides in the inner city, America is remarkably peaceful. I am skeptical of political psychology because they simply don’t talk to Thomas Sowell nerds.

    He seems like a nice guy though.

    • #2
  3. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):
    I was shocked by how little Shermer knew about the current status of the conservative movement.

    Republicans are also cool with gays now. I think there is some truth to the notion of the daddy government vs. mommy government but I think that Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions is a better idea of why we believe what we believe. For example, Thomas Sowell noticed that people who are into guns are also anti-abortion. He tried to figure out why and I think he gave a great answer and it has been ignored in political psychology.

    Also, with guns, with the exception of suicides and homicides in the inner city, America is remarkably peaceful. I am skeptical of political psychology because they simply don’t talk to Thomas Sowell nerds.

    He seems like a nice guy though.

    Calling the Democrats the “mommy party” and the Republicans the “daddy party” is attributed to Chris Matthews, as far back as 1991.  (Though I remember it as from Meg Greenfield.)

    Missing the fact that most “gun deaths” are suicides is one thing Shermer gets wrong.

    Another is not understanding the Libertarians for Life viewpoint, that they are defending human rights as they see them.

    • #3
  4. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Taras (View Comment):
    Missing the fact that most “gun deaths” are suicides is one thing Shermer gets wrong.

    By this you mean that most gun deaths are done by suicide right? 

    • #4
  5. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):
    Missing the fact that most “gun deaths” are suicides is one thing Shermer gets wrong.

    By this you mean that most gun deaths are done by suicide right?

    62% in recent years, according to Polifact.  Of course, if somebody told me Polifact was low-balling the number, I wouldn’t be very surprised.

    • #5
  6. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Taras (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Taras (View Comment):
    Missing the fact that most “gun deaths” are suicides is one thing Shermer gets wrong.

    By this you mean that most gun deaths are done by suicide right?

    62% in recent years, according to Polifact. Of course, if somebody told me Polifact was low-balling the number, I wouldn’t be very surprised.

    I think that Shermer knew that most gun deaths are suicides. But he adopts the leftist language that suicides are gun deaths. Again, he seems like a nice guy but I doubt that he seriously debates with smart conservatives.

    • #6