Dr. Michael Shermer is a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He is the co-founder of The Skeptics Society and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine. He has been a college professor since 1979, teaching courses such as Skepticism 101. He was a monthly columnist for Scientific American for 18 years.
Among his books are WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS; WHY DARWIN MATTERS; THE SCIENCE OF GOOD AND EVIL, and GIVING THE DEVIL HIS DUE: REFLECTIONS OF A SCIENTIFIC HUMANIST. His latest book, CONSPIRACY: WHY THE RATIONAL BELIEVE THE IRRATIONAL, is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.
We spoke with him via Skype on December 5, 2022. The next day, a New York jury found The Trump Organization guilty of 17 felonies, including conspiracy. The day after that, 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states against the group, Reich Citizens, whose members it said adhered to a conglomerate of conspiracy theories, including the QAnon cult and the so-called Reich Citizens movement.
Articles and videos pertinent to this interview can be found here:
My Gentle, Intelligent Brother Is Now A Conspiracy Theorist And His Beliefs Are Shocking https://www.huffpost.com/entry/brother-conspiracy-theory_n_61dd94afe4b061afe3b83cec
Attacks on Pacific north-west power stations raise fears for US electric grid https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/09/us-power-grid-pacific-northwest-attacks
Far-Right Group Suspected in German Plot Gained Strength From QAnon https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/08/world/europe/germany-plot-qanon.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage§ion=World%20News
Peru’s President Tried to Dissolve Congress. By Day’s End, He Was Arrested. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/07/world/americas/peru-pedro-castillo-coup.html
Bonhoeffer‘s Theory of Stupidity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww47bR86wSc
Bonhoeffer on Stupidity (entire quote) http://southsidemessenger.com/bonhoeffer-on-stupidity-entire-quote/
The Five Laws Of Stupidity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O9FFrLpinQ
‘Extinction is on the table’: Jaron Lanier warns of tech’s existential threat to humanity https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/27/jaron-lanier-tech-threat-humanity-twitter-social-media
The size of the U.S. Jewish population < 4% of population https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/2021/05/11/the-size-of-the-u-s-jewish-population/
Skeptic Check: Shared Reality http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-shared-reality