Shermer on the Skeptics Society Geology Tour on June 8, 2007.
Michael Brant Shermer|
September 8, 1954
|Residence||Altadena, California, United States|
Pepperdine University (B.A.)|
California State University (M.A.)
Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D.)
|Occupation||Academic historian of science and editor|
|Title||Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic, Senior Research Fellow at Claremont Graduate University and Adjunct Professor at Chapman University|
Michael Brant Shermer (born September 8, 1954) is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The Skeptics Society currently has over 55,000 members. Shermer also engages in debates on topics pertaining to pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasizes scientific skepticism.
Shermer is also the producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown. Since April 2001, he has been a monthly columnist for Scientific American magazine with his Skeptic column. He is also a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
Shermer was once a fundamentalist Christian, but ceased to believe in the existence of God during his graduate studies. He accepts the labels agnostic, nontheist, atheist and others. He has expressed reservations about such labels for his lack of belief in a God, however, as he sees them being used in the service of "pigeonholing", and prefers to simply be called a skeptic. He also describes himself as an advocate for humanist philosophy as well as the science of morality.
Michael Brant Shermer was born on September 8, 1954. He was born an only child, and raised in Southern California, specifically the La Cañada area in the foothills surrounding Los Angeles. His parents divorced when he was four and later remarried, his mother to a man with three children, who became Shermer's step-sister and two step-brothers, and his father to a woman with whom he had two daughters, Shermer's half-sisters. His father died of a heart attack in 1986, and his mother of brain cancer in 2000.
Although Shermer went to Sunday school, he says that neither his biological parents, stepparents nor siblings were religious nor non-religious, as they did not discuss that topic often, nor did they attend church or pray together. Shermer began his senior year of high school in 1971, when the evangelical movement in the United States was beginning to gain popularity. One night at the behest of his best friend George, whose parents were Christian, Shermer converted to Christianity. The next day the two friends attended the Glendale, Presbyterian Church, where a sermon was given by what Shermer describes as "a very dynamic and histrionic preacher who inspired me to come forward at the end of the sermon to be saved." For the next seven years he evangelized door-to-door as part of his profoundly held beliefs. Shermer attended an informal Christian study fellowship group at a place called "The Barn" in La Crescenta, California, which Shermer describes as "a quintessential 1970s-era hang-out with a long-haired hippie-type, guitar-playing leader who read Bible passages that we discussed at length." Shermer enjoyed the social aspects of religion, and particularly relished its theological debates.
Shermer was raised with guns. His stepfather was a hunter who took Shermer and their hunting dogs with him on hunting excursions half a dozen times a year, shooting game such as doves, ducks, and quail with a 20-gauge and 12-gauge shotguns. They ate everything they killed, for which Shermer's stepfather also displayed culinary skills. Growing up Shermer owned a BB gun, then a pellet gun, then a 20-gauge shotgun, and then a 12-gauge shotgun.
Shermer graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1972. Desiring serious theological training, he enrolled at Pepperdine University with the intent of becoming a theologian. He initially majored in Christian theology. In addition to taking courses on the Bible, Shermer studied the writings of C.S. Lewis, and he attended chapel twice a week, which was required for all students. Despite the restrictions imposed on students, such as a ban on dancing and visiting the dorm rooms of opposite sex, Shermer found the university a good experience, and he accepted its teachings as a valid guide for behavior. However, when he learned that the Ph.D. needed to be a professor of theology required proficiency in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Aramaic, Shermer, who did not find foreign languages to be his forte, switched his major to psychology. He mastered statistics, which he calls "one of the languages of science", and through it, he learned about forming hypotheses, the null hypothesis and testing hypotheses, which led to a change in his thinking. He completed his B.S. in psychology at Pepperdine in 1976.
Graduate studies and change of beliefs
Shermer's master's degree in experimental psychology at the California State University, Fullerton, led to many after-class discussions with professors Bayard Brattstrom and Meg White at a local pub — The 301 Club — that went late into the night. These discussions, along with his studies in cultural anthropology, led him to question his religious beliefs. He abandoned his devout religious views, fueled by what he perceived to be the intolerance generated by the absolute morality he was taught in his religious studies; the hypocrisy in what many believers preached and what they practiced; and his growing awareness of other religious beliefs, and how they were determined by the temporal, geographic, and cultural circumstances in which their adherents were born. From this, Shermer came to conclude "it obvious that God was made in our likeness and not the reverse." By midway through his graduate training, he removed the Christian silver ichthys medallion that he had been wearing around his neck for years. He completed his M.S. degree from the California State University in psychology in 1978.
The final step in Shermer's abandoning religion came when his college sweetheart, Maureen, was in an automobile accident that broke her back and rendered her paralyzed from the waist down. Shermer relates:
When I saw her at the Long Beach Medical Center ER, the full implications of what this meant for her begin to dawn on me. There, in the ER, day after dreary day, night after sleepless night, I took a knee and bowed my head and asked God to heal Maureen's broken back. I prayed with deepest sincerity. I cried out to God to overlook my doubts in the name of Maureen. I willingly suspended all disbelief. At that time and in that place, I was once again a believer. I believed because I wanted to believe that if there was any justice in the universe — any at all — this sweet, loving, smart, responsible, devoted, caring spirit did not deserve to be in a shattered body. A just and loving God who had the power to heal, would surely heal Maureen. He didn't. He didn't, I now believe, not because "God works in mysterious ways" or "He has a special plan for Maureen" — the nauseatingly banal comforts believers sometimes offer in such trying and ultimately futile times — but because there is no God.
After earning his M.A. in experimental psychology in 1978, Shermer was unable to secure a position in a Ph.D. program, and landed a job writing for a bicycle magazine in Irvine, California. His first assignment, a Cycles Peugeot press conference featuring John Marino, who had just ridden from Los Angeles to New York in 13 days, one hour, and 20 minutes, made a deep impression on Shermer. He bought a bike and entered the Yoplait Yogurt 50-kilometer race through Griffith Park in Los Angeles the following weekend. His interest grew rapidly, and within a short time he had completed his first century ride (100 miles). Before long he was riding hundreds of miles a week.
Shermer began competitive cycling in 1979, and he spent a decade as a professional rider. Shermer's best known bicycling is in the very long distance ultramarathon road racing discipline. Shermer is a founding member of the Ultra Cycling Hall of Fame.
During the course of his cycling career, Shermer worked with cycling technologists in developing better products for the sport. During his association with Bell Helmets, a bicycle-race sponsor, Shermer advised them on design issues regarding their development of expanded-polystyrene for use in cycling helmets, which would absorb impact far better than the old leather "hairnet" helmets used by bicyclists for decades. Shermer advised them that if their helmets looked too much like motorcycle helmets, in which polystyrene was already being used, and not like the old hairnet helmets, no serious cyclists or amateur would use them. This suggestion led to their first model, the V1 Pro, which looked like a black leather hairnet, but functioned on the inside like a motorcycle helmet. In 1982, Shermer worked with Wayman Spence, whose small supply company, Spenco Medical, adapted the gel technology Spence developed for bedridden patients with pressure sores into cycling gloves and saddles to alleviate the carpal tunnel syndrome and saddle sores suffered by cyclists.
During the decade in which he raced long distances, he helped to found the 3,000-mile nonstop transcontinental bicycle Race Across America (known as "RAAM", along with Lon Haldeman and John Marino), in which he competed five times (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1989), was an assistant race director for six years, and the executive race director for seven years. An acute medical condition is named for him: "Shermer Neck" is pain in and extreme weakness of the neck muscles found among long-distance bicyclists. Shermer suffered the condition about 2,000 miles into the 1983 Race Across America. Shermer's embrace of scientific skepticism crystallized during his time as a cyclist, explaining, "I became a skeptic on Saturday, August 6, 1983, on the long climbing road to Loveland Pass, Colorado", after months of training under the guidance of a "nutritionist" with an unaccredited Ph.D. After years of practicing acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, negative ions, rolfing, pyramid power, fundamentalist Christianity, and "a host of weird things" (with the exception of drugs) to improve his life and training, Shermer stopped rationalizing the failure of these practices. Shermer later produced several documentary films on cycling.
Shermer has written on the subject of pervasive doping in competitive cycling and a game theoretic view of the dynamics driving the problem in several sports. He wrote specifically about r-EPO doping, which he saw as both widespread and well known within the sport, which was later shown to be instrumental in the doping scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong in 2010.
Earning his Ph.D. and teaching
While cycling, Shermer taught Psychology 101 during the evenings at Glendale Community College, a two-year college. Wanting to teach at a four-year university, he decided to earn his Ph.D. Because Shermer's interests lay in behaviorism, and he did not believe he could make a difference in the world by working in a lab with Skinner boxes, he lost interest in psychology, he switched to studying the history of science, earning his Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University in 1991. His dissertation was titled Heretic-Scientist: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Evolution of Man: A Study on the Nature of Historical Change. Shermer later based a full-length book on his dissertation: In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History, which was published in August 2002.
Earlier that year, in his book The Borderlands of Science, Shermer rated several noted scientists for gullibility toward "pseudo" or "borderland" ideas, using the Big Five model developed by Cal-Berkeley professor Frank Sulloway, and rated Wallace extremely high (99th percentile) on agreeableness/accommodation, which was the key trait in distinguishing Wallace from scientists who give less credence to such ideas.
Shermer then became an adjunct professor of the history of science at Occidental College, California. In 2007, Shermer took a position as a senior research fellow at Claremont Graduate University. In 2011, he took a position as an adjunct professor at Chapman University, and was later made a Presidential Fellow. At Chapman, Shermer teaches a yearly critical thinking course called Skepticism 101, in which he tries out new ideas on students.
In 1992 Shermer founded the Skeptics Society, which began as a hobby in his garage, but eventually grew into a full-time occupation. The Skeptics Society publishes the magazine Skeptic, and organizes the Caltech Lecture Series. As of 2008, it has over 55,000 members.
Shermer is also a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH).
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Michael Shermer|
Shermer is the author of books which attempt to explain the ubiquity of irrational or poorly substantiated beliefs, including UFOs, Bigfoot, and paranormal claims. In 1997, he wrote Why People Believe Weird Things, which explores a variety of "weird" ideas and groups (including cults), in the tradition of the skeptical writings of Martin Gardner. A revised and expanded edition was published in 2002. From the Introduction:
So we are left with the legacy of two types of thinking errors: Type 1 Error: believing a falsehood and Type 2 Error: rejecting a truth. ... Believers in UFOs, alien abductions, ESP, and psychic phenomena have committed a Type 1 Error in thinking: they are believing a falsehood. ... It's not that these folks are ignorant or uninformed; they are intelligent but misinformed. Their thinking has gone wrong.— Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things, 1997, 2002, Introduction
In How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, Shermer explored the psychology behind the belief in God. In its introduction Shermer wrote "Never in history have so many, and such a high percentage of the population, believed in God. Not only is God not dead as Nietzsche proclaimed, but he has never been more alive."
In February 2002, he characterized the position that "God had no part in the process [of the evolution of mankind]" as the "standard scientific theory". This statement was criticized in January 2006 by the scientist Eugenie Scott, who commented that science makes no claim about God one way or the other.
In May 2002, Shermer and Alex Grobman published their book Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? which examined and refuted the Holocaust denial movement. This book recounts meeting various denialists and concludes that free speech is the best way to deal with pseudohistory.
Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown was released in 2005. Then his 2006 book Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, marshals point-by-point arguments supporting evolution, sharply criticizing Intelligent Design. This book also argues that science cannot invalidate religion, and that Christians and conservatives can and should accept evolution.
In June 2006, Shermer, who formerly expressed skepticism regarding the mainstream scientific views on global warming, wrote that, in the light of the accumulation of evidence, the position of denying global warming is no longer tenable.
The Mind of The Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics was released in 2007. In it Shermer reports on the findings of multiple behavioral and biochemical studies that address evolutionary explanations for modern behavior. It garnered several critical reviews from academics, skeptic Robert T. Carroll saying: "He has been blinded by his libertarianism and seduced by the allure of evolutionary psychology to explain everything, including ethics and economics."
In February 2009, Shermer published The History of Science: A Sweeping Visage of Science and its History, a 25-hour audio lecture.
In May 2011, Shermer published The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies – How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.
Prior to work on science and skepticism, Shermer published books on cycling and others on child education in the math and science disciplines. These include collaborations with Arthur Benjamin.
In January 2015, Shermer published The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom.
Media appearances and lectures
Shermer appeared as a guest on Donahue in 1994 to respond to Bradley Smith's and David Cole's Holocaust denial claims, and in 1995 on The Oprah Winfrey Show to challenge Rosemary Altea's psychic claims. Shermer made a guest appearance in a 2004 episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit!, in which he argued that events in the Bible constitute "mythic storytelling," rather than events described literally. His stance was supported by the show's hosts, who have expressed their own atheism. The episode in question, The Bible: Fact or Fiction?, sought to debunk the notion that the Bible is an empirically reliable historical record. Opposing Shermer was Paul Maier, professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University.
Shermer made several appearances on NBC's daytime paranormal-themed show The Other Side in 1994 and 1995. After getting to know that show's producers, he made a formal pitch to their production company for his own skepticism-oriented reality show whose aim would be to present points of view of both believers and skeptics. His proposals were not fruitful, but several years later, one of the executives of that company went to work for the then-newly formed Fox Family Channel, and impressed with Shermer's show treatment, requested he pitch it to the network. The network picked up the series, Exploring the Unknown, of which Shermer became a producer and cohost. The series, which was budgeted at approximately $200,000 USD per episode, was viewed by Shermer as a direct extension of the work done at the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine, and would enable Shermer to reach more people. The equivocal title was chosen so as to not tip off guests or viewers as to the skeptical nature of the show. Various segments from Exploring the Unknown can be found on Shermer's YouTube channel.
In 1999 Shermer produced and was the co-host for the Fox Family TV series, Exploring the Unknown.
In 2008 Shermer delivered the commencement speech at Whittier College, which awarded him with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
As of 2007, Shermer lives in Altadena, California. He married Jennifer Graf, a native of Köln, Germany, on June 25, 2014. The ceremony was performed by Shermer's sister, Tina, who was ordained online for the occasion.
Politically, Shermer has described himself as a lifelong libertarian, but after changing his mind on some issues during his research for the 2015 book The Moral Arc, stated that he should never have called himself a libertarian. The first President he voted for was Richard Nixon in 1972, which in light of the Watergate scandal, he calls his "most embarrassing vote". In 2000, he voted for Harry Browne in order to "vote his conscience", on the assumption that the winner of the Al Gore - George W. Bush contest would be irrelevant. He later regretted this decision, believing that Bush's foreign policy made the world more dangerous, and he voted for John Kerry in 2004. Shermer names Thomas Jefferson as his favorite President, for his championing of liberty and his application of scientific thinking to the political, economic, and social spheres. Shermer says of Jefferson, "When he dined alone at the White House there was more intelligence in that room than when John F. Kennedy hosted a dinner there for a roomful of Nobel laureates."
Shermer once opposed most gun control measures, primarily because of his beliefs in the principle of increasing individual freedom and decreased government intervention, and also because he has owned guns for most of his life. As an adult, he once owned a .357 Magnum pistol for a quarter of a century for protection, although he eventually took it out of the house, and then got rid of it entirely. Though he no longer owns guns, he continues to support the right to own guns to protect one's family. However, by 2013, the data on gun homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings convinced him that some modest gun control measures might be necessary, such as background checks, limits on magazine size, and especially stronger requirements for training and safety.
Shermer also previously favored capital punishment, primarily in sympathy for victims' families, but later he came to oppose the death penalty, partially out of a resistance to giving the government too much power - in light of the hundreds of executed individuals who were later revealed to be innocent - and partially from his view that retributive justice is driven by humanity's baser instincts, and it does not effect restorative justice. As was the case with gun control, he changed his mind about the issue during research for The Moral Arc, reasoning that "[Capital punishment] is one of these barbaric practices that we need to get rid of. [The United States of] America is really the last of the 19 industrialized democracies to have the death penalty. (...) The Italian enlightenment philosopher Cesare Beccaria, on his book On Crimes and Punishments, put forward the idea that the punishment should fit the crime and that the criteria should be whether it keeps people from committing crimes, and the Death Penalty does not do that."
Awards and honors
- Fellow, 2001, Linnean Society of London
- California State University, Fullerton Distinguished Alumni Award, 2002
- NCAS Philip J. Klass Award, October 2006
- Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, Whittier College, 2008
- Shermer, Michael (1985). Sport cycling : a guide to training, racing, and endurance. Chicago: Contemporary Books.
- — (1987). Cycling: Endurance and Speed (Sportsperformance). ISBN 0-8092-4775-5.
- — (1989). Teach Your Child Science. ISBN 0-929923-08-1.
- — (2002) . Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time (2nd Revision ed.). ISBN 0-8050-7089-3.
- — (1999). Teach Your Child Math and Mathemagics. ISBN 0-7373-0134-1.
- — (2001). The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense. ISBN 0-19-514326-4.
- — (2001). How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science. ISBN 0-613-35413-3.
- The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. 2002. ISBN 1-57607-653-9. (editor).
- — (2002). Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?. ISBN 0-520-23469-3.
- — (2002). In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History. ISBN 0-19-514830-4.
- — (2004). The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule. ISBN 0-8050-7520-8.
- — (2005). Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown. ISBN 0-8050-7708-1.
- — (2006). Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks. ISBN 978-0-307-33840-2.
- — (2006). Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design. ISBN 978-0-8050-8121-3.
- — (2007). The Mind of The Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics. ISBN 978-0-8050-7832-9.
- — (2011). The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. ISBN 978-0-8050-9125-0.
- — (2015). The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. ISBN 978-0805096910.
- — (2016). Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye. ISBN 978-1627791380.
Articles and chapters
- "Agnosticism". Invited contribution in Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, edited by J. Gordon Melton. ABC-CLIO. 2010.
- "The Chain of Accidents and the Rule of Law: The Role of Contingency and Necessity in Evolution". Contribution for edited volume, The Nature of Nature (Bruce L. Gordon, Editor). 2010.
- "A noble conception". Commentary. Nature Physics, 2009, 5, 162-163
- "Testing Tenure: Let the Market Decide". Invited commentary on "Is Tenure Justified?" by Stephen J. Ceci, et al., Behavioral and Brain Sciences, December, 2006, Volume 29, No. 6, 584-585.
- "Science and Pseudoscience". Encyclopedia of Philosophy. MacMillan, 2006.
- "The Skeptic's Chaplain: Richard Dawkins as a Fountainhead of Skepticism". Contribution for edited volume in tribute to Dawkins, Oxford University Press, 2006.
- "Pseudoscience". Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Carl Mitcham (Ed.) Macmillan Reference. In Press, 2004.
- "Skepticism". Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Carl Mitcham (Ed.) Macmillan Reference. In Press, 2004.
- "Rethinking Stephen Jay Gould: Science and Politics in Evolutionary Theory". Rethinking Marxism, Winter, 2003.
- "How to be Open-Minded Without Your Brains Falling Out". Journal of Thought. July, 2003.
- "Agnosticism." Entry in Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. J. Gordon Melton and martin Baumann, Editors. Denver: ABC-CLIO, Vol. 1: 22-23. 2002.
- "This View of Science: Stephen Jay Gould as Historian of Science and Scientific Historian". Social Studies of Science. September, 2002.
- "The Crooked Timber of History: History is Complex and Often Chaotic. Can We Use This to Better Understand the Past?" Complexity, Vol. 2, No.6. July/August 1997: 23-29.
- "Chaos Theory". Invited entry in The Encyclopedia of Historiography. D.R. Woolf (Ed.) New York: Garland Publishing. 1996.
- "Exorcising Laplace's Demon: Chaos and Antichaos, History and Metahistory". Invited paper for History and Theory. Wesleyan University. Vol. 34, No. 1. 1995. 59-83.
- "The Chaos of History: On a Chaotic Model that Represents the Role of Contingency and Necessity in Historical Sequences". Nonlinear Science. Vol. 2, No. 4. 1993: 1-13.
- "Science Defended, Science Defined: The Louisiana Creationism Case". Science, Technology & Human Values, Journal for the Society for the Social Studies of Science. Vol. 16, No. 4 Autumn 1991: 517-539.
- "Darwin, Freud, and the Myth of the Hero in Science". Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization. Vol. 11, No. 3, March 1990: 280-301.
- Shermer, Michael (June 2010). "When ideas have sex". Scientific American. 302 (6): 18. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0610-32.
- — (April 2013). "Proof of hallucination : did a neurosurgeon go to heaven?". Skeptic. Scientific American. 308 (4): 67. Retrieved 2015-05-01.
- — (May 2013). "Gun science : how data can help clarify the gun control debate". Skeptic. Scientific American. 308 (5): 69. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
Media work and appearances
- Exploring the Unknown
- "Michael Shermer and Out of Body Experiences"
- "Michael Shermer on How to Fake UFO Photographs"
- "Michael Shermer on Spoonbending"
- "Michael Shermer Firewalking Across Hot Coals"
- "Michael Shermer Tests the Polygraph and Lie Detection", Parts 1 & 2
- "Michael Shermer Learns the Art of Con Games", Parts 1 & 2
- "Michael Shermer Decodes the Bible Code"
- "Michael Shermer Explores Graphology/Handwriting Analysis", Parts 1 & 2
- "Michael Shermer Remote Viewing Experiment", Parts 1 & 2
- Other television and film appearances
- August 1983 news segment on Shermer bicycling in Race Across America
- Unsolved Mysteries, James Van Praagh segment, 1994
- The Phil Donahue Show, 1994
- Charlie Rose, April 1996
- "The Power of Belief", ABC News, 1998
- Politically Incorrect, December 22, 2000
- 20/20, December 5, 2003
- Dennis Miller, May 19 and May 20, 2004
- "The Bible: Fact or Fiction?", Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, 2004
- The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis, 2004
- The Eyes of Nye on "Pseudoscience", 2005
- The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, October 4, 2006
- "Doomsday 2012", Decoding the Past, 2007
- Larry King Live, July 13, 2007 and January 24, 2008
- Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, 2008
- "Does God Have a Future?", Nightline, ABC, March 23, 2010
- "What Were You Thinking?", Dateline NBC, April 25, 2010
- "Did You See That?", Dateline NBC, July 16, 2010
- The Colbert Report, August 21, 2007
- The Colbert Report, July 11, 2011
- Paranormal Challenge, Linda Vista Hospital, August 26, 2011
- Conspiracy Road Trip: UFOs, BBC Three, 15 October 2012
- Stossel, Fox Business Channel, December 13, 2012
- The Agenda with Steve Paikin Feb 28, 2013 "The Anti-Science Left"
- Merchants of Doubt, 2014 documentary
- StarTalk, National Geographic Channel, November 15, 2015
- Shermer, Michael (2009), The History of Science: A Sweeping Visage of Science and its History (audio lecture) (Audio lecture of 1991 course)
- Shermer, Michael (2009), War: History, Causes, and Solutions (audio lecture)
- Shermer, Michael (2013), Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist (audio lecture), The Great Courses
Radio and Web appearances
- Coast to Coast AM, September 1, 2007 and May 21, 2011
- Mr. Deity and the Skeptic. YouTube. September 15, 2009
- Mr. Deity and the Believing Brain. YouTube. August 3, 2011
- KGO, May 25, 2011
- The Rubin Report, January 22, 2016
- The Joe Rogan Experience, March 7, 2016
Public lectures, speeches and debates
- TED (February 2006). "Why people believe weird things"
- TED (February 2010). "The pattern behind self-deception"
- TED 2014
- TED (March 13, 2015). "Reasonable Doubt"
- "The Moral Arc of Reason", Reason Rally (March 24, 2012)
- "Science Refutes God" (December 5, 2012). Intelligence Squared
- Shermer, Michael (ed.). "Masthead". Skeptic. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2014-09-05.
- Mouallem, Omar (August 27, 2008). "Making a living of bullshit detecting". VUE Weekly.
- "About ACSH: Scientific Advisors". American Council on Science and Health. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Shermer, Michael (2002). Why People Believe Weird Things. Henry Holt. p. 136
- Shermer, Michael (November 14, 1999). "Response To Positive Atheism's December, 1999, Column 'Atheism & Fundamentalism'". Positive Atheism
- Shermer, Michael (July 25, 2007). "Is tenure justified? Testing Tenure". Skeptic
- "Michael Shermer Interview". April 27, 2015. TheBestSchools.org. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
- Stossel, John. Stossel. December 16, 2010 Fox Business Channel.
- Shermer, Michael (June 2005). "Why I Am An Atheist". michaelshermer.com
- "Humanist Manifesto III Public Signers". American Humanist Association. 2008. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- Shermer, Michael (January 2011). "The Science of Right and Wrong". michaelshermer.com
- Shermer, Michael (September 2004). "Mustangs, Monists & Meaning". MichaelShermer.com.
- Meyer, Ronald Bruce "September 8: Michael Shermer (1954)". Freethought Almanac. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
- Shermer, Michael. The Believing Brain. 2011. Times Books. Chapter 4
- Shermer, 2002, p. 127
- Shermer, The Believing Brain, Chapter 6
- Shermer, Michael (2013). "The Sandy Hook Effect". Skeptic. Vol. 18 No. 1. p. 39
- "Michael Shermer". Meet The Skeptics. November 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- "About Us: Michael Shermer". The Skeptics Society. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-04.
- Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things, 2002, p. 128
- Shermer (2011), The Believing Brain, "Chapter 3: A Skeptic's Journey"
- Fleming, Ed (March 2, 2014). "UltraCycling Hall of Fame Founding Member: John Marino". UltraMarathon Cycling Association.
- Lumia, Carrie (March 2, 2014). "Michael Shermer – Ultra Cycling Hall of Fame". UltraMarathon Cycling Association.
- Shermer, Michael (2007). The Mind of The Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics. Holt Paperbacks. pp. 59 -61 ISBN 978-0-8050-7832-9
- "Michael Shermer: Curriculum Vitae". michaelshermer.com. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- Libby. "A Pain in the Neck: Shermer's Neck". UltraMarathon Cycling Association. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Shermer (2002), pp. 13–15.
- "2011 Furnace Creek 508 – Great American Toad – team data". AdventureCORPS, Inc. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- "Skepticality: Episode 200. Michael Shermer". Skepticality. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2014., 1h20 onward
- "Nash Equilibrium, the Omerta Rule, and Doping in Cycling". True/Slant. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- Shermer, Michael (2008). "The Doping Dilemma". Scientific American.
- van Wyhe, John (March 14, 2003). "In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History by Michael Shermer" Human Nature Review, Volume 3: 166-168
- Manning, Aubrey (2003). "Review: In Darwin's Shadow". Reports of the NCSE. Volume 23. National Center for Science Education. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
- Mallet, James (October 10, 2002). "Move over Darwin: A look at the co-disocoverer of natural selection. Neo-Wallaceism anyone?". Nature (Vol 419). p. 561. University College London.
- Greenspan, Stephen (December 30, 2008). Annals of Gullibility: Why We Get Duped and How to Avoid It. Praeger. p. 160. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
- Ellington, Kim; Bennett, Bo (May 7, 2014). "The Humanist Hour #97: Science and Skepticism with Michael Shermer". The Humanist Hour. TheHumanist.com.
- "Michael Shermer". RateMyProfessors.com. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
- "Presidential Fellows". Chapman University. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
- "Skeptic: Lectures & Events: Caltech Lectures". Skeptics Society
- Shermer, Michael (November 25, 2014). "The Reason Every One of Us Should Be Thankful". Time.
- Shermer, Michael. "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind". Scientific American. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Scott, Eugenie. (2006). "Intelligent Design and the Creationism/Evolution Controversy" (00:42:42~00:43:53). University of Michigan. YouTube. July 12, 2013.
- Shermer, Michael (June 2006). "The Flipping Point". Scientific American. Retrieved 2006-12-11.
- Carroll, Robert. "Shermer's March to Nirvana". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- Drutman, Lee. "The economics of man's nature". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- Cowen, Tyler. "For Sale: Big Ideas About Humanity". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- Carroll, Robert. "Shermer's March to Nirvana". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
- Smith, Alison (March 1, 2007). "The Amazing Meeting 5". SkepticReport
- "The Bible: Fact or Fiction?" Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Season 2
- Shermer, Michael (2001). The Borderlands of Science. Oxford University Press, pp. 10–13.
- "Skeptic (Michael Shermer)". YouTube. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Michael Shermer: Professional Skeptic, TED Conference November 2006
- "105th Whittier College Commencement Ceremony". May 23, 2008.
- "The Great Debate:Deepak Chopra v. Michael Shermer". Skeptic. September 28, 2005
- Shermer, Michael (April 5, 2011). "The Woo of Creation:My evening with Deepak Chopra". Skepticblog.
- Harris, Dan (March 23, 2010) "'Nightline' 'Face-Off': Does God Have a Future?". ABC News.
- "The IIG Celebrates its 10th Anniversary". Independent Investigations Group; Accessed September 5, 2010
- Shermer, Michael (2007). "The Skeptic's Chaplain: Richard Dawkins as a Fountainhead of Skepticism". Skeptic. Vol. 13. p. 47.
- Shermer, Michael (Sep 16, 2014). "Anomalous Events That Can Shake One's Skepticism to the Core". Scientific American. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
- Shermer, Michael (June 25, 2014). "Married by Minister Tina, AKA my sister. Ordained online on the spot with Open Ministry (free instant!) what a world". Twitter.
- Shermer, Michael (September 13, 2009). "The Case for Libertarianism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
- Shermer, Michael (17 February 2015). "Arcing Toward Morality - Interview with Dr. Michael Shermer". Skepticality. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
- Shermer, Michael (November 2004). "Who's Getting Your Vote?". Reason.
- Shermer, Michael (October 2013). "When Science Doesn’t Support Beliefs". Scientific American. michaelshermer.com.
- "Anniversary Meeting 2001". The Linnean (January 2004). Vol 2, No 1, p. 1 Linnean Society of London.
- "Skeptic Magazine Founder to Address Library Patrons". CSUF News, California State University, Fullerton. February 17, 2015.
- "NCAS Philip J. Klass AwardOctober 2006". National Capital Area Skeptics. October 2006.
- Scientific American often changes the title of a print article when it is published online. This article is titled "The Science of Guns Proves Arming Untrained Citizens Is a Bad Idea" online.
- "Michael Shermer and Out of Body Experiences" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, originally broadcast on Wide World of Sports (ABC), August 1983
- "Michael Shermer on How to Fake UFO Photographs" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer on Spoonbending" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Firewalking Across Hot Coals" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, June 2, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Tests the Polygraph and Lie Detection, Part 1" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Tests the Polygraph and Lie Detection, Part 2" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Learns the Art of Con Games, Part 1" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Learns the Art of Con Games, Part 2" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Decodes the Bible Code" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official YouTube channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Explores Graphology/Handwriting Analysis, Part 1" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Explores Graphology/Handwriting Analysis, Part 2" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Remote Viewing Experiment Part 1" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official YouTube channel, July 9, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Remote Viewing Experiment Part 2 " on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, July 23, 2007, Originally broadcast on Exploring the Unknown, Fox Family, 1999
- "Michael Shermer Abducted by Aliens in Race Across America" on YouTube, Michael Shermer's official channel, June 19, 2007, Originally broadcast on television news segment, August 1983
- "Does God Have a Future?", Nightline, ABC, March 23, 2010, Full debate on YouTube
- "What Were You Thinking?", Dateline NBC, MSNBC, April 25, 2010
- "Did You See That?", Dateline NBC, MSNBC, July 16, 2010
- "Show Summary". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- "Mr. Deity and the Skeptic" on YouTube. September 15, 2009.
- "Mr. Deity and the Believing Brain" on YouTube. August 3, 2011.
- Shermer appeared on Skepticality on 29 January 2013, May 24, 2011 and July 13, 2005
- The Rubin Report. "Michael Shermer and Dave Rubin: Skepticism, Conspiracy Theories, Libertarians (Full Interview)". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-01-24.
- "JRE #770 - MICHAEL SHERMER". 3 July 2016.
- Shermer, Michael (February 2006). "Why people believe weird things". TED
- Shermer, Michael (February 2010). "The pattern behind self-deception". TED.
- Torgovnick May, Kate (March 10, 2014). "Introducing the TED All-Stars: 50+ speakers who’ll return to the stage at TED2014". TED Blog.
- "Reasonable Doubt". TEDxGhentSalon. YouTube, June 25, 2015
- Morrison, Patt (March 23, 2012). "The 'Reason Rally:' Atheists gather en masse in D.C. this weekend". 89.3 KPCC.
- Shermer, Michael (March 2012). "Reason Rally Rocks". michaelshermer.com
- Shermer, Michael (March 24, 2012). "The Moral Arc of Reason". skeptic.com
- "Does Science Refute God?". NPR. December 11, 2012
- "Science Refutes God". Intelligence Squared: Debates. December 5, 2012
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