Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, a regular contributor to Time.com, and Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. His new book is "Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye." He is also the author of “The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity Toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom”, “The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies”, “The Mind of the Market”, “Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design”, and “The Science of Good and Evil”. 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. As a public intellectual he regularly contributes Opinion Editorials, book reviews, and essays to the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Science, Nature, and other publications.
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 appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live. His two TED talks, seen by millions, were voted in the top 100 of the more than 1000 TED talks.
1. How has reasoning and scientific thinking changed the way we view morality and created a more just world?
2. Why do people think that things are bad and getting worse when, in fact, they are good and getting better? That is, why all the doom and gloom pessimism when optimism and gratitude should be the response to all the progress we have realized in our time?
3. There are many reasonable and smart people on both sides of the climate change issue. What are your thoughts these days?
4. There are many products that seem to fall into the “can’t hurt, might help” category. Is there anything wrong with taking advantage of the placebo effect?
5. Are there any investment takeaways from your research and insights?