Michael Shermer

A Quote by Michael Shermer on belief and rationalization

But why do smart people fall for such things? Sternberg's challenge led to a second edition of my book, with a new chapter expounding on my answer to his question: Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for nonsmart reasons.

Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed. Most of us, most of the time, come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. Rather, such variables as genetic predisposition, parental predilection, sibling influence, peer pressure, educational experience and life impressions all shape the personality preferences that, in conjunction with numerous social and cultural influences, lead us to our beliefs. We then sort through the body of data and select those that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that do not.

Michael Shermer

Source: Smart People Believe Wierd Things - http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0002F4E6-8CF7-1D49-90FB809EC5880000&catID=2

Contributed by: Ryan

A Quote by Michael Shermer on climate change and environmental skepticism

Because of the complexity of the problem, environmental skepticism was once tenable. No longer. It is time to flip from skepticism to activism.

Michael Shermer

Source: Scientific American: The Flipping Point

Contributed by: Ryan

A Quote by Michael Shermer on climate change, skepticism, and climate change skepticism

My experience is symptomatic of deep problems that have long plagued the environmental movement. Activists who vandalize Hummer dealerships and destroy logging equipment are criminal ecoterrorists. Environmental groups who cry doom and gloom to keep donations flowing only hurt their credibility. As an undergraduate in the 1970s, I learned (and believed) that by the 1990s overpopulation would lead to worldwide starvation and the exhaustion of key minerals, metals and oil, predictions that failed utterly. Politics polluted the science and made me an environmental skeptic.

Nevertheless, data trump politics, and a convergence of evidence from numerous sources has led me to make a cognitive switch on the subject of anthropogenic global warming.

Michael Shermer

Source: Scientific American : The Flipping Point

Contributed by: Ryan

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