Science Salon is a series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, scholars, and thinkers, about the most important issues of our time.
Dr. Michael Shermer — Ask Me Anything # 3
The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon In this short AMA Michael Shermer answers a single question: “What is your opinion of Jordan Peterson?” Dr. Shermer is asked this question in nearly every public appearance he makes, along with regular emails and social media queries he receives. At a November 2018 public event with Richard Dawkins, in the Q&A, he and Shermer received no less than four questions about Jordan Peterson, even though Jordan was not the topic of the dialogue between Dawkins and Shermer.Watch that edited clip reel from that dialogue. Clearly there is much interest in Jordan Peterson and the phenomenon surrounding him, so Dr. Shermer thought he would issue his opinion in the form of an essay he penned forSkepticmagazine 23.3: “Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon”.Purchase back issue 23.3 online. See also Steven Beckner’s brilliant analysis of Jordan Peterson in the same issue: “Thought Crimes Jordan Peterson and the Meaning of the Meaning of Life”. (Some have said this is the best and fairest article ever written about Peterson.) In Science Salon AMA # 3, Dr. Shermer offers a brief summary of his current opinion of Peterson and then reads his essay: “Have Archetype — Will Travel: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon”. Watch previous episodes of AMA. Listen to Science Salon Podcasts and AMAs viaiTunes,Spotify,Google Play Music,Stitcher,iHeartRadio,TuneIn, andSoundcloud. You play a vital part in our commitment to promote science and reason. If you enjoy the Science Salon Podcast, pleaseshow your supportby making a donation, or bybecoming a patron.
Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld —A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security
In this episode of the Science Salon Podcast, Michael Shermer speaks with Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and states in transition. As the founding CEO of the Truman National Security Project, she spent nearly a decade leading a movement of national security, political, and military leaders working to promote people and policies that strengthen security, stability, rights, and human dignity in America and around the world. In 2011, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton appointed Kleinfeld to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, which advises the secretary of state quarterly, a role she served through 2014. Dr. Kleinfeld has consulted on rule of law reform for the World Bank, the European Union, the OECD, the Open Society Institute, and other institutions, and has briefed multiple government agencies in the United States and abroad. She is the author of Advancing the Rule of Law Abroad: Next Generation Reform (Carnegie, 2012), which was chosen by Foreign Affairs magazine as one of the best foreign policy books of 2012. Named one of the top 40 Under 40 Political Leaders in America by Time magazine in 2010, Kleinfeld has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and other national television, radio, and print media. Her new book is A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security. In this conversation we discuss her new book, specifically: What it says about human nature that people so easily turn to violence when there is not central authority. What she learned about law and order growing up in libertarian Alaska, and how she got interested in studying violence in failed states around the world. Why studying history and reading the classics (like Thucydides) was the best preparation she had for her job. Lessons from The Godfather on what happens when governments become corrupt—strong men promising security and protection from corruption rise up. Pace the Godfather, what happened in the Republic of Georgia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and why violence spiked and then declined. Why dictators like Saddam Hussein do not actually keep violence down in their countries because state-sponsored violence goes unrecorded. Her experiences living and working in Russia and other countries undergoing turmoil. Putin and Russian today and what they want. Columbia as a model of a failed state and what the U.S. did there to help turn things around. How the Wild West of the United States was tamed. Why violence is higher in the Southern United States, and why lynching and other hate crimes were driven more by political power and expediency than by racial hatred (data shows that such crimes peaked before elections). How the 21st century is so different from the 20th century’s battle of “isms”: communism, socialism, Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, liberalism, individualism, idealism, humanism, etc. We’re living in a different world today. We’re about to colonize Mars and establish a new society there. What parts of government should we take with us there, and what parts should we leave behind? That is, what have we learned over the millennia in terms of good vs. bad governance. Listen to Science Salon via iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Soundcloud. This remote Science Salon was recorded on January 4, 2019.
Dr. Michael Shermer — Ask Me Anything # 2
In his second Ask Me Anything, recorded on the final day of 2018, Dr. Shermer reviews the latest issue of Skeptic magazine, introduces upcoming podcast guests Rachel Kleinfeld (A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security), Bruce Schneier (Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World), Mark W. Moffett (The Human Swarm: How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall), and Jared Diamond (Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis). Dr. Shermer also discusses his book publishing plans for 2019, including an essay collection of his last 70 Scientific American columns, which he is sad to report is coming to an end with the January 2019 issue of that august magazine, along with that of other popular contributors, such as the popular tech columnist David Pogue. Dr. Shermer reflects on his 18 years and reads aloud the final column, titled “Stein’s Law and Science’s Mission”.
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