The follow-up to Steven Pinker’s groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.
Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit.
With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.
The highly anticipated Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia, is set to be released on January 9, 2018. Written by bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer, the book is described as a scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality.
In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists, and mind-uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth.
For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, the place where souls go after the death of the physical body. Religious leaders have toiled to make sense of this place that a surprising 74% of Americans believe exists, but from which no one has ever returned to report what it is really like.
Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and what we can do in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.
Release date: January 9, 2018
PREVIOUS BOOKS BY MICHAEL SHERMER
Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye
The Moral Arc
The Believing Brain
The Mind of the Market
Why Darwin Matters
The Science of Good and Evil
How We Believe
Why People Believe Weird Things
The Borderlands of Science
In Darwin’s Shadow
Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience
The Soul of Science
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe is dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and the public understanding of science. The first episode of the SGU podcast went online on May 4th, 2005. It soon became a popular science/skeptical podcast, and remains one of the most popular science podcasts on iTunes.
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe now has its own channel on YouTube, taking excerpts from past podcasts episodes and adapting them to the YouTube format.
According to Magnabosco, “I initiate friendly conversations with people to see how they arrived at their deeply-held beliefs (e.g., Gods, karma, ghosts, politics, etc.), and then ask respectful questions to help them discover if the method(s) used are unreliable so that more reliable methods can be employed to maintain the belief and/or the level of confidence in the belief can be adjusted to be more in line with reality.”
Of particular interest are these playlists:
My Top Ten Talks
Street Epistemology Presentations
Relativism (“It’s true for me.”)
Street Epistemology Tutorials
(20,599 subscribers• 2,096,049 viewsJoined Dec 25, 2011)
Dave Rubin is a talk show host, comedian, and TV personality. He is the host of The Rubin Report, a talk show about big ideas and free speech, heralded for it’s politically incorrect and honest approach to discussing complex issues and current events.
Rubin is known for his political satire and political commentary, targeting many topics including political correctness, free speech, politics, mass media, religion, and foreign affairs. He is passionate and outspoken about the ideological split between liberals and the progressive movement, and has been influential in popularizing the phrase “Regressive Left.” A former progressive, Dave identifies with Classical Liberalism and feels strongly about building a new center in the political landscape.
Check out his Trending on The Rubin Report section to view videos such as:
Sam Harris, Sam Harris and Dave Rubin Talk Religion, Politics, Free Speech
Ben Shapiro on Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton
New Atheist Movement: Why Are Atheists So Hated?
Sam Harris Discusses His Ben Affleck Debate on Real Time with Bill Maher
James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued “psychic” spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water “with a memory,” and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural.
He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 1986 for his work in investigating claims of the supernatural, occult, and paranormal powers—in particular his exposures of TV evangelist/healers and of “psychics” such as Uri Geller.
He is the author of numerous books, including The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. His lectures and television appearances have delighted — and vexed — audiences around the world.
Our Favorite Quotes:
“No amount of belief makes something a fact.”
“There is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.”
“The New Age? It’s just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds.”
Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. Harris is also the host of a popular podcast, Waking Up With Sam Harris.
Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.
Our Favorite Quotes:
“Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, ‘atheism’ is a term that should not even exist. No one needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
“What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.”
“I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.”
Peter Boghossian teaches Critical Thinking, Science and Pseudoscience, the Philosophy of Education, and Atheism at Portland State University, is an Affiliate Research Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in the Department of General Internal Medicine, is a national speaker for the Center for Inquiry and the Secular Student Alliance, an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Boghossian’s primary research areas are critical thinking and moral reasoning. His doctoral research studies, funded by the State of Oregon and supported by the Oregon Department of Corrections, consisted of using the Socratic method to help prison inmates to increase their critical thinking and moral reasoning abilities and to increase their desistance to criminal behavior.
Boghossian published A Manual for Creating Atheists in 2013 and developed the Atheos app to help people have non-confrontational discussions about gods, religion, faith, and superstition. As of August, 2017 he is wrapping up his second book. More on this to follow.
Our Favorite Quotes:
“Belief in God(s) is not the problem. Belief without evidence is the problem.”
“Your new role is that of interventionist. Liberator. Your target is faith. Your pro bono clients are individuals who’ve been infected by faith.”
“Few things are more dangerous than people who think they’re in possession of absolute truth. Honest inquirers with sincere questions and an open mind rarely contribute to the misery of the world.”
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University where he teaches Skepticism 101.
He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Why People Believe Weird Things and The Believing Brain, Why Darwin Matters, The Science of Good and Evil, and The Moral Arc. His next book is Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality & Utopia, due in early 2018.
Our favorite quotes:
“Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not.”
“There are many sources of spirituality; religion may be the most common, but it is by no means the only. Anything that generates a sense of awe may be a source of spirituality. Science does this in spades.”
“I’m a skeptic not because I do not want to believe, but because I want to know.”