PDF / Epub ☂ Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist Author Michael Shermer – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk

Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist Who Is The Devil And What Is He Due The Devil Is Anyone Who Disagrees With You And What He Is Due Is The Right To Speak His Mind He Must Have This For Your Own Safety S Sake Because His Freedom Is Inextricably Tied To Your Own If He Can Be Censored, Why Shouldn T You Be Censored If We Put Barriers Up To Silence Unpleasant Ideas, What S To Stop The Silencing Of Any Discussion This Book Is A Full Throated Defense Of Free Speech And Open Inquiry In Politics, Science, And Culture By The New York Times Bestselling Author And Skeptic Michael Shermer The New Collection Of Essays And Articles Takes The Devil By The Horns By Tackling Five Key Themes Free Thought And Free Speech, Politics And Society, Scientific Humanism, Religion, And The Ideas Of Controversial Intellectuals For Our Own Sake, We Must Give The Devil His Due


10 thoughts on “Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist

  1. says:

    Michael Shermer is one of the indispensable thinkers of our time, on a huge range of subjects, as this volume of essays collected from the past 15 years or so makes clear The editor of Skeptic magazine, he is equally adept at analyzing and confronting the absurd ravings of snake oil salesmen, Holocaust deniers, censorious free speech deniers, the most radical claims of the religiously fundamentalist, and the peddlers of crackpot theories as pertain to biology and the natural worldbroadly Michael Shermer is one of the indispensable thinkers of our time, on a huge range of subjects, as this volume of essays collected from the past 15 years or so makes clear The editor of Skeptic magazine, he is equally adept at analyzing and confronting the absurd ravings of snake oil salesmen, Holocaust deniers, censorious free speech deniers, the most radical claims of the religiously fundamentalist, and the peddlers of crackpot theories as pertain to biology and the natural worldbroadly One of theinteresting aspects in this volume is the metamorphosis of his political beliefs, something which I hadn t actively followed in his writings, as he shifts from a libertarian mindset to a well defined position of classical liberalism I realize some are already rolling their eyes as the latter term has been used by a myriad of unlettered trolls and other species of social media excreted troglodytes read podcast hosts Shermer is one of the few who use it correctly This also brings up something I have always enjoyed about Shermer s writings he is absolutely clear how many times he has changed positions on issues and from where the data supporting that shift came.Perhaps the best endorsement of this volume I can give is that it bears qualities of the two dedicatees listed at the front Christopher Hitchens and Steven Pinker From the former, Shermer takes the style of a traditional polemic, mingles it with a certain literary elegance, while at the same time giving the devil his due before displaying in absolutely clear terms why the view expressed by his intellectual combatant is either misguided, blatantly false, or so woo woo as to not be worthy of being called a position From the latter Pinker , he maintains a strict and committed dedication to presenting the knowable facts about any sort of situation position, analyzing them in a scrupulously scientific manner, and coming to a reasoned conclusion regardless of how inconvenient it may be for the current intellectual zeitgeist or making plain why no conclusion is possible given the paucity of fact This is a wonderful volume and the clarity of this writing is something that we desperately need in our current time of reactionary angst brought on by our necessary measures of social distancing and stay at home, isolation


  2. says:

    Giving the Devil His Due is a good retrospective of Shermer s thought and work over the years While most of these essays are available in various forms and from multiple publications, it is useful to have them collected, organized and in several instances updated and expanded It also highlights one of Mr Shermer s failings as a thinker and writer, he is prone to oversimplification In most of his work he is thoughtful, thorough and insightful Yet when his topics brush up his predilection for Giving the Devil His Due is a good retrospective of Shermer s thought and work over the years While most of these essays are available in various forms and from multiple publications, it is useful to have them collected, organized and in several instances updated and expanded It also highlights one of Mr Shermer s failings as a thinker and writer, he is prone to oversimplification In most of his work he is thoughtful, thorough and insightful Yet when his topics brush up his predilection for libertarian oriented solutions, he tends to overlook or ignore inconvenient perspectives When he discusses the yacht incentive, in which movers, makers and shakers are driven to have a yacht just a bit bigger orluxurious than their peers, all of society benefits because they are creating the markets and the employment they generate to support their ambitions Shermer notes that when a middle manager willingly works 80 hour weeks in a mundane supply chain job, the whole supply chain is the better for his sacrifice He neglects to take into account the toll an 80 hour work week will take on that manager, his friends and other ways they could contribute to society had they the time, energy and security Shermer lauds market forces in their ability to extract maximum labor for the smallest wage without mentioning the dynamic of keeping hourly workers just below the threshold that would provide benefits or the difficulty of having to work multiple such jobs in order to make ends meet This narrow view carries over into his assessment of public education He rightfully lambasts the deplorable state of the American public education system He holds up the superior results of private schools as evidence that privatized education will inevitably lead to better outcomes Again, he is probably correct for the majority of students He does not account for the fact that private schools can reject the most vulnerable, disruptive or highest need students These are left to the public system to deal with with ever dwindling resources Neither does he account for the growth of public funding of religious education through voucher and charter solutions This is a particularly disappointing omission for such a prominent scientific humanist I am a fan of Mr Shermer He is an important voice for secularism, humanism and above all rational inquiry It is disappointing when he takes a simplistic approach to complicated issues He is capable of much, much


  3. says:

    Maybe my favorite read from 2020 so far.I ve been a fan of Dr Shermer s work for many years now and his book, The Moral Arc, really changed how I viewed the state of humanity, changing my pessimistic view towards one cautiously optimistic for our future I was particularly looking forward to this book but was expecting it to be fully geared towards a full throated defense of freedom of speech expression against the nonsensical censorship coming from both political parties.The book does do that, Maybe my favorite read from 2020 so far.I ve been a fan of Dr Shermer s work for many years now and his book, The Moral Arc, really changed how I viewed the state of humanity, changing my pessimistic view towards one cautiously optimistic for our future I was particularly looking forward to this book but was expecting it to be fully geared towards a full throated defense of freedom of speech expression against the nonsensical censorship coming from both political parties.The book does do that, but I was delighted to see that it covers a vast amount of material beyond that It s a collection of essays from Dr Shermer discussing the teaching of evolution, the psychology of how political minds work, his interactions with other well known intellectuals, to philosophical discussions about morality and how an objective stake can be claimed for them on a scientific basis and much, muchThe book is grouped into sections addressing these factors and each essay extrapolates on the subject It s easy to read, clear and well organized Highly recommended


  4. says:

    Published in 2020 Shermer s latest work This volume assured me that Shermer is a very important thinker, if not one of theimportant thinkers of our times I ve reviewed a number of his books on this page and I ve been familiar with him for a while I just didn t realize how much thought he puts into things a lot of things I enjoyed his essays in his most recent book very much They seem balanced and defend the opposing view often Shermer defends moral realism 236 , a liberal as i Published in 2020 Shermer s latest work This volume assured me that Shermer is a very important thinker, if not one of theimportant thinkers of our times I ve reviewed a number of his books on this page and I ve been familiar with him for a while I just didn t realize how much thought he puts into things a lot of things I enjoyed his essays in his most recent book very much They seem balanced and defend the opposing view often Shermer defends moral realism 236 , a liberal as in political view of human nature 254 fire arm regulation, which I found particularly interesting 181 having guns in the home is associated with a 41 percent increase in homicide and 244 percent increase in suicide rates Governing Mars 145 makes a case for classical liberalism 134 and so muchI particularly enjoyed Part 5 of the book, where Shermer addresses his relationships and thoughts on Hitchens, Dawkins, and Peterson Shermer even discusses Graham Hancock s work on America s lost civilizations in theAll in all, a very balanced portrayal of one s views If there is anyone to disagree with, it s Shermer He s very open to being wrong


  5. says:

    DNF Taking a break from this for now.


  6. says:

    Interesting, thoughtful anthologyOne of the things Michael Shermer discusses in this anthology is confirmation bias and he made me realize that I have that bias When I would read an essay that I disagreed with, my initial reaction is that I don t like the book When I would read an essay that I agreed with, my reaction would be that I love the book It made me realize that whether I agree with them or not, the essays are indeed thought provoking I also liked when Shermer indicated when he had Interesting, thoughtful anthologyOne of the things Michael Shermer discusses in this anthology is confirmation bias and he made me realize that I have that bias When I would read an essay that I disagreed with, my initial reaction is that I don t like the book When I would read an essay that I agreed with, my reaction would be that I love the book It made me realize that whether I agree with them or not, the essays are indeed thought provoking I also liked when Shermer indicated when he had changed his views on things Overall the book is an interesting read.Disclosure I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes


  7. says:

    Overall, a great collection of essays by one of today s top skeptics I bought this book after hearing Mr Shermer on TJRE Shermer seemed to make a lot of since on that show and I am glad to have read this book I did have a problem with two back to back essays in this book the first titled On Guns and Tyranny , the second titled Debating Guns What Conservatives and Liberals Really Differ on About Guns And Everything Else Not that I had a problem with them because I fundamentally dis Overall, a great collection of essays by one of today s top skeptics I bought this book after hearing Mr Shermer on TJRE Shermer seemed to make a lot of since on that show and I am glad to have read this book I did have a problem with two back to back essays in this book the first titled On Guns and Tyranny , the second titled Debating Guns What Conservatives and Liberals Really Differ on About Guns And Everything Else Not that I had a problem with them because I fundamentally disagreed with what Shermer was saying it s a mixed bag , it s just that I felt the arguments were weak and somewhat political, and, in the case of the second essay, biased by the authors emotional perspective something that stuck out all too glaringly in light of the other essays in this collection being purely rational The second article relies heavily on the guidance of another book that I have not read that, judging from the excerpts, learns very liberal and is guilty of casting Conservative thought in a very poor light while holding highbrow and nobel Liberal thought standards I automatically distrust as factual any writing that goes down either and any party lines Having said that, I felt the rest of the essays made strong and well articulated arguments On a personal note, I realized I have have read a crap ton of the books referenced in this work and that although I don t readily identify as a skeptic, I sure read like one I was surprised to see heavily referenced an obscure book I happened to pick up Gardner s Fads and Fallicies in the Name of Science which turns out to be a skeptics classic


  8. says:

    As with many collections of previously published material, Giving the Devil His Due contains work that may be familiar to someone who has has previously read some Shermer This volume contains five sections, with essays covering Shermer s views on religion, politics, free speech, humanism and a final section of biographies criticism of public intellectuals.As a Libertarian turned Classical Liberal and renowned skeptic, many of Shermer s opinions are predictable, but what I find refreshing about As with many collections of previously published material, Giving the Devil His Due contains work that may be familiar to someone who has has previously read some Shermer This volume contains five sections, with essays covering Shermer s views on religion, politics, free speech, humanism and a final section of biographies criticism of public intellectuals.As a Libertarian turned Classical Liberal and renowned skeptic, many of Shermer s opinions are predictable, but what I find refreshing about Shermer is his at least feigned openness to new information and his desire to explore viewpoints that are different from his own and challenging to the status quo


  9. says:

    I like Michael Shermer but I found myself struggling after getting half way He makes sound arguments about free speech, elucidates enlightening arguments around gun rights even though I remain an advocate of gun control But it is when he wades into the territory of libertarian, laissez fare economics, limited government and public versus private education that he lost me His arguments there seem to become simplistic and only consider a limited section of society at the expense of the rest I like Michael Shermer but I found myself struggling after getting half way He makes sound arguments about free speech, elucidates enlightening arguments around gun rights even though I remain an advocate of gun control But it is when he wades into the territory of libertarian, laissez fare economics, limited government and public versus private education that he lost me His arguments there seem to become simplistic and only consider a limited section of society at the expense of the rest I couldn t finish this book


  10. says:

    Thought provoking book by an author whom I have followed for years. As with most books of essays, there were some I enjoyedthan others and Shermer can be a little long winded Still, overall an excellent and very timely work about the value of freedom of expression and free inquiry.Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC copy for my review.


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