Edited by Brian Dunning
this interview | del.icio.us
any given debate on the merits of anything pseudoscientific,
you're likely to find Dr. Michael Shermer on the side of
fact and reason. Interestingly, even in the 21st century,
fighting on the side of fact and reason turns out to be a
full time job. Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic
magazine, the Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly
columnist for Scientific American, the host of the Skeptics
Lecture Series at Caltech, and the co-host and producer of
the 13-hour Fox Family television series, Exploring the Unknown.
He is the author of In
Darwin's Shadow, about the life and science of the
co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace.
He also wrote The
Borderlands of Science, about the fuzzy land between
science and pseudoscience, and Denying
History, on Holocaust denial and other forms of historical
distortion. His book How
We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God,
presents his theory on the origins of religion and why
people believe in God.
is also the author of Why
People Believe Weird Things, a book that was widely and
positively reviewed and landed on the Los Angeles Times bestseller
list as well as the New Sciences science books bestseller
list in England. Dr. Shermer is also the author of Teach
Your Child Science and co-authored Teach Your Child Math
Dr. Shermer now takes a crack at answering our 1000 Questions,
with no divine assistance whatsoever:
0001. In all of history, what is your favorite invention?
The invention of inventing--the creative process as witnessed
in science and technology, and the organized process of
inventing as something humans can do to improve life.
0010. What do you hope will be invented next?
A process to eliminate errors in cell division (e.g.,
those that lead to cancer), and a process to eliminate
the limits to cell division (that lead to aging).
0011. What do you hope will never be invented?
A machine that would replace sex.
0100. What would you un-invent if you could?
0101. What popular invention do you consider the most
Motorized bicycles: what's the point? Either pedal under
your own power and get some exercise, or just get a damn
motorcycle and do it right.
If marooned on a desert island, what three technological
devices would you bring with you?
1. Satellite phone
2. Water desalinizer
3. The borg robot from Star Trek Voyager, Seven of Nine
0111. If you had to revert and freeze the world's technology
at a particular time in history, what year would you choose
Today, because we live in the golden age of now.
1000. If you found yourself sitting at a Unix terminal
as Earth's last hope while, outside, aliens were wiping
out humanity, what would you type?
"We are a borg-like race of Homer Simpsons and when
you kill us all off you become him."